Thousands of commercial vehicles travel the roads every day throughout Texas and the rest of the nation. These include semi-trucks, tanker trucks, delivery trucks, buses, and more. Commercial drivers are held to higher safety standards than other drivers, but that doesn't mean they can't cause accidents. In fact, millions of people suffer serious injuries or die because of commercial truck accidents each year.
If you were injured or lost a close family member in a traffic accident caused by a negligent commercial vehicle driver, you need an experienced commercial vehicle attorney to identify the many unique elements that will come into play—from the extensive damages to the overwhelming aftereffects. The experienced commercial vehicle lawyers at Trust Guss Injury Lawyers, are committed to aggressively advocating in defense of your claim. With 20 years of experience, our large, dedicated legal team has the skill, knowledge, and determination to fight for the compensation to which you are entitled. Call us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-898-4877, or send us an email by CLICKING HERE.
Houston Commercial Vehicle Accident Guide
- Commercial Drivers and Accidents
- Commercial Truck Driver Error
- Other Parties That May Bear Liability for a Commercial Vehicle Accident
- Injuries Common to Commercial Vehicle Accidents
- Types of Compensation You Could Receive from aÂ Commercial Truck Accident Claim
- What Should I Do If I Suffered Injuries in a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
- If You Were Injured in a Truck Accident, Consult an Experienced Commercial Vehicle Attorney Today
- See what other clients are saying:
Commercial Drivers and Accidents
Because commercial drivers are professional drivers who spend much of their time behind the wheels of large vehicles, they are held to strict safety rules and regulations. In fact, both the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) enforce strict regulations that govern truckers and other commercial drivers. Furthermore, each state implements additional safety standards.
The government heavily regulates truckers because semi-truck accidents are so exceedingly dangerous. When you get behind the wheel of your car, you take on the immense responsibility of driving safely and helping to keep the roads safer for everyone. Truck drivers shoulder even more exacting safety responsibilities.
Commercial Truck Driver Error
Consumer demand drives the trucking industry, and as this demand continues to skyrocket, so to do the harsh demands on truckers and trucking companies alike. Both truckers and the companies that employ them feel the sting of this ever-growing demand and attendant scheduling constraints. As a result, adherence to safety rules and regulations sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. This doesn’t, however, mitigate the responsibility that both truckers and trucking companies owe to safe trucking.
While trucker negligence can come in any number of forms, several types are most closely associated with commercial vehicle accidents on our roads:
Fatigue - Truck drivers and other commercial drivers face extreme scheduling challenges—it’s the nature of their work. Nevertheless, they must adequately address this issue to ensure that it’s safe for them to get behind the wheels of their rigs. Fatigue is a common culprit in truck accidents. Federal and state hours of service regulations combat this challenge. These rules place strict parameters on consecutive driving hours, hours driven within a specific period, mandatory rest breaks, the maximum number of driving sessions within specific timeframes, and more. Fatigued commercial drivers are more likely to experience functional impairments that can include decreased alertness, longer reaction times, diminished attention, and increased likelihood of making unsafe decisions. Fatigued truckers are dangerous truckers.
Distraction – Commercial drivers must exclusively pay attention to the task at hand—driving safely. The FMCSA defines distraction as any diversion of a driver's attention from activities critical to safe driving. Distracted truckers are dangerous truckers who are far more likely to cause commercial vehicle accidents, as these dire statistics illustrate:
- About 71 percent of large-truck accidents occurred when the trucker was engaged in something besides the sole task of operating a truck
- The inattention of drivers is the primary factor in traffic accidents and near-accidents.
- Texting increases a driver's risk of a safety-critical driving incident by 23 times.
- Texting for five seconds while driving at 55 miles per hour is the same as driving blind for the entire length of a football field.
All told, the FMCSA finds that texting is among the most dangerous forms of driver distraction because it engages the trucker's hands, eyes, and thoughts--all of which truck drivers should all train on maneuvering safely over the road ahead. In fact, the law prohibits commercial motor vehicle operators from texting while driving.
Unhealthy lifestyles - Truckers often live solitary and sedentary lives that aren't conducive to healthy lifestyles. Truckers—and many other kinds of commercial drivers—spend long hours on the road with tight scheduling constraints and the resulting stress, as well as few healthy food choices, little opportunity for exercise, and plenty of boredom. Furthermore, these conditions combined can lead commercial drivers to develop problems with alcohol and drugs, which exacerbate crash risks. The unhealthy lifestyle inherent to trucking can contribute to increased accident rates.
Other Parties That May Bear Liability for a Commercial Vehicle Accident
Many commercial vehicle accidents are caused by driver error, but that’s far from the only consideration.
Commercial vehicle accidents are often more complicated than typical car accidents because they’re far more likely to involve multiple defendants. In a typical car accident, the negligent driver usually faces responsibility and the claim proceeds from this perspective. A truck accident, on the other hand, may well involve driver negligence, but an experienced truck accident attorney will consider other important variables:
The trucking company - The trucking company is responsible for hiring safe, experienced truck drivers who are healthy enough to fulfill the demands of the position. If a trucker with inadequate experience or skill causes an accident, the trucking company itself may shoulder some of the responsibility. Furthermore, the trucking company is responsible for ensuring that its fleet is safe, well-maintained, and roadworthy. This includes both implementing a regular and thorough maintenance schedule and hiring a highly skilled and experienced maintenance crew to put this schedule into practice. In addition, it’s the trucking company’s responsibility to ensure that its commercial drivers aren’t pushed beyond the boundaries of safe driving schedules and that they adhere to federal and state rules and regulations. Overall, the trucking company bears a significant responsibility when it comes to commercial truck accidents.
The truck manufacturer - The truck manufacturer is responsible for providing the trucking company with a safe vehicle in the first place. Commercial trucks and buses are obviously complicated machines that require exacting manufacturing processes. Sometimes, however, design flaws, faulty construction, or the incorporation of unsafe or faulty parts can contribute to or cause commercial vehicle accidents.
The truck mechanics - The trucking company is responsible for hiring an experienced and well-qualified crew of mechanics, but the mechanics themselves are responsible for the work that they do. If they perform faulty work, the mechanic involved may share liability for any truck accident that ensues as a result.
Injuries Common to Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Truck accidents are often catastrophic, and they can cause any number of serious, debilitating injuries. Several significant injuries are common to these devastating accidents:
Traumatic brain injuries - Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are caused by blunt force to the head or by the whipping back and forth of the head—as often happens in vehicular accidents. In fact, the Mayo Clinic finds that traffic accidents are a major cause of these dangerous injuries. Because TBIs damage your brain’s functioning, they’re both extremely serious and highly unpredictable. Furthermore, these injuries don’t always present symptoms at the time of the accident, which can lead to delayed diagnosis and more serious health consequences. Many TBI victims describe the injuries as altering their very sense of self, which can prove especially demoralizing and difficult to overcome.
Spinal cord injuries - Spinal cord damage can cause significant alterations in body strength, functioning, and sensation below the injury site. The ability of victims to control the movement in their limbs depends on the severity and location of their injuries. The significance of such injuries is difficult to overstate, with negative physical, emotional, and social consequences.
Broken bones - Broken bones are exceedingly painful and often slow to heal. Furthermore, broken bones sometimes heal poorly, leading to serious complications and even permanent disabilities. Never underestimate the seriousness of a broken bone or the significant consequences of such an injury.
Of course, these are not the only injuries you could sustain. Commercial vehicle accidents could result in crushing injuries, amputations, internal injuries, and more. No matter how severe the injuries you sustained in a truck accident, contact an experienced commercial accident lawyer for help getting the compensation you need.
Types of Compensation You Could Receive from a Commercial Truck Accident Claim
It bears repeating that truck accidents are among the deadliest on our roads. Semi-trucks are many, many times the size and weight of the cars we drive, and as such, they present immense dangers. If you were injured by a commercial vehicle, seek immediate medical attention first, then consult with an experienced commercial vehicle accident attorney. While every truck accident is unique, the damages associated with these accidents often fall into the following categories:
Medical expenses - Truck accidents can wreak nearly incalculable physical injuries and medical expenses, which include emergency transportation and care, surgery and aftercare, treatment and care from doctors and specialists, follow-up care and aftercare, prescription medications, adaptive physical devices, home adaptations, and home healthcare. Furthermore, the serious injuries caused by a commercial vehicle accident can leave long-term consequences that aren’t always apparent in the accident’s immediate aftermath. Your skilled commercial vehicle lawyer will help evaluate the full scope of your injuries in your accident claim.
Lost wages - The serious nature of commercial vehicle accidents nearly guarantees that you will lose both hours and wages on the job. Furthermore, the injuries you incur may leave you with an uncertain career path and lost earning potential. Such eventualities not only devastate your long-term finances—they can ruin your sense of self. Our careers are so closely tied with our places in the world that job upsets such as those wrought by a truck accident can prove especially devastating. You worked hard to set your career path on a specific trajectory, and in the blink of an eye—and due to someone else’s negligence—all of that changed. Victims of such setbacks often experience powerful emotional consequences, including self-isolation, depression, and increased anxiety.
Pain and suffering - This includes the actual physical pain and discomfort caused by the injuries you sustained. It encompasses the pain experienced from the time of the injury through the present and any expected pain in the future. Common forms of pain and suffering damages include loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and scarring and disfigurement.
Psychological injuries - Accidents involving large commercial vehicles can leave victims terrified. In fact, many victims of these accidents suffer severe emotional disturbances that are difficult to overcome. Victims can experience depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and symptoms can haunt them for months or years.
The repercussions associated with commercial truck accidents are difficult to overstate. Allow your experienced commercial vehicle attorney to carefully assess all of your damages and aggressively advocate for the compensation to which you are entitled. Although no settlement or verdict can ever give you back what you lost in the accident, just compensation can help you better navigate the difficult path toward recovering your health as fully as possible.
What Should I Do If I Suffered Injuries in a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
If you've suffered injuries in a commercial vehicle accident, you must take certain steps to protect your well-being and preserve your legal rights. Here's what you should do:
Seek Immediate Medical Attention: Your health is the top priority. Seek medical attention for your injuries as soon as possible. Even if your injuries seem minor, it's essential to have a medical professional assess your condition. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and you will need documentation you sustained an injury and received treatment to file an injury claim.
- Call Law Enforcement: Report the accident to the police. Law enforcement will create an official accident report, which can be crucial for insurance claims and legal proceedings.
- Exchange Information: Collect contact information, insurance details, and vehicle information from all parties involved in the accident. This includes the commercial vehicle driver, their employer, and any other drivers.
- Document the Scene: Take photos of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, road conditions, and any relevant traffic signs or signals. Document the license plates of all vehicles involved. You also want to photograph your injuries, if possible.
- Gather Witness Information: Collect the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. Witness statements can be valuable in supporting your version of events. Share the information with your attorney so they can follow up with the witness or depose them to get their testimony.
- Do Not Admit Fault: Avoid admitting fault or making statements that could be interpreted as an admission of guilt. Stick to the facts when discussing the accident with the police, other parties, or insurance representatives.
- Notify Your Insurance Company: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide them with accurate and timely information about the incident.
- Be Cautious with Insurance Adjusters: If the trucking company or another party's insurance company contacts you, be cautious about providing recorded statements without consulting your attorney. Adjusters may use statements against you in the claims process.
- Preserve Evidence: Preserve any evidence related to the accident, such as medical records, photographs, and receipts for medical expenses and vehicle repairs.
- Continue or Complete Your Medical Treatment: Adhere to your healthcare provider's recommendations and attend all necessary medical appointments. Document your injuries and the treatment you receive and don't stop treatment just because you feel fine. The insurance company or the court could take that to mean you weren't as seriously injured as you reported.
- Keep a Record: Maintain a record of all communication related to the accident, including emails, letters, and phone calls. This can be useful for tracking the progress of your case.
- Consult a Personal Injury Attorney: Seek legal advice from a personal injury attorney experienced in handling commercial vehicle accident cases. They can help protect your rights, navigate the legal process, and ensure you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Commercial vehicle accidents often involve complex liability issues, as multiple parties, including the driver, the employer, and potentially other entities. Consulting a skilled personal injury attorney with experience in commercial vehicle accidents is essential to ensure you do all you need to do to increase your chances of getting the maximum financial recovery possible.
If You Were Injured in a Truck Accident, Consult an Experienced Commercial Vehicle Attorney Today
Semi-trucks and other kinds of commercial vehicles, such as passenger buses and tanker trucks that haul hazardous materials, are all held to strict governmental safety restrictions for very good reasons—because their size, weight, and activities make them among the most dangerous vehicles on our roadways. Commercial vehicles get involved in accidents with often catastrophic results.
The dedicated legal team at Trust Guss Injury Lawyers, understands how much difficulty and trauma these accidents can cause, and our experienced commercial vehicle attorneys have the skill, determination, and commitment to tirelessly fight for your just compensation. Our nationally recognized team of personal injury lawyers has protected the rights of injured truck accident victims for more than 20 years. If you or a family member was recently injured in a car accident, you need an experienced car accident lawyer to look out for your best interests.
Call our office right now for your free consultation! Because we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a DIME unless we win your case. We are available 24-hours, 7-days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or send an email by CLICKING HERE.
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"I was very pleased with how Stewart handled my case. He acted professionally at all times and really had my best interests at heart. I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome too! I would definitely recommend my friends and family to use him as their lawyer.” -Joshua L.