Were You Injured in an 18 Wheeler Accident?
After an 18 wheeler accident, of course, the first concern is for the well-being of those involved, but this is just the start of proceedings—victims have a lot to worry about afterward, too. A commercial truck accident is a complex situation in which you may have many legal rights and responsibilities. This is where an experienced truck accident attorney like Stewart Guss can help—we can guide you to make the best decisions and make sure that you get every penny of compensation to which you are entitled.
Trucking companies are slick and have plenty of tricks to make your recovery hard or impossible, especially on your own. Stewart Guss, however, has 20 years of experience fighting with 18 wheeler companies and their insurance adjusters on behalf of victims of truck accidents to get full and fair compensation for all of their damages.
You have many things to consider in a situation like this, and some can have a major impact on your welfare and size of your claim. We will go over this when we speak with you, but questions that can influence the amount of compensation you can expect for your accident include:
- Were there injuries or fatalities?
- How bad is the property damage?
- Were the police involved?
- Do you have medical and insurance costs to pay?
- Who has which legal rights and responsibilities?
Why Choose Our Team?
- Stewart Guss and his team believe in respect, integrity and family values.
- Our attorneys and staff will always be there for you!
- With decades of combined experience, Stewart and his team will work tirelessly to recover as much as possible on your 18 Wheeler accident claim!
- Cases can depend on complicated technical details, and prompt action is necessary.
- And you don’t pay us anything unless we win your case!
Choose an Attorney with Strength and Experience
If you’ve ever been in an accident, especially with an 18 wheeler, you know there is a LOT to worry about after that crash! Is everyone okay? Are the police coming? Is your car drivable? Do you need an ambulance? The first and most important concern is the health and safety of those involved in the crash and the other drivers on the road. Take care of your injuries. But what about hours later or the next day? An 18 wheeler accident is a complex situation, and you have many legal rights and responsibilities. This is where an experienced truck accident attorney like Stewart Guss can help.
Dealing with trucking insurance companies can be a nightmare. Sometimes it seems like they think their jobs are to DENY car accident claims, not to PAY them! That’s why you need a strong yet approachable advocate on your side.
If you were involved in an accident with a big truck, call the attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law and talk about it. Do not sign anything until you speak with us because doing so could risk losing some or all of the compensation that is due to you.
Stewart Guss and his team will do everything they can to obtain the most possible compensation for your claim, and we take pride in treating our clients like family. Pick up the phone and call (281) 664-6500 to talk to us about your accident. Remember, your consultation is FREE, and you pay NOTHING unless we win your case!
18 Wheeler Accident Statistics
Large trucks get into accidents every day across the United States. Many people may not realize just how common these collisions are and the following statistics, reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), may surprise you:
- Truck accidents injured about 111,000 persons in 2014.
- Truck accidents killed 3,903 persons in 2014.
- That same year, police received reports of about 438,000 truck accidents.
- Nearly three-fourths of the people injured were riding in other passenger vehicles.
- Drivers or truck passengers received twenty-three percent of accident injuries.
- Three percent of injured victims were not in vehicles and were instead riding bicycles or walking.
- More than 10,905,000 commercial trucks were registered in the United States in 2014.
- Eighty-one percent of fatal crashes involved multiple vehicles.
- Among truck accidents, head-on collisions have the greatest incidences of death.
- Many truck drivers have past crashes, convictions for speeding, convictions for DUI, or license suspensions.
Safety Tips for Driving Near 18 Wheelers
While truck accident victims do have rights to recover financial compensation after crashes, it is always best to avoid collisions in the first place. While you cannot control the actions of a truck driver or trucking company, you can take every necessary precaution when you approach or pass a large commercial truck. Some safety tips to remember:
Heavy trucks take longer to stop, so do not pull in front of a truck or suddenly brake when you are in front of a truck.
- Trucks have “no zones”— substantial blind spots on their sides, fronts, and backs. Know the locations of no zones and avoid lingering in them when you can.
- If you see a semi-truck swerving or any other signs of intoxication in a truck driver, stay away from the truck and call law enforcement authorities.
- Never look down at a phone or engage in other distractions when you are near a big truck. (Actually, avoid distracted driving at ALL times.)
All commercial truck drivers and trucking companies must comply with many different regulations and laws on both on the federal and state levels. When they violate these laws, serious collisions and injuries to motorists can often result. Anyone who violates any safety laws and causes injuries should be held fully accountable for their actions.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacts and enforces a wide variety of regulations that apply to all commercial vehicles operating on an interstate basis in the United States. This can include semi-trucks, hazardous materials (hazmat) trucks, tanker trucks, flatbeds trucks, buses, and more. The regulations set standards of behavior for many aspects of trucking, including:
- Licensing – Everyone who operates a commercial truck must have the proper commercial driver’s license and training for that particular type of vehicle.
- Health conditions – Medical professionals must determine that drivers do not have any potentially dangerous medical conditions that would interfere with their abilities to operate trucks.
- Hours of service – To prevent fatigued driving, strict rules curb the number of consecutive hours and consecutive days a driver can work without taking breaks to rest and sleep.
- Intoxicated driving – Commercial drivers face stricter intoxicated driving laws than regular drivers, with a legal limit of 0.04 percent blood alcohol content (BAC) compared to 0.08 percent for everyone else. They are also subject to random and post-accident drug and alcohol testing.
- Distracted driving – Commercial drivers break the law whenever they engage in text-based messaging or read on a smartphone, and they also have strict rules regarding hands-free communications.
- Inspections – By law, drivers must inspect their trucks pre-shift, and companies must inspect and maintain the trucks in their fleets.
- Size and weight – Depending on size and number of axles, a commercial truck’s maximum weight is 80,000 pounds. Trucks must be regularly weighed to ensure compliance.
Texas State Traffic Laws
In addition to the FMCSRs, truck drivers must follow all state and local traffic laws when driving through Texas. These same laws apply to all other drivers, and they prohibit speeding, following too closely, reckless driving, improper passing, violating traffic signals, and much more.
Determining Liability in a Truck Accident
To obtain compensation for your truck accident-related losses, you must prove that you can hold one or more parties liable for the crash. Trucking companies and drivers are not often forthcoming when it comes to turning over potential evidence, making this a complicated task. Our law firm, however, has the resources and experience to fully investigate what caused your crash and file a claim against all possible liable parties.
Parties that may be defendants in a truck accident claim can include:
Truck drivers – Like all other drivers, commercial 18 wheeler drivers can make mistakes that can lead to accidents. Distracted driving, drunk driving, fatigued driving, violating FMCSA regulations, violating traffic laws, and many other negligent acts can lead to findings of negligence and liability on the part of truck drivers.
Trucking companies – Negligent trucking companies hire unqualified or risky drivers, do not perform drug or alcohol tests on drivers, do not properly supervise drivers, or even encourage unsafe behavior, all of which can lead to crashes. In addition, you can hold a trucking company strictly liable for the negligent or dangerous acts of its drivers when they cause injuries.
Truck manufacturers – Trucks have many parts that need to be in working order for a truck to operate safely. If a truck part is defective and malfunctions, the driver can often lose control of the huge 18 wheeler and crash. Parts that can malfunction include brakes, coupling devices, steering columns, tires, wheels, axles, and more.
Other parties – Many third parties are involved in the upkeep and safe operation of 18 wheelers. Mechanics may improperly inspect, maintain, or repair trucks, which can lead to malfunctions. Cargo-loading crews can improperly secure cargo so it shifts and throws a truck off-balance or can overload a truck so that a driver cannot stop in time.
Because you could hold so many parties liable for an 18 wheeler accident, hire a law firm with the resources to delve into the reasons behind your crash and determine all possible liability.
Choose an Attorney with Strength and Experience
If you were in an accident with an 18 wheeler, you have a lot of questions—and perhaps a lot of physical, psychological, and economic damages from which to recover. Of course, you need to start by making sure that you and everyone else involved in the accident is safe. Take care of your injuries first, then assess the health and safety of others. Call 911 if necessary.
If ambulance personnel recommend that you go to an emergency room for medical treatment or just a checkup, do so right away. Some injuries take time to emerge, but you could face a better outcome if a doctor spots them early enough. And having a doctor immediately document those injuries may help with any legal case you decide to pursue.
After that, talk to one of our experienced truck accident attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law. Cases involving 18 wheeler accidents are complex, and you have many legal rights to protect. You also have better things to do than dealing with trucking insurance companies—like recovering from your injuries. We can fight against trucking insurance companies for you.
If you have been involved in an 18 wheeler accident, it is important to speak to a Houston personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. To schedule a free case evaluation with the attorneys of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, call today at (281) 664-6500 or send us an email through our online contact form. Remember—you pay us nothing up front when we take your case, and you pay us nothing unless and until we’ve won your recovery.
Don’t take chances—let us help you!
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