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 things—victims will have a lot to worry about in the coming weeks and months, as well. A commercial truck accident is a devastating and complex event that can turn your life and health upside down. This is where nationally recognized and highly experienced, Houston 18 wheeler accident attorneys, can guide you to make the best decisions to protect your rights, and we work to make sure that you get every penny of compensation to which the law entitles you.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an 18 wheeler accident, you may have many questions about what to do next, and most people don’t even know where to begin to ask for help. Please know that the law office of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law offers a FREE consultation, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so call us right now at 800-898-4877 or click HERE to send us a question and get more information about your rights and your case.
There is NO cost to get a free consultation right now. If you decide to hire us, you pay us nothing upfront, and you will pay absolutely nothing at all unless and until we’ve won your case. More than that, if you are uninsured, or cannot afford health insurance deductibles or co-pays, we may be able to help you obtain the medical treatment you need – at no upfront out of pocket cost to you.
National 18 Wheeler Accident Attorney Stewart J. Guss discusses trucking safety on national news with Mike Papantonio on America’s Lawyer
Trucking companies are slick and have plenty of tricks to make your recovery hard or impossible, especially if you try to handle a claim on your own. Our law firm, however, has 20 years of experience fighting with these trucking companies and their insurance adjusters on behalf of victims of truck accidents to get full and fair compensation for all of their damages. Stewart J Guss has a team of attorneys who will never back down to trucking companies or insurers, so you can trust we will do everything in our power to get full compensation for every client.
What to Do After a Semi-Truck Accident
If you were in an accident with an 18 wheeler, you should have a lot of questions—and perhaps a lot of physical, psychological, and economic damages from which to recover. Of course, right after the crash occurs, 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 someone else already hasn’t done so.
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 and diagnoses them early on. Also, having a doctor immediately document all of your injuries may help with any legal case you decide to pursue.
When the authorities arrive, give them your version of what happened. If you’re unsure of what led to the crash, be honest about the fact that you don’t know. Never try to fill in memory or knowledge gaps, as this can only complicate the legal process. All too often, drivers never see an accident coming before it happens. You can use other evidence to prove who was at fault down the road.
Also, be careful not to apologize or make comments that may indicate you think that you were to blame. Many car accident victims will unintentionally say that they “only looked down for a second” or that they “should have seen the truck coming.” While these statements may seem harmless, the truck driver and trucking company can later use such comments to allege that you were distracted or otherwise negligent at the time of the crash. It is always better to say as little as necessary to the police.
If you have the chance, it can never hurt to take pictures of the scene with your smartphone, including the road conditions, tire marks, and damage to all vehicles involved. If there are witnesses or other drivers stopped, get their contact information. This information doesn’t always make it into police reports, and witnesses can be difficult to track down as time passes.
Once you are free to leave the accident scene and doctors have stabilized your injuries, you should talk to our experienced truck accident legal team at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law. Remember – the sooner you have an experienced team of lawyers and legal professionals by your side, the more likely you are to be fully compensated for your injuries and all of your losses. Remember that we offer a FREE consultation, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so call us right now at 800-898-4877 or click HERE to send us a message about your case.
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.
Most truck accident victims have never been in a truck crash before, so they have little to no idea of how to proceed. Just do your best and ALWAYS listen to medical professionals if you need immediate treatment. Know that our team will carefully examine what happened and will guide you in the right direction, answering your questions and protecting your rights along the way.
Key Questions After a Truck Accident
After a traumatizing truck crash, there are likely many questions swirling around in your head. What are your rights? Will you have to pay for your medical bills? How can you make the truck company pay? You have many things to consider in a situation like this, and our law firm can help shed some light on the situation for you.
To understand whether you have a claim and the size of your claim, we’ll need to answer several questions. We’ll go over all of this when we speak with you, but some questions you may expect to address include the following:
- Were there injuries or fatalities from the truck accident?
- How bad is the property damage?
- Were the police involved?
- Do you have medical and insurance costs to pay?
- Did you miss work due to your injuries?
- What happened to cause the crash?
First, anyone who suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a truck accident should examine their legal rights. Many people are surprised to learn they can seek recovery for their injury-related losses because they think they were partially responsible for the crash. Texas law allows you to recover at least some compensation as long as you weren’t more than 49 percent responsible for the accident. In most cases, injured truck accident victims have the right to some financial recovery.
We like to know whether the police were involved, as then we can obtain a copy of the police report. While a police report can’t serve as official evidence of fault in a crash, it can give us important information about what the police officers thought happened. It’s also critical to know whether the police issued a citation to the truck driver or placed them under arrest for violating the law, such as drinking and driving. A criminal case won’t get you the money you deserve, but it can significantly help prove negligence or wrongdoing on the part of the truck driver.
We also want to go over the medical cost you incurred, the work you missed, and any other costs related to your injuries. We will examine whether you’ll need additional medical treatment or time off work in the future. We’ll discuss the effects of your injuries, including pain, suffering, restricted movement, and any permanent impairments you’ll have to live with. All of this information allows us to calculate the total value of your claim.
Finally, we’ll also want to hear how the accident happened. Through your story, police reports, witness interviews, and other investigative methods, we can put together a case that shows who was responsible for causing the crash and why. This tells us who should be liable for your losses, and who we should begin our fight against!
Why Choose Our Team?
We know that many law firms state they can help with your truck accident case, though there are many aspects of our team that we believe set us apart from the rest, including:
- Stewart Guss and his team believe in respect, integrity and family values.
- Our law firm 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!
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? After you receive initial medical help, the worries only increase over the next few hours or days. You don’t have to be left in the dark wondering about your rights, as this is where an experienced truck accident law firm like Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, can help.
Dealing with trucking insurance companies can be a nightmare. Sometimes, it seems like insurance adjusters think their jobs are to DENY truck accident claims, not to PAY them! That’s why you need a strong yet approachable advocate on your side. Our lawyers and legal professionals have experience dealing with the most difficult insurance companies out there, and we know the aggressive approach needed to get through to these companies.
If you suffered injuries in an accident with a big truck, call us right now at 800-898-4877 or click HERE to submit the facts of your case for a FREE evaluation. We’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so contact us NOW to start getting answers to all of your questions.
Remember, NEVER sign anything until you speak with us because doing so could risk losing some or all of the compensation that you deserve. The best course of action is to contact our legal team before you take any other steps toward an insurance claim. Our 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.
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 admitting liability or even 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 the right claims 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 serious accidents. Distracted driving, drunk driving, fatigued driving, violating FMCSA regulations, violating Texas 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 may hire unqualified or risky drivers, fail to maintain trucks, fail to perform drug or alcohol tests on drivers, fail to properly supervise drivers, or even encourage unsafe behavior, all of which can lead to crashes. Also, you can generally hold a trucking company strictly liable for the negligent or dangerous acts of its employee 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 and lead to accidents include brakes, coupling devices, steering columns, tires, wheels, axles, and more.
- Other parties – Many third parties lend a hand 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 they can overload a truck so that a driver cannot stop in time. It is always important to examine whether there are liable parties outside of the truck driver or trucking company.
Because you could hold so many different parties liable for an 18 wheeler accident, you should always hire a law firm with the resources to delve deep into the reasons behind your crash and determine all possible sources of liability. A trucking company may have a substantially larger insurance policy than an individual driver, which can be important if your injuries are severe. You don’t want to miss out on the compensation you deserve under the law, so you need a truck accident law firm that will ALWAYS cover all the bases for you.
Safety Tips for Driving Near 18 Wheelers
In Houston, most of us drive alongside large tractor-trailers daily, always at risk of a crash. While truck accident victims do have the right to recover financial compensation after crashes, it is always best to avoid collisions in the first place. While you cannot stop negligence on the part 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 much longer to stop, so don’t ever pull in front of a truck, “cut off” a truck, or suddenly brake when you are in front of a truck. Never assume the truck will have plenty of time to brake and avoid hitting your vehicle.
- Trucks have “no-zones,” which are substantial blind spots on the sides, front, and back of the truck. Know the locations of no-zones and avoid lingering in them when you can. It’s generally safer to pass a truck quickly to avoid being in a no-zone alongside the trailer.
- If you see a semi-truck swerving or any other signs of intoxication or erratic driving in a truck driver, stay as far away as possible from the truck and call law enforcement authorities right away. Even if the driver is not drunk, they may be falling asleep or experiencing a major health event.
- 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.) Truck drivers regularly make unexpected lane changes and quick moves on the road, so you want to remain fully aware of the truck driver’s actions.
You have nothing to lose by following the above safety tips for driving around large trucks. While our legal team hopes that everyone gets where they’re going safely and without incident, we do know that truck accidents happen, and we’re ready to help in the aftermath of your crash.
Truck Accidents May Happen More Than You Think
18 wheeler accidents happen more often than you likely think and when they do, the office of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law is ready to help!
18 Wheeler Accident Statistics in the U.S., Texas, and Harris County
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 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) may surprise you:
- In recent years, there were more than 2.7 million tractor-trailers registered in the U.S., as well as 8.5 million straight trucks
- About 415,000 reported crashes involved large trucks in one year
- About 83,000 of those crashes resulted in injuries
- Almost 3,600 crashes caused fatalities
- Eighty-one percent of fatal truck 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
The reports show that Texas by far has the highest number of fatal truck accidents in all of the United States. In a year, the FMCSA reported 593 fatal accidents in Texas, and the second-highest state was California with 313 fatalities. As you can see, Texans have a high risk of suffering severe or fatal injuries in 18 wheeler accidents.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) also reports on commercial vehicle crashes happening in different counties throughout the state. By a landslide, Harris County had the most large truck accidents, and many more than many other counties combined. Consider the following statistics for Harris County truck accidents:
- Of the 35,635 truck accident in Texas, 5,876 of them happened in Harris County
- 16 percent of Texas truck accidents took place in Harris County
- The crashes caused 1,615 possible injuries
- The crashes caused 529 confirmed but non-incapacitating injuries
- The crashes caused at least 143 serious injuries
- 47 people died in Harris County truck accidents
- There were 700 additional accidents with unknown injury or severity statuses
Whether you’re driving in the Houston area or anywhere within the state of Texas, always be aware that your risk of a truck accident is higher than others in the U.S. While you can never fully prevent a truck accident or control the actions of truck drivers, there are steps you can take to ensure your safety around large commercial trucks whenever possible.
Remember that we are available for a FREE consultation, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so call us right away at 800-898-4877 or click HERE to send us a question and get more information about your claim.
All commercial truck drivers and trucking companies must comply with many different regulations and laws on both 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.
In most cases, law enforcement officers will arrive at the scene of a truck accident and should always examine whether they believe that the truck driver violated the law in the course of the accident. The trucking company and FMCSA should also investigate possible violations in days and weeks following the crash. The following is a brief overview of some of the laws and regulations that may come into play in a truck accident claim.
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 the standards of behavior for many aspects of trucking, including:
- Licensing – Everyone who operates a commercial truck must have the proper commercial driver’s license (CDL) and training for that particular type of vehicle. Each CDL requires training and examinations, and driving special trucks like HAZMAT may require an additional endorsement on the CDL. Companies should never allow someone without the necessary license and/or endorsement to operate one of its commercial trucks.
- Health conditions – Approved medical professionals must conduct a thorough examination of CDL applicants or renewal applicants and determine that drivers do not have any potentially dangerous medical conditions that would interfere with their abilities to operate trucks. Dangerous and disqualifying conditions include untreated heart disease or diabetes, seizure disorders, musculoskeletal problems like arthritis, sensory loss, or untreated sleep disorders.
- Hours of service – Fatigued driving is a serious issue in the trucking industry, as drivers who fall asleep at the wheel regularly cause devastating and tragic crashes. 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. These rules are complicated, though each driver should understand their restrictions and companies should enforce compliance.
- 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. Even a non-commercial drunk driving conviction can result in the suspension or revocation of a CDL. Truck drivers are also subject to random and post-accident drug and alcohol testing. If a commercial driver fails a drug or alcohol test, the trucking company should take necessary measures, including possible suspension, to prevent that individual from operating a truck in the future while under the influence.
- 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. For example, a truck driver may not make or answer a call if it requires hitting more than a single button. The can use hands-free and voice command programs to make calls, but they cannot search through their phones for a number. In addition to smartphones, many other activities can distract a truck driver. These include eating and drinking (which many drivers do on the road), having passengers, talking on a CB radio, grooming, and more. While other distractions may not violate regulations, they are still highly dangerous.
- Truck inspections – By law, drivers must inspect certain aspects of their trucks pre-shift, and companies must inspect and maintain the trucks in their fleets regularly. It can be easy for companies to gloss over inspections or regular maintenance, which can save the company money and prevent a truck from being out of commission during repairs. However, putting possible defective 18 wheelers on the road is extremely dangerous, as all it takes is a sudden tire blowout or brake failure to affect the lives of other motorists forever.
- Size and weight – Depending on the size and number of axles on a particular rig, the FMCSA sets out strict maximum weight limits when a truck is fully loaded. The maximum weight of any type of commercial truck’s in the United States is 80,000 pounds without special exceptions. Truck drivers must pass through all required weigh stations to ensure compliance, as an overloaded truck can cause increased braking times or even brake failure and runaway truck accidents.
Numerous additional federal regulations apply to both trucking companies and the drivers themselves. After a truck accident, you need a law firm that fully understands trucking safety standards and regulations to properly identify when violations occurred.
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 many types of dangerous behaviors, as well as impose requirements on drivers. Some examples of traffic violations that may lead to truck accidents include:
- Speeding, which can mean exceeding the speed limit or driving too fast for road or weather conditions
- Following too closely
- Reckless driving, which can include a variety of unsafe behaviors
- Improper passing
- Violating traffic signals
- Failing to signal
- Failing to yield or merge properly
- Aggressive driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
When a police officer decides that a truck driver violated a traffic law, they can issue a citation. If the driver pays a fine and admits guilt for the violation, accident victims can use this as proof that the driver was negligent. Also, police officers may arrest a truck driver if they have probable cause to believe the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Victims can use a conviction in a resulting criminal case to prove the driver’s dangerous actions in an insurance claim or civil case.
There are many laws involved in truck accident claims, so you need the right legal representation from the very start.
Talk to Our Highly Experienced and Committed Houston 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyers TODAY!
After an 18 wheeler accident, speak to our Houston personal injury lawyers as soon as you can.
The legal team of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, is nationally recognized for protecting the rights of injured victims for more than 20 years. If you were injured in a truck accident, call our office right now to schedule a free consultation!
Remember—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 a day, seven days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or contact us now by CLICKING HERE.
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