Katy Truck Accident Attorney
If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident, know your options. Call the law firm of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law. Because accidents can happen at any time, we’re open 24/7 to provide free consultations to victims in need. Call 800-898-4877, or contact our Katy Truck Accidents Attorneys now to submit your case for review.
Fighting for the rights of injured truck accident victims
As drivers, we all know that feeling of anxiety and claustrophobia that creeps up when we end up driving between two semi-trucks on the highway. Our economy needs these commercial vehicles, but they can be pretty intimidating to share the road with.
Due to their hulking size, semi-trucks can cause serious injury or even death in the event of a collision.
In Katy, bad truck accidents are far too common. In fact, the problem grew so severe that the state legislature needed to intervene.
How Bad Are Truck Accidents in Katy?
Recently, the Katy Police Department got a little help from a state representative in addressing a rather large issue regarding commercial vehicles.
State Rep. Gina Calanni of Katy filed a bill that would allow the department to hire its own commercial truck enforcement officer. Generally, certified commercial vehicle enforcement officers are only permitted for larger cities or at the state level. However, with several truck yards either in the city or at its borders, Katy’s roadways are filled with tractor-trailers, many of which are overloaded.
The density of this commercial motor vehicle traffic has resulted in damage to the roads, damage to street signs, and far too many accidents with other motor vehicles.
Since establishing our headquarters in Houston, Texas in 1999, our firm has grown to numerous locations across the country, including hubs in Dallas, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. Along the way, we’ve built a trusted network of partners throughout all 50 states who share our values and our commitment to excellence.
**No matter where you are, it’s our mission to insure that you have the finest representation for your case.**
Reach out now to learn more about how we can help.
At the time the bill was signed into law, the city has experienced over 300 commercial motor vehicle crashes in the last decade, with many of these trucks carrying hazardous cargo. The Houston Police Department also has a commercial truck enforcement unit, established 20 years ago and staffed by officers certified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These officers conduct a 57-point inspection and are authorized to place trucks out of commission when violations occur. The enforcement unit conducts at least two of these inspections on trucks in the area each month.
In 2017, Texas law enforcement agencies reported 433 fatal crashes involving commercial motor vehicles, including 284 on the state’s rural roadways and another 149 in urban areas. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that, in just one year, there were more than 4,000 fatal crashes involving large trucks on the nation’s roadways, accounting for nearly 12% of the total number of fatal crashes for that year. Additionally, there were around 537,000 nonfatal crashes involving U.S. commercial motor vehicles in the same year.
Trucking Accident Attorney Stewart J. Guss discusses trucking safety on national news with Mike Papantonio on America’s Lawyer
What Makes Commercial Trucks Dangerous?
Even with proper training and responsible drivers, 18-wheeler wrecks can still happen. Some reasons commercial trucks put other motorists at risk include:
- Massive size differences: The average tractor-trailer weighs around 40 tons, while a passenger car weighs around 2 tons or less. This means that the truck is 20 to 30 times heavier than the cars it is sharing the road with, and carries a much greater force of impact. Serious damages, injuries, and fatalities can occur in these crashes. Additionally, the large size of commercial trucks makes them harder to maneuver.
- High centers of gravity: Not only are commercial trucks heavy, but they’re also much taller than other vehicles. This causes a high center of gravity and poses an increased risk of rollovers, particularly on ramps and around sharp curves. During a rollover accident, a truck can pin smaller vehicles beneath it.
- Significant blind spots: Unfortunately, large commercial trucks feature significant blind spots on all four sides. Motorists are urged not to linger in these blind spots, particularly if the truck is turning, changing lanes, or backing up. Don’t know if you’re in a truck’s blind spot or not? Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you cannot see the driver in their side mirror, it’s likely that they can’t see you either.
- Greater stopping distances needed: Commercial trucks require a greater distance to safely come to a stop than passenger vehicles do. The FMCSA notes that a fully loaded truck traveling at highway speeds needs the distance of two entire football fields to come to a safe stop. This distance is increased even more as the weight and momentum of the truck increase, or when driving on wet or icy roads that may cause them to skid.
- Need more space to turn: Semi-trucks are unable to make turns as easily as cars. The space needed to turn a truck is 55 feet. When a truck is making a right turn, other driver should use extra caution to avoid what is known as the “right turn squeeze.” This involves the truck moving to the left to have enough space to make the turn, creating a risk for motorists in neighboring lanes.
Commercial Truck Regulation & Accident Prevention
Commercial trucks are heavily regulated by the FMCSA, an agency of the federal government. Some regulations that the trucking industry faces include:
- Enhanced licensing requirements. Truck drivers are required to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a tractor-trailer.
- Hours of service rules. Under these detailed rules, drivers can only drive a maximum of 11 hours in a 14-hour workday, at which point they must have an off-duty period of no less than 10 hours. They must take a break of at least half an hour after eight hours. They cannot work more than 60 hours in a 7-day workweek, or 70 hours in an eight-day work week, after which time they must have at least 34 hours of off-duty time. These rules exist to ensure drivers are not falling asleep at the wheel.
- Physical fitness requirements to ensure they’re healthy enough for the job.
- Drug and alcohol testing and enhanced regulations about alcohol consumption. Drivers cannot drive if their blood alcohol content is 0.02% or more. This is stricter than the .08% legal limit imposed on the drivers of passenger vehicles.
- Required markings on the truck, including the USDOT number and hazmat markings.
- Cargo regulations regarding securing and transporting hazardous materials.
More state and local regulations exist in the trucking industry, as well.
However, just like other drivers, truck drivers are human. They’re not immune to distractions, errors, and negligence, even with all these regulations in place.
What Causes Commercial Truck Accidents?
Most bad truck wrecks are caused by simple human errors. These can include:
- Fatigue: In spite of the aforementioned regulations imposed on their hours, many drivers of commercial trucks continue to work while tired. A lack of adequate sleep, strenuous work, long work hours, and even medical conditions such as sleep apnea can contribute to this risky behavior. The FMCSA estimates that approximately 13% of commercial truck drivers involved in traffic accidents admitted to being tired at the time of the crash.
- Alcohol or drug impairment: In spite of regular testing and a lowered BAC limit for commercial truck drivers, many drivers continue to operate their vehicles while impaired by alcohol or drugs. While some drivers are bending and breaking rules knowingly and carelessly, others are unaware that the prescription medication they may be taking could hinder the skills they need to safely operate their trucks. Even some over-the-counter medications can cause impairment, reducing reaction time, alertness, and logical thinking.
- Speeding: Breaking the speed limit or driving too fast for the inclement road conditions comes with enormous risks, especially when you remember a commercial truck is already harder to handle and harder to stop due to its large size. When it comes to speeding, all the dangers come into play at once: the mass of the truck, how securely the cargo has been loaded, the high center of gravity, the blind spots, and the distance needed to stop safely. It’s a recipe for disaster.
- A disruption in the flow of traffic: Stop-and-go traffic is difficult for trucks due to the space needed to stop and the time needed to accelerate once more. Additionally, road work zones including flaggers and work vehicles entering and exiting the roadway create further issues that the driver needs to pay careful attention to.
- Unfamiliar roads: One of the hazards of driving a commercial truck is the requirement to go wherever the load needs to be picked up or dropped off. This often results in a driver of a large truck traveling across roadways they’re unfamiliar with. Drivers might make a sudden sharp turn to avoid missing an exit or fail to notice other important road signage.
- Poor training: While training is required to pass the CDL test, that training has little to do with the real-world experience of driving a large truck for a living. Unfortunately, driver shortages have caused some trucking companies to cut corners in their training programs… meaning brand new truckers are hitting the road with little experience and minimal training.
- Poor maintenance: Trucks travel thousands of miles every year as they transport commercial goods across the country. Since so many miles are traveled, the auto parts of these trucks are subject to extreme wear and tear. One faulty truck part could cost someone their life. Tires, braking systems, and electrical systems all require routine maintenance. Even a tire blow out can result in a freeway pileup.
- Distracted driving: Truck drivers often spend their working hours in solitude, driving across boring terrain. Many of them irresponsibly choose to entertain themselves by talking on the phone, texting, browsing the internet, eating, drinking, or otherwise taking their eyes off the road. According to one study, 71% of the commercial truck drivers who had been involved in an accident reported that they were “doing something else in addition to” driving the truck.
- Inclement weather: As we mentioned earlier, commercial trucks are harder to stop than other vehicles. This problem grows even bigger when inclement weather is involved. Poor visibility due to heavy rain or fog can keep drivers from spotting potential hazards on the roadway. Wet road conditions require more distance for the truck to come to a stop and could even result in hydroplaning into other cars.
Were You Seriously Injured in an Accident With a Large Truck?
If you’ve been injured in a Katy truck crash, you’re probably facing a mountain of bills and worries. But you don’t have to do it alone. A Katy truck accident lawyer can help you determine the liable parties and recover compensation for your suffering.
The expenses related to your injuries from a semi-truck accident may last for the rest of your life. That’s why it’s crucial to partner with a personal injury attorney who is experienced in trucking accidents.
It’s a common misconception that lawyers are expensive and can only complicate things. On the contrary, a personal injury attorney can make a ton of things easier for you, including:
- Advising you of your legal options and your rights.
- Establishing the value of your case. We see the big picture: the amount of money in a settlement should pay for the expenses you’ve incurred due to your injury, future surgery and therapy, your lost wages and earning capacity, and the problems that your injury will cause you in the future.
- Identifying liable parties and sources of insurance to obtain the compensation you need to pay for the expenses you face. Some potential sources of liability include the driver, the company who employs them, the company who contracted this driver to transport their goods, and the manufacturers of potentially defective truck parts.
- Negotiating with high-powered corporate lawyers who often represent the trucking company and the insurance companies who provide their coverage. These individuals will try to bully you or manipulate you in your time of need, but a dedicated Katy truck accident lawyer won’t stand for it.
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit if you cannot reach a fair settlement, and if the Texas statute of limitations allows. (The statute of limitations for this type of case in Texas is generally two years after the date of the accident.)
- Gathering evidence and seeking the testimony of experts and witnesses, which can support your case.
- Representing you during all pre-trial and trial proceedings, handling the payout of your award, and representing you at the appellate level if the at-fault party wishes to appeal the court’s determination in your case.
Your Questions, Our Answers About Katy Truck Accidents
Let’s be honest: we all get a little nervous driving next to a large truck. The sheer size alone is enough to make you want to keep your distance, but unfortunately, in Texas, that’s not always an option.
The Lone Star State has more registered semi trucks than almost any other state in the United States (only California has more), and while Texas doesn’t score the top spot for the most trucks on the road, it does land at number one for truck-involved accidents. In a recent year, there were 18,926 large truck accidents in Texas. (California, by contrast, had 13,559 that same year.)
The historic railroad town of Katy, Texas has replaced rail cars with semi-trucks for many purposes. If you or someone you love has sustained an injury due to a large truck accident in Katy, you have rights. You may qualify for compensation for your injuries. To learn more, contact our experienced truck accident attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, today. You might not know what you’re owed, but it’s our job to!
Why do Katy truck accidents happen?
Truck drivers undertake a lot of responsibility every time they hit the road. In Texas, a fully-loaded semi-truck can extend up to 59 feet long and weigh up to 80,000 pounds. To put that in perspective, a 2020 Honda Civic LX weighs just under 2,800 pounds.
There’s no question that a collision between a car and a semi-truck can have catastrophic results. As such, large trucks are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Federal laws restrict how long drivers may work, set their minimum qualifications, and dictate how often they should inspect their vehicles. So why are the number of truck accidents going up?
A few causes of truck accidents include:
- Speeding: Every driver on the road knows about the dangers of speeding. Speeding increases stopping time, decreases reaction time, and can worsen the severity of injuries in the event of a collision. For large trucks, these dangers are only compounded by the vehicle’s enormous size. If you see a large truck approaching rapidly from behind, do not attempt to force the truck to slow down by tapping your brakes or reducing your speed. Instead, move over and allow it to pass. If you think the driver has lost control of the truck or poses a risk to other drivers, report the vehicle to the police.
- Distracted driving: We’ve all seen that one driver who just won’t put down their phone, or the drivers who are more focused on eating than on other vehicles on the road. Distracted driving is dangerous driving. Consider this: it takes about 5 seconds to read a text. How much time does it take to stop your car when you’re driving 60 miles-per-hour down the freeway? 5 SECONDS! Put the phone away, eat your meal at home, and be aware of distracted drivers who may be sharing the road with you.
- Drowsy driving: There’s no question that drowsy driving is a bad idea. Not only do you risk falling asleep at the wheel, but fatigue also leads to poor decision making, slower reaction time, and difficulty concentrating. What’s scary is that some experts believe drowsy driving accounts for between 7% and 20% of all large truck crashes.
- Underride accidents: Large trucks sit much higher than passenger vehicles. When the two vehicles collide, the car can become pinned underneath the semi-truck’s trailer. These accidents typically happen at the rear or sides of the larger truck. While federal law requires most trucks to install underride guards on the back of the truck, there is no such law for a truck’s sides. Sadly, these accidents often lead to serious or catastrophic injuries.
The truck driver says he didn’t see me. Do I still have a case?
If a truck driver says they didn’t see you, there’s a very good chance that’s the truth. Big trucks have big blind spots. If you’re in one of these blind spots, the driver can’t see you, but this doesn’t mean the accident is your fault, and it doesn’t mean you don’t have a case. Truck drivers should always remain aware of their surroundings and know when a vehicle is traveling through their blind spots. Don’t let the other driver bully you into thinking the accident was your fault.
Who should I talk to after my Katy truck accident?
The short answer is: nobody but our Katy truck accident lawyers. After an accident, watch what you say and what you do. Insurance companies want you to think the first thing you should do is call them and provide a recorded statement, but that’s in their best interest, not yours.
The only person you should talk to after your accident is your attorney. The reality is, when you talk to the insurance company, its representatives will try to get you to admit that the accident was your fault or downplay your injuries. All of this will result in a smaller settlement or even a denied claim.
Your attorney can help you process your claim and can contact the insurance companies on your behalf. Also watch what you say to the other driver, what you post on social media, and even what you say to your doctor.
The insurance company offered me a settlement after my Katy truck accident. Should I take it, or should I hold out for additional compensation?
While it’s not all about the money, you still want to maximize your ultimate compensation.
There’s a stigma around car insurance and filing an accident claim. Insurance companies are very good at their job, which is to minimize their financial liability. For injured individuals, it’s completely normal and completely human to worry about how they are going to pay their bills. This is why if the insurance company sends you an offer to settle your claim, you may feel tempted to take it. Don’t.
Insurance adjusters have one job: to make money for their employers. This means that insurance companies don’t offer money out of the goodness of their hearts. If they are offering you money, especially if you didn’t ask for it, this typically means that the company knows you are a high risk (i.e., you could cost them a lot of money). Insurance companies want to close out such claims as quickly as possible and avoid paying you what you truly deserve.
It’s important to understand that no matter how attractive an offer looks, in most cases, it will be far less than what your case is really worth. Do not accept anything or sign any documents before you talk to a truck accident attorney. With years of experience handling claims like yours, we know how much money you deserve, and we’ll fight hard for it.
So exactly how much is my Katy truck accident case worth?
This is the magic question. However, there is no easy answer.
Insurance claims rely on a lot of variables, and payouts will vary widely from case to case. You should be wary of attorneys who promise a certain outcome.
That said, that you can expect your truck accident case to include these costs:
- Medical bills: Medical bills are one of the biggest costs after an accident. After a truck accident, it is not abnormal for the total cost of medical bills to exceed six figures. This is not a cost that most people can afford. Insurance companies may vary on what they cover, but generally, you can include all doctor visits, hospitalizations, medications, medical devices, and other sundry costs of recovery.
- Lost income: You shouldn’t have to rely on using up your sick days or cutting your recovery time short because you are afraid that you can’t pay your bills. Lost wages cover any time you miss from work, beginning the day of the accident and ending when you are able to return to work.
- Pain and suffering: Just because you can’t see pain doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Serious accidents can cause severe physical and emotional pain, including PTSD. This pain can affect every aspect of your life. When this happens, you deserve proper compensation for your loss.
I can’t return to work. How will filing a Katy truck accident claim help?
Unfortunately, truck accidents can lead to very serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. These types of injuries can interfere with an injured individual’s ability to perform at work or even return to work at all. When a truck accident affects your ability to make money, your attorney can help you fight for future lost wages, which generally constitute a combination of your average earnings and the amount of time you have left in your career. If you can return to work or take a different job, but for less money, you may have a claim for loss of earning capacity.
Will my auto insurance rates go up if I file a claim after my Katy truck accident?
Without going off on a tangent about how insurance works, it’s important to understand the differences between a truck accident claim and other personal injury cases. Your insurance only goes up if you file a claim against your insurance for an accident that you caused. If you are in an accident caused by someone else, you may end up filing a truck accident case, which is a demand to the other party’s insurance to pay for all of your damages related to the accident.
I’m not sure if my Katy truck accident injuries are severe enough to qualify for compensation. How long do I have to file a claim?
First of all, your injuries don’t have to be severe for you to file a truck accident suit. Even seemingly minor injuries can have a substantial effect on your quality of life and require treatment. You shouldn’t have to pay a dime for something that wasn’t your fault.
Before you dismiss your injuries, consider the following:
- Are you in pain?
- Has your pain worsened since the accident?
- Does your injury require ongoing treatment?
- Does your injury interfere with your ability to work?
- Have you experienced emotional distress as a result of your accident?
Injury claims don’t just look at the cost of treatment, but also consider an injured individual’s overall quality of life and how that has been affected. The law provides injured individuals with two years to file their truck accident suits. After this time period, known as the statute of limitations, plaintiffs lose their right to pursue compensation.
It has been more than two years since my Katy truck accident. Does this mean I don’t have a case?
You may still have the right to pursue compensation. To find out, you should contact our experienced attorneys right away.
While the statute of limitations restricts the amount of time you have to file a case under most circumstances, there are a few exceptions, including:
- Fraud: Did the other driver lie about the accident? Did the trucking company hide facts that would affect the value of your case? If you can prove the other party intentionally failed to disclose information relevant to your case, the court may grant an exception.
- The victim is a minor: If your child was involved in an accident, the law generally provides two options. You can either (1) file a suit on behalf of your child or (2) wait until they turn 18. If you choose to wait, the statute of limitations will not start until your child turns 18.
In limited circumstances, the court may still consider your case outside of the normal statute of limitations.
If you believe that you qualify for compensation, but the statute of limitations has already lapsed, contact a truck accident attorney to discuss the details of your case.
If your accident just happened, two years may seem like a long time, but please don’t use the statute of limitations as an excuse to procrastinate on calling us. You can lose your right to recover substantial compensation if you do, and valuable evidence may be lost with each day that passes.
How much do Katy truck accident attorneys cost?
There are three main reasons people don’t pursue truck accident cases: (1) they don’t think they have a case, (2) they’re afraid their insurance rates will go up, and (3) they don’t think they can afford an attorney.
The good news is that our attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means you won’t pay anything upfront. Instead, your attorney’s fees are contingent on if you win. If your attorney secures a settlement for you, they will receive a pre-agreed percentage of your final compensation.
Still have questions about your Katy truck accident case? Don’t wait.
It’s normal to have questions after an accident. The best thing you can do is reach out to someone who can help. Now is not the time to try to handle your claim on your own.
Reach out to your support system and ask for help. Don’t wait to get the help you deserve. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can begin to focus on your recovery.
To learn more, or to start seeking justice regarding your truck accident case, contact the experienced Katy truck accident attorneys at Stewart J.Guss, Attorney at Law, today. We’re here for you!
Injured in a Truck Accident in Katy? Contact Our Katy Truck Accident Attorneys Now!
If you were injured in a truck accident in Katy, help is here.
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.
We offer 100% free case evaluations. Simply call 800-898-4877 now to speak with one of our Katy personal injury lawyers. We take all of our truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay us nothing upfront and you pay nothing at all unless we win your case.