Texas Truck Accident Attorney
Standing up to Trucking Companies for Injured Accident Victims
After a semi-truck crashes into your car, your first concern is to make sure everyone gets emergency medical attention. The chaos after an accident will likely result in trauma and disorientation. Getting through the hours and days after a truck accident can cause stress and difficulties—but this is often only the beginning of a long road ahead. Once you stabilize your health as much as possible, you need to obtain the financial compensation you deserve as a truck accident victim.
Commercial truck crashes may involve many different factors and players, making the recovery of compensation after a truck accident substantially more complex than after a car accident with a non-commercial driver. With the right truck accident law firm behind you, however, you can get every cent you deserve from the negligent truck driver and trucking company.
The team of attorneys led by Stewart J. Guss has represented many truck accidents victims and understands just how these cases work. We fight for your rights and trucking corporations never intimidate us. Call our office for more information today.
Considerations After a Truck Accident
The first question most people ask after a truck accident is whether to call an attorney in the first place. Usually, the answer is a resounding “YES!” You have nothing to lose by scheduling a free initial consultation so we can evaluate your rights.
But you need to answer other questions to determine the size and scope of your particular truck accident claim. Some questions we may ask during your consultation include:
- Did you suffer injuries? How serious are they?
- Was a loved one killed in the accident?
- What was the extent of damage to your vehicle?
- Did the police report to the scene? Did they arrest or cite the truck driver?
- Do you have medical bills stemming from the accident?
- Has your insurance refused to cover your medical costs?
- Do you require future medical treatments for your injuries?
- Were you forced to miss work and lose income due to your injuries?
- Are you able to return to work?
- Are you suffering any lasting impairments from your injuries?
Trying to answer these questions will give us an idea of the compensation to which your truck accident claim may entitle you.
Determining Truck Accident Liability
A lawyer may help you answer other questions after your truck accident. This may include: What specifically caused the crash? You need to answer this complicated question to prove you deserve full compensation for your losses. Fortunately, our law firm has tools and methods to identify the cause of a crash and prove another party’s negligence.
Commercial truckers must abide by many laws and regulations that do not apply to other types of drivers and vehicles, making their jobs difficult. Anyone in the trucking industry, however, should fully understand that everyone’s safety depends on compliance with trucking laws and regulations. Those in the trucking industry who violate safety laws can cause dangerous collisions and injuries to others on the road.
Trucking companies and drivers can negligently violate laws, rules, or regulations—a discussion about some of which follows below.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
This is a set of federal regulations that applies to any trucks engaging in interstate business in the United States. They apply to all types of commercial vehicles, including 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, buses, tanker trucks, and hazardous materials (hazmat) trucks, among many others. Any owners or drivers of these trucks should comply with the following regulations (and more), or they risk causing serious injuries.
Commercial driver’s license – Every person who gets behind the wheel of any type of commercial vehicle must have a current commercial driver’s license (CDL). In addition, certain types of vehicles (for example, hazmat transports) require additional training and licensing. A company that allows an unlicensed, untrained, or unqualified driver to operate a commercial truck can easily cause a crash.
Health certificate – To obtain or renew a CDL, a driver must undergo a medical exam and get a certificate of health signed by a qualified health professional. Unhealthy drivers who suffer heart attacks, seizures, or other severe health events behind the wheel will likely crash. In addition, certain health conditions can prevent drivers from safely operating such large vehicles.
Truck size and weight – The FMCSA regulates the maximum weight of fully loaded commercial trucks. The maximum is based on the size and type of truck, including the number of axles on the truck. No commercial truck can weigh more than 80,000 pounds. A driver cannot easily stop an overloaded truck, which is prone to cause jackknife accidents.
Hours of service – Fatigued driving has become a serious problem in the trucking industry, with drivers under serious pressure to make faster deliveries. The FMCSA strictly regulates the hours of service a truck driver can put in each day and week without taking certain breaks. Hours of service violations can easily lead to fatigued driving accidents.
Distracted driving – Distracted driving is an epidemic for all drivers in the United States today. Commercial drivers on long shifts face especially strong temptations to entertain themselves by using smartphones or engaging in other distracting activities. The law, however, prohibits commercial drivers from ever using handheld devices. They can only make calls that require pushing one button or using completely hands-free technologies. Anytime truck drivers look away from the road for any reason, they can easily collide with other vehicles.
Impaired driving – Because impaired driving is so dangerous for truck drivers, the law holds them to much stricter standards than regular drivers. The legal limit is half that of regular drivers, and they must undergo required drug and alcohol testing to prevent accidents and to identify when drugs or alcohol may have contributed to a crash.
Inspections – If a commercial truck is not in proper working order, a malfunction can cause a driver to suddenly lose control and crash. For this reason, the FMCSA requires that the trucking company and truck driver conduct regular inspections . A driver must properly inspect a truck before each shift to identify any possible issues. Too many drivers skip this important step, however, resulting in a preventable malfunction.
If our attorneys can prove that a truck driver or trucking company caused your accident by violating any FMCSA regulations, we can prove that you deserve to recover compensation for all of your losses from the negligent parties.
State Traffic Law Violations
Texas law expects everyone who gets behind the wheel of any type of motor vehicle to follow all of the state’s traffic laws. Therefore, all commercial drivers passing through Texas must adhere to the specific laws of our state. While this may seem confusing, most traffic codes are relatively consistent from state to state, with the posted speed limits forming the major differences. Truck drivers can obey Texas’s traffic laws just as easily as any other state’s.
Like any other drivers, however, some commercial drivers believe that certain laws do not apply to them. A truck driver who violates a traffic rule places the safety of all other motorists in jeopardy. Examples of commonly violated traffic laws that lead to truck accidents include:
- Illegal passing (usually on the right or on the shoulder)
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Failing to signal
- Aggressive driving
- Reckless driving
More egregious violations of the law can cause severe accidents and injuries. Truck drivers may engage in highly dangerous behaviors, including:
- Road rage
- Drag racing
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Vehicular manslaughter
Any of these offenses will likely end up in criminal charges for the truck driver, as well as devastating damage for any accident victims.
When a court convicts a truck driver of violating a safety regulation or law, this conviction can help prove negligence in a subsequent personal injury case that victims file. Our law firm knows how to examine police reports and criminal records to determine what type of evidence you can use to protect your rights.
Other Types of Negligence
Negligent trucking companies and drivers do not necessarily violate any laws. These negligent acts, however, can still serve as the basis for liability in truck accident claims. Examples of such negligence include:
• Hiring drivers with a record of dangerous driving
• Not properly supervising drivers
• Driving distractions that do not specifically violate the law
• Fatigued driving, even when within hours of service regulations
• Improper truck maintenance
It is possible, if difficult, to demonstrate that the truck driver and trucking company should face liability for all of your accident-related losses due to these types of negligence.
Strict Liability of Trucking Companies
Sometimes a truck driver makes dangerous decisions without an employer knowing—or even suspecting—that something is wrong. However, even when truck drivers cause accidents all on their own, the trucking companies that employ them may share responsibility for the accident—a legal concept called respondeat superior holds companies strictly liable for the negligent acts of their employees.
Because companies often have larger insurance policies and greater assets than the drivers themselves, you must identify when you can hold a company strictly liable for your accident. Our attorneys will always explore all possible liable parties to ensure you recover the maximum amount you deserve for your losses.
Don’t Deal With Trucking Companies Alone
Even in cases of clear liability, trucking companies and their insurance companies will likely do anything possible to avoid liability. Any liability for accidents and injuries hurts their bottom lines and even their reputations for safety. For this reason, companies often try to intimidate accident victims into dropping or decreasing their claims. You need a lawyer working on your behalf whom they will not intimidate, someone who will continue fighting for what is right.
Trucking companies and insurance companies have many resources and often threaten to take your case to trial instead of offering you the settlement you deserve. The attorneys at the law office of Stewart J. Guss have negotiated many truck accident cases and know how to effectively and aggressively present your case to obtain a favorable settlement. If the company refuses to offer an adequate settlement, we have the resources and experience to fight for your rights in the courtroom.
Contact a Texas Truck Accident Attorney for Help Today
You may want to choose the legal team of Stewart Guss to handle your truck accident case for many reasons. We understand the stress of a crash and we seek to relieve you from as much stress as possible regarding the legal side of your recovery. Our team has integrity and always works tirelessly to protect the rights of our clients.
Consultations are always free, and you never pay us a dime unless we successfully obtain a settlement or award for you. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, please call our office at 800-898-4877 or contact us online today.
Don´t Take Chances – Let Us Help You!
See what past clients have to say:
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“We received QUALITY service, reliable guidance and we are VERY satisfied with the outcome. Our treatment was both fair & honest; we highly recommend. If one word sums it up, the word would be Exceptional. “Thank you” for all you did!”