Every year, thousands of commercial vehicles, including 18-wheeler trucks, travel Texas roads and interstate systems doing the job they are intended to do – carrying food, fuel, and other products to where they need to go. The majority of the time, they complete their job without any issues, arriving at their destination safely. However, there are times when they don’t make it, and one of the most common reasons for this is that they have been involved in an accident with another vehicle.
This means that through no fault of their own, accident victims are left with injuries, damages, and losses, leaving them with mounting bills and lost wages. Texas law gives victims recourse for their losses and injuries when they have been in an accident with a big rig. They can recover those costs like medical bills and repair costs as well as seek compensation for non-compensatory damages like emotional suffering as well.
What Are the State and Federal Laws for the Trucking Industry?
The trucking companies and drivers are regulated by both Texas law and federal laws. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FSCSA), a branch of the Department of Transportation, regulates the length of the shift that a trucker can legally work. Some of the regulations under these “hours of service laws” for over-the-road truckers include:
- A driver cannot begin a new driving shift unless he or she has been off duty for ten consecutive hours.
- An on-duty shift for a driver cannot exceed 14 hours – this is not all driving time
- Of a 14-hour on-duty shift, driving can only account for 11 hours of that time.
- After eight hours of driving time, the driver is legally entitled to a 30-minute break.
- The limits for on-duty hours for truck drivers have weekly limits as well. These limits reset after the driver is off duty for 34 hours. The driver cannot exceed:
- 60 hours in one week (7 days), or
- 70 hours in 8 days
Drivers who remain within the borders of Texas and don’t cross state lines are governed a little differently:
- A driver cannot start a driving shift unless they have been off duty for at least 8 hours
- An on-duty shift for a driver cannot exceed 15 hours – this is not all driving time
- Of a 15 hour on duty shift, driving can only account for 12 hours of that time
- The limits for on-duty hours for truck drivers have weekly limits as well. The driver cannot exceed 70 hours in one week (7 days).
What are the Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
An accident involving an 18-wheeler can have the same or similar causes as car motor vehicle accidents do, although there are a few exceptions. The top causes of truck accidents are:
- Driver is tired
- Freight loaded improperly
- Driver is distracted
- Driver is impaired
- Driver is inattentive
- Excessive on-duty travel rate
Other common causes of truck accidents include:
- Truck not maintained properly
- Trucker driving recklessly
- Traffic flow is poor
- Impaired visibility
- Driver of the car is distracted
- Bad weather
- Road safety is poor
- Trucker or driver of car under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Improper lane change
- Driving in dangerous conditions
- Distracted driving
- Careless driving
- Truck has mechanical difficulties
- Aggressive motorists
These can cause truck accidents with serious injuries and costly damage to property. Your Richardson truck accident lawyer can help you get full compensation for your losses so you can get back to your life.
Commercial Truck Accidents Can Cause Serious Loss
When a car comes up against a big rig, there’s no question how it will turn out. Motorcycles and passenger vehicles are typically much lighter in weight. They also don’t have as much protection as tractor-trailers do. These types of accidents can have serious consequences. They can result in more severe injuries that include:
- Short-term or permanent disability
- Fatal injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal injuries
- Catastrophic injuries
- Limb amputation
- Traumatic head injury
These injuries can cause the victim to experience a lower quality of life than they had prior to the wreck. They can also struggle with PTSD and mental anguish, which is exacerbated if they or a family member was catastrophically injured or killed in the wreck.
A truck accident attorney can help you assess your damages and start a personal injury claim for your truck accident case.
What Are Common Injuries Caused by Truck Accident Cases
A truck accident can lead to serious personal injury claims and can leave the victim in pain, disfigured, paralyzed, and more.
Some of the serious injuries in truck accidents include.
- Broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Crushed injuries
- Seat belt injuries
- Head injuries
- Burn injuries
- Torso and rib injuries
- Internal injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Any of these injuries can keep a person out of work for a long time, if not substantially impacting their ability to work and earn a living or even get around. Your truck accident attorney can help you get the compensation that you deserve.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Richardson Truck Accident Lawyers
If you have been hurt in a truck accident, don’t wait and see if you can do it on your own. Call AMS Law Group today. We’ll connect you with one of our professional, knowledgeable, experienced Richardson truck accident lawyers who will fight for you so that you get all the compensation that you deserve.
Schedule your free consultation and find out what financial compensation you might be entitled to for your truck accident.
The Role of Trucking Companies in Accidents
There’s a lot of competition among trucking companies, so there’s always pressure for each one to be the best. In order to survive or come out on top, most companies believe it is necessary to be faster, better, and more affordable while still maintaining a healthy bottom line. This can lead to some business practices that may not be very supportive of the employees, particularly the drivers. In fact, most trucking companies don’t pay their drivers a salary commensurate with all that they do on the job and the potential hazards they encounter while on duty.
These companies will often push the driver to get the load to its destination faster than they legally should, hinting that the driver should break the law and pressing them to skip the breaks that they are legally entitled to. Sometimes, they may even skip the pre-trip safety inspection because they are under so much pressure to get on the road faster.
If there is an accident that is the result of a truck driver being pushed by the company responsible for delivering their load in an unreasonably short amount of time, the company will often move away from the driver in an effort to deny liability. However, a trucking company with a trucking permit can be held liable for at least a portion of the accident, and truck accident victims have some recourse.
How do You Prove a Truck Accident was Caused by a Negligent Truck Driver
In an accident, there are two ways that fault can be assigned. A judge or jury can determine fault, or the insurance adjuster can do it. To arrive at their conclusion, they analyze a lot of information taken from the scene, the driver, the insurance company, and the vehicles. This information may include:
- Photos or videos of the crash scene
- Police reports
- Eyewitness testimonies
- Cell phone records for the driver
- GPS records from the truck
- Data logs from the truck
- Lab work on the driver
- The victim’s account of the accident
- Copies of policies from the trucking company
- Dispatch transcripts from the trucking company
Your attorney will also investigate and gather evidence to show that the driver of the truck and sometimes the company were at fault. They will look at evidence such as witness statements, photos of the accident, and the accident scene itself to determine fault and the circumstances of the crash and use this information to get you the best settlement amount possible.
What Type of Compensation Can You Get from a Truck Accident?
There are three types of compensation you may be entitled to in a trucking accident.
These are damages that have a set dollar amount. They can include medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
These are damages that don’t have a specific dollar amount value. They can include mental anguish, loss of companionship, and loss of quality of life.
These are damages that are awarded as punishment when the at-fault party is found to be operating in a malicious or reckless way. Truck drivers are held to high standards because they are operating a commercial vehicle that has the potential to cause fatal crashes and serious injuries.
Getting Medical Treatment After a Trucking Accident
It is always a good idea to go directly to the emergency room after an accident. Some injuries do not show up right away but can be identified in a medical exam. Emergency room teams know what to look for and understand that accident victims may be in shock and not necessarily able to assess whether they are injured or not.
When you check in, let them know you were in an accident.
Always follow the recommendations of the emergency room doctor, including following up with your primary care doctor.
Hire a Richardson Truck Accident Attorney to Get the Compensation You Deserve
AMS Law Group has successfully represented clients in truck accidents, personal injury cases, and car accidents. Our legal team has the experience and knowledge to handle your case to help you get the compensation that you deserve.
You don’t have to deal with this alone. We can help.
What Should You do if You are In a Truck Crash?
If you have not been seriously injured in the accident, there are some things that you can do to help your attorney work on your case. If you can move around, take photos of the crash site and the wrecked vehicles. Get all sides of each vehicle. Pan out on some photos to show the accident site and the vehicles’ positions in it.
Get the truck driver’s information, including:
- Contact info
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number of the rig and trailer
- Trucking company name and contact
Also, get the names and contact info for all parties involved and any witnesses on the scene of the accident when it happened. You should also get the name of the officer who worked the accident as well as the police report number.
What is the time frame in Which You can File a Lawsuit in a Truck Accident Case?
Texas law allows two years for people who have been in an accident that causes death or injury to file a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault driver. This is why it is important to talk to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
Your Richardson Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve
If you have a truck accident claim that involves injuries, property damage, or other loss, call us and get the full and fair compensation that you deserve. We will work diligently to get you the best settlement possible and will fight for you every step of the way.
Call AMS Law Firm for Your Free Case Review
Call AMS today and schedule your free consultation. You don’t pay any legal fees until we win your case. You have nothing to lose. We’re waiting for your call.