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Truck Wreck

If you’ve travelled across Texas by car you may not be surprised to learn that Texas has more road miles than any other State in the Country, over 679,917 miles. California comes in a distant second place at 394,383, almost half as many miles. [1] Our State’s highways were constructed, in part, to facilitate the transportation of goods. This means that our roads are often crowded with commercial trucking vehicles. These vehicles pose a particular danger to motorists because of their size, and wrecks caused by negligent truck drivers may result in serious injury, or in some cases, even death.

In March 2019, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released its report on commercial trucking crashes for 2017. [2] The FMSCA issues this report to inform the public about statistics about the trucking industry, such as the number of commercial vehicles involved in crashes, the number of people injured in these incidents, and details about these injuries and fatalities. This report provides some important insights into wrecks caused by large trucks and busses and brings to light some alarming trends in the trucking industry’s safety record during 2017. For example, fatal crashes in large truck crashes increased by 8% from 2016. In fact, there were a total of 4,761 fatalities in large truck crushes in 2017 and which includes 470 non-motorists and vehicle occupants killed (pedestrians and people on bikes). In addition, a portion of the truck drivers involved in fatal crashes, about 5%, had a blood alcohol level of .08% or greater.  The top contributing factors to truck crashes were speeding, distracted driving, impairment (which also includes driver fatigue), and careless driving. In Texas alone, there were 649 fatalities from crashes involving large trucks in 2017, up from 558 fatalities in 2016. Texas had the most fatalities caused by large truck accidents in 2017—the next closest state being California with 361 fatalities.

As motorists, these statistics tell us that many of the fatalities and injuries caused by commercial trucking accident could have been avoided. All too often, these crashes are caused by distracted big rig drivers, speeding, mechanical problems, carelessness or impairment. Unfortunately, because these wrecks involve large machines traveling at high rates of speed, substantial injuries are common.

Injuries in a Trucking Crash

Your main focus after being injured in a trucking wreck should be your health. Unfortunately, because your injuries from a trucking accident are likely to be severe, you may be stuck with substantial medical bills. For example, if you’re transported from the scene of an accident, and sent to a trauma center at a local hospital, you may be faced with bills from the ambulance, radiologists at the hospital, emergency room physicians, and the hospital itself for use of the trauma center, not to mention the cost of any medication or other medical devices provided to you during your stay at the hospital. If you’re admitted to the hospital for several days, or weeks, your medical bills may increase exponentially.

If you were injured in a truck accident then the negligent truck driver who is responsible for the crash is required to pay for your damages, which also includes your medical bills. An experienced attorney in trucking accident crashes will be able to recover compensation from the truck driver and the trucking company to cover your medical bills and other medical costs.

In addition, because of the substantial forces involved in trucking wrecks, many people have traumatic brain injuries, like concussions and other types of head injuries. It is important that these injuries are properly diagnosed early in the case, so that you can receive the appropriate treatment as soon as possible. If you have suffered a head injury, the sooner you are diagnosed and the sooner you receive treatment, the better chance you have for a favorable outcome and full recovery.

Sometimes, injuries do not completely heal with time and treatment in trucking wreck cases.  You may not completely recover from your injuries, especially in trucking cases where the crashes can be severe and injuries substantial. In such a situation, you may be faced with future medical costs for ongoing medical care and other related expenses. An experienced trucking crash attorney will make sure that your future medical needs are taken into account and included as part of any settlement with the negligent trucking company.

Trucking Cases Are Complex and Require an Experienced Attorney

A trucking case is not the same as an auto accident case.  A case involving a commercial trucking vehicle presents unique challenges, and you should seek an attorney experienced in these types of cases when considering which attorney to hire.

Time is of the essence in Texas trucking wreck cases. Some people are hesitant to speak with attorney after a trucking wreck. You may have never engaged the services of an attorney before and do not know what to expect. However, the sooner you hire an attorney after a trucking wreck caused by a negligent truck driver, the better chances you have to recover damages and compensation for your injuries. You should not wait to talk to an attorney after a commercial trucking accident.

One of the most important things that an experienced trucking wreck attorney will do immediately after a crash is to seek to preserve any evidence related to the cause of the wreck. This is done to make sure that the trucking company does not misplace, or even destroy, important evidence after the crash. For example, the truck driver’s log is essential to showing whether the driver of the truck may have been on the road longer than is permitted. Also, the maintenance log should be preserved after a trucking crash to determine if the truck was in a safe operating condition at the time of the wreck. If action is not taken immediately after the car crash to secure this evidence, it may be lost forever. An experienced trucking wreck attorney may also take steps to document the scene of the crash, and also store and preserve the condition of your vehicle after the crash.

Many commercial vehicles and large trucks have onboard black boxes, also called electronic logging devices. The black box is a device which records important data about time, speed, distance travelled, and the actions of the driver immediately prior to the crash impact. These factors may help to explain how and why a crash occurred, especially when liability is contested by the trucking company.  This data from the black box is a key piece of evidence in a trucking case and must be secured and protected immediately after the crash. This is another reason why it is important to hire an experienced trucking crash attorney as soon as possible after the crash.  An experience trucking wreck attorney will seek to obtain the data on the truck’s black box so as to preserve this vital evidence for future trial, if necessary.

Finally, truck wreck cases are generally more complicated than auto accident cases because trucking cases involve complex laws, regulations and codes which only apply to commercial trucking industry. An experienced truck wreck attorney has knowledge of these trucking laws, regulations and codes, and can determine whether a violation occurred by the trucking company prior to the crash. Establishing that the trucking company violated a safety rule can help prove your case.

Call us for a Free Consultation Today

If you have been involved in a crash involving a commercial truck, call Herbert Law today to speak with an experienced truck wreck attorney. The initial consultation is free, and we do not charge a fee unless we win your case.

[1] U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. Office of Highway Policy Information. Highway Statistics Series. Functional System Lane-Length – 2017. Released August 23, 2018

[2] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/safety/data-and-statistics/452366/ltcbf-2017-early-release-3-13-2019.pdf.

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