Houston Truck Accident Lawyers
From truck accidents in Houston, Texas to oil truck accidents in West Texas, to delivery truck accidents nationwide, we’ve seen it all. Coast to coast, these behemoths of the road haul the goods we need to survive. However, our reliance on large trucks has a caveat: they’re dangerous. When a semi-truck crashes, these truck accidents are serious and often fatal for the occupants of other vehicles. This is because trucks are large, heavy, and incredibly difficult to stop. Trucking accidents often result in serious injuries to drivers and passengers. If you have been injured in an 18-wheeler wreck or another accident involving a large truck, you need an attorney with the knowledge and skill to handle these types of complex cases. At Rose Sanders Law Firm, PLLC, our personal injury lawyers are prepared to handle complex truck accident claims involving serious injuries and even wrongful death. With law offices in Houston, we handle 18-wheeler (semi-truck) accident claims for people throughout Texas.
Identifying All Liable Parties
Trucking cases often involve multiple parties, such as the trucking company, the manufacturer of truck parts and the truck driver. Common causes of trucking accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue
- Unbalanced loads
- Overloaded trucks
- Speeding and reckless driving
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Faulty brakes
- Inadequate lights and reflectors
Our lawyers use creative legal strategies to get the best possible outcome and hold every negligent party accountable. We will fight for you and work to obtain the compensation you need and deserve. The Houston 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyers at Rose Sanders Law Firm have many years of experience holding negligent trucking companies responsible for the property damage and personal injuries sustain by our clients as a result of a negligent trucking company. Our founding attorney, Charles Sanders is a distingished member of the American Academy of Truck Accident Lawyers and the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America.
Why do big trucks cause more accidents?
The very nature of big rigs can contribute to their accident risks. Though driver error commonly causes big truck crashes, wrecks also occur due to the nature of the large, lumbering vehicles themselves.
Lengthy and high 18 wheelers have blind spots — mostly in the rear but also to the sides — which their drivers cannot see. That means drivers may change lanes or do other things which endanger nearby vehicles in their blind spots.
Also, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “Loaded tractor-trailers take 20-40 percent farther than cars to stop, and the discrepancy is greater on wet and slippery roads or with poorly maintained brakes.”Indeed, such vehicle failure as bad brakes often is to blame.
A big rig also may swerve after a tire blows out. That blowout may have been due to improper maintenance and failure to change overly worn tires, or it may have been due to an illegally overloaded trailer.
Semi trucks also can be dangerous when the truck cab is on the roads without towing a trailer, which is known as “bobtailing.” The Truckers Report says. “Trucks handle very differently when bobtailing, often making them more dangerous, especially in wet weather.”
Large trucks also have less maneuverability than a smaller car.
What types of accidents occur from truck accidents?
Let’s also explore further the many types of truck accidents. Such collisions can involve vehicles known as tractor trailers, diesel trucks, big rigs, semi trucks or 18 wheelers.
These big trucks can cause severe if not fatal injuries in large part because they are so big. In fact, a semi truck or other large truck with a trailer and a full load can weigh up to 80,000 pounds.
The truck itself may weigh around 18,000 pounds, while the trailer can weigh 10,000 pounds and the full load can weigh around 50,000 pounds, for a combined 78,000 pounds. The maximum legal weight is 80,000 pounds, or 40 tons, according to Truckers Report. (In some cases, oversize or overweight permits may be issued for larger trucks and loads.)
An 18-wheeler also is 70 to 80 feet in length and 13½ feet tall.
As for the average car, according to Autolist.com, the average car in 2018 weighed just over 4,000 pounds, which has been the case since 2015.
When a much heavier truck collides with a much lighter and smaller car or other vehicle, the large truck wreck can be devastating for occupants of the smaller vehicle. Usually, the big rig driver isn’t hurt at all.
The extent of 18 wheeler injuries depends not just on the comparative weights of the vehicles, but also their speed and the type of truck accident. These can include:
Head-on trucking accidents
Head-on collisions with a semi truck often are the most deadly types of trucking accidents. The smaller vehicle can be crushed beyond recognition, and the victims inside can be severely injured if not killed.
Head-on truck wrecks often happen not due to deliberately reckless driving, but because one of the drivers is severely fatigued (as often occurs with truckers working long hours) or is dealing with a medical issue.
One driver also could be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs or be highly distracted, perhaps by a cell phone or laptop computer, which many big rig drivers carry in their cab.
Rear-end trucking accidents
This happens when one vehicle crashes into the rear of another vehicle. If it’s a big rig slamming into the rear of a small car, the large truck could literally drive over the car. As with head-on collisions, rear-end truck accidents can be blamed on sickness, distracted driving, severe fatigue or driving under the influence, among other things.
Rollover trucking accidents
Large trucks can be prone to rollover accidents because of their height and heavy weight. This can happen when the semi truck driver swerves for some reason. The sudden and sharp change of direction, particularly at a high speed, can cause the truck to lean to one side and perhaps roll over.
Other vehicles nearby then are in danger as the large truck rolls across the roadway or even on top of them
Jack-knife trucking accidents
Because semi trucks often haul a heavy trailer, they are prone to jack-knife trucking accidents. These can occur during bad weather when roads are slick with rain, snow or ice, but also can occur on dry roads. If the big rig attempts to slow suddenly or even stop, the truck may slow down faster than the trailer it’s hauling, which then swings to one side or the other, out of control.
The trailer then could collide with other vehicles in the vicinity. A truck’s trailer also can collide with the truck itself when it swings as widely as a 45-degree angle.
This kind of truck accident is known as a jack-knife since the out-of-control trailer swinging to the side of the truck can form an L-shape or that of an open jack-knife or pocket knife.
Tire blowouts are among the most common causes of big rig wrecks. A sudden blowout by an 18-wheeler’s truck or trailer can cause the vehicle to go out of control and veer into another lane or off the road. In the process, the semi truck can strike other, smaller vehicles and cause catastrophic injuries to their drivers or passengers.
It may be determined after a truck crash that the trucking line or truck driver failed to maintain the vehicle properly, including its tires. Overly worn tires, when not replaced, can lead to tire blowouts — and the horrible aftermath of a big truck accident.
Trailer load spills
A fatal car crash may involve a collision not with a big rig or semi truck itself, but with the spilled cargo of the tractor trailer. Such load spills can occur when the truck’s trailer is not properly secured and the load falls off or out, landing on the road.
There, trailer load spills threaten other vehicles, especially those approaching at the higher speeds allowed on highways. A collision with a spilled load can be devastating in itself, but also can cause a vehicle to bounce and veer into other vehicles. Cars also can crash when swerving to avoid a spilled load, so even if they don’t strike the cargo, they still have a collision.
Causes of such truck load spills can include the trucker failing to secure the cargo properly before embarking, or perhaps not closing the trailer doors securely. Drivers of other vehicles are not responsible for such spilled loads, but can suffer horribly because of them.
What kind of failures occur by commercial trucking companies?
Trucking line or truck company failures also can contribute to a big rig wreck. In what kinds of harmful behaviors do trucking companies engage?
Many truck companies fail to perform regular tests for alcohol or other drugs on their truck drivers. Trucking lines also may hire drivers who have a pre-existing history of driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Trucking lines also may fail to take appropriate disciplinary action if a truck driver is caught operating a truck while under the influence.
Truck companies also may allow drivers to operate trucks without the required certifications and licenses, thus putting inexperienced drivers on roads to operate their vehicles. A CDL (commercial driver’s license) should not be enough to assure driver safety at the wheel of a monstrously large truck. In fact, even experienced truck drivers should receive periodic updates in safety procedures.
Truck companies also may cover up their failures by not keeping required records to indicate their compliance — or non-compliance — with commercial driving rules and regulations.
Trucking lines also may fail to make regular truck inspections and undertake proper maintenance procedures. The truck’s driver may be the only one handling maintenance of a truck, but the trucking line is responsible.
Can I sue for being hit by an 18-wheeler?
Most people do not like the idea of filing a lawsuit, but victims of 18-wheeler wrecks may find they have no choice. And if you are in this situation, you may wonder if you can just “keep it simple” and sue without having to hire an attorney. The answer is yes, you have that legal right, but it is not a good idea for a couple of different reasons.
First, lawsuits are complicated and governed by many special rules. If you file a lawsuit yourself, you will still be expected to follow all of the same rules that a trained attorney follows, and violating those rules, even accidentally, can have the same result as it would if an attorney broke them — permanently losing your case.
Second, even if you want to sue without hiring an attorney, the tractor-trailer driver and his employer will not do the same. Most trucking companies are protected by big insurance companies who hire skilled and expensive lawyers. It will not be an even fight, and those defense lawyers won’t think twice about making sure you lose your case.
If you need to file a lawsuit against a trucking company, you do not need to do it alone. At Rose Sanders Law Firm, we have years of experience taking on the toughest insurance companies and coming out on top. You pay us nothing unless we win your case and we can even the fight for you.
For additional information, read our detailed blog on Steps to take after an 18-wheeler Truck Accident
What do I need to prove my truck accident case?
Beyond the elements listed above such as photos, videos and medical records, what else might you need to prove your case and prevail in a truck accident injury claim?
If your accident was in an intersection or otherwise in the vicinity of possible security cameras, those cameras could reveal the nature of the wreck in which you were not at fault.
Your truck accident lawyer also can seek access to truck company records revealing failure to maintain a vehicle properly, failure to hire and test drivers properly and failure to keep proper records of a driver’s hours. Documents such as the trucker’s logbook and shipping and receiving receipts also may help bolster your case.
A skilled truck crash attorney also can seek access to a so-called “black box” for the large truck. This device may include data and records of some driving processes which might have contributed to the crash.
Your Rose Sanders Truck Injury Lawyer for Texas also can gather accident reports filed by police or other law enforcement authorities and emergency responders on the scene.
Also possible is engaging accident reconstruction specialists to retrace the steps of the crash. Their research and findings can be used as evidence. But keep in mind that the trucking line or its insurer also may hire such specialists in an attempt to shift the blame for the crash from the truck to the driver of the smaller vehicle. Our team also works to receive evidence from the trucking company and insurance company and determine if the truck line has broken any state or federal rules or regulations. Such evidence can include logbooks and documents detailing the load and previous deliveries.
For your part, before you have your own vehicle scrapped or repaired, consult your truck accident lawyer. The vehicle in its condition due to the accident may still be needed as evidence.
The semi truck itself also may be used as valuable evidence by your truck wreck lawyer. That’s why trucking companies sometimes try to repair a damaged big rig quickly. But if you have quickly engaged a truck injury attorney, he or she may be able to get a court order to preserve this evidence before the truck line can obscure it.
Also, save all bills or receipts for any services you receive after the truck accident which are related to it. These can include receipts for physicians’ bills, auto repair bills, car rentals and hospital expenses. Keep them all so you’ll have proof of your costs and losses due to the big rig accident. In addition, make notes of your health on a daily basis after an accident. Has it improved, deteriorated or remained stable? Has it caused you to miss work? And what is your level of pain? These notes and your doctor’s records can be used as evidence in presenting your case.
Do I need a lawyer if I was hit by an 18-wheeler or commercial vehicle?
You need a truck accident lawyer because your injuries are costly and those who are responsible will resist paying for them. Our law firm has years of experience fighting big trucking lines and their insurance companies to claim such payments for our clients — payments that our clients legally deserve after being injured in a large truck accident.
Keep in mind that trucking companies and the insurers who represent them pay top dollar to their own lawyers to handle their cases. That could include your case against them if you make a substantial claim or file a lawsuit.
Those companies don’t make money by routinely paying what they rightly owe after their negligence causes a truck accident injury or death. Instead, they try in every way at their disposal to resist paying for such losses.
That’s why you should be wary of trucking companies from the start. In fact, it’s wise not to contact a truck company at all when you have an injury claim — and if you do, by all means don’t sign anything for the truck company before first consulting a truck accident injury lawyer.
Also be aware that if you do call, a truck line may record the conversation and ask leading questions designed to misrepresent your case and undercut the severity of your claim.
Besides that, if you try to deal with a truck company or its insurer on your own, they may offer you nothing at all, or they may offer a payment far below what your injury is actually worth — even while trying to sound helpful and sympathetic.
Truck line representatives may even try to make you feel guilty for an accident, despite evidence that negligence of the trucker or trucking line caused it.
If you contact the trucking company or its insurer on your own, it’s virtually guaranteed that they will try to take advantage of you by refusing to pay or by offering only a tiny amount.
Truck companies also may try a strategy of repeatedly delaying your claim or making excuses in order to discourage you from continuing. Or they may question the projected long-term effects of your injury, as well as trying to shift the blame for the accident to you.
These reasons are why you’re strongly advised not to contact a truck company on your own. Instead, let a Rose Sanders 18-wheeler accident attorney make that first call. Then let us deal with the trucking line or insurance company on your behalf.
Our truck injury lawyers know what various types of injuries are worth in terms of financial compensation, and they will fight for your right to claim such money. They will not blindly accept a low-ball settlement offer from an insurance adjuster or truck company. Instead, they will fight for you and for what you are rightfully owed.
Having an injury lawyer on your side can deter the truck line or insurance company from taking advantage of you. When they learn you’re being represented by a skilled truck accident injury attorney, they know they must take your claim seriously and cannot expect you to accept a ridiculously low offer.
How much does it cost to hire an 18-wheeler truck attorney?
There are no up-front costs upon hiring an 18-wheeler attorney. Most law firms take cases on a contingency basis, including wrecks involving 18-wheelers. That means you pay no attorney fees at all unless and until money is recovered for you. And then you pay only a portion of the settlement you are awarded, and nothing out of your own pocket. And if a settlement in your favor is not forthcoming, then you typically pay nothing at all.
How do settlements for commercial truck accidents work?
As with lawsuits for most car crashes, a large commercial vehicle accident may be handled by your truck crash lawyer with no need for a trial. That’s done by negotiating with defendants or their representatives for a settlement out of court.
Keep in mind that our attorneys never will accept a settlement offer without your approval. You must agree with the settlement terms that we negotiate.
Also rest assured that the vast majority of personal injury claims are handled by means of out-of-court settlements, with no need for a trial. You may never have to set foot in a courtroom.
How long do I have to file a truck injury claim?
Each state has its own statutes of limitations which indicate how long you have to take certain legal actions — a time after which such actions are not allowed.
In Texas, you have two years from the date of the truck accident to file an injury lawsuit. That means you must not wait longer than two years to take legal action, or you’ll never have the chance again.
Don’t wait for your injury costs to manifest fully in terms of medical and rehabilitation bills. These can be projected into the future as part of an injury lawsuit. Get a knowledgeable truck injury attorney quickly, not only to file a claim before Texas’ statute of limitations passes, but also to seek valuable evidence before a truck company can cover it up.
How Will This Accident Change Your Life?
Truck accidents often result in serious and life-changing injuries. This is why it is so important to maximize your compensation after an accident. This injury may leave you with a lifetime of expensive medical needs. Our lawyers are skilled at assessing damages and can help you pursue the financial compensation you need today and far into the future.
We’ll review your case for FREE!
Contact us today, either by filling out the form on this website or by calling us, (713) 221-3773. Either way, you will quickly speak to a legal professional who can help you with your case. And that starts with a free legal review.
You want justice. You want to be paid for your injuries caused by a negligent truck driver or truck line. You want the best truck accident lawyer you can find.So give us a call.
Then let us show you we mean business in dealing with balky truck lines or insurance companies who try to low-ball you by underpaying on a claim, or who even deny a claim outright. Our truck accident attorneys know how to deal with the delays, underpayment offers and denials of claims which are standard procedure for trucking lines or insurance companies.
They do not have your best interests at heart, but rather only their bottom lines.
We can begin by amassing the facts and evidence of your case, and then filing a claim with the trucking line or its insurance company, while providing documentation. Then we can negotiate with the truck company or its insurer to reach an out-of-court settlement that’s fair to you and your family. And if such a settlement is not offered, we can represent you in litigation with a truck accident injury lawsuit.
If you live in or near Houston, Dallas or San Antonio, Texas, contact us today and let’s get started claiming the payments and justice you legally deserve with help from a Rose Sanders truck accident lawyer.
Do Not Wait To Get Help
Trucking companies aggressively defend against personal injury lawsuits. You do not want to lose ground in this important legal battle. The sooner you reach out to us the sooner we can begin working on your behalf. To arrange a free initial consultation with a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in Houston, contact us online or by telephone at 713-231-9288.