Houston 18 Wheeler & Truck Accident Attorney
18 wheeler & truck accidents cause much greater harm than everyday traffic accidents due to a truck’s large size and heavy weight. A loaded tractor-trailer takes 20-40 percent longer than a car to stop. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 3,373 people died in large truck crashes in 2011. Of these incidents where deaths occurred, 66% were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and 16% were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers are ten times more likely to constitute the cause of a crash. The FMCSA found that the driver’s action or inaction was the direct cause of 88% of 18 wheeler crashes. The causes of most driver-caused crashes are due to driver fatigue and sleep deprivation.
Equipment failures are the second most common cause of trucking accidents. These equipment failures are often the result of improperly maintained equipment.
Causes of 18 Wheeler & Truck Crashes Include Poor Maintenance and Negligent Driving
Trucking accident causes may include:
- Driver fatigue
- Brake failure
- Trucks veering into oncoming traffic or other lanes
- Distracted drivers
- Faulty side or rear lighting
- Improperly secured load, or load distribution
- Inadequate trailer attachment
- Jackknife accidents
- Tire blowouts, improper inflation, or wear and tear
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Lack of backup warning
- Drivers texting while driving
- Employer negligence
- Transmission failure
18 Wheeler & Truck Accidents Cause Significant Harm
Given the sheer weight of an 18 wheeler, it isn’t hard to imagine that they can cause a great deal of damage in an accident. More often than not, those injured in an 18 wheeler accident are the occupants of the vehicle on the receiving end of the collision. People can suffer severe 18 wheeler accident injuries including:
Regardless of the injury sustained, when the crash involves an 18 wheeler, there is bound to be some significant harm. That harm can result in medical bills and lost wages. Don’t accept a settlement after an 18 wheeler accident unless all of your damages are included.
What Evidence Could Help Prove My Truck Wreck Claim?
Going up against a trucking company and their insurer can be a daunting prospect. After all, if you suffered a serious injury and plan to pursue a significant sum, you should expect both parties to commit considerable resources into challenging your case. However, strong evidence can make all the difference, leaving little opportunity for opposing parties to dispute your case.
Let’s take a look at some of the kinds of evidence your attorney may use to build your case:
- Expert Witness Testimony: Whether there are disputes regarding liability or disagreements over damages, an expert witness can help turn the tides in your favor. Unlike fact witnesses, such as a bystander, who must limit their deposition or testimony to what they observed, an expert witness is someone with extensive experience in a particular field who may provide an opinion. For example, if an opposing party asserts that your injuries do not prevent you from returning to work, your attorney may bring in a vocational expert who can testify regarding the ways your condition makes it difficult or impossible to perform certain tasks important to your profession.
- Electronic Logging Device Data: In a bid to curb fatigue-related collisions, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has imposed strict limits on the number of consecutive hours truck drivers can stay on the road. To make sure drivers are complying with these “Hours of Service” regulations, 18-wheeler operators are required to maintain electronic logs of their time spent on the road. As such, if the electronic logging device reveals any infractions, your lawyer may use this data as evidence of liability.
- Black Box Data: Most commercial trucks are equipped with a “black box”, or an event data recorder (EDR), that tracks metrics such as average and high speeds, throttle usage, voltage regulator performance, and other driving data. This data could help your lawyer—or an accident reconstruction expert—determine what may have caused the accident. For instance, it could show that the truck driver was speeding in the moments before the collision.
- Photographs of the Accident Scene: If you were able to snap pictures of the positions of the vehicles involved, property damage, and your injuries at the scene of the crash, these photographs could help your lawyer prove liability and damages. Make sure to share these images with your attorney during the initial consultation.
- Dashcam and Surveillance Camera Footage: If your car was fitted with a dashcam, any footage it recorded of the accident could help prove aspects of your claim. Alternatively, it’s possible that nearby surveillance cameras may have captured video of the collision. Take notes on the locations of these cameras to share with your attorney. Keep in mind that surveillance camera footage is often erased within a few days, so it may be in your best interests to contact an attorney as soon as possible so that he or she can take steps to obtain this potentially valuable evidence before it disappears.
- Repair, Maintenance, and Inspection Records: The average commercial trucker can cover thousands of miles in a single month. With this much time on the road, even the sturdiest vehicles can take a beating—and 18-wheelers are no exception. Left unchecked, wear and tear can lead to a catastrophic accident. As such, trucking companies have a duty to maintain their fleet to ensure that a mechanical failure or break doesn’t cause a collision. Your truck accident attorney may want to review maintenance, repair, or inspection records to determine whether the driver or their employer was negligent.
Contact a Houston 18 Wheeler & Truck Accident Attorney Today
If another party is responsible or contributes to an 18 wheeler accident, they may be held liable for the harm they’ve caused. Start your investigation early after an 18 wheeler accident. Gathering evidence from the start can help your case. You need an experienced Houston 18 wheeler accident attorney that can identify those responsible and hold them accountable. Call upon Chelsie Garza’s years of knowledge and extensive skill set to help with your case.