18 Wheeler / Trucking Accidents
Austin Personal Injury Lawyer
It's every driver's worst nightmare. A large truck, driven by an inattentive driver, colliding with you or your loved one. No one could have expected this moment; but now that it has found you, you must turn to people you can trust to help you recover physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and financially. That's why you call us, Sablatura Williams PLLC; we're available online, in person, on the phone - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To us, this is a moment to truly help you in your time of deepest need. Please call us now.
We are set apart from other law firms in three areas: (1) We invest in your physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and financial well-being - you are not just another file and just another fee; (2) We will handle your case professionally, quickly, and effectively; and, (3) We are trial lawyers - our home is the courtroom.
To assist you in choosing the right attorney, below is helpful information we have complied for you to utilize. But each case is different, and insurance adjusters for trucking companies will work quickly - do not hesitate to contact us immediately to gain advice and counsel.
Truck Accidents Overview
Highway Safety is an issue of highest concern to most Texans. The lawyers at Sablatura Williams have the experience you need for cases involving trucking safety and trucking accidents. Semi-truck and eighteen wheeler accidents present unique issues not necessarily associated with a typical motor vehicle accident. These differences include:
- Greater likelihood of serious injuries or deaths
- Negligent hiring and supervision claims
- Negligent maintenance claims
- Unique insurance coverage issues
- Governmental regulations
- Federal regulations
- State regulations
- Drug testing
- Tractor maintenance
- Trailer maintenance
With the explosion of trucks on Texas Highways, accidents between vehicles and semi-trailer trucks are on the rise. Truck accidents often occur when trucks are traveling in an unsafe manner or are loaded in an unsafe manner, causing catastrophic injuries and wrongful deaths.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) was formed in the early 1980's in an effort to curb the unacceptable number of fatal truck accidents occurring on highways in Texas and across the Nation.
Laws were enacted to prohibit truck drivers from having more than one license. By 1992, truck drivers were required to meet minimum national standards in order to operate a tractor trailer. Once a driver met these standards, he can be issued a Commercial Driver's License (CDL).
Today, to help reduce fatal Texas semi-truck accidents, each truck driver is required to be licensed in his or her State of principal residence. Additionally driving record must be kept in a centralized computer for access by each state.
The new laws also required each state to adopt uniform testing standards for commercial drivers prior to being licensed. A CDL is required to operate the following vehicles:
- any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the GVWR of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds;
- any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver; and any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
However, the following vehicle operators are NOT required to obtain a CDL:
- farm equipment operators;
- vehicles used to transport farm products, equipment or supplies to and from a farm;
- vehicles used within 150 air miles of a farm;
- vehicles not used in operations of a contract carrier; and
- firefighting equipment operators, military vehicle operators, and recreational vehicle operators, if the vehicle is primarily used for personal use.
For certain vehicles, special endorsements are required. There are five possible CDL endorsements and one restriction, which requires testing.
- double/triple tractor trailers
- passenger vehicles
- tank vehicles
- semi-trucks carrying hazardous materials
- combination tank and hazardous materials
- vehicles with air brakes
Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA), considered the driving force behind the regulation of the trucking industry to reduce truck accidents, covers issues such as driver qualifications, emergency equipment, safe loading, alcohol and drug usage and a number of other factors. Some of the most common causes of trucking accidents include:
- Lack of training
- Overloaded trucks
- Oversized trucks
- Brake failure/defect
- Poor driving conditions
- Driver inexperience
- Running off the road
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Aggressive driving behavior
- Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
- Dangerous or reckless driving
- Mechanical failure
If you are injured or suffer a loss in a trucking accident, do not turn to the defendant's insurance company for help. The insurance company will attempt to settle your claim as quickly as possible before you have a chance to consult an experienced trucking accident attorney. You should never sign documents or agree to a settlement without first consulting an experienced Texas truck accident lawyer. We will aggressively protect your rights if you have been injured in a trucking accident.
We understand the unique legal and practical problems associated with 18 wheeler accidents and other truck crashes and have experience dealing with the issues that arise in such cases. Our goals include protecting the individual where litigation is necessary, but also providing resources to help educate the public when injuries are caused by the negligence or carelessness of trucking companies, in hopes of increasing road safety. Contact us today for further information. We offer free initial consultations and work on a contingent fee basis, which means that there is no fee unless we successfully resolve your case.
For immediate assistance, contact us today.