Statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation reveal surprising facts about commercial vehicle accidents in the Dallas and Fort Worth area. In Dallas County and Tarrant County in a single recent year there were:
- 35 fatal crashes involving trucks and other commercial vehicles.
- 38 deaths in accidents involving trucks and other commercial vehicles.
- 707 serious injury crashes involving trucks and other commercial vehicles.
- 942 serious injuries in accidents involving trucks and other commercial vehicles.
Gathering Evidence After a Commercial Truck Accident
After an accident involving a heavy truck, it is important to get help from a lawyer who can work with experts and accident reconstructionists to find out what really happened. Truck accidents are often very complex. Special regulations govern truckers and the trucking companies that employ them. Violations of these rules may indicate fault for the accident.
For example, hours-of-service rules limit how long a trucker can drive without taking a break. This means that truck drivers’ logbooks are often important in an investigation of an accident that may have been caused by driver fatigue. Because logs are sometimes falsified, investigators may look at other evidence that shows how long a driver was behind the wheel. This could include toll tickets, fuel receipts, and cell phone records, for example.
Many tractor-trailers are equipped with data recorders similar to the “black boxes” that are often discussed in airline crashes. Retrieving information from these black boxes may provide critical insight into the cause of a truck accident. The physical condition of the truck may also hold clues. Because these kinds of information can quickly disappear, it is crucial to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after a crash so a completely independent investigation can start right away.
Determining Liability After a Truck Accident
There are a number of potential parties that could be responsible for paying damages after a truck accident. These may include the trucking firm, the truck manufacturer, the maintenance company, the shipper of the cargo or others, based on the facts in the case. Because the stakes are often much higher in a truck accident case, you can be assured that every potentially liable party will have a legal team fighting for them. You need a lawyer who will stand up to them and fight for your rights.
Identifying all parties who hold responsibility for the accident is a critical part of the process of recovering full compensation for all damages. Our firm is highly skilled at investigating truck accident cases, and we have access to highly respected professional resources to call upon to assist us.
Which federal agency regulates commercial motor vehicles?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was established on Jan. 1, 2000, pursuant to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999. The agency’s purpose is to prevent fatalities and injuries in commercial motor vehicle-related accidents. Among other things, the agency is involved in commercial driver licensing and regulatory compliance and enforcement. FMCSA’s hours of service regulations set driving time limits, establish minimum rest periods and restrict hours of duty in any given week for commercial drivers.
Who is liable for injuries in a commercial truck accident in Dallas?
Each case is different, and it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney if you have been injured in an accident with a large commercial truck. Potentially liable parties may include the:
- Truck driver.
- Trucking company.
- Company that owns or leases the trailer.
- Shipping company.
- Truck manufacturer.
- Truck repair shop.
- Parties responsible for road maintenance.
How soon after a large truck accident should I file a claim?
The sooner you consult with a knowledgeable truck accident attorney in Dallas, the better. Evidence needed to build your case is more likely to be available soon after the accident, and witnesses’ statements should be taken while the facts and circumstances are still fresh in their minds. You should also bear in mind that there is a statute of limitations – a time limit imposed by law – within which to file an injury claim in Texas.
Contact Our Dallas Truck Accident Lawyers
If you or a family member has been injured in a crash with a tractor-trailer or other heavy truck, your best course of action is to consult with the knowledgeable, Dallas truck accident attorneys as soon as possible, and before you sign anything or discuss the accident with an insurance adjuster.
At Luke Bickham, our experienced lawyers are ready to make sure your rights are protected and advise you on how to proceed with your claim. For decades, we have helped victims of truck accidents caused by the wrongdoing of others. Our firm is committed to helping you get the compensation you deserve, whether through settlement negotiations, mediation, arbitration or trial.
Our Truck Accident Law Firm has the necessary resources to fully investigate the cause of your crash. We work with investigators to prove negligence on the part of a trucker, trucking company or other responsible parties.
It is important that you meet with an attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your case since there are deadlines for filing a truck accident claim. For a free assessment, contact us today.
Truck Accident Victim FAQs
In a collision with a large commercial truck, passenger vehicle occupants are likely to suffer serious injuries because of the differences in the weight and size of the two types of vehicles. Injury claims for truck accidents are often complicated, both because of the extent of injuries, as well as the multiple parties who may be liable for the accident.
If you have been injured or your loved one was killed in an accident involving a tractor-trailer or other large truck, your best course of action is to consult with a knowledgeable Dallas truck wreck lawyer as soon as possible. Speak with a semi-truck accident attorney before you talk to an insurance adjuster and before you sign anything.
Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about truck accidents. For answers to your specific questions, contact Luke Bickham now for a free consultation and claim review. 469-904-8170
How many large commercial trucks are on the road?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there are 10,659,380 registered large trucks. This compares to 8,454,939 motorcycles, 118,677,080 light trucks and 127,091,286 passenger cars
How frequently do truck accidents occur?
NHTSA reports that 3,964 people were killed and 95,000 were injured in traffic crashes with large trucks in one recent year. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (DOT), there were 4,950 traffic accidents involving commercial motor vehicles in Dallas and Tarrant counties alone in a single recent year.
Why are accidents involving trucks often so much more serious than other types of accidents?
A fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh 80,000 pounds or more. The weight of a typical passenger vehicle is only 4,000 pounds. When a commercial truck traveling at highway or freeway speeds collides with a much smaller and lighter passenger vehicle, the damage from the impact can be devastating for the passenger vehicle occupants.
Texas collisions involving heavy trucks and lighter vehicles, the occupants of passenger vehicles often suffer serious or catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI) or spinal cord injuries. Many of these injuries cause lifelong disabilities, and some are fatal. NHTSA reports that of the 3,964 people killed in large truck crashes in one recent year, only 691 were truck occupants, while 2,834 were occupants of other vehicles.
Do large truck accident claims differ from car accident claims?
Fatalities are more common and injuries are often more serious in accidents involving large commercial trucks. The stakes are therefore generally higher in the insurance claims and lawsuits that result from a truck accident. Another difference is that commercial trucking is under strict federal regulation. Additionally, several different parties may be liable for injuries in large truck accidents, while in passenger car accidents, usually, only the driver at fault for the accident is liable.
In what ways do commercial motor vehicle drivers cause accidents?
Commercial truck drivers may not have enough training in driving skills or safety. They are often motivated by compensation systems that reward longer driving hours and faster speeds. They may also be driving under pressure from the company to meet an unrealistic schedule, resulting in driver fatigue.
According to a study published by NHTSA, a number of factors, including the following, contribute to accidents involving large commercial trucks:
- Traveling too fast for conditions.
- Cargo shifts.
- Driver loss of control.
- Poor road conditions.
• NHTSA:2019 Early Estimate of 2019 Vehicle Traffic Fatalities
• Texas DOT: Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Involved Crashes By County
• NHTSA: 2017 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview
• NHTSA: Large Truck Crash Causation Study: An Initial Overview
• FMCSA: About Us
• Texas Department of Transportation: Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Involved Crashes and Injuries by County