As Houston truck accident lawyers, we know the dangers of truck accidents too well. While trucks and 18-wheelers are important to our economy, they can also be incredibly dangerous both to their drivers and those around them when mishandled. According to statistics gathered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, large trucks were involved in nearly 5,000 fatal accidents in 2017 alone, a figure that’s been steadily growing since 2009.
In general, other drivers are more than three times more likely to be injured than truck drivers when they are involved in accidents and are more than four times as likely to be killed. Yet the trucking industry prefers to use its vast resources to keep victims and their families from receiving the compensation they need after a Houston truck accident.
The Houston truck accident lawyers at Grimes & Fertitta know exactly how to fight against the insurance companies for the compensation you deserve. Get more than just representation; hire a personal ally in seeking justice. Call 713-224-7644 or schedule a free consultation online today.
What to do after a truck accident
After being involved in a truck accident, people are often overwhelmed and confused. Unfortunately, the success of truck accident settlements and verdicts are often closely tied to the quality of evidence you are able to collect after the accident. Let’s take what you should do after a truck accident it step by step:
- Report the crash and seek help: A truck accident isn’t the kind of situation where you exchange information and hope for the best. It is crucial that you alert legal authorities and seek medical attention immediately, even if you don’t think you’re hurt. Shock and panic can make injuries less obvious, and poor documentation can make it all-too-easy for trucking industry insurance companies to rewrite history in their favor.
- Identify the parties involved: As best you can, try to take stock of the logos and operator names on the truck that struck you. Filing a suit against the right party requires knowing and investigating all the players involved, including the company that owns the truck and the manufacturer. If possible, make sure to ascertain the identity of the driver and get their information.
- Check for witnesses and document the accident: Staying one step ahead of the trucking industry lawyers and insurance teams means protecting your story. Do your best to take pictures and speak with any witnesses who may pull up to check on you or who are stopped by the accident. Images and testimony can go a long way in ensuring the truth prevails.
- Enlist legal help: The effects of a truck accident can take time to emerge, time the insurance companies don’t want to give you. Before you agree to anything, have your injuries fully assessed by a medical professional, and have your situation analyzed by an experienced Houston truck accident lawyer.
Common causes of truck accidents
Like any other licensed driver, truck drivers and operators are accountable for the safety of those around them. However, commercial trucks and 18-wheelers require a different category of driver’s license to operate, and their commercial use is subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations in addition to the state’s regulations.
Violating the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations can often lead to accidents. The following are just some of the negligent acts that cause truck accidents:
- Fatigued/overworked drivers: Regulations are in place to ensure that trucking companies don’t place their drivers and those around them in unsafe situations. At the same time, trucking company policies often indirectly incentivize truckers to disregard these regulations in order to make more money. When truck drivers spend too long behind the wheel, they can fall asleep or zone out, leading to accidents.
- Speeding/unsafe driving: Speeding is already dangerous and illegal, and it becomes even more dangerous when an 18-wheeler is involved. Because of their large size, turning and changing lanes in a truck can be challenging, and high speeds only increase the risk.
- Driver negligence: Distracted driving and driving under the influence have both contributed to severe 18-wheeler accidents.
- Poor maintenance and equipment failure: Truckers and their employers are required to maintain their rigs to the proper standards necessary for safe driving. Faulty brakes, tires, lights, transmission, or other poorly maintained parts can contribute to deadly accidents, as can overloading a truck past its weight limit.
Filing a lawsuit following a truck accident
People hurt in truck accidents find themselves facing a lot of questions: “How could this happen?” “What will it take for me to recover?” “How am I going to cover my expenses?”
Once the dust has settled and victims have had time to take stock of their situation, one question almost everyone asks is: “Can I sue for being hit by a truck?”
Yes, victims can file a truck accident claim, potentially against multiple parties depending on the nature of the accident, including:
- The truck’s driver: If negligence or criminal action (speeding, DWI, etc.) by the driver contributed to your accident, you may be able to file a claim against the actual driver, even if they don’t own their own rig.
- The owner/trucking companies: Owners can be held liable for accidents for a number of reasons including poor maintenance, negligence in contracting with an experienced driver or unsound trucking company, or any other number of contributing factors in your accident.
- The manufacturer: When defects or poor design contribute to your accident, you may also file a lawsuit against the truck’s manufacturer. Truck drivers injured in an accident can also file this type of suit.
- The loader: If improper loading caused cargo to fall out of the truck or otherwise contribute to your accident, you may also be able to sue the party responsible for loading the truck’s cargo.
Get the compensation you deserve: Contact a Houston truck accident lawyer at Grimes & Fertitta
Houston truck accident lawyers cannot overstate the importance of decisive action in a truck accident claim. Holding the trucking industry accountable takes more than a lawyer; it requires an ally dedicated to you and the justice you deserve.
If you’ve been hurt in a Houston truck accident, don’t wait to get help. Timing is critical. The truck company is already working on its defense.
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