Injured in a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
Semi trucks and other large commercial vehicles are as dangerous as they are huge, loud and intimidating. These massive trucks often cause catastrophic accidents on the road. This is why special commercial vehicle licenses are required by the drivers who operate them, and also why these trucks are specially regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT). These DOT regulations require truck drivers and the companies they work for to follow specific rules. If you were involved in an accident with one of these vehicles, then it is possible that the operator and/or the trucking company failed to follow guidelines mandated by the government. If that is the case, then you may be entitled to compensation for damages.
If you have suffered injuries due to negligence in a commercial vehicle accident, the benefits of hiring local Houston truck accident lawyers at Tilton & Tilton LLP are many and varied. For example, an insurance company representing a commercial vehicle driver and/or company might try to talk a victim into accepting a deal that is not in their best interests. Without having someone on your side who knows the law, it is hard to know the difference between a good and bad deal. An experienced attorney can represent and fight for you during negotiations with insurance companies, ensuring that your best interests are being met. Further, the Houston truck accident lawyers at our law firm can identify any negligence on behalf of the driver and/or business owners. We work tirelessly to obtain favorable outcomes for our clients.
What Are Common Causes of Commercial Truck Wrecks?
Truck drivers are legally required to obtain a different type of license and undergo training to drive their larger vehicles. However, due to various reasons — ranging from lack of training or experience to failure to maintain the vehicle — driver error accounts for a large majority of commercial truck accidents. That said, it is certainly not the only cause. The Large-Truck Causation Study is still considered the leading resource for information concerning large commercial truck accidents.
According to this study, the following are five common causes of trucking accidents involving large commercial vehicles:
- Oversized and/or Overweight loads. If you have ever been on a road trip, a large commercial vehicle toting an “Oversized load” banner on the back is probably a familiar sight to you. Unbalanced and/or overweight loads are unstable and can cause a tire blowout or a rollover. As a result, the cargo gets jostled around, comes loose and falls into the road. No matter if that cargo is liquid or lumber, it poses a serious hazard to other drivers.
- Speeding. Commercial vehicle accidents involving high speeds tend to be more catastrophic than accidents involving only passenger cars. On average, semi trucks and other large commercial vehicles weigh more than three times the amount of an average passenger vehicle. Thus, an accident involving these trucks usually causes widespread damage and injuries.
- Jackknifes. When a commercial vehicle with a tractor-trailer rotates around so that the truck cab and the trailer are at a 90-degree angle, that is called a “jackknife.” Often, when a large tractor-trailer jackknifes, the vehicle is at further risk of rolling over. Jackknifes occur for a variety of reasons including slick roads due to rain, ice or snow, braking suddenly or engine failure.
- Brake failure. If an accident is caused by a commercial vehicle with no brakes, several people can potentially be held accountable including the driver, the trucking company and the truck manufacturer. Brake failure typically happens due to a malfunction, a defective part and/or failure to provide proper maintenance.
- Misc. driver error. Although truck drivers are required to obtain special licenses and training, accidents still happen due to truck driver error. Commercial truck accidents that occur due to driver error usually involve driver distraction(s), tailgating or other forms of misjudgment involving the distance of the truck to other cars or the actual vehicle itself.
What Are Some Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Trucking Accidents?
Being involved — and subsequently injured — in a trucking accident is overwhelming enough. Your mind is probably racing and filling with more and more questions by the minute. Know that there are people who can fight on your behalf and provide moral support throughout the complicated personal injury claim process involving a commercial vehicle accident.
To help give you a place to start, the following are three of the most frequently asked questions regarding commercial vehicle accidents:
- How Is Fault Determined?
Fault is determined in commercial vehicle accidents in a number of ways including analyzing evidence gathered from the scene — such as photos and witness testimony — that will help definitively determine who was at-fault. An experienced attorney can help you gather valuable evidence as well as protect evidence and research from other parties involved. This will further help him or her build the strongest case possible, giving you the best possible chance to receive maximum compensation.
- Can Both the Driver and the Trucking Company Be Held Liable?
one of their vehicles. For example, if the truck driver is proven to be an employee of the trucking company, then most likely the company will be held liable. However, if the driver is an independent contractor, then the trucking company cannot be held responsible. In those situations, you can sue the driver directly. The more parties that are involved, the more complicated and aggressive the legal proceedings become. Do not let that aspect intimidate you, however, because you have just as many options with one of our Houston truck accident lawyers on your side. Every situation is different, but that diversity is a welcome challenge to any of our attorneys. Armed with experience, any one of them have the aptitude and resources needed to help their clients receive a favorable ruling.
Depending on the circumstances, the driver, the trucking company as well as the truck manufacturer can be held responsible for an accident involving.
- Why Not Take the Settlement Offered by the Insurance Company?
It may seem like the simpler solution to just accept the settlement offered by the insurance company in a commercial trucking accident case. However, as we mentioned before, adjusters for these companies have the sole job of ensuring the smallest payout possible. Therefore, most initial offers from insurance companies are going to be the lowest possible amount. You deserve more than that. If you retain the employ of an experienced trucking accident lawyer, he or she can help you obtain a maximum amount of compensation for damages.
I Have Been Injured, What Do I Do? Schedule a Consultation Today
If you have been injured in a commercial truck accident, then your biggest focus should be on recovering. Allow one of the Houston truck accident lawyers at our law firm to help take some of the stress out of your situation by defending you and your rights, allowing you much needed time to focus on getting your health back.
A common concern when it comes to getting an attorney is the price. Fortunately, with Tilton & Tilton LLP, the answer is… it will not cost you anything. You owe us nothing unless we successfully recover money for you — and we will only take our payment from the compensation awarded, never from you directly. That means you have absolutely nothing to lose when you depend on the lawyers at Tilton & Tilton to fight your case. Our local Houston truck accident lawyers handle all the costs of litigation on 18-wheeler and other commercial vehicle accidents.
To prove that we mean what we say, we also offer complimentary consultations. During this consultation, one of our Houston truck accident lawyers can sit down with you and discuss your questions and concerns regarding your case in specific detail. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.