Corpus Christi Trucking Accident Attorney
Involved in a Truck Accident or an 18-wheeler Accident?
18-wheelers and large trucks can cause massive damage and cause severe injuries including broken bones, head, neck, and back injuries, as well as catastrophic injuries and even death. An 18-wheeler can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. All too often, company drivers and 18-wheeler drivers are fatigued after driving multiple hours in a row, and are a risk to fall asleep at the wheel.
Even more common, is a poorly trained driver who is unable to properly maneuver the massive vehicle they have been asked to operate. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury after being hit by an 18-wheeler or large truck, call a Corpus Christi trucking accident attorney at The Patel Firm PLLC to discuss your options. Our Corpus Corpus Christi Trucking Accident Injury Lawyers make it our business to hold trucking companies accountable for their actions.
How can a trucking accident lawyer help after an accident?
Dealing With Insurance Companies after a trucking accident
It is never easy to deal with an insurance adjuster, especially by yourself. Insurance companies for trucking companies will always try to ensure they pay as little as possible in accident claims. This may not be enough to cover the damages and losses you suffered as a result of the accident. The injury accident lawyers in Corpus Christi at The Patel Firm PLLC have the experience needed after a trucking accident to understand the laws that back your claims and can get you a fair compensation to cover all your losses.
Trucking accidents usually have Multiple Responsible Parties
This is one of the unique aspects in which trucking accidents differ from other auto accidents. The person behind the wheel of the 18-wheeler may not be the only person responsible for the accident. Liability for the trucking accident may also lie with trucking companies, owners, truck manufacturers or spare parts manufacturers, and even agencies that hire a commercial carrier. It is possible that each of these people shares some faults for the accident, making the case more complex.
A personal injury lawyer can help with a Truck Accident Investigation
Getting to the root of the matter and determining the cause of the semi-truck accident in Corpus Christi will go a long way to ensure that you are properly compensated after a Corpus Christi 18-wheeler accident. This, however, requires detailed investigation and unlimited resources to determine the at-fault party and ensure justice prevails.
18-wheeler and Truck Accident Facts
18-wheelers, big rigs, semi-trucks, and everything in between can be menacing as they charge down the roadways. When the driver is negligent, and causes an accident, the injuries sustained from this type of collision can be devastating. 18-wheeler and big truck injuries can change lives in an instant. Here are just a few facts:
- In 2015, 4,311 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes.
- Around 500,000 trucking accidents occur every year in the United States.
- Commercial trucks, which can weigh up to 80,000 pounds.
- More than 15 million big trucks and 18-wheelers are operating in the United States at any given time.
Common Injuries after an 18-Wheeler or Truck Accident
- Lacerations and deep bruising
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head trauma and concussions
- Catastrophic Injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
Commercial Vehicle Crash Statistics in Corpus Christi, TX
WHAT TO DO, WHERE TO GO
Have you been involved in an 18-wheeler accident in Corpus Christi? As Corpus Christi 18 Wheeler accident lawyers, we are often asked what to do, and what not to do after a big truck accident or 18-wheeler accident. Review the sample questions and answers below if you have been involved in a Corpus Christi 18-wheeler accident for tips on where to go and what to do after being injured in an 18-wheeler crash.
What to do after an 18-wheeler accident in Corpus Christi:
- Go to the hospital: Truck accidents can cause neck and back injuries, broken bones, head trauma, even death.
- Don’t speak to the insurance company– After an auto wreck, the insurance company will try to force you into a quick settlement. Don’t.
- Protect your rights.
Corpus Christi Truck Accident FAQ
It’s easy to escape in the beauty of Corpus Christi’s panoramic landscapes and beachfront views. While observing these breathtaking views behind the wheel of a car, it’s important to stay focused on defensive driving. As you head out onto the highway or into local traffic, remember that accidents almost always occur when you are least expecting them.
Due to the sheer size and weight of large commercial trucks, they are particularly dangerous in the event of an accident. When a truck collides with an average passenger vehicle, it often causes serious damage and catastrophic injuries. Whether you’re out on a Sunday drive or just passing through, you must always prioritize staying safe on Corpus Christi’s roadways.
Large trucks provide critical services. They deliver goods to local businesses and provide critical public services. Just like the city’s scenic backdrops, they’re everywhere you go. That’s why we created our Corpus Christi Truck accident FAQ. We believe that it’s important to know more about these dangerous vehicles before a crash occurs.
What is a large truck?
Large trucks are the big rigs and tractor trailers commonly spotted on highways and local roads. Many large commercial trucks are used for distributing materials and consumer goods to local businesses. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) classifies tractor-trailer rigs according to their weight. A truck is considered “large” when it has a minimum gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 or more pounds.
Heavy large trucks can weigh far more depending on the type of trailer and cargo load. Based on a truck’s axles and trailer length, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles’ guidelines allow large trucks to reach a maximum of 80,000 pounds GVWR. State guidelines comply with the requirements set forth in federal transportation codes. However, weight may be a factor contributing to large truck accidents. The NHTSA reports that 80 percent of the trucks involved in fatal crashes weighed 26,000 pounds or more.
Are tractor-trailers the only types of large trucks?
Service and utility trucks have vehicle classes and weights that categorize them as large trucks or heavy large trucks. When service and utility trucks drive through local neighborhoods, they typically travel at low speeds. Even so, when these trucks are involved in a crash, they have the weight-driven power that can cause serious damage and injuries.
Some common service and utility trucks include:
- Dump trucks: 33,000 pounds or more
- Garbage trucks: 26,001 to 33,000 pounds
- Utility bucket trucks: 16,001 to 19,500 pounds
- Large tow trucks: 26,001 to 33,000 pounds
- Cement mixers: Over 33,001 pounds
Why are large trucks so dangerous?
Size and weight are the primary reasons why large trucks cause far more damage than other vehicles. Even at low-speed impacts, a large truck has the weight and force to destroy a smaller vehicle on impact. Private passenger vehicles weigh an average of 4,000 pounds. It makes sense that a 26,000 pound truck could easily crush a passenger vehicle’s safety and reinforcement structures causing injury to passengers.
When a large truck collides with a smaller vehicle, it is not uncommon that individuals involved sustain fatal injuries. Survivors of large truck collisions often suffer serious and devastating injuries, requiring long term treatment with significant economic costs. Even after maximum recovery, victims of catastrophic injuries often live with profound disabilities and limitations.
Do truckers cause frequent crashes?
The NHTSA’s “Traffic Safety Facts: Large Trucks“ documents national crash truck accident statistics through 2017. The Texas Department of Transportation’s 2018 Crash Data Analysis and Statistics site tracks collisions involving all types of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) across the state.
Both agencies provide unique information about Texas truck-accident crashes. For instance:
- 37,515 commercial motor vehicle crashes occurred in Texas during 2018, resulting in 611 fatalities.
- 294 CMV crashes occurred in Nueces County in 2018, resulting in 2 fatalities.
- Nationwide, heavy large trucks were involved in 79 percent of fatal truck accidents.
- 72 percent of the people killed in large truck accidents were occupants of the other vehicle, and 10 percent were pedestrians or bicyclists.
- Large trucks comprise only 4 percent of nationally registered vehicles but were involved in 9 percent of the crash fatalities.
- In Texas, 621 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes during 2017, the highest number nationwide.
- Truck drivers involved in large truck fatal accidents were 20.7 percent more likely to have had previously recorded crashes.
Where do most truck accidents occur?
Fatal large truck accidents rarely occur within Corpus Christi’s city limits, but they occur across the state’s interstates and highways every day.
The NHTSA included these location statistics in their national large truck crash report:
- 27 percent of all fatal large truck accidents occur on interstate highways.
- 58 percent of large truck crashes with fatalities took place in rural areas.
- 78 percent of fatal large truck crashes occurred during the week.
- 72 percent of these weekday accidents occurred during the day.
Why do truck crashes occur?
When the news media reports a truck accident, they talk about the damage and resulting injuries, but typically, the media fails to report who was at fault. Fault may be difficult to determine in an accident involving a large commercial truck.
Truck accidents are more complicated than those involving only passenger vehicles because when a truck is involved, multiple parties may share responsibility. Law enforcement officials rarely comment on causation until they have completed a thorough investigation. Some common contributing factors and circumstances resulting in large truck and private passenger accidents include:
Alcohol consumption. “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2017,” a U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) report, explains that 3.6 percent of truckers involved in accidents had a 0.01 percent or lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Another 2.5 percent of truckers involved in accidents had a BAC of 0.08 percent or more, which is the legal limit permitted for most drivers.
The percentage of truckers who test positive for alcohol consumption is relatively low compared to other categories of drivers. As truckers drive larger, more technically complex vehicles for long distances, consuming any amount of alcohol can dangerously impair their driving abilities.
The NHTSA reports that alcohol often causes driver impairments well before a driver’s blood alcohol concentration reaches 0.08 percent. By the time a driver’s BAC reaches 0.02 percent, he or she may experience poor judgment capacity, altered mood, and a decline in visual functioning. Considering a large truck’s size, load, and overall weight, no trucker should risk potential impairment behind the wheel.
Drug use. Americans commonly rely on prescription and over-the-counter medications to treat various health conditions. Additionally, drugs that alter an individual’s physical and emotional state are frequently used recreationally. Whether a trucker is taking a prescription drug or using legal medical marijuana, they should refrain from driving if their motor skill functioning is impaired.
As more states legalize marijuana use, drug-impaired driving is becoming more problematic. Most states have laws that prohibit driving under the influence of drugs, whether legal or illegal. However, unlike alcohol, there are no tests or standards to determine when a prescription or recreational drug impairs a driver’s ability.
Speeding. The U.S. DOT’s reported that truckers don’t necessarily have a major problem with traveling at excessive speeds. The highest fatality rates were recorded from accidents occurring when truckers were traveling at speeds between 50 and 55 miles per hour. For truckers, environmental conditions and the distance required to safely stop the vehicle are more problematic than speeding.
The faster the speed of a truck, the longer the distance required to safely stop the vehicle. Truckers often fail to reduce their speeds to accommodate inclement weather, pavement, traffic, or other conditions.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) explains that large trucks require a much greater stopping distance than a typical vehicle. A fully loaded tractor-trailer rig traveling at 65 miles per hour requires a stopping distance the length of two football fields. Even when a driver recognizes an imminent hazard, they often don’t have enough time to safely come to a complete stop.
Distracted driving. As with all other motor vehicle accidents, distracted driving commonly contributes to causing truck accidents. The National Transportation Safety Board (“NSTB”) considers personal electronic devices a major source of distraction for all drivers. The Board found that the use of any electronic device creates a distraction affecting a trucker’s ability to operate and maneuver their vehicles safely.
FMCSA regulations require all truck drivers to comply with texting and mobile phone restrictions. Commercial truckers are prohibited from reading a received text or creating a response while driving. If a trucker must use a phone while driving, the phone must be accessible while wearing a seatbelt. Permitted phone use requires truckers to utilize an earpiece, and the device must allow voice-activated or one-touch calling.
The NTSB strongly believes the restrictions should further limit truckers’ use of phones. The Board recommends banning truckers use of all personal electronic devices while operating a large truck.
Cargo securement. The FMCSA’s Cargo Securement Rules establish guidelines for safely loading and securing cargo for transport. Even when a loading contractor or shipper loads a flatbed or trailer, the truck driver remains responsible for ensuring the load is properly secured. Cargo that has been improperly loaded and inadequately secured by shift, commonly contributing to truck jackknife or turn over accidents.
Drowsy driving. Insufficient rest and poor quality sleep can significantly impair a trucker’s driving abilities. However, as the NHTSA acknowledges, proving that driver drowsiness contributed to causing an accident is often difficult to prove. Drowsy driving is especially problematic among truckers due to shipping deadlines, long hours on the road, personal issues, sleep quality, and health concerns.
The NTSB recognizes that fatigue-related accidents are an underreported aspect of the problem. Unlike drugs or alcohol, when drowsy driving contributes to a crash, it leaves no evidence behind. Most truckers now use Electronic Logging Devices to digitally track compliance with the FMCSAs Hours of Service guidelines.
Medical issues. As truckers are primarily older individuals, the NTSB has found that weight and health issues are common among truck drivers. Age and unhealthy weight commonly contribute to obstructive sleep apnea. When the condition isn’t diagnosed or treated, it may lead to inadequate sleep and trucker fatigue. Other health conditions can also contribute to drowsy driving, which the NHTSA considers a risky driving behavior.
Do truckers undergo professional training?
Truck drivers must be highly trained to operate big rigs and transport heavy loads. New commercial drivers take classes to master the skills and ensure compliance with Federal, State, and local Commercial Driver’s License Guidelines. Depending on a trucker’s driving specialty, they must successfully meet technical qualifications to earn a Class A, B, or C Commercial Driver’s License designation. By nature, safe driving and maneuvering skills, oftentimes, can only be mastered through experience on the roadways.
Unfortunately, education alone cannot prevent common truck accidents. Regardless of training and experience, some truckers still engage in the types of behaviors that lead to serious crashes. To minimize the potential risks, federal codes have always maintained that individuals must be at least 21 years old to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License. However, due to recent trucker shortages, the age requirements are changing.
The FMCSA recently implemented an Under 21 Pilot Program for young adults interested in obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License. Candidates must be at least 18 years old and have military training and experience. The requirements of the program aim to minimize safety issues as more young drivers may be permitted to operate large trucks.
Who is legally liable for truck crash damages and injuries?
When a trucker causes an accident, he is primarily responsible for his negligent actions. Unless he is self-employed and personally owns the truck, other parties may share responsibility for a trucker’s actions.
Potentially liable parties may include:
- Trucking companies: If a trucker is working as an employee, his employer typically shares liability for his actions. An employer may be liable for negligent hiring practices if they knew of a driver’s poor record (or should have known) and allowed him to drive anyway. Trucking companies monitor and enforce trucker training and licensing standards. United States Transportation codes also require that trucking companies randomly test truckers for alcohol and substance abuse.
- Truck owners: If a separate company leases the truck to a trucking company, the owner of the truck may share liability for the driver’s actions or the truck’s performance defects.
- Independent Contractors: When an independent service provider performs maintenance and repairs, they may be liable if an accident was caused by inadequate maintenance or failed repairs.
- Truck manufacturers: A manufacturer may be liable when a truck defect or component defect causes or contributes to an accident.
- Shipping contractors: When a load shift causes an accident, the company that loaded the trailer or flatbed may share responsibility for their negligent actions.
Do you need an attorney if you’re injured in a truck accident?
Yes. If a truck accident injures you or your family member, consult us. Experienced personal injury attorneys regularly fight for the rights of injured victims to seek the compensation they are entitled to. Truck accidents often involve complicated liability and damage issues. Undoubtedly, commercial trucking companies, insurance company investigators, and defense attorneys will be involved. A trustworthy attorney can ensure your legal rights are asserted and protected.
When you consult with an attorney, you have no obligation to proceed with a claim or a lawsuit. A consultation allows you to share information about your accident and learn more about your legal options. Consult our Corpus Christi truck accident attorneys today.
Contact a Corpus Christi Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or your loved ones have been seriously injured in a commercial truck accident in Corpus Christi, Texas, you should consult with a Corpus Christi truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Whether you need a trucking accident lawyer in Corpus Christi, Dallas, or anywhere else in Texas, experienced accident lawyer Minesh J. Patel of The Patel Firm PLLC will fight hard and not let up until greedy corporate defendants are held responsible for injuring innocent victims.
Getting a fair settlement for a truck accident in Corpus Christi with a corporate defendant isn’t easy. You will be aggressively represented by our truck accident lawyers in Corpus Christi from The Patel Firm PLLC. From the moment you call our Corpus Christi personal injury law firm for legal representation, we guarantee we will work hard and efficiently to get you the justice you deserve.
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