Waco Truck Accident Lawyer
Table of Contents
- Texas Truck Accident Statistics
- Causes of Big Rig Accidents
- When Should You Call a Waco Truck Accident Lawyer?
- Available Damages After a Texas Truck Accident
- Contact a Waco Truck Accident Lawyer at The Patel Firm Today for Help
Tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, 18 wheelers and other commercial vehicles are typically the largest and heaviest vehicles on Texas roadways. Any crash involving one could potentially be catastrophic for the occupants of any smaller vehicle. Unfortunately, an increasingly high number of commercial vehicle accidents happen each year in Texas. If you or someone you love suffered severe injuries or your loved one was killed in a truck accident in Texas, you should immediately seek legal representation. Contact us at The Patel Firm today by calling 254-312-2386. One of our Waco truck accident lawyers can review your case in a truck accident case consultation.
Texas Truck Accident Statistics
You may not have stopped to consider how many truck accidents occur in this state and the damage they cause. A review of the statistics can be both startling and frightening. According to the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):
- There were a total of 2,734 fatal crashes involving trucks and buses in 2019
- According to preliminary reports, 3,087 people died in those crashes
- Another 60,818 people were injured in accidents involving large trucks and buses
- A total of 122,331 vehicles were damaged or wrecked due to large truck and bus crashes
- In 2019, Texas was the deadliest state for large truck and bus accidents
- 462 people died, and another 7,399 were injured in 408 crashes last year
- A large truck or bus was involved in 12,523 Texas crashes in that same year
- The annual rate for fleet vehicle crashes is 20 percent; one out of every five wrecks in the U. S. involves a fleet vehicle.
- A typical U.S. driver usually travels 12,000 to 15,000 miles every year and has a 1 in 15 chance of being in a crash, while most fleet drivers travel at least 20,000 to 25,000 miles annually, increasing their chances of being involved in a crash
Even though you drive safely and obey the rules of the road, there’s no guarantee that big rig drivers will do the same. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about it. However, suppose you are involved in an accident with a semi-truck. In that case, you can contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible to pursue your legal options.
Causes of Big Rig Accidents
Most truck accidents are preventable as they are the result of driver negligence. Common causes of these often-catastrophic accidents include:
There’s no denying that truck driving is a high-pressure and high-stress occupation. Drivers are required to make deliveries within a short window of time, causing them to drive long distances with very little rest and not much break time. Drivers don’t get the quality of sleep or as many hours of sleep as they should, causing their coordination and concentration to decrease. They can fall asleep while driving and are slower to react to road situations.
The FMCSA mandates that truck drivers can only drive a specific number of hours before having rest or break times. They aren’t legally allowed behind the wheel until they have off time. However, many truck drivers and truck carriers don’t comply with these rules. The result is fatigued and drowsy drivers on the road who are at a higher risk of causing an injury or fatal accident.
Distracted driving is a problem anywhere you go and for many drivers. Anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the task of driving is a dangerous distraction. Of course, driving for long distances for hours on end can be tedious. Because of their boredom, truck drivers might turn to texting, talking on the phone, looking for music or a podcast, eating, or doing some other activity to keep themselves occupied. These actions cause the driver to concentrate on something other than the road and their big rig.
When a truck driver takes their eyes off the road, even for a split second, the possibility of disaster increases. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that ten percent of fatal crashes and 15 percent of injury crashes in 2015 were due to distracted driving.
Drugs and Alcohol
Unfortunately, some truck drivers turn to drugs and alcohol due to the stress or boredom from their jobs. The trucking industry has a high rate of alcohol and drug abuse. Many truckers turn to amphetamines and cocaine to keep themselves to stay awake while driving.
A Reuters study revealed that 30 percent of truck drivers admitted to taking amphetamines while working. A reported 20 percent used marijuana, and 3 percent used cocaine. While these drugs keep the drivers awake, albeit unnaturally, they also cause them to take more risks like driving faster, making unsafe lane changes, and making risky moves in poor weather. After the stimulants begin to wear off, drivers are more likely to fall asleep while driving.
Speeding and Overtaking
It’s not uncommon for truckers to drive faster than they should based on their vehicle size or road or weather conditions. They feel pressure if they can’t deliver their goods on time and their job is at risk, causing them to speed.
Passenger vehicle drivers have had to take many risks to get out of the way of semis barreling down the road after them. They sometimes need to swerve off the road or into other lanes of traffic, increasing the chances of an accident.
Improperly Loaded Cargo
You might not have thought about this, but safety regulations address the specific size, weight, length, height, and width of loads that trucks can handle. If they are carrying hazardous materials, additional restrictions apply. Suppose a truck’s cargo is improperly loaded. In that case, it can be too heavy and more likely to tip over due to a higher center of gravity. A truck tipping over could cause a devastating accident. Hazardous loads could cause fires or cause other dangerous situations.
Lack of Proper Training
Federal and sometimes local laws dictate how much and what kind of training truck drivers need before they can get behind the wheel themselves. However, some drivers and employers are too anxious to get on the road, and they don’t get the proper training they need or are mandated to have. Truck drivers need experience in all kinds of situations, such as rain and snow, to be prepared to drive independently. Without this training and experience, truckers and other motorists, and passengers are at risk.
Lack of Proper Truck Maintenance
Truck drivers are responsible for inspecting their rigs, and trucking carriers need to maintain their fleet. Due to time and expenses pressures, inspections and maintenance often don’t happen when they should. Skipping these crucial steps in the trucking industry can result in serious accidents. For example, semi-trucks can have a tire blow out or worn down brakes resulting in a tragic accident.
Who is Liable for Your Accident?
Unlike most other vehicle accidents, determining liability in a truck accident can be tricky. It’s usually best to hire an experienced Waco truck accident lawyer to investigate how the accident happened and who should be held accountable. Potential liable parties include:
- The truck driver
- Other drivers on the road
- The truck driver’s employer
- The manufacturer of the truck or one of its parts
- A government entity
Sometimes, multiple parties can be at fault for the same accident. In these cases, the concept of comparative fault applies. Each at-fault party agrees or is assigned by the court to a specific degree of liability. Each party pays the accident victim compensation for their damages proportionate to their degree of fault.
For example, suppose the truck driver was assigned 40 percent fault and the trucking company 60 percent fault. In that case, the truck driver would be liable for 40 percent of the damages, and the trucking company would be liable for 60 percent.
When Should You Call a Waco Truck Accident Lawyer?
No matter the extent of your accident or injuries, call an experienced Waco truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. Please don’t wait, as it can be detrimental to your legal rights and potential for monetary recovery.
Contacting a Waco truck accident attorney sooner rather than later helps ensure that:
- Your case is filed with the two-year statute of limitations provided by Texas laws
- Evidence can be collected in your case while it is still fresh
- You don’t have to deal with the insurance company and risk saying anything that could harm your claim
- The appropriate steps are being taken towards filing your claim, allowing you to heal and recover from your injuries
Available Damages After a Texas Truck Accident
Damages are the financial representation of your losses, pain, and inconveniences after an accident. After any personal injury, the injured party is entitled to receive compensation for their damages directly related to the cause of their injury. Damages can be economic or special and non-economic or general.
Economic damages are the ones that involve financial liability or losses and include:
- Lost wages or income
- Current and future medical and healthcare expenses
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
Non-economic damages refer to intangible losses. They can be hard to value and even harder to prove because they don’t come with an inherent value. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
Contact a Waco Truck Accident Lawyer at The Patel Firm Today for Help
Suppose you or a family member were injured in a commercial truck accident, and you want to pursue legal action to obtain the compensation you deserve. In that case, you must establish negligence on the part of the truck driver and any other parties that could be liable. At The Patel Firm, not only are our Waco truck accident attorneys familiar with the various tactics used by insurance companies to reduce the compensation you receive, but we also have a network of expert witnesses and investigators to explore every aspect of your accident.
Proving negligence can be a monumental task, especially while you are trying to recover from your injuries. Most truck accident victims turn to a skilled Waco truck accident attorney to represent their legal interests. If you want a fierce advocate on your side, reach out to a Waco truck accident attorney at The Patel Firm. To schedule a case review and learn more about our services, call 254-312-2386 or contact us online today.
“This is my first time ever using a lawyer to help me process an accident claim. Joanne walked me through every step of the way. No matter when I reached out to ask my lawyer a question I got a very quick response. This was done during the COVID-19 shut down which made it extra difficult but the lawyerAnd his staff kept me informed. I am grateful that he kept his word in every way to me. I would recommend them highly to anyone I know.”
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