Truck Accidents

TRUCK ACCIDENTS IN HOUSTON

According to the US Department of Transportation, about 125 thousand injury-producing truck and bus accidents occurred in 2016. Nearly 5 thousand of these accidents resulted in fatalities. The trend is even increasing; the number of fatal truck and bus crashes increased by 9% and the number of injury-producing truck and bus accidents increased by 22%. The Houston area, as one of the nation’s largest and most profitable ports and transportation centers, is home to many trucking and transportation companies. In light of these figures, this trend, and the context of Houston and Texas as a whole, it is no wonder many Houstonians and Texans consider their legal rights following a major truck accident.

COMMON CAUSES OF TRUCK ACCIDENTS

Many factors can contribute to a serious trucking accident. The massive size of large transport trucks tragically makes each of these even more egregious and harmful than in accidents involving standard passenger vehicles. Among the many possible causes of truck accidents are the following:

  • Speeding – An eighteen wheeler can weigh 80,000 lbs., or 40 tons. This is over 20 times the weight of the average midsize or large car. Because the force of an impact is proportionate to the vehicle’s mass, trucks are exceptionally dangerous at high speed and high-speed truck or 18 wheeler collisions can be catastrophic.
  • Driver inattention and carelessness – In light of trucks’ size and mass, simple driver inattention can be costly to a truck accident victim. Regulations impose strict hours requirements ensure wakefulness and alertness at the wheel and reduce the likelihood of fatigue and inattention. Despite these stringent regulations, driver inattention can still cost a truck accident victim dearly.
  • Failure to yield
  • Impairment – Use of impairing substances, such as drugs and alcohol, is uniquely egregious in the case of 18 wheeler accidents. Evidence of impairing substances can irreparably damage a trucking company’s defense.
  • Vision blockage
  • Failure to keep a single lane

WHAT TO DO AFTER A TRUCK ACCIDENT

Your first priority should be your health. If you are seriously injured, seek medical attention right away. If possible, collect the other driver’s contact and insurance information, which will be instrumental in resolving the matter. Take photos of the vehicles and accident scene as evidence to support your claim. Consider calling the police. The dispatched officer will write a crash report documenting the entire incident. Carefully ponder your account when the officer requests your statement. Finally, be mindful of your words at the accident site. Your exact language may attract scrutiny by insurance adjusters and attorneys.

INJURIES YOU MAY HAVE SUSTAINED DUE TO YOUR TRUCK ACCIDENT

Because the force of a collision is proportionate to the vehicle’s mass, even a low-speed impact can cause significant injury. Common truck accident injuries include the following:

  • Neck injuries:  These are among the most common and include herniated and fractured cervical discs, soft tissue strains, and whiplash. Neck injuries occur due to the rapid back and forth movement caused by a sudden change in motion.
  • Back injuries: Back injuries are also among the most common injuries. These include herniated and fractured thoracic and lumbar discs, soft tissue strains, and ligament sprains. Like neck injuries, back injuries occur due to the the rapid back and forth movement caused by a sudden change in motion.
  • Brain and head injuries: Though less common than neck and back injuries, brain and head injuries include traumatic brain injuries, subdural hematomas, lacerations, fractured or broken skull, and chipped teeth. These injuries occur when a driver or passenger’s head strikes another object or person inside the vehicle or, in the event of catastrophic accidents, when the collision’s force ejects a driver or passenger from the vehicle.
  • Rib and collarbone injuries These injuries include fractured, bruised, and broken ribs and collarbones and occur when a driver’s chest impacts the steering wheel or when a passenger’s chest collides with the dashboard. These injuries may even occur when one’s body rapidly and suddenly presses against the shoulder belt.
  • Lower body injuries: Lower body injuries may occur when one’s knees forcefully strike the lower steering wheel, center console, or any other interior vehicle component. These injuries vary from lacerations and bruises to broken bones.
  • Psychological injuries: While most truck accident injuries manifest physically, psychological injuries, though rare, may also result from catastrophic accidents. These injuries are more likely in the case of truck accidents due to truck accidents’ greater severity. For example, some accident victims involved in truck accidents can no longer sleep for long periods of time or experience violent hallucinations when inside the driver’s seat of a vehicle. These disturbances require assessment and treatment by mental health professionals.
  • Wrongful death

YOUR OPTIONS FOLLOWING A TRUCK ACCIDENT

Truck accident victims face two options: negotiate alone or recruit a sophisticated truck accident lawyer. Truck accidents generally represent higher stakes matters than typical car accidents due to greater severity of injury. Insurers will fight aggressively to end the matter as quickly as possible while minimizing your compensation. Due to lack of knowledge of their legal rights, our justice system, and the industry, insurers’ swift, low offers tempt many claimants. Many unrepresented claimants do not realize they can greatly improve their resolution by hiring a sophisticated attorney.

A smart, diligent lawyer can achieve a superior resolution of your case while you concentrate on treatment and recovery. When working with Diab Law Firm, you’ll receive zealous advocacy, personalized attention, and advice every step of the way. You will owe nothing unless the Firm wins your case.

WHAT YOU CAN RECOVER WITH THE HELP OF A TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYER

A severe truck accident can impact many aspects of a victim’s life, from personal relationships to health. Among the damages you may recover are:

  • Medical and treatment expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of companionship
  • Pain and suffering
  • Cost of lifestyle changes

Call to discuss your individualized damage model. The consultation is free.

FAQ’s

Why hire a personal injury attorney?

Hiring a sophisticated truck accident attorney significantly advantages you in negotiating with insurance companies. In fact, many insurance companies quickly extend low offers or entirely deny liability hoping that you will take the offer or entirely dismiss any recovery before and without consulting an attorney. Hiring an experienced attorney demonstrates that you mean business. DLF strives to maximize existing offers, reverse denials of liability, and ensure you leave happy with the resolution of your case.

How much do you charge?

Diab Law Firm charges nothing up front, and you will owe nothing unless the Firm wins your case. DLF will advance all costs, even the cost of litigation, so you will never go out-of-pocket for your case.

What can I recover in my personal injury claim?

A skilled attorney will construct a damage model for your case and can help you recover the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of companionship
  • Pain and suffering

Call to discuss your individualized damage model. The consultation will be free.

How long will it take to resolve my case?

It depends. The length of a case turns on many factors, such as the facts of the accident, the insurance companies involved, the extent of injuries, whether litigation is required, and many other factors.

Do I have a case?

You might. The viability of each case depends on factors too numerous to list here. Please call for a free, no-obligation case assessment.

The insurance company is denying my claim. Can you still help?

Very possibly so. The expertise of an attorney with knowledge of the industry and of our justice system can easily turn the tides in your favor. Call to see if we can turn your claim denial into another successful case.

I did not feel pain at the accident scene, but I feel pain now. Is this normal?

Yes, this is normal. The pain associated with car accidents commonly does not begin until later that evening, the day after the accident, or even multiple days after the accident. This delayed onset makes prompt treatment imperative.

I did not call the police at the accident scene. Do I still have a case?

You might. Calling the police at the accident scene can be helpful because it prompts the dispatched officer to write a crash report. While crash reports constitute useful documentation of the accident and may help resolve a case, the lack of a crash report does not necessarily doom your case. Call to see if DLF can succeed in your case even without a crash report.

There is a mistake on the crash report or the crash report faults me instead of the other driver. Do I still have a case?

Though not usually helpful, mistakes on crash reports do not necessarily doom your case. A sophisticated attorney can help you overcome crash report errors, as we have done for our clients.

Will my case go to court?

Probably not. DLF strives to resolve cases as early as possible to minimize expenses and help clients quickly. Though the Firm prepares every case for the possibility of trial, most cases, even those that require some litigation, do not proceed to trial.

Should I return to work?

This question invokes both legal and medical issues. Under Texas law, a claimant generally bears a duty to mitigate damages. In other words, you probably should return to work if you can. However, if your doctor issues instructions limiting your motions at work or prohibiting you from working altogether due to medical necessity, your duty to mitigate under the law does not obligate you to continue working in the same way or at all, respectively. Always request your doctor’s instructions in writing.

References:

“Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service.” Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Analysis Division, March 2015, https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/Drivers%20Guide%20to%20HOS%202015_508.pdf.

“Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2017.”  U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Analysis Division, March 2019, https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/safety/data-and-statistics/452366/ltcbf-2017-early-release-3-13-2019.pdf.

Zikel, Ofer M. “The First Steps of Recovery After a Car Accident.” Aurora Health Care, 25 July 2018, https://www.aurorahealthcare.org/patients-visitors/blog/the-first-steps-of-recovery-after-a-car-accident.

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