Austin Truck Accident Attorney
Car accidents of any type cause painful injuries, but most often the damage involved in passenger vehicle crashes is minor compared to the devastation caused by an 18 wheeler accident. Large commercial trucks dwarf all other passenger vehicles and motorcycles on the road, and the injuries caused by accidents between these groups of motorists are catastrophic. Many of these accidents are the result of driver or company negligence, and victims may be entitled to reimbursement.
Distracted driving is a serious problem throughout the country, and a trucker who texts or does not give their full attention to the road can cause serious personal injury if they change lanes without looking for neighboring vehicles or fail to stop in time. Commercial drivers who operate their trucks while intoxicated can also create extremely dangerous situations for all drivers and passengers. Many collisions result in underride accidents, during which a vehicle becomes lodged beneath the truck, most often leading to fatalities and very serious injuries.
Don’t wait to contact an Austin truck accident attorney at Loewy Law Firm today if a truck driver’s reckless or careless actions caused your truck accident and injuries. Contact us online or call us at (512) 280-0800 to schedule a free case review. We’ll help you understand your rights and legal options.
Austin Truck Accidents: By-the-Numbers
Truck accidents are a significant problem on Texas roadways, including those in Austin and the surrounding area. Here are a few statistics pulled from a report on commercial vehicle crashes in 2019 that was put together by the Texas Department of Transportation:
- There were 39,193 truck accidents across Texas in 2019.
- Statewide, there were 543 fatal crashes involving large trucks, leading to the deaths of 613 people.
- In all of Texas, there were 1,471 people suspected of sustaining a serious injury from large truck crashes in 2019. There were an additional 13,670 people who were reported to have sustained “non-incapacitating” injuries or possible injuries in large truck crashes.
- While the state data does not have numbers for individuals cities, there are figures for the number of crashes in specific counties. In Travis County, 17 people died in large truck accidents in 2019.
- It’s believed that 28 people in Travis County sustained serious injuries in truck crashes in 2019. Additionally, 357 people sustained non-incapacitating injuries or possible injuries in truck accidents.
Who Is At Fault?
Unfortunately, many trucking accidents could have been prevented. An Austin injury lawyer can conduct an investigation to gather evidence and determine what factors contributed to the collision. Driver carelessness or reckless operation of the truck may be to blame, and in many cases, these drivers’ records show prior incidents of the same nature. Other times, the driver has no fault in the accident.
Here are a few of the different parties who may liable for a truck accident:
- The truck driver – The driver of the truck is always the first party to look at when it comes to determining liability for an accident. There are many different ways a truck driver could have been acting negligently at the time of the crash and, therefore, be held liable for your injuries. Some examples include:
- Driving after abusing drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving
- Driving while fatigued (truck drivers often go for long hours without rest to make sure they make their delivery deadlines)
- Aggressive driving (making unsafe lane changes or merges, failing to check blind spots before making turns, etc.)
- Inexperience handling large trucks
- The trucking company – Many truck drivers work as independent contractors, but trucking companies still have certain responsibilities when it comes to the behavior of the drivers they hire. Trucking companies should make sure their drivers have been adequately trained, don’t have any prior convictions for DUI or moving violations, and are following proper safety guidelines. In particular, trucking companies need to make sure their drivers are following federal rules regarding rest breaks, as driving while fatigued is a common cause of many truck accidents.
- The manufacturer of the truck – Like all modern vehicles, trucks are made up of thousands of smaller parts, and a defective or worn part can end up having catastrophic consequences if it leads to an accident. If there was a design or manufacturing defect with the truck, the maker of the vehicle can be held liable for your injuries.
- Parts manufacturers – Sometimes, truck drivers or trucking companies have additional parts installed or replaced on a truck that were not designed or made by the truck’s original manufacturer. If any of these parts are defective and cause a crash, the maker of the part could be held liable.
- Maintenance and loading companies – It’s easy for large commercial trucks to become unstable if their cargo isn’t loaded properly, leading to an accident. Likewise, sometimes a truck’s cargo comes loose in transit and causes a crash. In these cases, whoever loaded the cargo onto the truck may be liable for your injuries. Finally, maintenance personnel can be held liable for a crash if they failed to notice a worn or defective part on a truck and their failure contributed to the accident.
Tragically, countless crashes that killed truck drivers or left them with broken bones or brain trauma were caused by trucking company negligence. Companies’ failure to properly maintain their vehicles and keep their equipment up to safety standards leads to terrible injury and wrongful death. It is imperative that victims contact an experienced law firm as soon as possible to investigate the scene and company records.
Proving Negligence After a Truck Accident
Truck drivers and their employers will put up a significant fight to avoid being held liable for a crash and having to pay you for your injuries. However, an experienced and knowledgeable truck accident attorney can help you gather the evidence you need to hold the liable parties accountable for their actions. Here are a few examples of the evidence that can be used in these cases:
- Police accident reports – Law enforcement agencies are generally required to investigate any accident in which someone is severely injured or dies. As part of their investigation, they’ll interview the various drivers and look at other factors to determine the cause of the crash. They may issue a citation for fault, which can be used as part of your truck accident claim.
- The truck’s electronic data recorder – Though they’re not required, many trucking companies install electronic data recorders in their vehicles to better monitor their drivers and the vehicle’s performance. This device can show the driver’s speed and other data in the moments leading up to a crash, which may indicate if the driver was speeding or engaged in other negligent driving behavior.
- Photos and video of the crash scene – Crash scene photos and surveillance footage may help indicate whether the driver applied the brakes or took evasive maneuvers to avoid an accident. If the driver did not attempt to avoid the crash, they may have been distracted or been impaired by drugs or alcohol.
- The truck driver’s logs – Truck drivers are generally required to keep detailed logs of when and where they stop along their routes. If the driver did not take enough rest brakes, their driving performance may have been compromised, in which case they may be held liable for a crash.
- Records from the truck driver’s employer – Trucking companies are responsible for vetting and keeping an eye on the drivers they employ. They likely have records on whether or not the driver has a prior history of being involved in accidents, if they have been found guilty of abusing alcohol or drugs, and what kind of training the driver received. If the trucking company failed to thoroughly vet the driver or ignored questionable behavior in the driver’s past, the company may be partially liable for the crash.
- Eyewitness testimony – Another driver or pedestrian may have seen the crash and can offer their testimony about what happened. For example, they may have seen the truck driver run a red light or witnessed the driver using their cell phone prior to the accident.
Why Are Truck Accident Claims Different From Car Accident Claims?
You might be wondering why you need a lawyer with experience handling truck accident claims after an accident instead of a standard car accident attorney. Though car accidents and truck accidents are similar in many respects, there are a few important distinctions, such as:
- The injuries are generally more severe in truck accidents – Trucks can be anywhere from 20 to 30 times heavier than an SUV, and they sit higher off the road. This means that when a truck hits a passenger vehicle, it hits with much more force and at a much more vulnerable point than if the accident involved two cars. More impact force and the higher point of impact usually means the injuries in truck accidents are more intense.
- There are more potentially liable parties – Where most car accidents are primarily the fault of one negligent driver, that’s not the case with truck accidents. The truck driver may have played a significant role in causing the crash, but their employer and other parties may also be to blame. More potentially liable parties mean a much more complicated claims process, and it will take more work to get full compensation for your injuries.
- Trucking companies have more resources than the average individual – Trucking companies will fight most accident claims to avoid having to pay out a significant sum to make up for your injuries. They can afford legal resources most people simply can’t match.
Compensation After a Truck Accident
Getting help from a truck accident attorney is essential if you want your best chance of recovering full compensation for your injuries after a crash. Here are some of the things you could potentially be compensated for:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Lost wages if you had to take time off work because of your injuries
- Diminished capacity to earn a living if your injuries led to some type of disability
- Current and future medical bills
- Vehicle repairs, replacement of your vehicle, and damaged personal property
Why Do I Need an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, you should make sure you get a lawyer who has experience handling these kinds of cases. Truck accident cases are harder to prove than car accident claims, and a truck accident lawyer will know how to find and preserve the necessary evidence you’ll need to obtain maximum compensation for your injuries. It’s important to act quickly after a truck accident, as the truck driver or their employer may try to hide or destroy crucial evidence, such as the driver’s logs or the truck’s data recorder.
Furthermore, there’s often more at stake for the victims of truck accidents, which makes it more important to get an experienced truck accident lawyer to represent you. Truck accident victims tend to sustain greater injuries than car accident victims, and a knowledgeable truck accident attorney can help you get full compensation for what you’ve been through.
Fighting For Truck Accident Victims In Austin, Texas
The Loewy Law Firm is dedicated to defending the rights of the injured, and if you or a loved one has been hurt in a collision involving a semi-truck or an 18-wheeler, we encourage you to contact us for a consultation with an Austin personal injury attorney from our team. Truck accidents can be incredibly frightening, in addition to frequently causing the victims to suffer devastating and life-changing injuries, and they are often avoidable. Mr. Loewy will personally work on your case, giving you the support of a Super Lawyer and a lifetime member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum®. We can fight to help you hold the trucker accountable for your medical bills, your lost income, and pain and suffering, and are ready to begin helping you.
When a big rig truck hits the brakes, the trailer will sometimes maintain its speed and swing around on the hitch, posing the risk of a catastrophic collision on the road. Following vehicles may be forced into a crash as the trailer sits across the road, while a car riding alongside the truck can be caught and pinned against the truck as it swings closed.
An underride accident can be a terrifying experience, and will often cause the victims to suffer devastating injuries or death. Semi-truck trailers sit high enough above the ground that a small passenger vehicle will sometimes pass underneath when the truck changes lanes without looking or hits the brakes suddenly, creating a highly dangerous situation.
Truck Driver Fatigue
A tired truck driver poses a major threat to everyone on the road, and when one causes a collision the victims have a right to demand compensation. The Federal Government attempts to keep tired truckers off the road with strict Hours of Service regulations, but many break the rules in an effort to meet stiff delivery deadlines.
Delivery Truck Accidents
Our firm represents the rights of accident victims following collisions with all types of trucks, from interstate 18-wheelers to local delivery trucks. If the truck driver is at fault for the accident, you have a right to claim full compensation for the injuries you have suffered.
When a big truck rolls over on a road or highway, everyone is at risk of severe injuries or death-not only the truck driver. Semi-truck rollovers often occur as a result of cornering at recklessly high speeds and are frequently attributable to truck driver negligence.
Drunk Driving Truck Accidents
Commercial truck drivers are generally held to higher standards than others in testing for blood alcohol content in drunk-driving investigations and can be held accountable for causing accidents while driving under the influence of alcohol.
While many trucking accidents are caused by the trucker’s mistakes or recklessness, others can be attributed to negligence on the part of the trucking company, such as in improperly maintaining the vehicle, improperly securing cargo, or in failing to take action to discipline drivers who violate laws and safety regulations.
Inexperienced Truck Drivers
A large percentage of all collisions involving semi-trucks and 18-wheelers are caused by truck drivers who lack the proper experience and training to avoid such accidents. If your accident was caused by an inexperienced trucker, we may be able to help you recover a settlement to cover all the costs associated with your injuries.
Truck Driver Negligence
Recovering a settlement for your injuries depends on proving that the trucker’s negligence is the cause of your accident. Common examples of trucker negligence include driving while fatigued or drunk, staying on the road in unsafe weather, or driving recklessly or at unsafe speeds.
Unsafe Lane Changes
Big trucks have large blind spots, and it is easy for a trucker to cause a collision by changing lanes without properly checking to see if another vehicle is in the way. If you were injured in a sideswipe or underride accident, let us fight for your right to a fair settlement.
Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents
Here are a few common questions we get about truck accidents:
Are truck drivers required to take breaks?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets the rules for how long truck drivers can be on the road without taking a break. Truck drivers can work for 14 consecutive hours after being off-duty for ten or more seductive hours. Furthermore, a driver can only be behind the wheel for 11 hours of the 14-hour work window. Drivers are also required to take a 30-minute break if it’s been more than eight hours since their last break, and they can only work 60 or 70 hours in any seven- or eight-day work period, depending on the nature of their schedule.
Are there minimum training requirements for truck drivers?
The requirements to obtain a commercial driver’s license are generally set at the state level, not by the federal government. For example, in Texas, a driver is required to passion a knowledge test as well as a skills test and may be required to take a medical exam. As such, these requirements tend to be fairly lax, meaning some truck drivers are hired with only a minimum of training and may not receive much supervision once they’re hired.
What kind of maintenance records are truck drivers and trucking companies required to keep?
The FMCSA does have certain mandatory maintenance requirements for commercial vehicles, including annual inspections. However, truck drivers and trucking companies aren’t always as careful to follow these rules as they should be, meaning crucial maintenance is sometimes overlooked.
Contact an Austin, Texas, Truck Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident caused by a negligent driver, don’t hesitate to contact an Austin truck accident attorney at Loewy Law Firm today. We have the experience and resources needed to take on large trucking companies and their insurance companies, and we’ll fight aggressively and strategically for the full financial recovery you need. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation by calling (512) 280-0800 or reaching out to us online.