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Hours of Service Regs for Truck Drivers in Texas

 

Truck drivers in Houston, Texas, even if they drive out of the state boundary lines, specific laws apply to their conduct and working hours to keep others on the road safe. As a Texas truck accident law firm, we would like to take a moment to explain some of the hours-of-service regulations to truck accident victims to help them understand how these rules can impact their cases.

Fatigued Driver Statistics

Regs for Driving Hours of Big RigsThis is vital to understand since non-compliance with either state or federal regulations can result in legal implications for truck drivers or trucking companies, depending on the situation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) noted that around 91,000 vehicular accidents happen annually due to drowsy driving. In addition, fatigued driving contributes to approximately 800 deaths each year. Not to mention, every year, 50,000 injuries occur from accidents involving a weary driver.

Shockingly, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that one out of 25 adult drivers admitted to falling asleep while driving in the past month.

Based on other statistics from the CDC, commercial drivers are one of the groups of individuals most at risk for drowsy driving. This revolves around long-distance commercial truck drivers who log quite a few hours. Of course, it doesn’t help that some trucking companies provide financial incentives to those who make it from one city to another in a short amount of time, leading to drivers taking few breaks and not sleeping as they should.

Why the Need for Regulations

When a person is running on too little sleep, their reaction time slows, so they may have difficulty making quick decisions on the road. The effects of driving after not getting enough sleep are comparable to drunk driving.

Lawmakers took notice of the dangers of fatigued driving and decided to create driving limits and sleep requirements to keep the driver and others on the road safe.

Rules for Intrastate Drivers

All truck drivers who deliver in Texas alone, meaning they don’t travel out of the state lines, are subject to state hours of service laws in Texas as opposed to federal regulations.

The Federal HOA Rules

Firstly, all drivers must have eight consecutive hours off before starting every shift. Once Texas truck drivers have those eight hours off and return, they can only remain on duty for 15 straight hours.

State laws in Texas require intrastate drivers only drive for up to 12 consecutive hours maximum. Over seven days, a driver may only be on duty for 70 hours. After 34 hours of being off duty, the seven-day period resumes, and the driver may work up to another 70 hours a week. Many violations are discovered only after a lawsuit is filed and a truck accident lawyer investigates the crash.

Vehicles Hauling Property

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a driver has an 11-hour driving limit after having 10 consecutive hours off when they’re hauling cargo.

Moreover, when the driver hauls cargo, the law states they may not be on duty beyond the 14th straight hour after their shift begins. Before that shift, they must have at least 10 consecutive hours off.

The “on duty” time includes any time the driver spends unloading or loading or any other responsibilities besides driving.

Even if the driver has a longer period off, it doesn’t extend the time they can drive.

Vehicles Hauling Passengers

Passenger-carrying vehicles have more restrictive laws. The driver may only drive for 10 consecutive hours after at least eight hours when they’re not on duty. Those hauling passengers can’t drive after they’ve been on duty for 15 hours. Before those hours on duty hours, the individual must have had at least eight hours when they were off duty.

Drivers who carry passenger vehicles must only work for 15 hours at a time, which includes pick-up times. Before those 15 hours, the driver must have at least 10 hours off duty.

Remember that the off-duty time doesn’t count toward the 15-hour timeframe when they can work.

Break Time Requirements

Hours a Truck Driver can workIf a driver who hauls cargo has been driving for eight continuous hours without 30 minutes of non-driving throughout the shift, they need a 30-minute break. The break may include them being on duty but not driving. There needs to be a break time law for passengers who carry passengers.

Seven-Day Driving Limits

A driver who carries cargo may only drive for 60 to 70 hours when being on for seven or eight consecutive days. The seven or eight-hour-consecutive period resumes after a driver has a 34-hour or longer period without being on duty. Then, they may drive for another 60 to 70 hours.

When a driver carries passengers, they may not drive more than 60 to 70 hours in a stretch of seven to eight straight days.

Sleeper Berth Requirements Drivers

With a sleeper berth, their vehicles are subject to specific laws regarding how much time they spend in the berth. For instance, a driver who carries cargo must have at least 10 hours off duty. This time includes both the time in and out of the sleeper berth.

Off duty rulesDuring this time off, they need at least seven hours in the sleeper berth. The time may be broken up, but at least seven consecutive hours must be spent in the sleeper berth. The off-duty time doesn’t count toward the 14-hour driving window.

When drivers carry passengers, they must have a minimum of eight hours in the sleeper berth. It can be split into two periods. However, both periods may be at least two hours.

Special Considerations

Drivers who haul passengers may extend their driving and on-duty time by two hours. The same applies to drivers who carry cargo.

The driving limits are more lenient during the holiday season, from December 10th to December 25th, for drivers who make deliveries to department stores. However, this only applies to those who deliver within a 100-mile radius of their starting location.

Driving Log Requirements

Any driver following FMCSA regulations must keep an accurate log of their driving times to prove they were compliant with federal regulations regarding dr. In addition, Texas has also made it mandatory for intrastate drivers to keep a log of driving times.

Special Rules for Truckers Operating only in Texas (intrastate)

As you’ll notice, Texas laws for intrastate driving are less restrictive than federal laws. Rules for Interstate Driving Texas drivers traveling between states have federal regulations to adhere to rather than state laws. These laws are more restrictive for the driver.

GENERAL RULE – All Carriers – Intrastate in Texas (37 TAC 4.12)

12-Hour Rule (37 TAC 4.12(a)(2))

Drivers are allowed to drive for 12 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty.

15-Hour Rule (37 TAC 4.12(a)(2))

A motor carrier cannot permit or require a driver to drive after 15 hours are spent on duty following 8 consecutive hours off-duty. NOTE: Drivers in intrastate commerce violating the 12 or 15-hour limits shall be placed out-of-service for eight consecutive hours.

70-Hour Rule (37 TAC 4.12(b)(2))

A motor carrier must not permit or require a driver to drive after being on duty 70 total duty hours in seven days. A driver may restart a 7 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off-duty.

Implications for Driving Beyond the Hours of Service

Regulations Federal and state agencies ensure truck drivers comply with the hours-of-service regulations. If a trucker violates the law, the trucking company can receive a fine based on the misconduct.

If an accident occurs and involves a drowsy truck driver who violated the laws regarding hours-of-service regulations. In that case, the truck driver and the motor carrier may be responsible for negligence and its consequences. In this case, the person filing a lawsuit against the driver may be awarded compensation for any injuries based on the grounds of negligence.

If you’re injured in an accident, you must remain compliant with driving restrictions based on whether you drive within your state or outside the state lines. The laws also vary for drivers who haul cargo versus those who carry passengers. Therefore, the truck accident attorney you select for your case must know the laws that can help prove your case.

Contact The Houston Truck Accident Lawyers for Help

If you have been injured in an accident in Houston, TX, and need help, contact our Houston truck accident lawyers (Top-Rated) by calling (281) 893-0760.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Citations:

 

Drowsy Driving: Asleep at the Wheel (cdc.gov)

 

Drowsy Driving: Worse Than Drunk Driving? | U.S. News (usnews.com)

 

https://www.dps.texas.gov/internetforms/forms/mcs-9.pdf

 

 

Accident Reconstruction after Crash with an 18-Wheeler

 

Most severe injury and wrongful death cases involving an 18-wheeler are investigated at the scene by the Highway Patrol or other police officers and insurance companies for the truck driver and trucking company.

Typically, hundreds of photographs are taken; the scene is surveyed digitally to show essential pieces of evidence such as skid marks and points of impact. In some instances, the governmental officials “reconstruct” or reenact the crash. Usually, officials will do the formal reenactment if there is a death or death is likely.

The insurance defense lawyer will usually hire an accident reconstructionist to defend the claim.

What is an Accident Reconstruction?

A formal accident reconstruction uses evidence to show how the crash occurred and who may be at fault. That evidence can be skid marks, speed calculations, braking, steering input, seatbelt use, etc.

Handling a truck crash case

A party will hire an expert to piece together the crash and testify about causation and fault.

Some defense experts are notorious for finding fault on everyone but those insured by the company paying their bills.

The insurance companies for the truck driver always try to shift responsibility to others, primarily the victim of the accident. They rely on the hired gun, their accident reconstructionist who places fault on others. On the ground, evidence, such as braking, yaw, or skid marks and marks showing the point of impact, can be crucial.

Why the Injury Victim Needs to Hire a Lawyer

The victim’s family must secure an experienced trucking accident attorney (one with a long track record of success with truck accidents). And not just any attorney who wants to handle the case or claims to be a truck accident lawyer.

The earlier the family retains an experienced lawyer for a truck crash case, the better for the truck accident lawsuit. The lawyer who works for the victim will often hire an expert to reenact the accident and testify to educate the jury.

Get an Experienced Lawyer

Suppose an attorney cannot quote sections of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations by heart. In that case, you have the wrong lawyer for the case.

Many trucks now have GPS devices or “trip master” computers onboard that record information such as speed, braking, and hours of operation. The victim’s family needs an attorney who is knowledgeable about such matters. And one prepared to act quickly to preserve critical evidence. Choose an attorney who has a truck wreck quick response team ready to get to the crash scene.

Knowledge of Federal Regulations Necessary

Many times, issues such as the condition of the tractor-trailer, including brakes, loaded weight, and noncompliance with the safety regulations like hours of operation are fundamental in establishing responsibility for the accident.

Investigating 18-wheeler accidents should be handled by attorneys well versed in the regulation of trucks and drivers and experienced in reconstructing a crash.

A lawyer investigating an 18-wheeler accident where braking is an issue should have a thorough knowledge of the air brake systems of both tractor and trailer, proper slack adjuster settings, and be well versed in the application of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations applicable to brakes

Tickets Issued to a Driver are Not Usually Determinative of Liability

Most folks assume that because a ticket was issued, the matter of liability is settled. That is not the case; rarely do tickets come into evidence in wrongful death or severe injury cases.

Instead, gathering irrefutable facts from the scene as soon as possible is the proper course of action for defeating the insurance company’s blame-shifting defenses.

Is a Reenactment Required?

Not always. In many cases, liability is crystal clear.

An example would be a car stopped at a light and rear-ended by a big rig. The plaintiff may not need a reconstruction of that crash.

But, if other factors were present, like bad brakes or driving past the allowed hours, a leading law firm may hire an expert to explain the cause of the accident. And the negligence of the truck driver or their company.

Contact a Nationally Recognized Lawyer for Truck Accidents

Call the best truck accident lawyer in Texas for a case consultation without cost.

Call (281) 893-0760

 

Related Practice Areas:

Bus Accidents

UPS Accidents

Garbage Truck Accidents

FedEx Accidents

Dump Trucks

Tow Trucks

Amazon Vans

Tanker Trucks

Commercial Vehicles

 

Rear-End Truck Accident Lawyer

 

Our top-rated truck accident lawyers in Houston, Texas, have been winning large settlements for over three decades for rear-end truck accident victims.

Call (281) 893-0760 to Talk With a Top-rated Rear End Truck Accident Lawyer

lawyer for rear end truck wreckRear-end truck accidents can result in severe injuries to the victims in the front vehicle. A large truck can put a lot of force behind a collision, leading to severe property damage and trauma. Did you suffer injuries after being hit in the rear by a truck?

Our rear-end truck accident lawyer can help you learn more about your right to compensation and the steps you should take next.

Big Rigs Take Longer to Stop

The average big truck needs more room to stop than a passenger vehicle. Big trucks may weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. That means a lot of force must come to a full stop–and big trucks often do not have adequate room to stop fast.

The extended time needed to stop a big truck is the leading cause of nationwide rear-end truck crashes.

Generally, semi-trucks take 1/3 longer to stop at highway speeds.

Is the Trucker Always at Fault if I Get Hit in the Rear?

If you get hit in the rear, the fault may depend on what led to the collision. But most of the time, YES.  The trucker should have allowed more distance between vehicles.

Did you Change Lanes Abruptly in front of the Truck Driver?

The average passenger vehicle driver, who may never have had the opportunity to operate or ride in a big truck, may not realize how long it takes to bring a big truck to a full stop and what challenges the driver may face if he tries to stop too fast.

If you changed lanes abruptly in front of the truck driver, the trucker might claim you are at fault.

And if you then slowed down, the trucker would claim you did not leave him with enough room to come to a safe stop.

You may bear some responsibility for the accident–particularly if, for example, you abruptly changed lanes in an intersection and had to come to a fast stop.

Call Houston’s leading truck accident lawyer for a case consultation if you are hurt after getting hit from the rear by a semi or commercial vehicle. (281) 893-7060!

Did the Truck Driver Follow you Closely? 

If a truck driver decides to follow you too closely without allowing adequate room to bring the truck to a stop, and you must stop abruptly, the truck driver may bear liability for the accident.

Truck and Bus drivers are responsible for maintaining a safe following distance, whether on level ground or navigating through steep hills.

Sometimes, however, they may push their speed rate or linger too close to the car in front of them rather than taking the time to slow down and reduce the risk of a serious accident.

Did the Truck Driver’s Distraction Cause your Truck Accident?

Even a moment’s distraction- including everything from looking down to check the GPS to eating while driving- can prove catastrophic for a big truck driver.

Truck drivers must respond quickly to potential hazards, including vehicles stopping before them. If the truck driver’s distraction caused your accident, the truck driver might bear liability.

Most of the time, the driver in the rear vehicle–in the case of a rear-end truck collision, the truck driver–will bear liability for the accident. Rear-end collisions usually involve poor braking or close following habits of the driver in the rear.

Get a Skilled Truck Accident Lawyer to Investigate

However, rear-end truck accidents may require more careful evaluation, including a close look at whether you may have pulled over in front of a truck driver. You may also find that additional factors contributed to your rear-end truck collision: for example, if your accident occurred because the truck’s brakes failed, the truck driver’s company, the manufacturer of the truck, or a mechanic that recently worked on the brakes may bear liability for the accident.

Have an experienced tractor-trailer accident attorney evaluate your accident to help determine liability.

Rear-end Accident Statistics

Rear-end collisions account for around 23% of motor vehicle crashes across the United States. They lead to around 2,000 deaths and an estimated 950,000 injuries each year.

2/3 of truck accidents occur because of driver error, including:

  • Failure to recognize an upcoming hazard that could lead to a crash
  • Incorrect assumptions about the actions another driver will take next
  • Speeding
  • Distraction
  • Following too closely
  • Misjudging vehicle speed

Any of those factors can quickly contribute to a rear-end truck collision.

Texas routinely sees more truck accidents each year than any other state, due in part to the high volume of truck traffic that needs to move through the area.

Around 22% of truck accidents are rear-ending collisions with a vehicle in the truck’s travel lane, often due to a truck driver failing to allow adequate room or another driver pulling out in front of the big truck.

Common Injuries in Rear-end Accidents

Rear-end truck accidents can result in severe injuries, especially if the truck has little to no assistance stopping and continues to plow forward for a while before coming to a stop. Common injuries include:

  • Whiplash due to the abrupt back-and-forth movement of the neck during the accident. Chronic whiplash can cause considerable suffering and limited mobility for many victims.
  • Back and neck injuries, including herniated discs or even spinal cord injuries, due to the force experienced by the spine during high-speed collisions.
  • Broken bones. Often, the driver of the vehicle will suffer broken bones in the hands and arms because he braces himself against the steering wheel during the collision.
  • Head injuries are often due to striking the steering wheel, dashboard, or seat during the collision.
  • Severe bruising around the seatbelt. Sometimes, the seatbelt can also cause organ trauma.
  • Facial injuries, particularly if the airbags deploy during the accident.

Rear-end truck accident injuries can cause immense suffering and high medical bills. A truck accident claim can help you pursue the compensation you may deserve for those injuries.

Hire an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer to File Your Truck Accident Claim

If you suffered serious injuries in a rear-end truck collision, you do not have to handle your claim on your own!

Instead, contact our leading truck wreck law firm today to learn more about how we can help you navigate the aftermath of severe truck accident injuries. Including a personal injury claim can help you pursue compensation for the financial losses related to your accident.

Call for a Free no-obligation consultation with an experienced TX truck accident attorney.

(281) 893-0760

 

Hurt in Austin?

Visit our Austin truck accident page or call 1-866-758-4529

Hurt in Baytown?

Visit our Baytown truck accident page or call 1-866-758-4529

Hurt in The Woodlands?

Visit our The Woodlands truck accident page or call 1-866-758-4529

Hurt in Waco?

Visit our Waco 18wheeler truck accident page or call 1-866-758-4529

 

 

 

Fatal Accident on I-10 in Sealy

An eight-vehicle pileup on Interstate 10 in Sealy happened Monday. One person is reported dead, and others have been injured.

I-10 18-wheeler accident

According to reports by San Felipe Police Department, a motorist had a blowout and came to stop in the roadway. The pileup happened thereafter and involved a big rig.

According to police other cars were slowing to avoid the stopped car and an 18-wheeler did not brake in time to avoid crashing into the cars ahead.

Reported killed as an 89-year-old man whose vehicle was struck from the rear on I-10.

At least three others were taken to the hospital. The event involved 14 people according to the police department.

No other details are known at this time about this tractor-trailer accident on I-10.

How to Settle Your Car Accident Injury Claim Without an Attorney

Many people do not want to hire an attorney to help them after a serious car accident. Some may want to minimize legal costs or feel that you can best handle the claim on your own.

If you choose to represent yourself with a car accident injury claim, make sure you follow these tips.

Can Car Accident Cases Be Handled Without a Lawyer?

Did you have a relatively minor car accident and feel you may move forward without worrying about hiring a lawyer? You may not need a lawyer if:

  • You can clearly show that the other party bears liability for the accident, and you think there is no chance of the other party’s insurance company disputing liability.
  • You were not hurt or only had minor injuries and do not need to pursue considerable compensation.
  • You have a solid idea of how much compensation you should expect and how to pursue it.
  • Dealing with insurance companies does not cause you undue stress.
  • You are prepared to negotiate.

Car wreck damage

When Should You Get a Car Accident Lawyer?

There are several instances when you should contact an experienced car accident attorney.

Sometimes, you may know that you need an attorney right off the bat. As you pursue your claim, you may also discover that you need more assistance than expected.

Ideally, it would be best if you got in touch with a car accident lawyer as soon after your accident as possible to maximize the benefit of working with an attorney.

You should call in a car accident lawyer when:

  • Liability in the accident is disputed, with the other driver or their insurer claiming that you partly caused the accident.
  • You suffered severe injuries in the accident and knew you needed as much compensation as possible to help pay for your medical expenses.
  • Your medical bills exceed $10,000.
  • You expect future medical expenses.
  • The insurance company’s lowball offer does not reflect the compensation you know you deserve for your injuries.
  • You have any questions about the legal process, including how much compensation for your injuries is worth?  Or how to pursue compensation for injuries and compensation for medical bills associated with the accident.
  • A commercial insurance policy involves a trucking company accident or a bus wreck.

The First Steps in Dealing with the Adjuster

If you plan to handle your car accident claim on your own, make sure that you take photos of the damage to your vehicle, the scene of the accident, and any injuries you suffered ahead of time.  Having photo evidence can help validate and prove your case.

Adjusters will need evidence to evaluate your case before any settlement discussions occur.

Things to Give the Adjuster

Typically, a car accident victim should furnish the adjuster for the negligent person with the following:

  1. The police report and names of witnesses
  2. Photos of the damage to your vehicle and any injuries
  3. Copies of medical bills and records from every place that treated you.
  4. A lost wage statement from your employer, if applicable.
  5. Estimates for the property damage claim.

Liability Determination is Required

An offer will be extended only after an adjuster is certain of liability and has a handle on your damages. Often, negotiation is stalled simply because the adjuster has not interviewed the insured.

The victim can be very frustrated, but the other person’s insurance company owes you no duty in Texas. Meaning that the adjuster can take all the time they want. Or even deny a claim where liability looks clear.

So do not expect the adjuster to care about the inconvenience to you of a delay. You may need to obtain a rental car or other transportation on your own in case of a delay.

Dealing with an adjuster after a crash

Damage Calculations

To negotiate a car accident claim on your own, you need to know how much compensation you should expect. With car accident claims, damages break down into two key types.

Special Damages

Special damages include all the damages you can calculate directly. They have a specific monetary value, usually based on financial losses you have faced after the accident. These include:

  • Your medical expenses following the accident. (Texas uses the legal standard “paid or incurred”)
  • Property damage, including damage to your vehicle or any items in it
  • The specific income you lost as a result of your accident and your injuries

General Damages

General damages are damages you might not be able to calculate directly. General damages, also known as “pain and suffering,” include the non-financial losses and suffering you faced due to your accident and your injuries.

General damages may include physical pain, emotional anguish, or losses caused by a car accident.  These include factors like the loss of enjoyment of life or the loss of specific, anticipated activities you expected to enjoy. Pain and suffering are one of the larger damages after an injury accident.

Usually, general damages are based on a percentage of your special damages and the medical costs associated with your claim. The more you suffered as a result of your accident and the more severe the injuries, the more you may need to claim for compensation.

How Much Should You Ask For?

As part of your initial demand, you should calculate your medical costs, financial losses, and the pain and suffering associated with your accident. Keep in mind that baring special circumstances, the insurance company will offer you less than you asked for initially.

If you ask for too little, you will have left bread on the table. However, if you ask for an amount clearly outside the norm, the negotiations will stall after their expected lowball offer as they feel they are wasting their time trying to settle with you when your demand is too high.

Truck accident settlements are usually much higher than car-to-car crashes.

Negotiation Tips for Your Injury Claim

Ready to start negotiating? Keep these tips in mind.

  • Plan for a fair settlement. A car accident claim is designed to compensate for the financial and other losses you faced due to your injuries, not necessarily to offer you a windfall.
  • Know when you’ll accept a counteroffer and when you would prefer to continue to negotiate.
  • While going through negotiation, keep information about your accident off social media. Avoid any statement that might accept liability for the accident or appear to diminish the extent of your injuries.
  • Give immediate feedback to lowball offers. Something like “are you kidding” or “is that all?” will let the adjuster know the offer is unacceptable.
  • Understand that with a minor injury, there is a limit to what an insurer will pay voluntarily. If your injury is not minor, you really should have a personal injury lawyer.
  • Don’t consider a quick injury settlement with “estimated medical expenses” when you know you will get further medical care. This approach shifts the risk of loss to you.
  • Consider a free consultation with a truck accident attorney near you.

Contact The Houston Truck Accident Lawyers for Help

If you have been injured in an accident in Houston, TX, and need help, contact our Houston truck accident lawyers (Top-Rated) by calling (281) 893-0760.

 

Call (281) 893-7060   

20% of Big Trucks Out-of-Service in Surprise Inspections!

Out of service trucks

There are two parts to truck safety on the highways across Texas and our great nation. The first part is to ensure that the truck drivers are adequately trained and implementing policies to ensure compliance with the federal regulations for drivers and trucking companies.

The second part is to ensure that the equipment on the road is safe to be on the road and will not cause an accident. Section 396 – inspection, repair, and maintenance of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations deal with keeping the tractors and trailers in safe operating condition.

Against the Law to Drive an Out of Service Truck

Recently, approximately 20% of all commercial motor vehicles, when inspected, were found to be out of service. This statistic is alarming, to say the least. Unsafe operation is covered under Section 396.7 – Unsafe operation. Subsection (a) provides a motor vehicle shall not be operated in such a condition as to likely cause an accident or breakdown of the vehicle.

There is an exception when a truck driver discovers an unsafe condition while driving on the highway; One exception allows the driver to continue to a repair facility if it is less hazardous to the public than to allow the vehicle to remain on the highway.

Drivers and Companies Share Responsibility

Part of the responsibility of trucking companies is to inspect and repair vehicles frequently to keep them in safe operating condition. Personnel is required to mark as “out of service” in the 18-wheeler that may likely cause an accident or breakdown. Out of service’s vehicle stickers are used for that purpose. It is against the law to remove the stickers unless the semi-truck has passed the inspection and a deficiency cured.

Professional truck drivers also participate in the safety process by completing vehicle inspection reports at the end of each workday. The driver’s daily vehicle inspection reports cover the important aspects of proper maintenance and repair of the vehicle. The purpose of inspection reports is to ensure the vehicles are safe to be driven. Semi-trucks that are out of service are by definition- unsafe!

If a report contains a deficiency likely to affect the safety of the operation of the vehicle the motor carrier must ensure the defect or deficiency has been corrected prior to releasing the vehicle for the highway.

Statistics Show Need for Improvement

If trucking companies and truck drivers followed the rules contained in Section 396, there would be very few if any vehicles found to be out of service on inspection. Yet, when 20% of the vehicles come upon a roadside inspection and art that time found to be out of service there is little doubt that the public has been put in danger by virtue of the failure to follow the rules by both the truck driver and the trucking company.

18-wheelers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and above and a rigged out in proper operating condition clearly can pose a substantial risk to our community. Trucks with bad brakes are one of the more serious causes of rear-end truck accidents.

After a serious injury truck crash, an experienced 18-wheeler accident attorney can inspect the vehicles to determine whether the vehicle was out of service at the time of the wreck.

After someone has been seriously injured or killed, saying I’m sorry- is just not enough.

Talk with a Leading Truck Accident Attorney

Contact a real Texas truck accident lawyer– call (281) 893-0760 or click here to schedule a consultation!

 

What to Know About Investigation of a Semi Truck Crash

 

After a serious accident involving a big rig, especially one that involves very bad injuries or a fatality, the crash will be investigated by authorities. Often the police or DPS will conduct an extensive look into how the crash occurred and who may be a fault. But, relying upon the authorities to do everything to protect your interests if you are the victim or family of the deceased, is a mistake.

 Police Investigations May Not Be Enough

For serious accidents, the police usually will investigate to determine their opinion as to the cause of the crash. They also may look at the big rig and driver to inquire whether there are violations such as speeding, mechanical problems with the truck, or hours of service violations by the truck driver. However, whether the investigation is thorough depends upon the severity of the crash and injury sustained. In almost every truck accident case an attorney should be hired early to protect the claims for the injured or the family who lost a loved one.

Not all Evidence is Contained in the Crash Report

While the DOT of local authorities may complete a crash report, the report is never the whole story. Vital evidence may be omitted. Consider the crash report a starting point in investigations of a commercial vehicle injury accident.

Location of the crash also plays a part in who may or may not investigate and/or reconstruct the accident. Dependent upon the method and methodology of the investigating authorities who did the crash report, the report in its entirety may or may not be admissible at trial. Here is where to get your crash report!

Experienced Lawyers Know What to Get

Severe injury accidents should be thoroughly investigated as quickly as possible. Vital evidence can and will disappear if not documented shortly after the crash. Here is a shortlist of information that may be important for your case.

  • A scene survey
  • Identities of all witnesses
  • Investigation as to possible video evidence
  • If truck malfunction is suspected an inspection of the big rig
  • The hours of service for the driver as reflected in the logbooks
  • The truck drivers driving record an employee file
  • Training the truck driver received
  • The event data recorder information from the semi-truck

Trucking companies have recently started a tactic of trying to place the rig back in service as soon as possible, which deprives the victim of the inspection of the tractor-trailer. If you have been injured in a crash with an 18-wheeler do not delay. Get competent help right away.

Insurance Companies Have a Head Start

Insurance companies regularly send out independent investigators to the scene of an accident to determine potential defenses in the event of a lawsuit. These investigators are looking for any means of defending a case and suggesting that someone else other than the truck driver may be at fault for the crash.

Often, insurance companies and trucking companies have in-house investigators who can make it to the scene of a crash before the vehicles have even been moved. Or attorneys on retainer. The importance of documenting the scene including resting positions, skid-marks gouge marks, and debris cannot be overstated. If you do not have your team looking for evidence, you will be at a disadvantage later.

Surveys Will be Done Digitally

Recent technological advances enable digital renderings to be easily done with a minimum amount of work. Accordingly, more officers are using digital measurements to include in their opinions. But there is much more to your story of how the crash occurred to be told.

Unless a victim or the family’s representative has been able to obtain experienced and reputable representation after the crash, the family may be disadvantaged by a delay in the investigation after the accident. Many trucking companies are now pushing to attempt to repair or “total” the big rig very quickly after the accident. That may impact whether the family can have access to the vehicle and is one reason hiring counsel quickly is so important.

In almost every big truck accident case, the motor carrier will hire an expert who reconstructs or reenacts the crash and suggest that someone other than the truck driver has responsibility for the accident. That will be a given. Expect the defense to deny the case, even if the police fault and ticket the truck driver.

Although expert witnesses are supposed to be impartial and give a fair determination of the cause of the crash, the insurance company would not hire someone who is not going to advocate for their position. Families are often shocked when they learn the trucking company is denying liability for a clear liability crash. It’s what they do!

What Computer Data Can Tell

Computer data from the big rig is very important to establish such things as speed, braking, and gear at the time or near the accident. Most rigs now contain black boxes or computer data that can be downloaded to help establish facts that may otherwise be disputed by the expert for the trucking company. It is critically important that the plaintiff has access to that material before it gets away. Looking at finding the best truck accident lawyer is your first step.

Things an Inspection Can Reveal

Another component of importance in the investigation of a serious injury truck accident is the vehicle inspection. Not only will photographs be taken and vehicle damage documented but also the individual components of the vehicle such as brakes, tires and other maintenance issues will be investigated along with the driver’s paperwork including the driver’s daily vehicle inspection reports indicating problems with the truck.

Why you Need to Find the Best Attorney

Families who’ve lost a loved one would be well advised to research the attorneys we are considering retaining after an accident. Cases involving motor carriers and professional truck drivers involve many different issues than any bread-and-butter car accident. Here is how to find the best truck accident lawyer. The importance of hiring an experienced and successful truck accident attorney cannot be overstated.

Get a Consultation from a Truck Accident Law Firm

If you’ve been in a very serious truck accident and would like to speak with the leading truck accident lawyer in Texas regarding your rights and options call us toll-free for a no-obligation consultation or click here.

1 (866) 758-4529

How to Find the Best Lawyer for a Truck Accident?

 

 

Find the best truck accident lawyer in HoustonLocating the best attorney to handle your injury claim is vital to the success of your case. There’s an old saying, “there is no substitute for experience.” In many endeavors, but undoubtedly true for maximizing commercial vehicle accident compensation. Here are some suggestions for getting the best attorney for a commercial vehicle crash case.

Trucking Cases Are Complex

Everyone knows that big rigs or tractor-trailers operate differently than passenger cars. Tractor-trailers are much larger and heavier, but they also operate with different systems such as air brakes.

The vehicles are different, but the rules and regulations that apply to professional drivers are much stricter than those faced by everyday drivers. The attorney you select to help you after your truck accident must be proficient in the rules and regulations that apply to trucking companies and truck drivers.

An actual commercial vehicle accident attorney will have substantial hands-on experience litigating truck accident claims.

 Stay Away from TV Lawyers

Every day we see advertisements on television and postings on the Internet for lawyers seeking truck accident victims and claiming vast experience in the area. Attorneys with a very high number of active cases cannot devote much time to each. Stay away from TV lawyers who advertise for truck crash cases.

High-volume lawyers make money by “turning” cases quickly. If you want a significant settlement, pass on the law firms with many cases. Quick, cheap settlements are rarely in your best interest.

With that in mind, we have formulated some questions that potential truck accident victims can ask a lawyer to help them determine whether this is the right person for their case.

Do Research on Attorneys

Always investigate attorneys before you meet them.

Online research can be done easily and quickly. Here are a few areas to look at:

  • Reviews-

    Look for reviews of former clients who were injured in a truck crash. Put no importance on generic reviews. Be wary of hundreds of reviews because either the firm is super high volume, or they are scamming the review process. Either way, it is a hard pass!

  • Peer-Reviewed Awards-

    Some important-sounding awards are simply phony. Look for peer-reviewed awards from local attorneys.

  • Results-

    Find other settlements from truck crashes. Irrelevant commercial case results can sound impressive but are not relevant to finding the best truck accident attorneys.

  • The State Bar-

    If the lawyer has had issues with the bar- stay away.

  • Depth of experience-

    The more experienced, the better!

Questions to Ask an Attorney for Your Accident with a Semi:

  • When was the last verdict you received in a truck accident case?
  • What was that verdict?
  • How many multi-million-dollar truck accident cases have you handled? 
  • When was the last one?
  • How many trucking cases do you currently have open?
  • Will an associate or other attorney work on my case?
  • Who will I talk with if I hire you?
  • Who will take the depositions in my case?
  • How many current cases do you have open?
  • When was your first truck accident death case?

Each of these questions is an important indicator of whether this is the right person for your case. If you asked these questions and cannot get a straightforward answer, I would suggest that you might consider interviewing other lawyers or firms.

 Special Expertise Needed

Trucking cases require exceptional experience, and finding the best truck accident attorney for your case may require you to speak with several law firms. By asking the questions above, you can get a clear and quick understanding of the experience of the attorney you are considering.

And if the person you are talking with will work your case or delegate it to a younger attorney.

The Doctor Analogy

If you needed to get spine surgery, you would research doctors with a reputation in spine surgery. You could not even consider letting the doctor you chose “supervise” the surgery and have other less experienced doctors operate on you.

Likewise, you would not care if the doctor had performed thousands of operations on other body parts. No- you want the best doctor for your problem. The same applies to attorneys. Big awards in class actions are irrelevant to your needs in an injury accident with a big rig.

 Look Local

Always look local first. Out-of-town lawyers are always at a disadvantage over local attorneys. Never consider an out-of-state attorney as the drawback can be significant and will likely impact your case. If you have no experienced truck accident attorneys in your town, look to the nearest major city for help.

How We Can Help.

In Texas, our truck accident lawyers have been handling truck accident injury and wrongful death cases for over three decades. We take great pride in not being a volume practice but focusing on serious injury and wrongful death only.

We are undefeated in truck crash cases. If you can find a better truck accident attorney -hire them.

 

Call for a free no-obligation consultation- with the leading truck accident lawyer in Houston Call  (281) 893-0760

NEVER A FEE UNLESS WE GET MONEY FOR YOU!        

 

Six Dead and Numerous Injured in 133 Car Pileups in Texas.

 

A massive car pileup has resulted in multiple deaths and over 65 people treated at hospitals. Icy roads and freezing rain caused tragic accidents. The accident included 133 cars and 18 Wheelers.

Big truck accidents in Texas

The colossal accidents happened on Interstate 35 W just North of downtown Fort Worth, Texas. The pileup was over 1/2 a mile long. Numerous fire Departments and police were dispatched to deal with the tragedy. Six have lost their lives, although identities have not been released pending the next next of kin.

Over 65 people have been treated so far; authorities expect additional injuries to be treated due to the massive car and truck wreck.

Numerous healthcare providers were headed toward work and involved in the early morning pileup. Four police officers were hospitalized, and three of those had been on their way to check in for work. One officer was injured at the scene while helping. Fortunately, all four police officers have been released from the hospital.

Cars, trucks, and 18 Wheelers were involved in the crash when many vehicles lost control, and the impacts kept occurring behind them. Photographs from the fire Department showed big rigs piled one on top of another. Wrongful death truck accident lawsuits are expected.

It took hours to clear the site from the wrecked vehicles and investigate the accident. The investigation process will take weeks, given the number of crashes.

With the cold weather, authorities were also concerned with hypothermia and keeping everyone safe.Ft Worth Pileup

Roads Not Sanded

Texas drivers are unaccustomed to driving in ice or snowy conditions. And Texas is not equipped the same as states that face icy conditions regularly in the winter. Typically, salt or sand is applied as early as possible when roads are icy. Inclement weather is foreseeable, and some are asking hard questions about why the streets were in the condition they were at the time of the pileup.

In this instance, a thorough investigation is expected into the entities responsible for the roadway’s maintenance and safety.

The Fort Worth office of Emergency Management set up a special hotline so people may find their loved ones involved in the crash.

The Cold Front Across Texas

This unfortunate incident was not alone in the state of Texas. Since Wednesday, numerous people have died in car and truck accidents in Texas. Many have been injured, and most recent crashes involved, at least in part, ice or rain and slick roads.

Extra Caution Required

When roads are icy or wet, drivers must use extra caution when on the highways, especially since the speed limits tend to be much higher. Reducing speed is a must when facing snow or icy conditions. Professional truck drivers are required to use extra caution in adverse weather conditions.

If the conditions are too dangerous, the truck drivers must pull over when they can do so safely and proceed after conditions improve.

Undefeated Texas Truck Accident Lawyer Offers Free Consultations

Our top-rated Texas truck accident lawyers have been helping injured Texans after truck accidents for over three decades.

We are undefeated in truck accident claims and have an incredible track record of multi-million-dollar settlements. We also accept car accident cases.

If one of your family members has been injured in this tragic pileup, call (281) 893-0760 for a personal consultation with the preeminent rated truck accident lawyer in Texas.

You may also Click Here to send an email requesting a confidential consultation with our leading truck accident lawyer.

There is no charge for the consultation, and we will do our best to answer your questions regarding your rights and options.

If we accept your truck accident case, there is no fee unless we win your case. Call (281) 893 0760 for a no-obligation consultation.

 

For additional information, see:  Dallas News

How Much Are Truck Accident Settlements in Houston, TX?

 

Every accident is unique. A look at past truck accident claims in the city you reside in can give you some idea of what to expect as you manage your truck accident claim, but it cannot guarantee the compensation you will receive.

Facts Matter

Individual facts can impact the value of a personal injury case involving a big rig.  Contested liability or aggravating factors like alcohol use must be considered. Likewise, limits of liability insurance for catastrophic cases can limit financial recoveries.

Talk to a lawyer for a truck wreck to get a better idea of how much compensation you deserve for your specific truck accident and the value of your case.

Trucking or bus accidents are usually valued higher than the same injury for a simple car accident.

Factor #1: The Party (Or Parties) That Caused Your Accident

The party that caused your truck accident can play a huge role in determining how much compensation you will ultimately receive for the accident. Truck drivers usually carry high-value insurance policies that will provide a high degree of compensation to individuals injured in an accident caused by that driver. Those policies do, however, have limits.

But many larger trucking companies or businesses have excess insurance policies. Talk with a leading 18-wheeler accident law firm to determine a company’s insurance policies. How much do truck accidents settle for?

By working with an attorney, many truck accident victims can identify other parties who may have contributed to the accident and, therefore, share liability for your injuries.

You may be able to claim compensation for your injuries from those parties. For example, the trucking company may share liability for the actions of its driver or for the accident, especially if the trucking company had unrealistic expectations or required its drivers to ignore federal laws that mandate the number of hours a truck driver can spend on the road.

Factor #2: The Extent of Your Injuries

Big trucks have a lot of bulk and take up much space on the road. They take longer to stop and make more effort to move.

As a result, semi-trucks can cause significantly more damage in an accident than in a smaller passenger vehicle. For victims of big truck accidents, that may mean a greater likelihood of severe injury, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or even amputation. The injuries from an accident with a truck may lead to lifelong impact–and leave you with substantial medical bills.

Amount of Medical Bills

Most often, your medical bills will form the foundation of your personal injury claim. Even the amount you receive in compensation for pain and suffering may be based on a percentage of your medical expenses and your doctor’s opinions about your injuries.

Many truck accident victims have high medical bills. You may have big emergency room bills and ongoing bills from hospitalization, treatment for your injuries, and therapy. Every surgery or procedure will add to the medical costs you face.

Keep track of all medical bills related to your treatments. You may want to start a specific file that will allow you to easily track your medical expenses and how they mount as you manage your recovery.

If you have health insurance, the health insurance will track what you pay, and you should keep track of your deductibles.

Factor #3: How Much Work You Missed

In addition to the financial burden associated with your medical bills, you may miss out on much-needed income during your recovery.

Many truck accident victims suffer injuries that prevent them from returning to work immediately after the accident. If you suffer a traumatic brain injury, for example, you may not be able to interact with customers or focus on your usual daily work tasks.

If you suffer back injuries, it could prevent you from standing up, taking care of lifting tasks, or even sitting at your desk for long periods.

In many cases, your employer will work with you to get you back in the office as soon as possible. Some employers, however, may encourage you to stay home due to liability issues or might lack the ability to make the modifications you need to return to the office.

As a result, the amount of time you miss at work may vary depending on your injuries, your profession, and your employer.

Fortunately, you can include your lost income or lost wages as part of your truck accident claim.

Factor #4: Any Other Financial Losses You Faced

The financial losses you face after a truck accident may vary substantially. You may have suffered severe damage to your vehicle or missed out on a job opportunity because of your accident.

Discuss any other financial losses related to your accident with your attorney to better understand what compensation you should expect.

Factor #5: How Your Injuries Impact Your Life

18 wheeler settlements Most personal injury claims include a specific segment for pain and suffering. In that segment, your 18-wheeler accident attorney will detail how your injuries have impacted your life: how many activities you have missed, what time you have missed with loved ones, and whether you have missed out on your enjoyment of life as a result of your injuries.

You may also discuss your physical pain related to the accident. If your injuries impact your life substantially, you may increase the compensation you can receive for pain and suffering.

Factor #6: Do You Have a Truck Accident Attorney?

Having an attorney on your side can make a big difference in your truck accident claim. Sometimes, truck accident victims try to handle their claims on their own. They may feel they can care for things without bringing in an attorney or worry that an attorney will cost more than they can afford.

However, victims will find that working with an attorney ultimately helps increase the compensation they can receive, even after paying their legal fees.

An attorney can help create a highly effective case for your claim, increasing the odds that the insurance company will provide the settlement you deserve.

You are at a big disadvantage without a reputable lawyer, and what you may be offered will reflect that reality.

Factor #7: How Much Will You Negotiate?

Reaching an agreement in a truck accident claim may require much negotiation. You may go through several rounds of negotiation before you arrive at an acceptable settlement agreement.

If you do not want to negotiate, an option some victims choose because they need a fast settlement will decrease the compensation you ultimately receive.

Did you suffer injuries in a truck accident? Do you need to know more about the compensation you should expect for your injuries?

Our law firm has been winning truck accident lawsuits in Houston and across Texas for decades. We have remained UNDEFEATED in truck accident lawsuits for over 35 years!

 

Contact The Houston Truck Accident Lawyers for Help

 

If you have been injured in an accident in Houston, TX, and need help, contact our Houston truck accident lawyers (Top-Rated) by calling (281) 893-0760.

 

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