Understanding what causes truck accidents can both help you begin to understand the potential reasons behind your truck accident or help you avoid being in one. Discover the main causes of truck accidents and how these causes may shape a personal injury case.
Truck accidents often cause life-changing, catastrophic injuries, so finding the right Houston truck accident lawyer to represent you or your loved one is one of the most important choices you can make. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, consider hiring one of the best truck accident lawyers in Houston to assist you.
What constitutes a truck accident?
Does an accident with a pickup truck or a school bus count as a truck accident or does it only include 18-wheelers and other large commercial trucks? In Texas, a “truck” is defined as any motor vehicle used primarily to transport items or property. For legal purposes a truck includes:
- Delivery trucks
- Fuel trucks
- Box trucks
- Dump trucks
- Tow trucks
- Refrigerated trucks
These trucks all have one thing in common. They weigh substantially more than a passenger vehicle and make an impact with an extreme amount of force.
What are the main causes of truck accidents?
Truck drivers play a critical role in the transfer of goods and other services throughout the United States. Unfortunately, despite regulations, working conditions for truck drivers aren’t always ideal. And even if a truck driver follows regulations, they may still make mistakes.
Truck accident causes include:
- Distracted driving
- Lack of proper training
- Ignoring traffic rules and regulations
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Inadequate inspections
- Improper maintenance
- Truck driver fatigue
- Other Impairments (e.g., illness, alcohol, etc.)
A special note about truck driver fatigue
To meet the demands of society, drivers often find themselves working extended hours behind the wheel to meet tight delivery deadlines. Driving a commercial truck in today’s fast-paced economy often leads to truck driver fatigue. When drivers are tired, mistakes and accidents are more likely to occur. It is estimated that nearly one out of every three truck accidents come from the fatigue truck drivers experience from their long hours on the road.
What is being done to decrease truck accidents?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration created multiple standards to keep truck drivers and other lives on the road safe including:
- Driver qualifications
- Truck operation
- Vehicle repairs and maintenance requirements
- Minimum insurance coverage
- Weigh stations
- Roadside inspections
- Compliance reviews
- Complaint investigations
- Trucking terminal audits
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, drivers are not allowed to drive more than 11 hours in one stretch or to drive after 14 hours since starting their shift until a 10-hour break is taken. Electronic logging is used to log hours-of-service and to detect violations.
In addition to the federal laws that must be followed, commercial drivers in Texas must also comply with various state laws that a well-versed attorney in both the law and trucking industry can help with.
What should I do if I’m struck by a commercial truck?
After the initial accident, seek medical help for all involved parties and if possible collect evidence such as photos, contact information for witnesses, and anything that may help your case.
Commercial truck accidents are something the average person hopes to never encounter. But the reality for trucking companies is that they experience these types of collisions more frequently than a typical driver does. Retaining trustworthy counsel for your collision case is important to ensure you receive fair treatment in your case.
A trustworthy attorney can help you begin the investigation process into the cause of your accident, including accident reconstruction. Read Mithoff’s accident reconstruction guide for more details on how this process occurs and what happens from this process as a plaintiff.
Lawyers at Mithoff Law are standing by to help you gather this evidence to build a case that puts you or your loved one on a more even playing field with the trucking company.
How to hire a truck accident lawyer
Although car accidents are more common than truck accidents, truck accidents are not as clear cut as car accidents between passenger cars.
A fully loaded semi may weigh up to 80,000 pounds, about 20 times as heavy as the average car. Common truck accident injuries can include back and neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, amputation and/or disfigurement, burns and internal injuries, and death.
With the nuances of building a truck accident case and the time-intensive process that truck accident investigations can take retaining an attorney equipped for the job is one of the most important parts of your post-collision checklist. Know what questions to ask your truck accident attorney in order to ensure the person you hire is right for your specific truck accident case.
Armed with this knowledge on typical causes of truck accidents and what to do if you or someone you know finds themselves in a truck accident, lawyers at Mithoff Law are standing by to help you get the best possible outcome for your situation.
To set up a free consultation with Mithoff Law, call 713-645-1122 or contact us online today.
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