Need a Qualified Dallas Truck Wreck Attorney?
At The Law Office of WT Johnson, we understand the physical and emotional pain from these accidents can be life-altering, and we want to help. If you've been the victim of a truck accident, you need a law firm that has both the experience and tenacity required to pursue trucking companies. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve. You may be entitled to coverage for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.
With more than 25 years of experience in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, we are confident that we will be able to obtain a fair settlement for your claim. Our personal injury attorneys are skilled negotiators who are also unafraid to take matters to court if necessary. Call us toll-free at (800) 738-4046 to learn more about the services we provide in a free consultation.
Truck Laws and Regulations
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulate truck driving through setting federal guidelines the truck companies and its drivers must follow. These guidelines generally make a clear distinction of who is at fault in a truck accident. Multiple players can be responsible in a truck accident, including:
- The person driving the truck
- The owner of the truck
- The company leasing the truck from its owner
- The manufacturer of the truck's parts
- The shipper of the truck's cargo
Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents have a few common causes:
Driver error – About 88 percent of truck accidents are a result of the drivers behind the wheel of large trucks, making drivers ten times more likely to be the cause than outside factors like weather and poor vehicle conditions. Because drivers often are on the road for extensive periods of time, the most common underlying reason drivers caused accidents was due to fatigue. Exhausted drivers lack a keen sense of awareness and often fall asleep behind the wheel, losing control and driving off the road or into oncoming traffic. Other factors, such as speeding, distractions and use of over-the-counter drugs, also played a role in these accidents.
Equipment problems – Just like cars and planes, trucks encounter failures in pieces of equipment from time to time that can affect the driver's control of the vehicle. Most of the time, these accidents can be prevented by a thorough inspection and frequent maintenance of all equipment. Some examples of equipment failures include:
- Tire blowouts
- Improper trailer attachment
- Transmission failure
- Inadequate steering ability
- Dysfunctional brakes
Who Is At Fault?
It is often more difficult to decipher the cause of a trucking accident, than a typical car accident. Numerous factors often come into play, tracing back to the driver, trucking company or even the owner of the cargo. We make sure to evaluate every piece of information, at every level, in our effort to uncover any negligent acts, including:
- The Trucking Companies - Like so many industries today, the shipping and hauling business is a competitive one, with profits often being the driving force behind most decisions. When it comes to a company’s bottom line, it is all about keeping costs low and returns high. Many trucking entities have been known to skimp on training, maintenance, guidelines and appropriate deadlines in order to keep the books in the black.
- The Driver - Like the company they drive for, truck drivers face serious competition when it comes to job security. Often working as independent contractors, it is up to the driver to make sure his business is running smoothly, efficiently and profitably. Failure to do so can mean loss of employment. However, in order to stay one step ahead of their fellow driver, some shippers will resort to staying up too long, speeding or taking unnecessary risks.
- Cargo Company - In some instances however, trouble originates at the port or warehouse where the shipment was picked up originally. Cargo companies are sometimes guilty of overloading or improperly handling containers, all in the name of speed and profit.
What to Do Immediately after a Truck Accident
One of the biggest mistakes after an accident is failure to gather sufficient evidence to help win a case. Avoid this by following our suggested steps to take after a truck accident:
- If either party is hurt, seek medical attention immediately by calling 911.
- Contact the police to get a credible third party at the scene and sort through procedures. When giving your statement regarding the accident, you should stick to the facts only. Do not make any speculations or take any fault. Accidents happen so quickly that no one should claim fault until all circumstances have been thoroughly reviewed by a seasoned attorney. Admitting fault too early can be used against you in court and force you to pay more than necessary. Additionally, you will want to request a police report when it is completed for your own records, your attorney's and the insurance company's.
- Take plenty of photographs. Whether you do this with a digital camera, a disposable camera or your phone, these come in handy when consulting an attorney to represent you. You will want to take pictures of all angles of the vehicles involved. If any skid marks were created, take pictures of those as well.
- Get contact information from all involved parties, including names, phone numbers, insurance information, etc.
- Take notes regarding all pieces of equipment. Did your tire blow out? Are your brakes up to par? Observe both vehicles for overall condition. Finding a defective part of the truck can make the difference between who takes liability for injuries and damages.
What We Know
A solid understanding of how the trucking industry works provides us with the upper hand in any personal injury truck accident claim. Knowing the hierarchy present in any trucking organization and which of the many companies involved may be responsible allows us to efficiently go after your settlement from the right source.
If The Other Side Fights Back
Our main goal is to gather enough information and to build a strong enough case so that a settlement can be made out of court. Should, however, the negligent party continue to deny a fair or just settlement, we will be fully prepared to take your claim to court. If appropriate, we may seek additional punitive damages as well.
We've Recovered Over $74,000,000 for Our Clients
Truck Accident FAQ
Truck accidents often leave victims and their families with not only devastating damages but also confusion as to what to do. If you or someone you love has sustained serious injuries, or worse, in a truck accident, do not lose hope. The compassionate Dallas truck accident lawyers at The Law Office of WT Johnson can help you get justice from the responsible party. To learn more about your legal rights and options in a free consultation, call (214) 231-0544.
Q: What duties do truck drivers/companies have?
A: Truck drivers are expected to follow the rules of the road, use good judgment, and adhere to the Hours of Service regulations (HOS) enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Trucking companies are expected to employ qualified individuals, conduct routine maintenance checks to ensure that all trucks are serviceable, and hold employees to stringent regulations for the sake of safety. Unfortunately, truckers and their employers often choose to turn a blind eye to violations, or even actively encourage them, all for the sake of profit.
Q: What are the common causes of truck accidents?
A: They include distracted driving, fatigued driving, speeding and failing to follow road regulations, excessive cargo, drug or alcohol intoxication, faulty truck parts, and, in rare instances, bad road design.
Q: Who can I hold liable in my truck accident lawsuit?
A: It depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident. If the truck driver's negligent behavior directly contributed towards the crash, s/he and, if applicable, his/her employer can be held liable for damages. If faulty mechanics were at work, the suit could end up including the truck parts manufacturer. And in the rare case of bad road design, even the government can be made to pay for damages. An experienced attorney can investigate your accident to determine the liable party or parties.
Q: How long do I have to file a truck accident injury lawsuit in Texas?
A: According to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code 16.003(a), the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years. While this statute applies in most situations, there are notable exceptions. In any case, it is absolutely vital that you consult with the appropriate legal professional as soon as you can. If the deadline expires for your case, you will forfeit the right to pursue damages completely.
Q: How much is my Texas truck accident case worth?
A: This depends on several factors, including past and future medical expenses associated with the injury, past and future lost earnings during recovery, pain and suffering, and more. Punitive damages may be awarded if the liable party's actions were especially egregious, albeit with a maximum cap. The only way to get an accurate estimate is to contact a personal injury lawyer for a case evaluation.
Q: The insurance adjustor offered me a settlement. Should I accept it?
A: Absolutely not – at least not until you've consulted with a reliable Dallas truck accident lawyer. To put it shortly, the insurance adjustor is looking out for the trucking company, not for you. Their job is to get you to settle for the lowest amount possible. You shouldn't even be speaking to them – they will use your words against you. If you are contacted by the opposing insurance company, simply direct them to your attorney. This way, your interests will remain protected, making a full and fair compensation likelier.
Q: What should I look for in a truck accident attorney?
A: When retaining an attorney, be sure to look for proven experience in truck accident cases. Anyone can make lofty claims about their legal skills, but only those with actual case results and settlement/verdict amounts can be trusted. Also, make sure you choose an attorney who knows how to maintain constant communication with clients. The last thing you want is to be left in the dark.
At The Law Office of WT Johnson, we have over 25 years of experience in the field of personal injury law and have garnered over $74,000,000 for our clients over the course of our practice. If you want a legal team comprised of professionals who will go out of their way to secure you a better tomorrow, look no further. Contact our office today.
Additional Information About Truck Accidents
- Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2013 (USDOT)
- Texas Department of Transportation
- National Transportation Safety Board
If you would like to discuss your claim with a member of our team, don't hesitate to call us at (214) 231-0544. We're ready to help you, and won't rest until you receive the settlement you deserve.