Dallas Truck Accident Attorney
Get Legal Help After a Truck Accident
Commercial drivers carry tons of materials, equipment, and products on our nation’s roadways. Most of the time, they share the roads safely with passenger vehicles. But accidents happen.
And when those accidents involve a large commercial truck and a relatively small personal vehicle, the driver and passengers of the vehicle often bear the brunt of the impact and suffer devastating injuries. At The Law Office of WT Johnson, our Dallas vehicle accident lawyers understand the legal rights and ramifications involved in a trucking accident and are happy to lend our experience, commitment, and compassion to support you in your time of need.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can happen in any number of ways - jackknife accidents, rollovers, runaway trailers, and underride situations, to name a few. Causes can include:
Driver error. Truckers cause about 88% of truck accidents. This means those drivers are ten times more likely to be the cause of an accident compared to outside factors like weather and poor vehicle conditions. Because truck drivers are on the road for extensive periods, the most common reason they cause accidents is fatigue. Exhausted drivers lack a keen sense of awareness and can fall asleep behind the wheel, losing control and driving off the road or into oncoming traffic. Other factors, such as speeding, distractions, and the use of over-the-counter drugs, also play a role in these accidents.
Intoxicated or impaired drivers are a serious concern. Drugs and alcohol slow a driver’s response time, judgment, and overall perceptions and awareness. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol makes a driver unsafe.
Equipment problems. Faulty truck parts also play a key role in truck accidents. Just like cars or 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
Depending on the nature of the accident and the facts and circumstances, liability may rest on the shoulders of any one of the possible responsible parties.
Who Is At Fault for a Truck Wreck in Dallas?
It is often more difficult to decipher the cause of a trucking accident than a typical car accident. Numerous factors come into play, tracing back to the driver, the 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. Those at fault include:
- Trucking companies. Like so many industries today, the shipping and hauling business is a competitive one, with profits 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.
- Drivers. 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 a 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 fellow drivers, some shippers will resort to staying up too long, speeding, or taking unnecessary risks.
- Cargo companies. In some instances, trouble originates at the port or warehouse where the shipment was picked up. Cargo companies are sometimes guilty of overloading or improperly handling containers, all in the name of speed and profit.
What Truck Laws and Regulations Apply?
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulate truck driving by setting federal guidelines that companies and drivers must follow. The regulations prescribe the standards that commercial drivers are required to meet, governing:
- Hours of service: The time limits of driving shifts and the time between driving jobs. Commercial drivers are required to follow these rules to prevent fatigued or sleep-deprived driving.
- Drug and alcohol testing: A serious issue for commercial drivers is driving under the influence. To manage truck drivers more carefully, there are mandated drug and alcohol testing policies.
- Insurance requirements: Commercial vehicle drivers are required to maintain specific insurance limits above those for personal vehicles.
- Vehicle maintenance: A set schedule for required maintenance and repairs for commercial vehicles.
- Cellphone ban: All commercial drivers are precluded from using cellphones in their trucks without a hands-free option.
A driver’s logs and black box data can be used as evidence to identify any failures to obey these regulations as well as evidence of other negligent behavior. When you’re involved in a trucking accident, this vital data can prove your legal case - a trucker who ignored federal regulations is certainly liable for damages that he caused!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: If I was injured in a truck accident, what should I do first?
A: Obviously, the first thing you should do is get help. Call 911 for anyone needing emergency medical attention. If you are in danger, move your vehicle out of the way. Attempt to gather as much information as your physical condition allows. For maximum protection, reach out to an experienced truck accident attorney.
Q: What evidence is needed to prove liability in a truck accident claim?
A: Evidence from the scene of the accident that shows exactly what happened. Photographs, witness statements, and accident reconstruction experts can help show this. In addition, driver logs and truck maintenance records, the driver’s experience and driving record, recorded speeds (if any), and information on the weather, traffic conditions, and other relevant facts will be very useful in proving fault.
Q: Do I need an attorney after a truck accident?
A: The trucking company’s insurance carrier will try to convince you to settle your case as quickly and inexpensively as possible. An attorney can help you determine whether a settlement offer is fair, or whether you deserve more. While you are recovering from your injuries, you should trust your advocacy to someone objective who understands the law and cares about your plight.
Q: What compensation is available?
A: Depending on the circumstances of your individual case, you may be entitled to recover both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are the monetary costs you incur, such as current and future medical and rehabilitative expenses, lost wages, and lost job opportunities. Noneconomic damages are intangible losses related to human suffering, such as the experience of pain, disfigurement, and emotional trauma.
Q: Does it matter who I hire for a truck accident case?
A: Absolutely. After a truck crash, there are many potentially liable parties. No one can guarantee you a result or a certain amount for your recovery. However, choosing an attorney who understands the facts, has experience dealing with insurance and trucking companies, and knows how to present a strong case is the best choice you can make.
Contact Our Dallas Truck Accident Attorneys Today
Understanding the "rules of the road" for commercial drivers gives our firm the upper hand when helping victims of truck accidents. While our goal is always to pursue a just result, we hope that the investigation of the accident will lead to a favorable out-of-court settlement. But if the other side decides to fight back, our firm is prepared to advocate for our clients.
When you are looking for a truck accident attorney, The Law Office of WT Johnson offers you 25 years of experience and a free case evaluation if you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident. Contact us at (214) 231-0544 and toll-free (800) 738-4046.
- Texas Truck Accident Blogs
- 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.