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Houston Truck Accident Attorney

 


Trucks are essential to a robust economy, but they pose a great hazard to other drivers on the road. Commercial trucks are required by federal and state law to carry large liability insurance policies to protect those they injure. With an experienced Houston Truck Accident Attorney representing you, you will often be able to obtain compensation when you’ve been injured in a Texas truck accident if the owner or driver of the truck was at fault for the accident.

Common Injuries

The sheer size of a large commercial truck puts passenger car occupants and others at serious risk if they have the misfortune to be in a crash with a truck. Injuries are often serious, life threatening, or life changing, including these:

In Texas in 2012, 525 people were killed and 12,480 were injured in accidents involving large commercial trucks. Many of the injuries were catastrophic and life altering, causing extensive losses to individuals and families.

Negligence of Truck Owners and Drivers: the Primary Cause of Large Truck Accidents

Negligence on the part of truck owners and drivers is the primary cause of accidents. When a truck accident can be attributed to negligence, injured victims have the legal right to claim compensation for their damages.

State and Federal Interstate Trucking Laws

Federal and state regulations dictate such things as maximum loads, maintenance schedules, required inspections, liability insurance coverage, and the number of hours a driver is allowed to drive at a stretch. For this reason, if you are injured in a truck accident, you should always make certain that the lawyer who represents you is familiar with these laws. The attorneys at Gordon, Elias, & Seely have many years of experience working with victims of truck accidents in Houston, Texas, the Gulf Coast region, and throughout the United States and know how to use violations of trucking regulations to prove liability for their clients.

In addition to thoroughly understanding the complex state and federal statutes that regulate the trucking industry, we have an investigative team to identify violations that indicate driver or owner liability for a crash. Our accident reconstruction experts are on call at all times, ready to go into action in your behalf to get the evidence needed to prove liability in your case while evidence is still fresh. This is important because trucking companies are quick to send in accident mitigation teams to try to either make you responsible for the accident or persuade you to settle quickly for much less than the actual value of your case.

Types of Large Truck Accidents

  • Jackknives
  • Hazmat spills
  • Fires
  • Rollovers
  • Underrides
  • Head-On crashes
  • Backup accidents
  • Sideswipes
  • T-bone accidents
  • Tire blowouts and tread separation
  • Brake failure
  • Trailer detachment

When Truck Driver Negligence Caused Your Injury

When you’ve been injured in an accident and you feel that the truck driver was at fault, you need to report the accident and get the medical care you need. You should also contact an experienced Houston truck accident attorney immediately to launch an investigation into the cause of the accident. It is important not to delay for two reasons:

  • Evidence may tend to “disappear” if you wait too long
  • Texas has legal time limits called statutes of limitations restricting the amount of time you have to file a law suit in a personal injury or wrongful death action.

Common Errors Truck Drivers Make

  • Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • Speeding
  • Failing to yield
  • Aggressive driving
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Making unsafe lane changes
  • Making unsafe turns
  • Failing to signal terns or lane changes
  • Distracted driving
  • Disregarding signs, signals, and traffic laws
  • Failing to set the parking brake
  • Braking abruptly
  • Missing reflectors
  • Skipping scheduled maintenance
  • Failing to securely attach trailer
  • Overloading a truck
  • Failing to properly secure loads
  • Missing inspections
  • Driving while fatigued

DUI Truck Accidents

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a significant cause of car accidents and a serious problem on our highways; but how much more serious when the drunk driver is at the wheel of and 18-wheel semi truck weighing 80,000 pounds! Large commercial truck accidents are much more likely to cause death and catastrophic injuries because of the enormous size and weight of trucks relative to passenger cars. Operated by an impaired driver, they are deadly weapons, and you need a Houston DUI Truck Accident Attorney if you’ve been impacted by a similar situation.

Government Regulations that Apply to Substance Use and Driving

FMCSA regulations require that trucking companies test every new driver they hire and then conduct random drug and alcohol tests. Employers are also required to test any driver who has been involved in an accident. In addition, truck drivers can be made to submit to random roadside checks by government officials.

Regulations forbid drinking or taking drugs within four hours of beginning a trip. FMCSA reports that in 2013, 2,095 drivers failed alcohol tests and 1,240 drivers failed drug tests. One study found that U.S. drivers tested positive for alcohol at a higher rate than those in any other country in the world: 12.5 percent. In another survey, approximately 20 percent of truck drivers who participated admitted to using marijuana, and 3 percent admitted to using cocaine.

Drivers use amphetamines and cocaine to help them stay awake, but stimulants can cause dizziness, nervousness, altered perceptions, and even, in rare cases, hallucinations. All this translates into an enormous risk to the lives and health of other drivers on the road. If you and your family have been affected by an injury or death from a truck driver DUI, you can and should find an experienced Texas personal injury lawyer with substantial experience working with victims of truck accidents to recover compensation for damages.

Federal Employer Regulations for the Trucking Industry

In an effort to make the nation’s highways safer for everyone, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has imposed stringent safety rules and regulations on trucking companies regarding hiring and training drivers, maintaining and inspecting vehicles, and ensuring that trucks are loaded correctly and that the cargo is secured. Failing to comply with the federal regulations can result in injuries and fatalities for which the company can be held liable due to employer negligence.

If you have been involved in a truck accident because of a negligent employer, it is in your best interest to retain a Houston personal injury lawyer with the experience, knowledge, and commitment to your recovery to take on a large and powerful trucking company. These companies have the means to fight claims and often have damage mitigation teams that leap into action immediately following an accident to try to cover their negligence, while blaming you for your own injuries.

Federal Truck Maintenance and Inspection Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has regulations in place applying to commercial trucks, in an effort to make our roads safer. Many of these regulations pertain to truck maintenance and inspection. Faulty truck maintenance is a major cause of injury and death on the highway, and it is the responsibility of owners, drivers, inspectors, and maintenance companies to follow the appropriate regulations meticulously. If a truck is involved in a fatal or injury accident and is found not to be in compliance, it is an indication of negligence and liability to the injured for compensation.

Deficient Truck Maintenance and Defective Equipment Cause Accidents

The law requires trucking companies to keep maintenance logs and inspection records as evidence that they are in compliance with FMCSA regulations. The records must show that these parts have been inspected and that proper maintenance procedures have been performed:

  • Brakes (service brakes, trailer connections, and parking brakes)
  • Lights, signals, and reflectors
  • Mirrors
  • Horn
  • Steering
  • Coupling devices
  • Tires
  • Windshield wipers

Oil Tanker Accident Injuries

Serious and fatal injuries are common in oil tanker accidents, including back, neck, and spinal cord injuries, brain trauma, fractures damage to internal organs, facial injuries, lacerations and scarring, catastrophic burns, inhalation injuries, lung damage, and death.

Some of the most common types of tanker truck accidents involve:

  • Fires and explosions – Whenever a tanker truck carrying oil, gasoline, or any petroleum product is in a crash, because of its flammable nature, there is a risk of the cargo exploding or catching fire, causing catastrophic burns, lung damage, from toxic smoke inhalation, scarring, organ damage, or death, as well as extensive property damage.
  • Sloshing of liquid cargo – Any time a tanker truck is not filled to its full capacity, the liquid cargo will slosh around and shift weight, making the truck more difficult for the driver to control. This happens when the container is less than three-quarters full and is a common cause of tanker truck accidents.
  • Spills and leaks – If the tankers are not closed properly or if the tanker has some a defect that allows the fluid to leak out, it can cause a release of toxic materials that can endanger others by causing a fire, inhalation hazard, or a slippery condition on the road that can cause another vehicle to slide or a pedestrian to slip and fall.
  • Radiation exposure and chemical burns – A tanker carrying chemicals and becoming involved in an accident can pose a danger to others involved in the accident or to first responders in the form of chemical burns and severe skin reactions. Some tanker trucks transport radioactive substances that harm not only those involved in the accident but also others who live, work, or pass through the area.

Federal Loading Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has set out to reduce the number of commercial truck accidents by implementing laws for the safe loading of trucks to prevent shifting cargo or falling objects from trucks that operate across state lines. These are a few examples:

  • Cargo must be firmly secured on or within a vehicle by structures designed to prevent movement, including inflatable bags to fill empty space and prevent the cargo from shifting, along with tie-downs and shoring bars;
  • Cargo that could roll needs to be held in place by wedges, chocks, or cradles
  • If a truck is carrying a load extending beyond its width or projecting beyond its rear end by more than four inches, colored lights must be attached to the load to show other drivers the overhanging objects.

Experienced Legal Advocacy for Your Texas and Gulf Coast Truck Accident Case

When selecting the lawyer to represent you, it is in your best interest to choose one with extensive truck accident experience, detailed knowledge of state and federal trucking laws, and a track record of high-value recoveries for serious and catastrophic injuries. Houston personal injury law firm Gordon, Elias, & Seely, LLP, is a top choice when you’ve been injured in Texas, the Gulf Coast region, or elsewhere in the United States. With 60 years of combined experience, partners Steve Gordon, Todd Elias, and Jeff Seely know exactly how to handle a truck accident claim, from investigation to trial, should a trial become necessary to get you a fair recovery.

Free Truck Accident Consultation

Take advantage of the free case review by an experienced truck accident attorney at Gordon, Elias, & Seely to learn what options are available to help you win a monetary recovery for your injuries. Call for an appointment today. Act now, because the time to file your injury or wrongful death claim is limited by Texas law.

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I have friends that have hired other lawyers. Their lawyers have not done nearly as much for them as GES has done for me and my family."
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I appreciate everything he has done for me."
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