Experienced Texas Commercial Truck Accident Attorneys
Qualified representation for truck crash injury victims in Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth
Truck accident claims can be extremely complex. The trucking and cargo industry is regulated by a patchwork of federal agencies that work with state departments of transportation to enforce a complicated set of rules – including regulations related to licensing, hours of service, qualification of drivers, maximum weight loads, the transport of hazardous waste, speed limits, and vehicle maintenance.
In a commercial truck or commercial vehicle crash, multiple parties can be responsible for an accident, and due to the massive size and weight of these vehicles, injuries from truck wrecks tend to be catastrophic. If you or a loved one were harmed in a semi-truck accident, the attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger dedicate themselves to assigning liability, determining which legal strategy has the best chance of a favorable outcome, and ensuring you secure financial compensation for your injuries.
"Slack Davis Sanger represents the ultimate in professionalism combined with a true caring attitude.” - Colonel Ray Toler, Client
How common are semi-truck accidents?
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) analyzes data from the U.S. Department of Transportation to determine trends in vehicle crashes and fatalities. In their most recent report, they state that 4,119 people were killed in commercial truck crashes in 2019. Of these fatalities, only 16 percent were truck occupants, and the rest were occupants of other vehicles, or pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists.
In fatal crashes involving one passenger car and one large truck, 97 percent of fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants. Further, of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2019, 11 percent resulted from large truck accidents. They also point out that fatalities from large truck crashes were 31 percent higher in 2019 than 2009. Some experts estimate that by 2030, commercial truck accidents will be the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States.
What makes 18-wheelers so dangerous?
Semi-trucks and commercial trucks can weigh over 15 times as much as an average passenger car. The typical truck measures about 72 feet long, 13.5 feet tall, and 8.5 feet wide. A fully-loaded truck can weigh around 80,000 pounds, compared to a passenger car, which typically weighs less than 3,000 pounds. This size and weight make a large truck difficult to maneuver, and it requires more time to come to a full stop than a passenger vehicle would. A collision with a truck of this size can be catastrophic or fatal to occupants of another vehicle.
Another complicating factor in accidents involving 18-wheelers is the fact that commercial truck drivers are under stress to cover as much mileage as possible in as short a time as they can. Due to stringent deadlines and quotas on the job, truckers are often fatigued from long hours spent behind the wheel. They are also often distracted by their cell phones or dispatch radios as they push toward their destinations. Many commercial vehicle drivers also rely on substances to stay awake, which impairs judgment and can lead to further fatigue.
The injury attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger investigate the cause of your accident to determine why and how it happened to hold the right people accountable.
What are the federal safety regulations that trucking companies must uphold?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was established by the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000, with the mission to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries. The FMCSA is responsible for setting guidelines for high-risk carriers and commercial motor vehicle drivers by working closely with State and Federal law enforcement agencies, the motor carrier industry, and interest groups related to safety. As a result, trucking companies are now required to implement the following:
Driver qualifications - drivers must be at least 21 years of age, meet the physical requirements of the job, carry a valid commercial motor vehicle license, and be thoroughly background checked for any prior driving violations or related history.
Supervisor training - hiring managers and supervisors are required to take drug and alcohol awareness training to identify drug and alcohol abuse in drivers they employ.
Drug and alcohol testing - All new employees are required to undergo mandatory drug and alcohol testing as part of the hiring process, and random drug testing while employed.
Department of Transportation (DOT) registration - Any trucking company that is involved in intrastate or interstate travel is required to register with the DOT. Those forms must be carried in trucks at all times, along with their motor carrier number. Both forms determine whether truck drivers and their cargo are allowed on roadways.
What are the main causes of commercial truck crashes?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study took a nationwide representative sample of commercial truck crashes to determine causes and contributing factors.
According to the FMSCA:
Most of the factors involve the driver. A number of the factors center on the condition of the truck driver at the time of the crash. Legal drug use, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, show up in a large number of cases. On the other hand, the use of illegal drugs and alcohol and truck driver illness are rare. Driver fatigue is a prominent factor, ranking sixth [on] the driver list with 13 percent of the truck drivers coded as being fatigued at the time of the crash.
The top 10 causes of semi-truck accidents, according to the FMCSA, are as follows:
- Prescription drug use
- Traveling too fast for conditions
- Unfamiliar with roadway
- Over-the-counter drug use
- Inadequate surveillance
- Under work-related pressure
- Illegal maneuver
- External distraction factors
Other factors include aggressive driving, brake failure, and cargo shifting. Slack Davis Sanger’s team of highly experienced truck wreck attorneys have the resources to conduct extensive research into the chain of events leading up to the accident, including any possible errors made by the driver prior to the incident.
What are common semi-truck crash injuries?
Someone involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle can sustain significant injuries resulting in staggering medical bills, or a long-term to permanent disability. You, or your loved one, might miss considerable amounts of work due to injuries and recovery time or even lose the ability to work altogether.
Serious injuries from commercial truck wrecks include life-altering trauma like broken and crushed bones, burns, internal injuries, loss of limb, paralysis, spinal cord injuries, seatbelt and airbag injuries, traumatic brain injury, or wrongful death.
Survivors of serious large truck accidents may also experience emotional trauma, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) anxiety or depression. PTSD is a very real and serious injury that can cause long-term disability and damage. When a truck driver or trucking company’s negligence leads to these injuries, it is crucial that they are held accountable.
Who is liable in a commercial truck crash?
One of the most important legal aspects of an accident involving a commercial truck is who is at fault. In these crashes, liability can be shared by one or more parties. Depending on the circumstances, victims or surviving family members may file a claim against the:
Trucking company,based on the theory of vicarious liability. Here, employers can be found responsible for accidents that happen while their employees are on the job. A company could also be liable for hiring a driver without a proper background check. In other cases, a business could be found liable for inadequate training, improper maintenance, allowing a driver to drive while fatigued, or falsifying their hours of service (log books).
Driver, if they broke a traffic law while operating a large truck. This can include truck driver negligence like running a red light, falling asleep behind the wheel, speeding, distracted driving, or simply not paying attention to traffic conditions.
Manufacturer, supplier, or mechanic, in the event a truck defect or inadequate repair was found to be a factor in the crash. Faulty brakes, worn tires, steering problems, and other issues can lead to a truck wreck.
Loader or shipper of the cargo, if improper loading and cargo shift or release led to the accident.
In today’s economy, there are multiple parties involved in the operation of commercial trucks around the country. Only an experienced attorney can identify the responsible parties and hold them accountable. The attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger have that experience.
Which trucking companies have you brought claims against?
Slack Davis Sanger has represented clients throughout Texas in claims against the following trucking companies:
How can a Texas commercial truck crash attorney help?
Slack Davis Sanger has built a reputation as a top truck accident law firm by successfully representing victims and their families in the aftermath of tragic tractor-trailer crashes. We understand that these accidents can result in lost wages, costly medical bills, and other unforeseen expenses. Our compassionate attorneys are here to listen and build a case that will result in just compensation for victims and their families while fighting for better regulation and stringent safety standards in the trucking industry.
We also represent clients who have suffered losses in claims involving vans, buses, limousines, and other commercial vehicles. If you were injured in a collision with a commercial vehicle of any kind, we can help.
While we understand that no dollar amount can change the outcome of a catastrophic injury or wrongful death, the skilled attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger can work to help you recover a fair settlement.
Focused truck accident injury attorneys on your side
With our hundreds of years of combined experienced, the commercial truck crash attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger dedicate themselves to your case. We understand how to navigate these complex accident claims, and know you need help – now. For more information or to schedule a free consultation at one of our offices in Austin, Dallas, or Fort Worth, please call 800-455-8686 or fill out our contact form.