Houston Truck Accident Lawyer
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Although they occur less often than car accidents, collisions involving 18-wheelers — also known as semi-trucks, big rigs, and tractor-trailers — and other large, freight-bearing commercial motor vehicles produce some of the most devastating results. Due to the sheer size and weight of these trucks, they are not able to maneuver and brake as quickly as the average passenger vehicle. The mechanical components of commercial trucks also have to be watched closely, as they wear down and break rapidly.
Because of this, trucking companies and truck drivers alike hold a heavy responsibility to ensure their trucks are in good operating condition, and that these vehicles are operated safely. Unfortunately, negligent operation, maintenance and other types of carelessness often result in avoidable accidents.
WHY CHOOSE US?
- Over $1 billion secured in settlements & verdicts on behalf of our clients
- 150+ Years’ Combined Experience
- No Fee Unless We Win
At Stern Law Group, we have seen just how much damage a truck accident can cause. Our goal is to help victims rebuild their lives by recovering financial compensation that makes this possible. In addition to handling truck accident insurance claims from start to finish, we can thoroughly investigate the cause of a collision to see exactly what party (or parties) can be held liable.
Call (877) 661-9900 or fill out a complimentary case evaluation form immediately if you or a loved one was injured in an accident with a big rig.
For people injured in truck accidents, the severe repercussions make financial compensation a necessity. This is why the Houston accident attorneys at Stern Law Group work tirelessly on behalf of truck accident victims and why we do everything in our power to ensure that their insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits are successfully resolved.
Victories for Truck Accident Victims
- Our client was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler and sustained severe neck and spine injuries.
- Our client was struck by an 18-wheeler and, as a result, suffered traumatic lower back injuries.
- Our client suffered serious foot, lower back, and shoulder injuries after being hit by an 18-wheeler truck.
What Are Common Causes of Trucking Accidents?
There are many causes of truck accidents, but the majority of truck-involved accidents can be attributed to driver carelessness or negligence. Unlike cases of car accidents, truck accidents also carry with them the added element of potentially numerous federal regulation violations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) establishes and enforces many federal laws with which the trucking industry must comply. We use our familiarity with these regulations to determine if trucking companies failed to meet federal requirements, which can place clear and convincing liability on them to compensate you fairly for the injuries and damages you suffered.
Failure to Meet Federal Regulations
The first step Stern Law Group and its investigators take when dealing with a tractor-trailer accident is to uncover whether there were any violations of commercial trucking regulations.
As the FMCSA's main objective is to keep the roads and highways free from the devastating effects of trucking accidents, the agency imposes strict regulations and laws that are sternly enforced. Some of the common causes of truck accidents involve the failure of both companies and truckers to meet FMCSA requirements. Examples of these laws include:
- Driver Regulations - Trucking companies are ultimately responsible for the behavior of their drivers. They are also required by law to ensure that their drivers are drug and alcohol-free. In addition, they must provide adequate safety and driver training.
- Hours of Service - Hours-of-service regulations have become a prominent concern in the trucking industry. As overworked and tired drivers pose serious threats to others on the road, the FMCSA enforces many regulations concerning the amount of time that a driver is permitted to be behind the wheel and on duty, as well as strict requirements for time off. Trucking companies are also required to maintain extensive documentation of drivers' working hours, which our firm can access and use to support your claim.
- Vehicle Regulations - Unsafe vehicles, defective or malfunctioning auto parts, and other dangerous truck conditions are a common factor in causing truck accidents. This is why the FMCSA has created numerous vehicle regulations, including requirements for the upkeep and maintenance of a company's fleet, weight limitations, and routine driver vehicle safety checks.
Commercial Motor Vehicle Laws in Texas
Certain state and federal laws govern commercial vehicles. They apply to weight limits, vehicle size limits, driver work hours and rest periods, vehicle inspections, driver drug testing and more. According to Texas Transportation Code § 548.001:
(1) "Commercial motor vehicle" means a self-propelled or towed
vehicle, other than a farm vehicle with a gross weight, registered weight,
or gross weight rating of less than 48,000 pounds, that is used on a public
highway to transport passengers or cargo if:
- (A) the vehicle, including a school activity bus as defined in Section 541.201, or combination of vehicles has a gross weight, registered weight, or gross weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds;
- (B) the vehicle, including a school activity bus as defined in Section 541.201, is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver; or
- (C) the vehicle is used to transport hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placarding by a regulation issued under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. Section 5101 et seq.).
Any driver that operates a commercial motor vehicle is required to have a special license, a Commercial Driver License (CDL). There are three basic CDL classes in Texas; a driver must have the right license for the vehicle he or she is driving.
Commercial drivers must also abide by traffic laws like other drivers, yet they are held to more stringent regulations when it comes to blood alcohol levels. A driver with a normal license may not operate a motor vehicle while with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater. Drivers with CDLs, however, may not operate a vehicle while with a BAC of .04% or greater. Drivers are also required to take blood or breath alcohol testing if pulled over for suspected drunk driving. Drunk driving violations may result in CDL suspension or revocation, heavy fines, termination of employment and even jail time.
Truck Driver Negligence
Driver error and negligence are among the most common causes of truck accidents. While some of these mistakes may be genuine errors, others involve incredibly careless actions that endanger the lives of others.
Some examples of truck driver negligence include:
- Reckless and aggressive driving
- Drunk driving
- Tired driving
- Unsafe speeds
- Distracted driving, including texting accidents
- Failure to signal or be aware of surroundings
- Driving without proper qualifications or training
Stern Law Group has worked numerous truck accident cases in which truck driver negligence was the primary factor in causing an injury accident. Our ability to act quickly, our thorough investigations into the background and driving behavior of the driver, and our willingness to leave no stone unturned allow us to determine whether truck driver negligence played a role in your case.
Whether truck driver negligence or a trucking company's failure to meet federal laws contributed to your truck accident, you can be sure that our effective and aggressive legal team has the skills and work ethic to clearly establish the cause of the accident. With strong support for your claim, our attorneys can focus on fighting against the resources of trucking and insurance companies to ensure that you are fully and fairly compensated.
Seeking Fair Compensation for Your Injuries
The primary objective in handling a truck accident insurance claim is to recover a settlement or award that covers all of a victim's injuries and losses. This should include both economic and non-economic damages, as needed, from medical bills to emotional trauma and everything in between. Some of the losses covered by an insurance claim may include:
- Medical bills
- Medical supplies
- Ongoing medical care
- Physical therapy
- Lost earnings
- Loss of future earnings
- Funeral expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
One of the key parts of handling a claim is determining the fair and full value of the claim. Our attorneys often work with medical professionals, economists, psychologists, and other experts to determine what economic and emotional impact a victim's injuries have had and will have in the future. We can then present this information as evidence in court or during negotiations to show what our client should receive. In negotiating with the insurance company or taking a client's case to court, we will then pursue maximum compensation.
Their goals revolve around preserving their financial well-being, not around helping victims and families recover. Whether your case involves a jackknife accident, multi-vehicle pileup, road departure, or any other type of accident, Stern Law Group is prepared to assist you in filing a claim and fighting against the trucking company.
Our firm will thoroughly analyze your case in order to determine, establish, and convincingly present evidence of a truck driver's negligence and liability. Our extensive knowledge of federal trucking regulations and the common causes of truck accidents can prove indispensable in building the strongest claim possible. Having worked on countless truck accident cases, we have the insight and familiarity with the common mistakes made by truck drivers.
Why You Need a Truck Accident Attorney at Stern Law Group
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, then you need to work with a firm that has the experience and dedication to win. With more than 150 years of combined legal practice and numerous truck accident cases under our belt, you should not hesitate to reach out to Stern Law Group as soon as possible after your accident.
We have the tools to achieve success and we fight to win. Contact a Houston truck accident attorney today.