Causes of Truck Accidents
Commercial trucking companies have a legal obligation to operate their vehicles safely. Unfortunately, despite state and federal regulations, accidents continue to be a significant problem in Texas and the rest of the United States.
According to the most recent data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), over 510,000 large truck crashes happen each year. Approximately 114,000 of them result in injuries. When there are trailer or tractor breakdowns, the consequences can be devastating. In Texas alone, more than 500 people are killed each year in truck accidents.
This raises an important question: how do truck accidents happen? Our truck accident attorneys in Houston have extensive experience investigating crash causes and resolving who was at fault. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents that we have seen are:
A tired truck driver – usually one working a tight delivery schedule – is more likely to be involved in an accident than a rested truck driver. Fatigued driving is one of the leading causes of truck accidents in Texas. The FMCSA has instituted “hours of service” limits to reduce instances of fatigued truck driving. Trucking companies have an obligation to ensure that their truckers get the appropriate amount of rest.
Substance abuse is another common cause of commercial vehicle crashes. Truck drivers who have consumed alcohol used illegal drugs, or taken medications that cause impairment cause far too many crashes in Texas. If you were involved in a truck crash and believe it may have been caused by substance abuse, you should call a personal injury attorney immediately.
Another common cause of truck accidents in Houston is speeding. Most drivers in our region have experienced how disconcerting it can be when a trailer passes them at high speed on a large highway, such as Interstate 10 or Interstate 45. Truckers speeding or driving too fast for road conditions put the safety and well-being of innocent people at risk. Trucking companies often encourage their drivers to make deliveries faster so they get paid more quickly. However, companies must ensure that delivery dates are set in a way that allows drivers to operate at a reasonable and safe speed.
Whether it’s passing in an unsafe location, forgetting to check mirrors when changing lanes, or driving too close to the vehicle in front, reckless driving is negligent. In some cases, reckless driving can become a crime.
All truckers have an obligation to maintain their full attention on the road. Cell phones and other distractions should be avoided. Still, distracted driving contributes to many truck accidents in Texas. Alarmingly, preliminary federal safety data indicates that distracted driving is on the rise among truckers.
Not all causes of truck accidents are related to the driver. A truck driver can do everything right, but if the trailer is overloaded or not properly secured, the truck can cause a devastating crash. If you were involved in a collision with a large truck that was caused by an improperly loaded or secured trailer, you should contact a Houston personal injury attorney immediately.
Drivers’ mistakes cause many of these accidents, and trucking companies can be held liable for the actions of their drivers. Since large business interests are invested in the shipment of each truck, there may be multiple parties, insurance companies, and attorneys involved in any legal action.
Truck drivers should be responsible for knowing and monitoring these blind spots. However, they sometimes forget to look in these blind spots before changing lanes or turning. For this reason, all drivers must understand where a truck’s blind spots are and how to prevent accidents from occurring.
Poor or Improper Maintenance
Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that their vehicles are reasonably safe, both for their employees and for the general public. Careful inspections should be conducted before and after the trip. If there is a problem with the truck – be it a worn tire, old brakes, or any other mechanical problem – repairs are necessary and should be completed before the truck gets back on the road.
Defective Truck Parts
If faulty parts or equipment, such as brakes, tires, or driving systems, cause a truck accident, the manufacturer or dealer of truck auto parts can be held liable.
In some cases, inclement weather can contribute to a truck accident. However, weather conditions are not an excuse for a truck accident. If the weather is too dangerous for a trucker to operate the vehicle safely, the truck driver should slow down or park until conditions improve.
Bad Road Conditions
Finally, poor road conditions can also contribute to truck accidents. In some cases, dangerous highway design or other negligent actions by state highway crews or private contractors may be responsible for a trucking accident.
Protect Your Rights After a Truck Accident
Unfortunately, recovering full and fair compensation in a truck accident can be extremely difficult. Trucking companies are generally represented by aggressive and large insurance companies. Victims of truck accidents should make sure they:
- Report the accident to the police immediately.
- Obtain insurance and employment information from the truck driver.
- Take photographs of vehicles and injuries and secure other relevant information, such as names and contact information for witnesses.
- Seek medical help as soon as possible and follow your doctor’s instructions.
- Avoid making any statements to the trucking company or insurance provider.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident in or around Houston, it is crucial that you seek the advice of an experienced legal professional.
How Long Do You Have to File a Texas Truck Accident Report?
After a commercial truck crash, victims have a limited time to file a report. Under Texas law, truck accidents are generally subject to a two-year statute of limitations. If no complaint is filed within this time, the case will almost certainly be automatically dismissed, without a hearing on its merits.
You should never wait to take action after a Houston truck accident. Beyond the prescribed deadline, reports of large truck accidents require extensive investigation. The longer you wait to build your claim, the more difficult it will be to follow up on all the evidence necessary to win your case. After an 18-wheeler accident, you should speak with a Houston truck crash attorney immediately.
How Our Houston Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help With Your Case
If you or a loved one was injured in a Houston truck crash, we can help you by:
- Launching an independent investigation into the cause of the accident and determining who is responsible for your injuries
- Ensuring that you receive immediate medical treatment for your truck accident injuries
- Gathering evidence to help establish fault for the accident and the full extent of your damages
- Handling communication with insurance companies and other parties so you can concentrate on recovery
- Negotiating for a fair and full settlement on your behalf
- Preparing your case for trial to fight for the compensation you deserve
Contact Our Houston Truck Accident Attorneys for a Free Consultation
At The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian, we have obtained successful results for thousands of deserving clients. An experienced Houston truck accident lawyer, Hilda Sibrian is committed to helping injured victims recover the maximum available personal injury compensation.
If you were injured in a Houston truck crash or elsewhere in Harris County, Texas, please do not hesitate to contact our personal injury law firm today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.