18-Wheeler Semi Truck
The U.S. Department of Transportation currently reports that there are nearly 400,000 large commercial vehicle accidents annually. That equates to roughly 1 in 10 accidents involving 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, semi-trucks. and the like. Of these, more than 100,000 result in serious injury and over 4,000 are fatal. As commercial vehicle traffic continues to rise on I-35 and other East Texas roads and highways, so does the threat of being involved in accident with a semi-truck or similar motor vehicle.
Ignoring the need for legal representation when you have been involved in a collision of this sort is one of the many mistakes oil field, trucking and insurance companies hope that victims and their families make. They depend on this to aid them in evading liability for the negligence of those they employ or represent. When you have been injured in an accident involving a large commercial vehicle or 18 wheeler, you need a law firm that is prepared to put your best interests first, to negotiate the biggest settlement or take your case to trial if necessary.
If you have been the victim of a commercial truck or 18 wheeler accident in Texas. it is essential that you have an experienced team of personal injury attorneys on your side that will battle the insurance companies, oil and gas companies, big corporations, or other “Big Boys“ for the compensation you rightly deserve. At Tefteller Law, our team of semi-truck and auto accident lawyers can assist you through every aspect of your claim. We have a comprehensive knowledge of both state and federal laws, and we have proven our allegiance to accident victims, their dependents and loved ones in the East Texas area and throughout the state of Texas.
It is crucial that you contact a capable attorney if you wish to secure a favorable verdict against these large, powerful trucking and 18-wheeler companies. You can be certain that as soon as the accident was reported, they immediately dispatched an accident response team with lawyers, insurance adjusters, experts, and engineers to begin building a defense against you. This is standard operating procedure, and their team responds before ever knowing if you will seek legal remedy. In fact, their teams are typically already building a case against you while your loved one is still in the hospital or waiting to be buried because of their negligence and dangerous driving. They don’t wait, and you shouldn’t either.
We will stand by your side and fight for you. We will assertively engage in negotiations with the opposing party and demand the compensation you deserve. Understand that their job is to settle quickly and pay you the smallest amount possible. Many times, their adjusters will use scare tactics and stop at nothing in their attempts to rid themselves of any liability in your case. Our function is the exact opposite. We want to help you secure maximum recovery. Whether the accident involved an 18-wheeler, oil field truck, equipment truck, semi-truck, cement truck, cargo truck, dump truck, delivery truck, tractor-trailer, semi, flat bed, box truck, or tank. we realize the magnitude of the resulting and future loss and we have successfully litigated cases involving these vehicles throughout the state
Critical Info on 18-Wheelers
The Critical First 48 Hours
Commercial Vehicle Accidents
If you have been involved in or witnessed a large vehicle accident, you already know that they are vastly different from a typical automobile accident. An average passenger vehicle weighs between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds; the average weight of a loaded large commercial vehicle weighs approximately 80,000 pounds. When these kinds of vehicles collide, the results are nearly always cataclysmic. Victims of these accidents often suffer internal injuries, spinal and brain injuries, broken bones and muscle damage, loss of limbs, paralysis, disfigurement, and even death.
Texas and federal laws mandate that truck drivers must undergo rigorous training and meet specified qualifications. They also dictate the amount of time that drivers are working, and several other protocols concerning vehicle repair, regular maintenance and inspections, and insurance coverage. Unfortunately, these mandates are not always fully observed, and they are sometimes disregarded entirely. As a result, tragedies occur. Because of the complexities involving trucking accidents and resulting injuries, it is extremely important to retain an injury attorney that is experienced in the intricacies of 18-wheeler and large truck collisions. Please know that we are focused in this area of law and we will go to great lengths to help you attain a substantial settlement or jury verdict for your damages.
Commercial Vehicle Law
Commercial vehicles, which include 18-wheelers, large trucks, delivery trucks, semis, oil field trucks, and tractor trailers that travel using interstate and state roadways must adhere to all regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, specifically Title 49, Parts 350-399. In this section, there are explicit laws and guidelines that are set in place to control specific safety issues in regard to commercial vehicles. Under these federal laws, drivers and their proprietors must maintain logbooks, receipts for gas, and other documents for a minimum of six months. All vehicle maintenance records must be retained for a minimum of one year, and the required documentation must be kept for an extended amount of time if an accident occurs. In addition to these records, data must be kept either in digital or written form of the amount of time drivers spend on the road and resting. Drivers must rest at least 10 continual hours before returning to the highway. These requirements are altered when inclement weather or other adverse road conditions become a factor. Federal law also mandates that employers authenticate the driving record of a commercial driver for the three years prior to employment with their company.
In addition to federal laws, truck drivers and their employers must comply with state laws. Texas Administrative Code, Title 37, Part 1, Chapter 4, Subchapters A-E details these vehicle regulations and enforcement procedures. In this chapter, there are detailed guidelines concerning vehicle registrations, hazardous materials, truck and driver licensing, carrier safety, and oversized/overweight loads.
Rest assured that our firm is well acquainted with the full extent of truck-related accident guidelines, reporting protocols, and both federal and state laws. Broad understanding of each of these is critical when filing and trying a personal injury suit.
When Should You Contact an Attorney?
The defense lawyers of the trucking and insurance companies will begin immediately. Therefore, you should not delay in contacting our office. You don’t need to wait to find out if the other side has begun building their defense, just be assured that they
have. You need to employ an accident attorney at your first opportunity. You want as much evidence as possible to be protected and not destroyed or even compromised.
It is never too soon to contact a lawyer; even at the scene of the accident. This is because physical evidence can quickly begin to disappear as soon as law enforcement officers reopen the affected roadways. Furthermore, when a commercial vehicle or 18 wheeler is involved in a collision, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration demands that certain paperwork be completed. They also mandate that the required documentation is stored for a certain period of time. Many times, trucking companies will destroy these documents as soon as the retention period is complete. Again, the sooner you retain an attorney to try your case, the quicker these materials and evidence can be secured, conserved, and used to your benefit. This paperwork is also vital to your case, in that it can further establish the liability of other parties that may not have been previously considered.
Like most lawsuits, there is a statute of limitations regarding traffic accidents. In Texas, this statute of limitations is outlined in Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code 16.003 and it restricts the injured party from a filing a suit for any injuries sustained from a collision with an 18-wheeler after two (2) years has passed. Making contact and securing an attorney earlier rather than later gives the firm more time to build a strong case. Ultimately, the stronger the case, the greater your award.
Who is Liable in a Large Vehicle Accident?
Because of the risk factors involved and the multifaceted issues that must be considered and examined, a number of defendants in your case could be liable to you. Some matters that must be investigated include, but are not limited to, the accuracy of driver log books, improper loading or overloading of cargo, the possibility of truck driver fatigue, stringent deadlines, or inadequate inspections. Drug or alcohol use, driver aggression, the rate of speed, driver distraction, or unsafe driving conditions must be examined, as well. If any of these or other factors are found to be contributors to the accident, the trucking company would likely be negligent in your case.
Besides the above conditions, 18-wheeler and other trucking accidents may be caused by defective equipment. These could include, but are not limited to faulty computer systems, tires, brakes, or services and equipment maintenance contracted to other companies. The collision could also be a result of the negligence of other drivers. In these cases, a third party or parties may be included in the case.
What Can I Do to Help My Case?
First and foremost, do not accept any offers, attempt to negotiate, or enter into any agreements with insurance or trucking companies. They may attempt to contact you directly, or via their adjusters or other representatives including lawyers. This is fairly common, in that they want to settle your claim quickly so that you are no longer eligible for further compensation or a jury trial. At first glance, this offer may seem appealing, however, as bills mount, further injuries or impairments are diagnosed, and future treatment and rehabilitation and general care is gauged, the amount offered may swiftly become less attractive. As such, it is imperative that you accept no settlement offers.
Under no circumstances should you admit to fault for the accident — partially or otherwise. When you are involved in an accident, state law dictates that if you admit fault a jury can be directed to consider your proportionate responsibility for helping to cause the accident. This simply means that if you are responsible, even partially, your award can be significantly decreased or eliminated completely.
Seek medical attention immediately and do not miss any subsequent appointments. Stay current with all prescriptions, treatments, and recommended therapy. Keep all medical documentation, as well as a personal record of the events surrounding the accident itself, and all you have done to improve you overall condition. Some types of injury, particularly to the head, neck, and spine, do not surface in the first few days after an accident. These deferred injuries can potentially affect the rest of your life, and can impact your ability to function normally. Seeking medical attention immediately following the accident can possibly inhibit further bodily injuries, as well as possible difficulties with your case.
Finally, you should contact our offices as soon as possible. We will act hastily to safeguard essential information and promptly begin compiling your case. It is imperative to act with immediacy. You can be certain that we are here to advocate for you. Guidelines are in place to ensure that truck drivers and their employers follow a specified set of laws and regulations to make the roads as safe as possible for all drivers and passengers. These laws have been established to keep the public safe. When these regulations are disregarded and accidents happen, victims are entitled to receive compensation for their suffering and injuries.
Contact Us Today, We Are Here to Assist You
The trucking industry is large and quite influential. They have multiple parties on hand to protect them, even when they are at fault; and they have the time and financial resources it takes to engage in longstanding legal proceedings. Their goal is to win their client’s case with little or no regard for you and the losses you have endured. While you are focused on your recovery, medical bills, loss of income, emotional strain, and family well being, they are only concerned with the trucking company that they represent, and paying you as little as possible. It is very difficult to fight them alone, and you should know that you don’t have to. Our team of knowledgeable professionals understands the detailed laws that govern the trucking industry in Texas. We have the legal acumen to represent you in this complex area of law.
Trust an East Texas wrongful death and personal injury law firm with experience in litigation involving 18-wheelers and other large rigs. The risk is simply too high not to. Todd Tefteller and Jarom Tefteller of Tefteller Law, PLLC are known for having both the steadfastness and expertise needed to assist you in your case. If you or a loved one has been involved in a collision with an 18-wheeler, large rig, tractor trailer, or other large commercial vehicle, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your damages, personal injuries, or pain and suffering. Please call us to discuss the circumstances surrounding your accident. We look forward to speaking with you regarding your rights and each of your options.