18-Wheeler Accidents

Houston 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney

An accident can put the brakes on your day, and can have a significant impact on your future health and ability to work. In this article, we’ll explore the types of damages you might encounter in an 18-wheeler crash, and how your local Houston 18-wheeler accident lawyer from Fibich Law can help you make the most of your case.

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18-Wheeler Accidents Cause Thousands of Injuries and Deaths Each Year

Accidents with 18-wheelers, large trucks, and buses are especially dangerous. Large truck and bus accidents are exceptionally dangerous due to the substantially greater weight and height of these vehicles, and the slower reaction times they have to road emergencies and conditions.

In the US in 2019 alone, accidents involving large trucks like 18-wheelers and buses were involved in:

  • 5,237 fatal accidents
  • 127,000 accidents involving injuries
  • 414,000 accidents that caused property damage alone

Given the significant risks associated with getting into accidents with large trucks, their drivers are held to a higher standard, and your 18-wheeler accident attorney will collect the evidence you need to determine if this standard was not met, entitling you to damages.

Distracted Driving is Illegal and Makes a Driver Liable for Damages from the Accident

Distracted driving is an increasingly serious issue across the United States, and in 2020 there were 368 people killed in crashes involving distracted driving in Texas alone. Distracted driving is engaging in any activity while driving that takes your attention away from the road, and for a truck driver operating a large vehicle on tight deadlines, there are many distractions.

Your truck accident attorney will collect the evidence you need to put forward the best possible claim or case to collect the compensation you deserve. If you have lost a loved one to an 18-wheeler crash, you may be able to bring a claim on their behalf to collect damages through a wrongful death claim, something your attorney can advise you on during your consultation.

Your 18-Wheeler Crash Attorney Handles Everything for You

When you have been injured in a crash and are trying to get your life back in order, you might not have the time and concentration needed to effectively apply the law and case precedent to the unique facts and circumstances of your accident. Collecting the full amount of damages that you are entitled to requires that you first collect the evidence you need to sufficiently prove your damages, then to present that evidence in the form of a claim or lawsuit to the party that caused the accident. Determining what laws apply to the unique facts and circumstances of your accident and how to accurately measure your damages requires a great deal of knowledge and experience concerning your local laws and court procedures.

Your 18-wheeler accident lawyer handles everything for you, including all negotiations and communications with the opposing parties, and also collecting the evidence you need to accurately measure, then demand, your damages.

Call Us Now For A Free Consultation. You Don’t Pay Us Unless We Win Your Case.

(713) 804-6121

You Can Only Collect on Damages that You Can Prove with Proper Evidence

No matter how much injury and property damage you have experienced in your 18-wheeler crash, you will only be able to collect what you can prove by providing relevant, accurate, and proper evidence. If the insurance company fails to fully cover your damages and a lawsuit is necessary, the evidence must be recognized by the court, and submitted in line with the court’s procedure for it to be proper. The accuracy of evidence will depend upon how respected the source of the information is. Your 18-wheeler crash attorney knows what evidence to collect in support of your claim, whether it is being presented to the insurance company in the form of a claim or to the court in the form of a lawsuit.

Your Damages will be Paid by an Insurance Company through a Claim, or a Lawsuit

When you are in an 18-wheeler accident and the accident was caused by someone or something else, you are entitled to compensation for your damages. Your damages will likely be collected from the insurance company of the driver who hit you, or their employer. Truck drivers that are self-employed are required to carry their own insurance, and if they are working for someone else their employer is required to carry insurance. Collecting compensation for your damages begins with issuing a claim to the insurance company, including what your damages are, and evidence to support their value.

Without evidence to support the value of your injuries and other damages, your claim will be denied. Insurance companies have even been known to deny even rightful claims in an effort at avoiding liability, or to encourage the injured person to accept a settlement offer for less than they deserve.

Contact an 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney Before Negotiating with the Insurance Company

In the time after your accident, it can be difficult when recovering from your injuries to handle all the logistics associated with vehicle repair and figuring out how to work around your injury and recovery and pay for medical bills. With an 18-wheeler crash lawyer by your side as soon as possible after the crash, you can rest-assured that your damages will be accurately measured then demanded from the insurance company.

The insurance company might present you with a quick offer of settlement that seems to cover your immediate costs like the emergency room and car repairs, maybe even a bit more. It is important to remember that the purpose of an initial settlement offer is to get you to accept the offer, which then prevents you from collecting anything further from the accident. If you accept a settlement offer then a few years down the line your symptoms worsen, requiring additional medical care while preventing you from work, you will be unable to collect a penny further, and your family will left paying these costs.

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How does an 18-wheeler crash attorney help on my accident?

As soon as you have an attorney by your side on your 18-wheeler accident, you can rest-assured that your attorney will do everything necessary to make the most of your damages. This includes collecting evidence on your behalf from the other drivers and parties involved in the accident through legal instruments like depositions, requests for production, or interrogatories. Your attorney will schedule the follow-up opinions you’ll need to accurately measure your damages in both the short- and long-term, then ensure that you receive the full compensation you are entitled to.

Should I take a settlement offer from the insurance company?

Insurance companies present you with offers of settlement in the hopes that you will accept them, as they generally pay less than what you are entitled to. If you receive less in your settlement than the costs of your injuries require, in time you will be left paying the bills associated with your 18-wheeler crash out of your own pocket, limiting your ability to support yourself and your family. The insurance company profits by denying whichever claims they can, and paying as little as possible on those claims they must approve. With an attorney by your side and complete evidence in support of your case, the insurance company will take your claim more seriously to pay you what you deserve. If not, your attorney will take them to court to require them to.

What if my claim has already been denied?

If you have already submitted an insurance claim and it was denied, your 18-wheeler crash lawyer can help you appeal the insurance company’s decision, submitting additional evidence in support of your claim. If the insurance company still refuses to cover your damages, a lawsuit may be necessary, and your attorney will handle it for you every step of the way, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries while your attorney focuses on recovering the full compensation you deserve.

Do I sue the truck driver or their employer for my damages?

When you have been injured in an 18-wheeler crash, you might not know where to begin when trying to have your damages covered. Your attorney will carefully analyze the unique facts and circumstances of your accident to identify which party or parties are liable, and then do whatever it takes to hold them accountable so that you and your family aren’t left paying the costs associated with your accident.

What does it mean if my 18-wheeler accident lawyer takes my case on “contingency”?

Clients are often surprised to learn that their 18-wheeler accident attorney might cost them nothing up-front, and nothing out-of-pocket. Oftentimes your truck accident lawyer will take your case on contingency. This means that your attorney is only paid if they win on your case, out of a portion of the winnings that you and your attorney agree upon before they get started. Reach out today for a risk-free, no-cost case consultation to determine what options are available for you to line up the advocacy and assistance you need to recover what you are entitled to for your 18-wheeler crash.

Call Us Now For A Free Consultation. You Don’t Pay Us Unless We Win Your Case.

(713) 804-6121

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Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Collisions

There are many possible causes of truck accidents, but some of the most common include:

  • Driver negligence or mistakes
  • Dangerous roads & highways
  • Truck driver fatigue
  • Trucks and rigs are defective
  • Failure to maintain the truck
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Employer negligence
  • Improper packing of the cargo
In some cases, the truck driver is not the only one at fault. Often, an improper load weight distribution can cause the truck to handle poorly. The truck may have been improperly maintained, causing the brakes or steering to fail. Management’s expectation of driver delivery times may also exceed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act regulations.

Driver Negligence or Mistakes

Truck drivers have a hefty responsibility when they get behind the wheel. Because their vehicles are so heavy, usually around 80,000 pounds, they can be extremely damaging when involved in an accident.

If a driver ignores traffic laws or allows distractions to interrupt them, they could crash, harming themselves and anyone else on the road.

Drivers can be held responsible for their mistakes, or the trucking companies they work for may be held responsible for bad hiring practices, etc.


Dangerous Roads & Highways

If a road is poorly maintained or inherently dangerous in design, it could create dangerous driving conditions for anyone on the road. Roads that are littered with debris, unmarked, cracked, or riddled with potholes could be extremely dangerous and might contribute to the cause of a serious accident. For example, any of these road hazards could cause a driver to lose control, causing them to veer into another vehicle. Or, road hazards could cause flat tires, rollover incidents, or could run vehicles off of the road. In any of these situations, the business or city responsible for maintaining that road could be liable, or the entity that caused the hazard might be responsible. For example, a construction company might leave debris on the road, creating a major hazard.

European truck vehicle with dramatic sunset light

Truck Driver Fatigue

Drowsy driving is a serious problem among truck drivers, which is why so many trucking regulations exist to help prevent driver fatigue. Truck engines are equipped with timers to monitor driving hours, further encouraging drivers to stick to the strict driving limitations that aim to prevent truckers from working for extended periods of time.

Through the enforcement of these devices, drivers are required to take frequent breaks. However, because so many drivers face demanding schedules and strict deadlines, these rules are often ignored. As a result, drivers might fall asleep at the wheel, leading to major accidents.

Truck & Rig Defects

Vehicle manufacturers are responsible for creating and selling safe, effective equipment. If any vehicle or part fails, it could cause a serious accident.

Common truck and rig defects include:

  • Brake failure
  • Tire failure
  • Problematic steering equipment
  • Defective lights
  • Faulty mirrors
  • Damaged fuel systems
A problem with any of these parts could cause the truck driver to lose control of the vehicle, which might result in a multiple-vehicle pile-up crash, or any other number of serious incidents.

Failure to Maintain the Trucks

It is the responsibility of the truck driver or trucking company to ensure the vehicle is properly maintained. Failure to take a truck in for regular service and necessary repairs could be extremely risky and may cause the truck to fail when in use. Additionally, failure to repair and check the truck trailer could lead to cargo issues, which might lead to major spills and dangerous cargo loss.

Drug or Alcohol Abuse

Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is dangerous under any circumstances, but it can be especially risky for a truck driver. Truck drivers are responsible for particularly heavy and large vehicles, and if they lose control of their truck, they could harm anyone in the nearby vicinity. Drugs and alcohol are illegal for a reason—they distort judgment and impair the senses, which makes for an extremely dangerous driver. Unfortunately, it isn’t unheard of for truck drivers to turn to one or both of these vices in order to stay awake during long hours on the road, but their poor decisions could cost other drivers and passengers their lives.

Employer Negligence

Trucking companies are required to follow a long list of trucking regulation laws, each of which is designed to keep truck drivers and the general public safe from harm. Employers must not require their truck drivers to work unsafe, overextended hours that could ultimately lead to driver fatigue, and they must not prohibit drivers from taking the necessary breaks.

Trucking companies must also practice safe and legal hiring practices, which means they should only hire drivers who have proper licensing to operate their vehicles safely. If a driver does not have a valid license, or if he or she has driving violations, the trucking company could potentially be liable if that driver causes an accident.

Companies could also be responsible for inadequate training, failure to train drivers, inadequate vehicle inspection, failure to maintain their vehicles, failure to practice safe vehicle loading, and more. If employers are negligent and do not follow these regulations, they could be held liable for any harm that occurs as a result.


Improper Cargo Loading

Keeping a truck safe is about more than just maintaining the engine, it is equally important to ensure a truck trailer is properly loaded and all cargo is safely secured. When a truck is loaded improperly or overloaded, it can create an uneven weight distribution, which can lead to jackknifing incidents, rollover accidents, and any number of serious crashes.

Alternately, if cargo is inadequately secured it could fall from the trailer, striking nearby vehicles or creating dangerous roadblocks and hazards. Ultimately, it is the trucking company’s responsibility to secure the cargo, but a cargo loading company might also be liable for acting negligently. Or, a driver may fail to check their truck’s load, which can be equally dangerous.

We handle all truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means if you do not recover money damages in a settlement or jury award, you will not pay attorney’s fees.

Work with a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney

When you contact Fibich, Leebron, Copeland & Briggs for a free consultation to discuss your accident injury, we will fully explain how personal injury law and federal regulations affect your case, and how we can help you hold a negligent company liable, anywhere in the country. We are proud of our record of success in obtaining full and fair settlements from some of the largest freight carrier trucking companies in the nation.

Are you ready to begin? Call Fibich, Leebron, Copeland & Briggs today or schedule a free case consultation by completing our form.

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