Commercial vehicles crisscross the territory of the United States, carrying various merchandises, from basic household goods to dangerous and hazardous materials. When such a large and heavy vehicle hits one or several passenger vehicles, the results are horrific: people die or suffer catastrophic injuries, leaving them with lifelong disabilities or disfigurement. Also, getting compensation under personal injury law in such a case is a complex matter. This is why you should contact an experienced truck accident lawyer at Glenn Law Firm as soon as possible.
The fact is that, for a long time after the crash, you may be in hospital, undergoing surgeries and specialized treatments. Meanwhile, the statute of limitations (period of time) for personal injury lawsuits in the state of Texas is two years starting from the date of the accident.. Thus, you may realize that you need to file a suit when it is too late and the trucking company and the other liable parties simply files for dismissal on the grounds of expired statute of limitations.
A Few Facts about Tractor Trailers and Trucks
The most common name for large freight vehicles is semi-trucks. They are called this way because the trailer that carries the goods (the trailer) does not have front wheels and needs to be connected to the tractor truck in order to move. We will now give you a few important facts about trucks, which we believe are important in order to understand why a truck crash can result in so many severe injuries to all parties involved.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a loaded truck needs the distance of 2 football fields to come to a full stop after the truck driver hits the brake. This distance increases in bad weather conditions (wet or icy roads).
The total weight of a loaded 18-wheeler or semi-truck is 80.000 pounds or 40 tons. By comparison, the average passenger vehicle weighs 4,000 pounds or 2 tons. Thus, when a semi-truck accident happens, the passenger car is hit by a vehicle 20 times heavier than itself.
The average height of a truck is roughly 13 feet. This makes their center of gravity very high, with a negative impact on stability especially during lane changes and in curves.
The Reasons Why Commercial Truck Accidents Are So Dangerous
Unfortunately, the state of Texas ranks first in statistics for fatal trucking accidents, with 629 victims during 2020. So, why are these types of accidents so devastating? Here are some of the most important reasons:
Drowsy driving can cause a fatal accident even when only passenger vehicles are involved. However, when a truck driver falls asleep at the wheel, the outcomes are beyond terrible. Truck accident victims die, suffer the loss of limbs, spinal cord injuries, or traumatic brain injury.
Unfortunately, these drivers are breaking FMCSA regulations on hours of service, because they receive very tight deadlines from their employers. Trucking companies notoriously think of their profit more than of safety, and this makes their drivers skip mandatory off-duty periods when they should rest.
Texting and driving are prohibited in most US states, including Texas. However, many truck drivers are using their mobile phones or doing other activities that take their focus from the road and the traffic around them. A single moment of not paying attention is sufficient to cause a horrific accident.
Although truck drivers should hold a special license that allows them to operate vehicles with a gross weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds, not all of them are equally experienced and skilled. Truck drivers errors happen, for instance, a foot slips from the brake or a curve is taken in a tight angle. Due to the sheer size of trucks, these apparently small errors can have terrible consequences for other drivers and their passengers.
Improperly Loaded Trailers
Loading a trailer is not a haphazard activity. The load must be evenly distributed across the floor, so that the center of gravity of the entire truck remains stable. One of the most dangerous situations is when a tanker truck is not fully loaded with liquids. At high speed, the liquid starts moving sideways in the tanker, creating a sloshing effect. This can effectively tip the tanker to one side or another.
Difficulty in Handling
Driving a truck is not the same thing as driving your family van. It requires special training - this is why all truck drivers must be certified and hold a Class A drivers' license. Inexperienced and insufficiently trained drivers may easily lose control of fully loaded semi - trucks, causing fatal crashes.
An experienced truck accident attorney can determine whether these motor vehicle accidents were caused by a badly trained driver or a distracted driver. In most of the cases, however, the truck company is vicariously liable for your bodily injury and property damage.
Carrying Dangerous Substances and Materials
At the present, around 68% of all the goods in the US are delivered by semi-trucks. Among these goods there are substances such as:
- industrial chemicals
- petroleum-based products
- radioactive materials.
There are very specific regulations for the transportation of HAZMAT materials. However, even the most prudent driver may suffer a rollover accident. This leads to spills of these dangerous materials. Thus, truck accident victims do not suffer only physical injuries from the crash itself, but also exposure to these materials resulting in burns, chemical burns and intoxication.
In the worst case scenarios, a truck carrying dangerous materials will explode after the crash, causing devastating injuries to everyone involved.
The Shape of the Truck
Even the shape of the truck can be a contributing factor in accidents. Commercial truck drivers are not able to see all the cars behind them. This blind spot may prevent them from noticing another car during lane changing on when taking a curve.
How to Obtain Fair Compensation after a Truck Crash
As you have seen above, there are many reasons why truck crashes happen, and not all of them are fully attributable to negligent truck drivers. However, even if that is the case, the truck company is liable for their employees' actions which led to your grievous injuries.
An experienced personal injury attorney will investigate the accident thoroughly and identify all the liable parties, from a reckless truck driver to a company that provided a defective part included in the truck. The attorney will collect and examine all the relevant pieces of evidence, starting with the accident report prepared by law enforcement officers at the crash scene and ending with your own medical records and statements.
Hire a Truck Accident Law Firm with a Proven Track Record
At Glenn Law Firm, we let our results speak for us. We have won millions of dollars in compensation for truck accident victims or their bereaved families in wrongful death cases. We treat you as a real person, not a case number, and we offer you all our attention, dedication, knowledge, and compassion.
Being involved in a truck accident is a horrible experience which will change your life forever. We cannot give you back your full enjoyment of life, but we can ensure that you are financially secure and can get over this terrible moment without sinking in debt.
We work on a contingency fee base, collecting our due fees once we have won your case, so don't hesitate to call us for a free case review: 817-424-5999!