How Long Does it Typically Take to Resolve a Truck Accident Claim?

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

If you’ve been involved in an 18 wheeler truck accident and are seeking compensation, you may be wondering how long it will take to resolve your claim. While every case is unique, there are certain factors that can impact the duration of the process. In this article, we will explore the average time it takes to resolve an 18 wheeler truck accident claim and discuss the factors that can affect the timeline.

Understanding the Truck Accident Claim Process.

The truck accident claim process can be complex and time-consuming. It typically involves several stages, including investigation, negotiation, and potentially litigation. The duration of the process can vary depending on various factors, such as the severity of the accident, the extent of injuries and damages, and the cooperation of the parties involved. It is important to have a clear understanding of the process and work with experienced legal professionals to navigate through it efficiently.

Gathering Evidence and Investigating the Accident.

The first stage in resolving a truck accident claim is gathering evidence and investigating the accident. This involves collecting information such as police reports, witness statements, photographs, and any other relevant evidence that can help establish liability and determine the extent of damages. This process can take time, especially if there are multiple parties involved or if the accident scene is complex. It is important to be thorough in this stage to ensure all necessary evidence is obtained for a strong case. Working with an experienced attorney can help streamline this process and ensure all necessary steps are taken.

Negotiating with Insurance Companies.

Negotiating with insurance companies is a crucial step in resolving a truck accident claim. Insurance companies are often focused on minimizing their payouts, so it is important to be prepared and knowledgeable during this process. It is recommended to work with an experienced attorney who can handle negotiations on your behalf. They will have a thorough understanding of the legal and insurance processes involved in truck accident claims and can advocate for your rights and fair compensation. It is important to provide all necessary documentation and evidence to support your claim during negotiations. This can include medical records, repair estimates, and any other relevant information. Remember to stay persistent and assertive during negotiations to ensure you receive a fair settlement.

Filing a Lawsuit, if Necessary.

In some cases, filing a lawsuit may be necessary to resolve a truck accident claim. This typically occurs when negotiations with the insurance company are unsuccessful or when the at-fault party refuses to take responsibility for the accident. Filing a lawsuit can be a complex and time-consuming process, so it is important to consult with an attorney who specializes in truck accident cases. They will guide you through the legal process, gather evidence, and build a strong case on your behalf. It is important to note that the duration of a lawsuit can vary depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the case, court schedules, and the willingness of the parties to reach a settlement.

Factors that Can Affect the Duration of a Truck Accident Claim.

Several factors can affect the duration of a truck accident claim. One factor is the complexity of the case. If there are multiple parties involved, extensive damages, or disputed liability, the case may take longer to resolve. Additionally, court schedules can impact the timeline. If the court is busy with other cases, it may take longer to get a trial date. The willingness of the parties to reach a settlement can also affect the duration. If both parties are open to negotiation and compromise, the claim may be resolved more quickly. However, if one party is unwilling to cooperate or accept responsibility, the case may go to trial, which can significantly lengthen the process. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney who can navigate these factors and work towards a timely resolution of your truck accident claim.

  1. Severity of Injuries: Cases involving serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation tend to take longer to resolve. This is because it’s important to fully understand the extent of the injuries and their long-term effects before reaching a settlement.
  2. Complexity of Liability: If there are disputes over who was at fault for the accident or if multiple parties share liability (such as the truck driver, trucking company, and other involved vehicles), it can prolong the resolution process.
  3. Investigation: Thorough investigation is necessary to gather evidence, examine accident reports, analyze black box data, interview witnesses, and reconstruct the accident. This process can take time, especially if there are challenges in obtaining evidence.
  4. Negotiations: Negotiating a fair settlement between the parties involved can be a time-consuming process. Both sides may need to engage in negotiations, counteroffers, and discussions to reach an agreement.
  5. Insurance Companies: Insurance companies representing the trucking company or other involved parties might delay the process by disputing claims, offering low settlements, or engaging in other tactics.
  6. Medical Treatment: The duration of medical treatment and recovery for the injured parties can significantly impact the timeline. It’s important to have a clear understanding of the long-term impact of injuries before settling a claim.
  7. Litigation: If the case cannot be resolved through negotiation and requires a lawsuit to be filed, the legal proceedings can add considerable time to the resolution process.
  8. Court Schedule: The court’s schedule and the backlog of cases can affect the timing of legal proceedings if the case goes to court.
  9. Settlement Offers: The speed at which settlement offers are made and accepted can impact the timeline. Sometimes, it takes time for parties to evaluate their options and make informed decisions.

Common injuries from an 18-wheeler truck accident

18-wheeler truck accidents can result in a range of injuries, some of which can be severe and life-altering. The size and weight disparity between commercial trucks and smaller vehicles often contribute to the seriousness of injuries. Common injuries from 18-wheeler truck accidents include:

  1. Whiplash: Sudden impact can cause the head and neck to jerk forward and backward, leading to whiplash injuries. These can range from mild to severe and may involve muscle strain, ligament damage, and neck pain.
  2. Fractures and Broken Bones: The force of impact can result in broken bones, particularly in the limbs, ribs, and pelvis.
  3. Spinal Cord Injuries: Severe accidents may lead to spinal cord injuries, which can result in paralysis or other long-term disabilities, depending on the location and severity of the injury.
  4. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries, can occur if the head strikes the steering wheel, windshield, or other parts of the vehicle.
  5. Internal Injuries: Blunt force trauma from an accident can lead to internal injuries, such as damage to organs, internal bleeding, or ruptured blood vessels.
  6. Lacerations and Abrasions: Broken glass, sharp metal, and debris can cause cuts, scrapes, and lacerations.
  7. Amputations: In severe cases, a limb may be severed during the accident or require surgical amputation due to severe injuries.
  8. Burns: If the accident leads to fires or explosions, burns can result from contact with flames, hot surfaces, or chemicals.
  9. Crush Injuries: Being trapped inside a vehicle or pinned between vehicles can cause crush injuries, which may lead to severe tissue damage and long-term complications.
  10. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Emotional and psychological trauma resulting from the accident can lead to conditions like PTSD, causing anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
  11. Joint Injuries: Dislocated joints, torn ligaments, and other joint injuries can result from the impact of a truck accident.
  12. Facial Injuries: Injuries to the face, including fractures, lacerations, and damage to the eyes, nose, and mouth, can occur due to the force of impact or contact with objects.
  13. Organ Damage: The impact of a collision can cause damage to internal organs, requiring medical intervention and possibly surgery.
  14. Death: In the most tragic cases, 18-wheeler accidents can result in fatalities.

It’s important to note that injuries can vary widely depending on factors such as the speed of the vehicles, the angle of impact, the use of seatbelts, and more. If you’re involved in an 18-wheeler truck accident, seeking immediate medical attention is crucial, even if you feel fine initially, as some injuries may not be immediately apparent. Additionally, consulting with a personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and options for seeking compensation for your injuries and losses.

What makes an experienced 18-wheel truck accident lawyer

An experienced 18-wheeler truck accident lawyer possesses a combination of legal knowledge, specialized expertise, and practical skills that make them well-equipped to handle the unique complexities of truck accident cases. When seeking an attorney to represent you in a truck accident claim, here are some qualities that indicate their experience in this field:

  1. Specialization in Truck Accident Law: Look for a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law with a specific focus on truck accidents. Trucking laws, regulations, and the dynamics of these accidents differ from standard car accidents, and a specialized attorney will have in-depth knowledge of these nuances.
  2. Understanding of Trucking Regulations: An experienced attorney should be well-versed in the federal and state regulations that govern the trucking industry, such as hours-of-service rules, weight restrictions, and maintenance requirements.
  3. Investigative Skills: Truck accidents often require thorough investigation to determine liability. Experienced lawyers know how to gather and analyze evidence, such as black box data, logbooks, maintenance records, and accident reports.
  4. Accident Reconstruction: They should be capable of working with accident reconstruction experts to recreate the events leading up to the accident. This can help establish fault and strengthen your case.
  5. Knowledge of Insurance Practices: Truck accidents often involve multiple parties and complex insurance issues. A skilled lawyer understands how trucking companies and their insurers operate and can negotiate effectively on your behalf.
  6. Strong Negotiation Skills: An experienced lawyer knows how to negotiate with insurance companies for a fair settlement. They can assess the value of your claim and fight for maximum compensation.
  7. Trial Experience: While many cases settle out of court, a seasoned truck accident attorney should have trial experience. This demonstrates their willingness and ability to take your case to court if necessary.
  8. Understanding of Injuries: Truck accidents can result in severe injuries. A knowledgeable lawyer should understand the medical aspects of these injuries to accurately assess damages and work with medical experts.
  9. Reputation and References: Research the lawyer’s reputation in the legal community and among past clients. Positive reviews and recommendations can indicate a track record of success.
  10. Client-Centered Approach: An experienced lawyer should prioritize your well-being, keeping you informed about the progress of your case and addressing your concerns.
  11. Resources: Handling truck accident cases may require financial resources for investigations, expert witnesses, and other expenses. A reputable attorney should have the resources to properly handle your case.
  12. Communication Skills: Effective communication is essential. Look for a lawyer who can explain legal concepts clearly, answer your questions, and keep you informed throughout the process.
  13. Empathy and Compassion: Dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident can be emotionally challenging. An experienced lawyer should show empathy and compassion while advocating for your rights.
Posted by Aaron Herbert at 7:25 am

Navigating the Changing Landscape: How Truck Accidents in San Antonio Have Evolved in 2023

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

In today’s fast-paced world, the roadways are constantly evolving, and with that, so too are the risks and challenges faced by truck drivers and motorists alike. San Antonio, a bustling metropolitan city in Texas, has seen its fair share of truck accidents over the years. However, as we enter 2023, the landscape of these accidents is undergoing a significant transformation. With advancements in technology, changes in regulations, and an increased focus on safety, the truck accident scene in San Antonio is being reshaped in ways we could have never imagined. In this article, we will explore the key factors contributing to these changes, the impact they have on the community, and the measures being taken to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. Join us as we navigate the shifting tides of truck accidents in San Antonio and uncover the strategies that are paving the way for a safer and more efficient transportation system.

Historical overview of truck accidents in San Antonio

San Antonio has a long history of truck accidents, with the city’s busy highways serving as major thoroughfares for commercial trucks. Over the years, these accidents have resulted in devastating consequences, including severe injuries and loss of life. The high volume of traffic, combined with the size and weight of commercial trucks, makes the roads of San Antonio particularly susceptible to accidents involving trucks.

Factors contributing to the evolution of truck accidents

Several factors have contributed to the evolution of truck accidents in San Antonio. One of the primary factors is the rapid advancement of technology. With the advent of new safety features such as collision avoidance systems, blind spot detection, and automatic emergency braking, the chances of accidents occurring have been significantly reduced. These technologies assist truck drivers in avoiding potential collisions and provide an added layer of protection for both truck drivers and other motorists on the road.

Additionally, changes in regulations within the trucking industry have played a crucial role in shaping the landscape of truck accidents. Stricter enforcement of hours-of-service regulations, which limit the number of hours a truck driver can be on the road without resting, has helped reduce driver fatigue and, in turn, the likelihood of accidents caused by drowsy driving. Furthermore, the implementation of electronic logging devices (ELDs) has improved compliance with these regulations, ensuring that truck drivers adhere to the mandated limits.

New technology and its impact on truck accidents

Advancements in technology have revolutionized the way truck accidents are prevented and managed. Telematics systems, which integrate GPS technology with onboard sensors, allow fleet managers to monitor their vehicles in real-time. This technology enables them to identify and address potential issues such as speeding, harsh braking, and erratic driving behavior that could lead to accidents. Furthermore, telematics systems provide valuable data that can be used to analyze driver behavior and implement targeted training programs to improve safety.

Another significant technological advancement is the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in trucking systems. AI-powered algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data collected from various sources, including weather conditions, traffic patterns, and driver behavior, to identify potential risks and provide real-time alerts to drivers. This proactive approach to accident prevention has proven to be highly effective in reducing the number of truck accidents in San Antonio.

Regulatory changes in the trucking industry and their effect on accidents

In recent years, there have been notable regulatory changes within the trucking industry aimed at enhancing safety and reducing accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has implemented several initiatives to address key risk factors associated with truck accidents. These include mandatory drug and alcohol testing for truck drivers, stricter licensing requirements, and the establishment of a national database for tracking driver safety records. These regulations have raised the bar for safety standards within the industry and have had a positive impact on reducing truck accidents in San Antonio.

Common causes of truck accidents in San Antonio

Despite the efforts to improve safety, truck accidents in San Antonio still occur due to various factors. One of the most common causes is driver error. Whether it is due to fatigue, distraction, or aggressive driving, the actions of truck drivers can have serious consequences on the road. Other common causes include inadequate maintenance of trucks, improper loading of cargo, and adverse weather conditions. It is essential for all parties involved, including truck drivers, trucking companies, and motorists, to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions to prevent these accidents.

Understanding the legal implications of truck accidents

In the unfortunate event of a truck accident, understanding the legal implications is vital for all parties involved. Truck accidents typically result in complex legal proceedings due to the potential for severe injuries and substantial damages. Determining liability can be challenging, as multiple parties may be held responsible, including the truck driver, the trucking company, and even the manufacturer of the truck or its parts. Seeking legal counsel from experienced truck accident attorneys is crucial to navigate the legal complexities and ensure that victims receive fair compensation for their injuries.

Steps to take after a truck accident in San Antonio

If you find yourself involved in a truck accident in San Antonio, it is essential to take immediate action to protect your rights and well-being. The first step is to ensure your safety and the safety of others at the scene. Contact emergency services if necessary and seek medical attention for any injuries sustained. It is also crucial to gather evidence, such as photographs of the accident scene, statements from witnesses, and contact information of all parties involved. Reporting the accident to the appropriate authorities and notifying your insurance company promptly is essential to initiate the claims process.

Seeking compensation for truck accident injuries

Truck accidents can result in significant physical, emotional, and financial hardships for victims. Seeking compensation for these injuries is crucial to alleviate the burden and aid in the recovery process. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, victims may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Consulting with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney specializing in truck accidents can help victims navigate the legal process and maximize their chances of receiving fair compensation.

Safety tips for sharing the road with trucks

While efforts are being made to improve safety, it is important for all motorists to take precautions when sharing the road with trucks. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

1. Maintain a safe distance: Trucks require more time and space to stop than smaller vehicles. It is crucial to maintain a safe following distance to allow for adequate braking time.

2. Avoid blind spots: Trucks have large blind spots, particularly on the right side and directly behind the vehicle. Be mindful of these blind spots and avoid lingering in them.

3. Use turn signals appropriately: Signaling your intentions early and clearly can help truck drivers anticipate your actions and make the necessary adjustments.

4. Pass with caution: When passing a truck, ensure that you have enough space and time to complete the maneuver safely. Avoid cutting in front of a truck too closely, as it reduces their stopping distance.

5. Be patient and avoid aggressive driving behavior: Tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, and aggressive driving can increase the risk of accidents. Stay calm, patient, and courteous when sharing the road with trucks.

Conclusion: Navigating the changing landscape of truck accidents in San Antonio

As we enter 2024, the truck accident scene in San Antonio is undergoing a significant transformation. Advancements in technology, changes in regulations, and an increased focus on safety are reshaping the landscape of truck accidents in the city. Through the integration of new safety features, enhanced regulatory measures, and the use of advanced technologies like telematics and AI, the number of truck accidents is being reduced, making the roads safer for everyone. However, it is crucial for all stakeholders, including truck drivers, trucking companies, and motorists, to remain committed to safety and take necessary precautions to prevent accidents. By navigating the changing landscape of truck accidents together, we can pave the way for a safer and more efficient transportation system in San Antonio.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 8:28 am

How Can Commercial Truck Drivers Limit Distracted Driving?

Thursday, March 24, 2022
Distracted driving plays a major role in car accidents, which is why most states have a ban on texting while driving. Some states go further than others – in fact, in some states even talking on the phone is prohibited. Minimizing distractions is essential to maintaining our safety, as thousands incur injury from distracted driving each year. This especially applies to commercial truck drivers, as accidents involving commercial vehicles often lead to serious, permanently disabling injury or fatality. When an accident occurs there is often much more damage and injuries if not death. That’s why it’s critical to work with a commercial truck accident lawyer to ensure you receive all the compensation you deserve. Fortunately, there are several techniques commercial truck drivers can employ to reduce their risk of causing an accident.

Put Your Phone Away

In the era of smartphones, keeping in touch with our mobile devices is second nature. We may always keep our devices close so we can check on texts, engage on social media, or navigate with GPS. When you’re operating a commercial motor vehicle, however, using a smartphone can prove disastrous. Texting and driving, for example, will make you 23 times more likely to be involved in what the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration calls a “safety-critical” event, which includes lane deviations, near-accidents, or accidents. Sending a text takes an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, this means a driver may travel the length of a football field without looking at the road. In fact, using a phone on the road is so dangerous that the FMCSA also has rules restricting how truckers can dial a phone while operating a commercial motor vehicle. When driving, err on the safe side and avoid temptation; keep your phone out of reach. Pull over if you need to send a text or answer a phone call.

Maintain Your Focus

People often fail to realize that distracted driving is anything that takes your attention off the road. This may include personal grooming, talking on the phone, fiddling with the radio, or even talking to a passenger. Take steps to minimize any distractions:
  • Take care of all personal grooming needs before leaving each day.
  • Plug your route into GPS before hitting the highway.
  • Finish all personal calls before beginning a shift.
When on the road, maintain your focus by actively scanning and using your truck’s mirrors. Drive defensively and resist the temptation to multitask.

Prepare Smart Snacks

Driver fatigue can play a large role in distracted driving. Taking frequent breaks and eating smart snacks can help keep your energy level up and combat fatigue. The FMCSA sets rules for breaks and sleep for a reason. When taking a break or refueling, choose snacks that are high in protein and complex carbohydrates, not sugar. Sugar may make you feel better for a while, but an inevitable drop in blood sugar follows, which can make your fatigue worse. Over a third of truck drivers have reported falling asleep or nodding off behind the wheel – get plenty of rest and take breaks when you need them, as concentration helps prevent accidents. Distracted driving can lead to devastating accidents, but commercial vehicle operators can help mitigate their risk. Follow these tips to reduce accidents and enjoy a safe trip.
Posted by Aaron Herbert at 10:02 pm

Tips for Avoiding Wrecks with 18-Wheelers in San Antonio

Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Commercial motor vehicles and big rigs are a part of our everyday lives. We may see them on our daily work commute or on family trips. These vehicles provide a valuable service to us all, transporting goods and driving our local economy. We all know, however, that these vehicles can also be dangerous. Fortunately, there are a few simple ways you can reduce your risk of being in an accident with an 18-wheeler in San Antonio.

Simple Ways to Prevent Big Rig Accidents

You can’t always predict the actions of another driver, but you can control your own. Use these tips the next time you get on your local highway or truck route:
  • Don’t hit the brakes quickly unless necessary. Rapid deceleration is dangerous when you’re ahead of a big rig, as even empty ones take a long time to stop. A fully loaded semi can require 300 yards to come to a complete stop. Keep an eye on the road ahead of you and allow plenty of time to react to possible hazards.
  • If a truck is following you too closely, give them time and space to pass. Move out of the way safely and continue your way.
  • Know their blind spots. Commercial motor vehicles have pretty impressive mirrors, but they still have blind spots – in fact, their blinds spot are much larger than typical vehicles. A good rule of thumb to follow is if you cannot see their mirrors, they cannot see you. It’s always a good idea to assure a safe following distance, especially behind a semi.
  • Don’t tailgate. Tailgating is dangerous for the reasons listed above, but also because it prevents you from seeing road signs, traffic lights, and other things necessary for safe driving. Always allow ample room between you and a large vehicle.
  • Exercise patience. Semi-trucks can travel slowly, but this is a good thing. It’s much safer for them to travel at slower speeds than it is to keep pace with smaller vehicle traffic. On the highway, travel in the faster lanes, as semis tend to keep to the slow lane. If you need to pass, wait until it’s safe to do so – a little patience could save your life.
  • Drive defensively. A trucker owes you a duty of care, but you also have a duty to drive safely on the road. Minimize distractions and concentrate on the road always, especially when you’re sharing it with a semi.
  • Use your blinker. Before making lane changes or engaging in any other activity with a driver, be as predictable as possible. This means using a blinker and waiting a moment before switching lanes. Remember, large vehicles take longer to maneuver and require more reaction time.
Sharing the road with semi-trucks may seem like second nature, but’s it’s important to keep your guard up. By driving defensively, remaining visible, and allowing them plenty of time to react on the road, you can make your commute safer. Do your part to prevent trucking wrecks in San Antonio by observing these tips. If you are in an accident with a large truck, contact an 18 wheeler accident attorney in San Antonio as soon as possible to help ensure you receive all the medical care and financial compensation you deserve.
Posted by Aaron Herbert at 10:00 am

How Effective Are Roadside Inspections of Commercial Trucks?

Wednesday, March 2, 2022
The commercial trucking industry is an enormous, complex system that is imperative to the U.S. economy. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) strives to regulate this industry, enacting rules that companies and drivers must obey to increase the safety of everyone on the roadways. Roadside inspections are one of many strategies in place to improve the safety of commercial trucking. Unfortunately, not every effort works as well as regulators would hope. Here’s a look at the effectiveness of roadside inspections in Texas.

What Happens During a Roadside Inspection?

Roadside inspections are largely part of state-run systems, with trained and certified vehicle safety inspectors stationed at unannounced inspection stops. The FMCSA financially supports statewide inspections through annual grant programs. The FMCSA’s National Training Center handles inspector training programs throughout the country, certifying new inspectors and giving certificates in areas of expertise. The state of Texas is in charge of ensuring its safety inspections comply with federal regulations. Any commercial truck or bus that passes an active inspection station is required by law to stop and comply with the process. The inspectors will look at the driver’s license and documents, the cargo, any hazardous materials, the condition of the truck, and other factors during the inspection. If any truck fails a safety inspection, it will receive an out-of-service order. These trucks cannot continue their scheduled drives until someone remedies the issue. Similarly, commercial drivers with regulation violations will not be able to continue driving. Traffic enforcement programs are also in place to improve trucking safety. During this process, a law enforcement officer may pull over a truck for a moving violation. The officer then has the right to conduct a roadside inspection of the driver and vehicle. Any sign of unsafe driving or operations can result in an out-of-service order. The FMCSA continues its inspection programs, initiatives, and efforts in the hopes that they will catch safety violations before they result in accidents.

Inspection Effectiveness By the Numbers

The FMCSA developed a tool called the Roadside Intervention Effectiveness Model (RIEM) to gauge the effectiveness of roadside inspections. This system analyzes the results of annual roadside inspection data and concludes how many lives may have been saved. The most recent data available from RIEM is from 2012. The facts from the 2012 RIEM analysis are as follows:
  • Roadside inspections prevented 8,721 accidents, saved 285 lives, and prevented 5,341 injuries.
  • Traffic enforcement inspections prevented 5,703 crashes, saved 187 lives, and prevented 3,492 injuries.
  • In total, roadside inspections prevented almost 9,000 injuries in more than 14,000 crashes in 2012.
Despite allegedly preventing accidents, Texas’ current roadside inspection system does not consistently screen vehicles or drivers. This results in a fraction of commercial trucks being dangerous to operate at any moment on the state’s highways. This is a frightening reality for other drivers in Texas. After a trucking accident, one of the first steps should be to investigate the truck and driver involved for potential safety violations. Any type of infraction could have contributed to the crash, such as an unsafe load, unsecured hazardous materials, or a driver operating despite an out-of-service order. In these events, injured victims may be able to sue the trucking company for negligence. It’s critical to hire a no-win-no fee truck accident lawyer if you’ve been injured in an 18 wheeler accident. Call us today for a free no obligation case review and consultation.
Posted by Aaron Herbert at 10:08 am

Truck Accidents Caused By Driver Fatigue

Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Commercial trucking companies and their drivers are responsible for the safety of their transports. Commercial trucks pose significant risks of injury and even a wrongful death to other roadway users. They are much larger and heavier than passenger cars, leading to catastrophic collisions. Unfortunately, truck drivers do not always fulfill their responsibility to drive safely. They often engage in dangerous driver behaviors, such as driving while fatigued.

Is Drowsy Driving as Dangerous as Drunk Driving?

Drowsy driving is a deadly driver mistake. Truck driver fatigue is behind hundreds of fatal commercial vehicle accidents every year. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2018, 4,862 fatal traffic accidents in the U.S. involved large trucks. Investigations have shown that about 13 percent of truck accidents are connected to truck driver drowsiness or fatigue. Studies have shown that driving drowsy is comparable to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, operating a vehicle after not sleeping for 18 hours impairs a driver the same amount as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.05 percent. Driving after being awake for at least 24 hours is the equivalent of a BAC of 0.10 percent. The legal BAC limit in Texas is 0.08 percent. The legal BAC limit for a commercial driver, however, is only 0.04 percent. Both drowsy driving and drunk driving place a driver in a state of impairment that can impede the ability to safely control and operate a motor vehicle. Like drugs or alcohol, fatigue can reduce reaction times, affect coordination, weaken the muscles and make a driver less alert. This can increase the risk of a truck driver causing a serious accident, such as a rear-end collision, chain-reaction accident or jackknife accident.

Why Are Truckers More Likely Than Other Drivers to Drive While Fatigued?

Any driver in San Antonio could be guilty of driving while drowsy or fatigued. However, commercial truck drivers are especially notorious for making this mistake. They are more likely to drive while fatigued than most other types of drivers due to the unique conditions of their work environments. Some of the most common causes of truck driver fatigue include:
  • Long hours on the road alone
  • Reversed sleep schedules
  • Physical or mental exertion
  • Trouble sleeping/inadequate sleep
  • Time changes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Poor diet or obesity
  • Medical conditions
  • The use of stimulants such as coffee
Truck driver fatigue is so common that the FMCSA has a rule in place to try to prevent this dangerous driver mistake, known as the hours-of-service (HOS) regulation. The HOS regulation has a maximum number of hours that truck drivers are permitted to be on the road at a time. No commercial motor vehicle driver may drive beyond 14 hours in a single day. Drivers must also take 30-minute rest breaks after 8 hours of driving time. Many trucking companies, however, encourage their drivers to break HOS rules to make deliveries faster. This can lead to preventable truck accidents.

Who Is Liable for Truck Accidents Caused By Driver Fatigue?

If driver fatigue causes a truck accident in Texas, the person or party most responsible for causing the collision will have to pay for damages. This is how Texas’s tort-based insurance system operates. Although the drowsy truck driver is technically responsible for his or her dangerous mistake, the rule of vicarious liability may hold a trucking company financially responsible for the collision. Vicarious liability holds employers responsible for the actions of their employees who were performing job-related tasks at the time of an accident. If a fatigued truck driver was an employee of a trucking company at the time of the wreck, the company could be vicariously liable for damages. The trucking company could also be directly liable if it contributed to the accident by encouraging a driver to violate safety rules. If the driver was an independent owner/operator, however, he or she may be individually liable for the crash.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney Today

If you believe you were injured in a truck accident caused by truck driver fatigue, contact the San Antonio truck accident attorneys at The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. We offer free and confidential consultations.
Posted by Aaron Herbert at 11:33 am

Truck Accidents and Roadway Lighting

Thursday, February 3, 2022
Roadway lighting plays a large role in driver safety. Adequate road lighting makes it easier for drivers to identify signs, other vehicles, and hazards. Though proper lighting is crucial for all drives, it’s particularly important for those manning big rigs. Commercial truck drivers depend on streetlights to guide them down urban and rural roads and to help stay them awake and alert. Inadequate roadway lighting in Texas can be dangerous and result in preventable truck accidents. It is up to each city to install and maintain roadway lighting to reduce this risk.

The Risks of Nighttime Driving

There were more than twice as many traffic accidents in “dark, not lighted” conditions (29,757) than “dark, lighted” (12,744) in Texas in 2016. It is more difficult for any driver to maneuver safely as roadway light diminishes. Most urban highways in Texas have some kind of lighting system, but rural highways and smaller roads often do not. This increases crash frequency and severity. There is a high risk of accidents when lack of proper lighting is combined with long nighttime driving hours and drowsy truck drivers. Truck drivers aren’t the only ones who suffer in poor lighting. It is difficult to see 18-wheelers in the dark, despite their large size. The non-reflective sides of most trailers make them almost invisible in low-light conditions. Trucks should have reflectors or lights on the top and bottom of the trailer to help improve visibility. Broken lights or no lights at all can lead to another driver plowing straight into the truck. In these cases, the trucking company may be liable for the accident. The city also may also be responsible for poor roadway lighting.

Who May Be Liable?

After a truck accident, a victim’s first thought is likely to hold the driver liable. This may be the case if the driver behaved in a way that breached industry standards, such as falling asleep behind the wheel. If a dangerous roadway condition contributed to the crash, you may be able to hold the city of San Antonio (or other municipality) responsible. Inadequate roadway lighting is a dangerous condition in the eyes of the law. What constitutes “inadequate lighting” depends on the specific area. Factors a city must consider when deciding where and how to install lights include:
  • Traffic volume and speed
  • Nighttime road use and crash rate
  • Road geometrics
  • General nighttime visibility
  • Style, height, and brightness of the fixtures
Partial lighting may be adequate and reasonable for conditions in some areas. In others, a specific type or brightness of light may be necessary. An investigation will reveal whether the city fulfilled its duties in installing a certain type of light for the particular section of roadway. If the courts decide that the city failed to provide lighting to protect drivers, victims of light-related truck accidents may be able to recover compensation. Suing a municipality in Texas is possible, but it is more difficult than typical lawsuits. Since commercial vehicle accidents are very different from car accidents, you should seek help from an attorney specializing in large truck accidents if you think you have a case against the city for inadequate roadway lighting.
Posted by Aaron Herbert at 12:44 pm

What Are the Common Causes of Truck Accidents?

Tuesday, January 4, 2022
Trucking can be a fun career, but it can also be a dangerous one. Large trucks will do more damage if their drivers make a mistake, and the industry often makes headlines for teamsters who drive sleepy or otherwise impaired. While some common causes of these incidents involve smaller vehicle recklessness, the actions of truck drivers often play a role, too. Here are some of the most common causes of truck accidents to understand and watch for:
  • Driver error. Humans make mistakes, and when your job involves driving on the roads for hours at a time, the likelihood of making a mistake increases. However, professional companies train drivers to understand and avoid the common causes of driver error accidents. Companies often eliminate some of them, for example, by restricting cell phone use on the road and taking other measures to lower the risk of distracted driving accidents.
  • Equipment failure. Drivers need to carefully and regularly maintain trucks that spend day in and day out on the roadways. Professional drivers are responsible for running through checklists before and after they get on the road each day. Faulty parts and improperly maintained equipment are common causes of many accidents. Tire blowouts and other debris flying out from a truck can have deadly consequences for vehicles following behind.
  • Lack of sleep. Like airline pilots, truckers are expected to maintain strict schedules to move their cargo. While federal and state regulations have reduced the amount of time a driver can travel on the roads continuously, some still experience a lack of sleep from tight schedules. Driving while tired is a form of impairment that can cause accidents just as easily as driving while intoxicated. Some research has even suggested that driving while tired is more dangerous than driving under the influence.
  • Bad weather. Once again, those tight deadlines can present problems for truck drivers. If they continue to drive in dangerous conditions, they may face reduced visibility and traction and truck instability – all of which can contribute to a dangerous accident. Since large trucks take significantly longer to come to a stop than regular vehicles, truckers must drive carefully in inclement weather to avoid causing a multi-vehicle accident or sliding off a bridge/road.
  • Poor loading. Semi trucks need balance to navigate the roadways properly. If a load is improperly distributed in the trailer, it can cause fishtailing and turnover accidents on the roadways. Every truck needs to follow a certain loading standard developed specifically to minimize imbalances in the trailer.
  • Drugs and alcohol. You’ll notice that drugs and alcohol are pretty far down on the list. Professional truckers who work for large companies have to follow strict guidelines regarding drugs and alcohol. Some are regularly tested, and many companies have a zero tolerance policy. A trucker who gets caught drinking once may find him or herself out of a job and without a good referral or recommendation to go to a different company.
The size of trucks can make small errors turn into deadly accidents. Technology is helping trucking companies overcome some of the common causes of accidents with advanced systems and enforcement requirements, but we’re still a long way from foolproof safety measures. In the meantime, give trucks plenty of extra space on the roadways to avoid the consequences of their mistakes.

Contact Our Truck Accident Attorneys

If you’re involved in a trucking accident in or around San Antonio, The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert can help you hold negligent drivers responsible for their actions. When teamsters fail to operate their large equipment in a reasonably safe manner, you can hold them and their companies liable for the damage caused. Contact our truck accident lawyers today for a free case evaluation.
Posted by Aaron Herbert at 12:01 am

Common Defenses in Trucking Accident Cases

Saturday, October 9, 2021
Tractor-trailer accidents can lead to catastrophic property damage, severe injuries, even deaths. These accidents can happen for any number of reasons, including driver errors, faulty vehicle parts, poor maintenance, or aggressive driving. When a person suffers an injury in a trucking accident, he or she may attempt to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver or trucking company. While some cases are open and shut, others are more complex, may involve multiple defendants, or there may simply be a lack of evidence that could help reach a speedier conclusion. Trucking companies carry insurance coverage for personal injury claims and often employ response teams that travel to accident sites to gather evidence. These responders look for any evidence to protect their employers from legal entanglements with plaintiffs injured in trucking accidents.

Common Defenses for Trucking Companies

The first step in handling any type of personal injury claim is establishing fault. While the plaintiff must prove the trucking company is at fault for his or her injuries, the trucking company will look for any reason to disprove or cast doubt upon a plaintiff’s claims. Some of the most common defenses these companies will use include:
  • Plaintiff fault. Some states follow comparative negligence laws that allow plaintiffs to secure compensation for damages even if they are partially to blame for those damages. In trucking accident cases, the trucking company will likely look for any evidence that the plaintiff is at least partially to blame for an accident.
  • Third parties. A trucking company may claim that a third party unrelated to the plaintiff or the trucking company caused the accident in question. In these cases, the trucking company must be able to prove a third party had a hand in the accident and may need to collect evidence such as traffic camera data.
  • Honest accidents. If the trucking accident occurred due to an unavoidable accident or honest mistake, the trucking company may be able to prove the driver was not negligent and the accident was inevitable. In these situations, the trucking company’s liability coverage may go toward the plaintiff’s damages, but the trucking company may escape liability for negligence.
  • Plaintiff exaggeration. Plaintiffs can only sue for actual harm suffered or measurable losses. The trucking company may argue that the plaintiff overestimated his or her losses or did not suffer any actual damages.
  • Lack of evidence. A trucking company may cite lack of proof of injury as evidence that the plaintiff lied or exaggerated his or her injuries. Plaintiffs should be certain to secure as much evidence as possible to prove the extent of their injuries and other damages. This also means providing evidence that a plaintiff’s medical treatment was appropriate, given the situation and the plaintiff’s injuries. Additionally, if the plaintiff claims lost wages as damages in a lawsuit, the plaintiff must be able to provide evidence of the lost income.
Plaintiffs injured in trucking accidents should work quickly to secure legal representation if they feel a truck accident lawsuit is necessary. The right attorney will help build a strong case with all the necessary supporting evidence for reaching a satisfactory verdict and help hold negligent trucking companies and drivers accountable for their actions.
Posted by Aaron Herbert at 6:29 pm

Tanker Truck Rollover Prevention

Thursday, September 2, 2021
Tractor-trailers are vital parts of the American economy and transportation network, but they are also inherently more dangerous than smaller vehicles on the road. Trucks that pull tankers full of liquid goods, including gas and oil, can be even more dangerous. If these tanker trucks roll over, they can cause catastrophic damage, severe injuries, even fatalities. Depending on what a rolled-over tanker truck carried, the spilled contents can also present a serious risk of additional injuries as well as environmental hazards or public health emergencies. Statistics indicate that almost 80% of all tanker truck rollover accidents happen due to some level of driver error. While truck drivers must obtain special certifications to perform their jobs and generally have more miles of driving under their belts than typical drivers, it is still crucial for them to understand the risks of driving tanker trucks and follow a few best practices to avoid rollovers.

Speed Control

Large trucks cannot stop or slow down as quickly as smaller passenger vehicles. They also require much longer distances to come to a complete stop. If a tanker truck driver is travelling too fast or not paying enough attention to other vehicles on the road, the driver may not have time to slow down or stop to avoid a collision. Tanker truck drivers can easily cause rollovers if they swerve to avoid a collision while traveling at speed. The sudden change in direction will cause the trailer to tip and probably fall over. Speed is also a problem for turning. Tanker truck drivers need to account for changes on the road, and taking a sharp turn at high speed can easily cause a tanker truck to rollover. Drivers should reduce speed for turns and accommodate their vehicles’ size and weight.

Sudden Movements

Tanker truck drivers should do everything possible to avoid any sudden movements or jerking of the steering wheel. If a driver needs to suddenly turn to avoid another vehicle, the driver can unintentionally cause the tanker truck to rollover by oversteering or making the move too quickly. Tanker truck drivers can prevent rollovers by staying vigilant for changes in traffic patterns and avoiding reflexive sudden movements.

Plan Ahead

Tanker truck drivers can avoid rollovers by carefully planning routes ahead of time. By studying a route’s topography, known hazards, and any other elements like road construction on the route, drivers can make their deliveries with additional confidence. A driver who is not expecting a sudden change in road conditions is more likely to suffer a rollover accident, so preparation before every trip is important. Trucking companies must ensure their drivers receive thorough training and have the experience necessary for handling tanker trucks. Most tanker trucks carry valuable goods, including fossil fuels, so trucking companies and their drivers have a high duty of care to ensure they do not put other drivers at risk with unsafe driving. Other drivers should be wary of all tractor-trailers on the road, especially tanker trucks, and avoid driving aggressively near them. Caution and good judgment from all drivers can help prevent tanker truck rollovers. If you’ve been injured in a 18 wheeler accident it’s best to have a San Antonio 18 wheeler accident attorney review your case to see what compensation is available for you and your family.
Posted by Aaron Herbert at 6:24 pm

How Truck Drivers Cheat On Their Logbooks

Sunday, July 11, 2021
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has hundreds of rules in place to improve the safety of the commercial trucking industry. One such rule is that all truck drivers must keep daily logbooks that record duty statuses, operations, and other information. Section 395.8 requires electronic logging devices (ELDs) in most commercial trucks. It is shocking how often truckers and companies disobey this rule and “cheat” on their logbooks to cover up inappropriate or dangerous behaviors. Safety violations and abuses of the federal regulatory process can quickly lead to tragic accidents in Texas.

Why Do Truckers Cheat the Logbook System?

Drowsy truck driving is a major problem on Texas’s roadways. It is impossible for drivers to operate a truck safely when they are tired or even falling asleep. Truckers are especially at risk for drowsy driving because of long hours on the road, pressure from bosses to meet deadlines, and being alone in the cab. The FMCSA strives to reduce this dangerous behavior with the ELD and hours of service rules. Unfortunately, drivers who lie about their daily activities easily circumvent these laws. Here are a few possible ways to cheat the system:
  1. Create fake logbooks. Some truckers and trucking companies still falsify their logs, though this problem is diminishing thanks to the ELD requirement. They create logs with made-up information to present to authorities in the event of inspections, but they do not actually fill them out daily, as they should by law.
  2. Lie about information. Drivers may create duplicate logbooks, so that they may have one “good” one on hand in the event of an unexpected inspection. They may also fill out logs much later than required to cover up hours of service regulation violations or fill out the book with dishonest information.
Truck drivers may lie on their logbooks to drive past their hours of service regulations or break other FMCSA rules. They do this to meet deadlines, receive fast delivery bonuses, and get home to their families faster. Unfortunately, broken rules greatly increase the risk of accidents. There is a reason the FMCSA requires daily activity logging – to prevent truckers from breaking the rules. Entries should be current, accurate, and truthful, not falsified for the trucker’s personal gain.

Logbooks and Personal Injury Claims

Daily logbooks can serve as hard evidence of a truck driver’s negligence in truck-related personal injury claims. Acquiring a driver’s logbook or ELD records is an important step in the investigation phase of any truck accident. This document can show proof of a driver breaking the FMCSA’s rules by disobeying hours of service or other regulations. If a driver falsified the books, a thorough investigative team may be able to catch the driver cheating – also proving negligence. If a truck driver caused a serious accident or wrongful death, a truck accident attorney in San Antonio can most likely discover whether he or she cheated on the logbooks. This may take comparing the book with shipping documents and black-box data from the truck itself. Unexpected inspections and electronic logs can also uncover truckers cheating the system. Seek help from a Texas truck accident lawyer after an accident in which you suspect a trucker broke an FMCSA safety rule. Analyzing the logbooks and checking for cheating may be necessary to prove your case.
Posted by at 10:04 pm

Does Increased Competition in the Trucking Industry Affect Safety?

Saturday, August 19, 2017
The trucking industry is becoming an increasingly competitive place to work. The North American Free Trade Agreement has created more opportunities for truckers throughout North America, and deregulation in interstate trucking has created competition in pricing and deadlines. On some level, competition is essential in a market economy. As it relates to the trucking industry, however, competition can lead to dangers for travelers and truckers. In recent years, experts have raised concerns about safety and compliance in the industry.

Efficiency and Pressure from Competition

One of the largest areas in which competition has become a safety concern is in the efficient delivery of goods. When it comes to transportation of goods, efficiency is synonymous with speed. The need to deliver goods quickly has become a safety issue, as big rig operators are more likely to drive above the posted speed limit or faster than they should in inclement weather. Speeding plays a large role in commercial vehicle accidents, and truckers shouldn’t feel pressure from deadlines that are too tight.

A Lack of Qualified Drivers

To make matters worse, the trucking industry now faces a shortage of qualified drivers. Employers are offering sign-up bonuses and better pay to those looking for a long-haul job. The shortage especially applies to interstate trucking, as these long trips don’t suit a family lifestyle. Even though companies offer powerful incentives to hire more commercial vehicle operators, the turnover rate for these jobs is high. If a long-haul driver on the road lacks experience and proper training it can create a dangerous scenario.

Competition Leads to Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue plays a large role in accidents involving commercial motor vehicles. Trucking companies can theoretically gain an advantage by keeping drivers on the road longer. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets strict guidelines for driver hours, which they must keep recorded in log books. Currently, a driver must take breaks throughout a shift and cannot drive for more than 14 hours in a shift. It’s easy to see how breaking these regulations could lead to accidents for the sake of meeting a deadline. Drivers also combat fatigue by turning to illicit or over-the-counter substances. These substances, like caffeine pills, energy drinks, and even cocaine and methamphetamine, lead to energy crashes that compound fatigue. They also have disastrous consequences when it comes to roadway safety.

Competition Leads to Recklessness

In sum, the deregulation of the trucking industry has had unintended consequences – namely, an increasingly competitive landscape causing trucking companies to value profit over safety. Under pressure from their employers, truckers might drive too fast for prevailing conditions or even neglect their log books to gain a competitive edge. A trucker shortage compounds the problem, as companies struggle to retain and hire experienced drivers. Interstate commercial vehicle operators may lack the skill set or training to assure safety on our roadways. Drivers must use caution when driving, but especially when sharing the road with commercial motor vehicles. Increased competition has had a negative effect on public safety.
Posted by mockingbird at 10:01 pm