As a Fort Worth truck accident lawyer for the past 42 years and board-certified in personal injury law for almost 30 of those, Bill Berenson has represented many people injured in destructive 18-wheeler crashes across North Texas and beyond.
These massive vehicles are frequently involved in crashes in the Fort Worth area. You hear about collisions here all the time.
For example, four people tragically lost their lives and two others were injured a few weeks ago on Interstate 35 when 18-wheelers crashed into stopped vehicles.
Accidents involving tractor-trailers are much more serious than ordinary passenger car and truck crashes.
Obviously, they are much bigger and heavier, have longer braking distances, are less maneuverable, and to make the chances of them crashing higher, are sometimes driven by unskilled people.
If you have been involved in a tractor-trailer accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn how you can be compensated for your damages.
If you are not sure who to hire, hire the one with the most and best reviews.
A Fort Worth Truck Accident Lawyer Unfortunately Stays Busy
North Texas is one of the worst areas in the country for commercial truck collisions.
According to the latest statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation, there were a shocking 2,000 collisions in Fort Worth that took the lives of 12 motorists and seriously injured over 50 people in cars, SUVs, and trucks last year.
Role of Insurance Companies in Texas Truck Accident Cases
In Texas, unlike in some other states, the party responsible for causing an accident is liable to pay all associated damages. In practice, this means the insurance company of the responsible party usually pays this money.
The minimum insurance policy is either $500,000 or $750,000 — and often is far higher than that. If the damages are enormous, there are multiple policies and companies that may also insure the company. However, learning this information can be difficult unless you know where to look.
Insurance providers are for-profit organizations that will do whatever they can to reduce their payments arising from claims. So they often argue that their policyholders are not liable or that the presented damages are exaggerated, even when the evidence proves the contrary.
They employ a team of high-powered attorneys to fight these cases. These companies have rapid-response teams including attorneys and investigators who arrive at the scene of collisions immediately to collect evidence and try to influence the police officer’s all-important determination of fault.
That is another reason why you need a top Fort Worth truck accident lawyer to help you.
Common Causes of Truck Crashes
Most of the trucking accident cases we see at Berenson Law are preventable. These are the typical causes we see.
Speed is a major risk factor for every type of road accident. Speeding isn’t just about traveling faster than the speed limit allows. If a driver is moving too quickly to respond effectively to conditions on the road like congested or wet roads, this increases the risk of serious accidents.
When truck drivers stay on the road for too long without rest, they’re statistically much more likely to cause accidents. Trucking companies are required to use technology to address this risk; electronic logging systems, telematics devices, and video cameras can all ensure that truck drivers are obeying the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Hours of Service (HOS) rules.
Distracted driving, particularly due to cell phones, has become such a big problem in Texas that the state Department of Transportation has launched the “Talk. Text. Crash.” campaign to deal with it. It is illegal for a commercial truck driver to use a cell phone but it happens all the time. Experts state that taking your eyes off the road for long enough to send a text message is equivalent to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. That’s bad enough for a driver of a car but much worse in a massive 18-wheeler.
Improper Lookout and Observation of Blind Spots
Trucks have much larger blind spots than passenger vehicles. So when truck drivers fail to properly keep track of the other smaller vehicles around them, the results can be disastrous.
Drunk or Drugged Driving
Industry statistics show that drunk driving is a much less common cause of serious accidents among commercial truckers than drivers of passenger cars. However, it still happens. If you’ve been involved in an accident with a truck in which the truck driver was drunk or on drugs, you may be entitled to punitive damages.
Possible Defendants in Trucking Accident Lawsuits
Who does a Fort Worth truck accident lawyer file a claim against and sue? There are the potential parties:
In most cases, truck drivers are the liable parties. However, there are a few factors that may shift legal responsibility onto another party. Where truck drivers are operating under clear and direct instructions from their bosses, say to deliver at a time that requires the driver to speed, it is possible that the company will also be liable.
In some cases, a truck driver’s mistakes on the road may not be the result of their own negligence. If a trucking company has negligent practices in place that compromise its drivers’ ability to be safe on the road, it may be liable for any accidents that occur as a result.
This might be the case if a company
Fails to properly interview, train, supervise, or terminate a driver
Instructs drivers to remain on the road for longer than is legally allowed
Neglects to properly maintain a vehicle and keep it roadworthy
If a truck accident happens because of a design or manufacturing defect on the vehicle or one of its parts, the company responsible for this defect may be liable for any damages.
Some trucking accidents occur because of negligent loading practices. For example, an improperly tied load might come loose during transit, or a poorly balanced load might cause a truck driver to lose control of their vehicle and crash.
Some Texas trucking accidents occur because of issues with roadways; for example, if a road is poorly maintained. However, the government is granted immunity in many of these cases.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do immediately after a truck accident?
Your first priority should be looking after your own immediate safety. From here, you should contact law enforcement, document the scene of the crash, and seek medical attention. In the days following the collision, you should call or meet a truck accident lawyer for a free consultation. He or she will answer all of your questions, discuss their strategy and fee, and then you can decide if you want to hire them.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit after a truck accident?
The statute of limitations for road accident lawsuits in Texas is generally two years, but there are exceptions. If you fail to file a lawsuit within two years of the date of your accident, you will lose the right to pursue compensation. But the sooner you pursue your damages, the higher the chance of getting a bigger recovery of money.
How is compensation determined in a truck accident case?
Compensation depends on various factors such as injuries, property damage, loss of wages, physical pain, emotional distress, disability, impairment, and disfigurement. Your Fort Worth truck accident lawyer will be able to give you a rough estimate of your compensation entitlements during an initial consultation.
How We Help Truck Accident Victims
If you’re facing financial hardship related to a commercial truck accident from lost earnings, medical bills, vehicle damage, and other costs, we can help.
Contact us today to start the process of getting your life back on track.
You can get in touch via our contact form, or on the phone at (817) 885-8000.