Truck Accident Types
Our Attorneys Obtain Results Because We Understand Truck Accidents
Truck accidents happen every day in Texas. In Bexar County alone, 2,081 crashes were reported in 2013, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Of that number, there were seven fatal crashes involving 12 deaths and 192 serious injury crashes involving 278 serious injuries.
Truck accident attorneys see all different types of accidents involving commercial vehicles, from rear-end accidents on Loop 410 onto I-35 South in San Antonio to wrong-way accidents on Highway 151.
- Jackknife Accidents
- Rear-End Crashes
- Underride Collisions
- Runaway Trailer Crashes
- Accidents Involving Mexican Trucks
- Commercial Truck Accidents
- Investigating Big Rig Accidents
- Truck Maintenance/Defective Equipment
When a tractor-trailer becomes the shape of a closing jackknife, the crash is commonly referred to as a jackknife accident. These are common and dangerous accidents that can turn your life upside-down. A jackknife accident can happen if a truck driver loses control of the vehicle and the trailer swings out and forms a 90 degree angle. The driver might be speeding and need to stop quickly because of traffic congestion on I-35 just north of San Antonio. In such situations, the trailer might begin to swing wide as the driver applies the brakes. The trailer could swing into the path of another vehicle, posing a threat to everyone sharing the road, or the truck may roll over.
These accidents might happen when a driver loses control on a slick surface or fails to use caution during inclement weather. Such accidents also might occur when a driver fails to use caution while approaching a curve. The driver who is facing a potential jackknife accident can lock the steering axle brakes, lock the drive axles or lock the trailer axles. A trained driver should understand that evenly applying brake pressure to within 5 percent of locking the brakes is the way to avoid a jackknife.
Rear-end accidents involving two passenger vehicles can result in injuries such as whiplash or wrist injuries. In a rear-end truck accident, the force of the crash often results in even more severe injuries than would occur between two small passenger vehicles. A rear-end collision caused by a truck driver often can be traced back to a driver who is distracted, fatigued or impaired by drugs or alcohol. In other cases, a driver might be speeding or driving recklessly and following the vehicle in front of him too closely. A tractor-trailer that is fully loaded might weigh more than 80,000 pounds. When such a large vehicle slams into a sedan, minivan or even an SUV, the results can be grave for the occupants of the smaller vehicle.
Underride accidents happen when a smaller vehicle crashes into a semi-truck and the smaller vehicle goes under the trailer. In these accidents, occupants of the smaller car in many cases do not survive or suffer life-changing conditions such as paralysis or limb amputation. These can be difficult cases, because the trucking company may argue the driver of the smaller vehicle failed to use caution or stop in time. But we know that many of these accidents happen because of trucking company negligence. For example, the truck may have broken taillights or the taillights may be dim or covered in dirt. In some cases, a truck may be broken down, but the driver failed to use reflective triangles to warn oncoming traffic. A truck driver that is operating significantly under the speed limit and slower than other vehicles may be at fault in such accidents.
Runaway Trailer Crashes
If a truck driver is speeding, he runs the risk of causing a runaway trailer accident. In these types of crashes, the speed of the trailer exceeds the speed of the truck. When this happens, the driver might lose control of the big rig and put everyone other vehicle sharing the road in harm's way. The brakes may fail, causing a high-speed collision. In some cases, the trailer might become detached from the cab, which can have a catastrophic impact on any motorist or pedestrian who happens to be nearby.
While speeding is one of the most common causes of a runaway trailer accident, there are other factors that could cause the accident. The trailer may be overloaded, which may lead to a blowout or brake failure. The trailer also could detach if the driver makes a sudden and unexpected turn. If the truck is approaching a steep decline, the driver should use caution because the descent may lead to difficulty controlling the speed of the truck. The brakes may fail, causing a runaway trailer accident.
Accidents Involving Mexican Trucks
Commercial trucks from Mexico pass through Texas every day. More than 4.7 million commercial trucks crossed the border from Mexico into the United States in 2010 alone, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Almost 70 percent of the trucks from Mexico enter through Texas.
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allows trucks from Mexico to enter into the United States. Unfortunately, some of these trucks are unsafe and put other motorists in danger. Insurance regulations in Mexico are not as stringent as they are in the United States.
Our truck accident lawyers understand how to represent clients injured in accidents involving Mexican trucks. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident involving a truck from Mexico, call us immediately for a free consultation. In an instant, truck accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries, including brain injury, spinal cord injury, and fatal injuries that may be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Commercial Truck Accidents
Traffic accidents can be severe in Texas, but commercial truck accidents tend to lead to the most traumatic types of injuries. Twelve people died in commercial motor vehicle accidents in Bexar County in 2012 and 278 others sustained serious injuries, according to statistics released by the Department of Transportation. Big rigs can weigh several tons more than a typical passenger vehicle, which creates significant forces. The majority of the damage is usually sustained by the smaller vehicle and the occupants inside. Investigation of a commercial truck accident may require an attorney with knowledge of the intricate inter-state commerce laws and regulations that may apply. Commercial trucks carry higher insurance coverage than passenger vehicles, which can create a complicated case.
Investigating Big Rig Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an arm of the Department of Transportation, regulates the trucking industry. Trucking companies must keep many types of records. When an accident is the result of an unsafe truck on the road, an experienced attorney can investigate records to determine if a company followed proper procedure.
Our firm investigates trucking companies by examining the professional liability of those who maintain or load the tractor-trailer. We typically look at ownership, any prior incidents, past police reports, insurance coverage, as well as other factors. For more information on trucking regulations, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's web site.
Investigating trucking companies may involve checking the following records:
- Driver background
- Driver history of accidents or moving violations
- Driver logs
- Fleet maintenance records
- Hiring/training/supervising practices of the company
Truck Maintenance/Defective Equipment
Truck accidents linked to maintenance problems or defective equipment demand the skills of a determined Texas attorney. Insurance companies may try to low-ball a settlement, or deny your claim outright.
Independent haulers and nationwide logistics companies are required to keep maintenance records to show that they have taken steps to prevent maintenance problems like truck brake failure or tire blowouts. All too often they do not meet the required standard. A truck accident lawyer in Texas can pore through the records and documents to see that the company met certain standards.
Truck driver negligence may arise when the driver overlooks the required daily pre-trip safety inspection of the tractor-trailer. Drivers are required to document such inspections. At the Herrera Law Firm, we're very familiar with Texas law and understand how to apply it aggressively to our clients' cases.