Amarillo Truck Accident Attorney
Truck Accidents in Texas
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were approximately 499,000 reported accidents involving large trucks in the United States in 2018. Of these accidents, 4,415 were fatal and another 107,000 resulted in injury.
It is not surprising that most injuries and deaths in large truck accidents involve the occupants of smaller passenger vehicles—not the truck drivers. This is because regular-size vehicles—such as cars, motorcycles, and SUVs—offer relatively little protection against a massive, multi-ton 18-wheeler or semi-truck.
If you were injured or if someone you love was killed in a large truck collision, you could be entitled to financial compensation for your damages. At Wood Law Firm, LLP, we are committed to helping you seek the justice you deserve and are ready to take on the liable person or party, whether that’s the truck driver, the trucking company, or someone else.
If you would like to speak to one of our Amarillo truck accident attorneys about your case, call (806) 304-0447 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Like other types of motor vehicle accidents, large truck accidents are often preventable. These catastrophic events typically result from negligence or even outright unlawful conduct.
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Distracted truck drivers
- Speeding, including excessive speeds and driving too fast for weather conditions
- Driving while intoxicated
- Fatigued driving and falling asleep at the wheel
- Truck driver inexperience
- Lack of adequate or proper training or supervision
- Hours-of-service and other federal/state regulation violations
- Negligent hiring
- Lack of proper truck maintenance or repairs
- Overloaded trucks
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Strict deadlines and unrealistic quotas, as well as penalties for drivers who fail to meet them
- Defective tractors, trailers, trucks, and truck parts
- Defective or flawed road design/construction
These and other examples of negligence can have devastating consequences for victims who are likely to experience catastrophic injuries, including head and brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and paralysis, burns, soft tissue damage, fractures, and other life-threatening injuries.
What Are Hours-of-Service Regulations?
The trucking industry is regulated by numerous state and federal laws. Among these are hours-of-service regulations, which dictate how many consecutive hours and days truck drivers may operate their vehicles. The purpose of these regulations is to ensure that truck drivers do not drive while fatigued, which can be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.
Federal hours-of-service laws include the following regulations:
- Truck drivers may drive a maximum of 11 consecutive hours after at least 10 consecutive hours off duty
- Truck drivers may not drive more than 14 hours in a single day (on duty) after at least 10 consecutive hours off duty
- Truck drivers cannot drive beyond 60 hours in a single consecutive 7-day period or beyond 70 hours in a single consecutive 8-day period
- On-duty cycles restart only after 34 consecutive hours off duty
There are special considerations for truck drivers who drive short-haul routes, meaning they leave from and return to the same location before going off duty. Short-haul truck drivers may drive for up to 16 hours after coming on duty one time during a consecutive 7-day period.
Unfortunately, truck drivers do not always follow these (and other) regulations—and trucking companies often look the other way. Drivers who are required to adhere to strict deadlines or meet certain quotas to avoid penalties may decide to drive beyond the hours-of-service limits. This can lead to exhaustion which can, in turn, cause truck drivers to make serious mistakes. Sadly, it is the other drivers and passengers on the road who bear the brunt of these mistakes.
Liability in Truck Accident Cases
As in any other motor vehicle accident case, truck accident claims are heavily dependent on the issue of liability. To file a claim, you must prove that another person or party was at fault for the accident and, therefore, is liable for your damages. However, determining liability in a truck accident case can be a very complex and challenging process.
Like other employers, trucking companies are often liable for the conduct of their employees, e.g. their drivers. However, the trucking company may dispute liability by arguing that the driver is not an employee but an independent contractor or that the driver’s conduct violated the employer’s guidelines. Additionally, the truck driver may not have even been the one responsible for the accident; liability could rest with a third party, such as the manufacturer of a defective truck part or another negligent motorist on the road.
At Wood Law Firm, LLP, we work with a team of experts—including accident reconstructionists, economists, medical professionals, and other specialists—who help us conduct thorough investigations into what caused an accident and who is liable. Our Amarillo truck accident lawyers understand the many nuances involved in these types of cases, as well as the serious challenges accident victims face. We have a proven record of success in holding negligent truck drivers, trucking companies, truck manufacturers, and others accountable, and we are ready to fight for you, too.
Request a Free Consultation with Wood Law Firm, LLP
The first step in a successful recovery is reaching out to an attorney as soon as possible. In Texas, you only have two years from the date of the accident (in most cases) to file a claim. This is known as the statute of limitations, and once it passes, your opportunity to recover compensation will be limited or nonexistent.
We encourage you to reach out to our team right away to learn how we can help you get back on your feet. We offer same-day appointments, as well as evening and weekend appointments by request. We also provide contingency fees, which means you do not owe any attorneys’ fees unless we recover compensation for you. If we don’t win your case, you don’t pay.