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18-wheelers are involved in some of the biggest and deadliest accidents across America. Although semi-truck drivers are licensed professionals, trucking accidents still occur quite frequently. Every year in the US there are approximately 400,000 trucking accidents, which comprise about 8% of all motor accidents. Around 4,500 of these accidents result in fatalities, typically to non-truck drivers or road users. Although that may seem like a small number compared to the scale of car accident deaths, when you consider that there are far fewer 18-wheelers than any other vehicles on the road, this figure is astounding.
One common cause for 18-wheeler accidents is driver fatigue. Although there are laws limiting how much time a driver can spend on the road per day and per week, many truckers exceed these limits. When traveling long stretches of lonely roads, driving can be especially tiring. The monotony of highway driving can make a tired trucker’s reaction time and judgement skills even worse.
Other causes of 18-wheeler accidents include tire blowouts, faulty equipment, rollovers, and sideswiping other vehicles when changing lanes because of blind spots.
The Winter Weather Hazard
Statistics suggest that the big rigs can be even more dangerous during the winter months. Trucking-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities increase 5% during the winter months. Over 60% of truck drivers said they “often” or “sometimes” continued driving despite adverse conditions like fatigue, inclement weather, and heavy traffic. Researchers have also found tire blowouts are more common when roads are wet, slick, or flooded. If there’s anything worse than a trucker losing control, it’s that trucker losing control when it takes longer to stop their truck and/or visibility is poor. For anyone driving around large trucks during winter weather, we recommend keeping your distance.
There is a 5% increase in trucking-related crashes and injuries and fatalities during the winter. As a way to deal with these situations, if it is sleeting or snowing or is particularly slippery out on the roads this winter, trying to stay behind or in other lanes than these trucks. We also recommend you contact authorities if you see a trucker driving too fast or too close to other vehicles during these conditions.
Understanding Liability in Truck Accidents
Going up against a well-prepared and well-funded legal team is not the only challenge associated with truck accident cases. A third party that has been implicated is likely to attempt to shift the blame not only to you but also to other parties. You need a lawyer who can bring clarity to the situation. We investigate the following parties carefully to determine whether they hold fault for the accident.
The Truck Driver
Not all truck drivers are directly liable for accidents caused by their mistakes. Because employees’ actions while on the clock are typically attributed to their employer, you may need to bring a lawsuit against the company rather than the person who hit you.
However, a truck driver who is an employee of a company may be held individually liable if their behavior is egregious (such as drinking and driving). Likewise, you would file your suit directly against an irresponsible driver if that person worked as an independent contractor rather than an employee.
The Trucking Company
A company is responsible for training and monitoring its employees to ensure they behave safely, so when a truck driver employee causes a crash, fault comes back to the business that hired them. A company might also be liable if its failure to properly maintain the truck or its poor cargo loading methods caused the driver to lose control.
A Truck or Parts Manufacturer
Tire blowouts aren’t the only malfunctions that can cause drivers to lose control. Faulty components in the brakes, steering, or transmission systems have been known to cause serious accidents. Unfortunately, the companies that make semi-trucks often don’t do their part to ensure designs are safe, consistently manufacture high-quality parts, and/or test vehicles before sending them on the roads.
While product liability cases are always difficult to try due to their highly technical nature, Attorney Charles “Chip” Houssiere studied math, physics, and chemistry in his undergrad years and worked at NASA before pursuing a law degree. He therefore has knowledge most other attorneys don’t along with skill in breaking down complex topics for judges and juries.
Other Third-Party Companies
If a trucking company contracts out some of their work, like cargo loading or truck maintenance, a company that doesn’t seem directly linked may in fact be to blame for the accident. No matter what happened, our investigators can trace the cause of a crash back to its source, so you have the ability to file a claim and hold negligent parties accountable.
We’re Here to Fight for You
When the sins of the trucking industry are visited upon trusting passengers, motorists, or pedestrians, you need to know what, how, and whom to hold accountable by filing a lawsuit. Our team is ready to assist you in the legal process. We can file your claim and protect your right to compensation while you focus on your recovery.
Houssiere Durant & Houssiere, LLP has won over $100 million for past clients who were seriously injured. We want to help you, too. If you’ve been in a truck accident, it’s important to reach out to a lawyer now, before evidence is lost. Whether you have already decided on your next steps, or you are looking for help and guidance, we can help make sure your needs are met.
We can handle any truck accident claim, no matter how complex. Call our Houston office today at (800) 914-2894 to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys.
There are a few indicators of quality you can look at to determine whether a law firm has what it takes to help you. The first is case results, the second is client reviews, and the third is awards and honors from respected legal organizations. We are proud our team at Houssiere Durant & Houssiere, LLP has all of these quality markers and more.
- Our scientific background gives us unique insight into medical-related cases, allowing us to oppose the defense effectively.
- When you hire our firm, you get a team of attorneys and support staff working together to build the best possible case.
- We have fought alongside thousands of clients, helping to secure hundreds of millions of dollars since 1981.