If you were injured in a truck accident in Plano, you deserve accountability and justice. The Law Office of Edward W. Sampson wants to help you during this difficult time. Our Plano truck accident attorneys have over 25 years of experience helping accident victims in Plano, Dallas, and North Texas recover the compensation they deserve. This includes extensive experience handling complex truck accidents. Contact us or call today at (214) 220-8863 for a free case review.
Plano Truck Accident Resources
- What Makes Truck Accidents Different
- Common Causes of Truck Accidents
- Who is Responsible for a Truck Accident
- Possible Compensation in a Truck Accident
- Contact a Plano Truck Accident Lawyer
What Makes Truck Accidents Different?
If you were involved in a truck accident, it is important that you work with a law firm that has experience dealing with these specific types of accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,134 fatal truck crashes occurred in 2020. The Texas Department of Transportation reports that our state leads the nation in large truck crashes with 580 fatalities that same year. Most truck accidents are caused by negligence and could have been prevented.
Truck accidents are often much more complex than other types of motor vehicle accident claims because they involve:
Multiple parties may share the responsibility for the accident. This can lead to a blame game in which each party tries to pin responsibility on another party. It can also make the process of negotiations more complicated because your Plano motor vehicle attorney may be trying to negotiate against multiple parties at the same time.
Commercial trucks weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds and may carry hazardous materials. For these reasons, various state and federal regulations are in place to try to protect other motorists on the road. If a truck company or driver violated these regulations and that contributed to the accident, they may be responsible for the damages they caused.
These regulations apply to various areas, including:
- How drivers are qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle
- Licensing requirements
- Drug and alcohol testing
- Pre-trip inspections of trucks
- Securing processes so the load does not shift or fall during transit
- Hours of service rules that dictate when drivers must take mandatory rest breaks
- How miles and other information must be logged
- Record-keeping requirements
Because commercial trucks are usually much larger than passenger vehicles, occupants in passenger vehicles often suffer catastrophic injuries. This means that trucking companies and insurers have a lot more to lose, so they will likely fight aggressively to try to deny or minimize your claim.
A Plano truck accident lawyer who is experienced in handling these types of claims will know how to best prepare and present your case to maximize your potential for recovery.
Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
Truck accidents can be caused by many reasons. Some of the most common reasons for truck accidents include:
- Fatigued driving
- Drug or alcohol impairment
- Mechanical or auto part defects
- Inexperienced drivers
- Not obeying traffic rules
- Unsecured cargo
An experienced Plano personal injury lawyer can conduct an investigation into the accident and determine what caused it and who is responsible for it.
FMCSA Regulations and Safety Measures
Navigating roadways safely is a primary concern for everyone. When large commercial vehicles are involved, these concerns multiply given the potential damage and causalities they can cause in accidents.
This makes the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations invaluable. These stringent sets of rules were instituted to monitor and enhance highway safety involving such heavy-duty vehicles. The following are some important regulations:
- Hours of Service (HOS) rules: These regulations limit the number of hours a truck driver can drive continuously, ensuring that they have adequate rest and avoid driving drowsy.
- Weight and size limits: Federal and state regulations limit the maximum weight and size of trucks to prevent overloading and cargo shifting, which can lead to dangerous situations.
- Inspections and maintenance: Regular inspections are mandatory, ensuring that trucks are in good working order and comply with the safety requirements imposed by the FMCSA.
- License requirements: Truck drivers must hold a valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and meet specific training requirements, promoting safer driving practices.
The Reality of Truck Accidents
Despite these regulations, truck accidents still occur at alarming rates. According to FMCSA data, there were 415,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in 2020, with 4,444 fatal accidents and 101,000 injury crashes in 2020.
Despite the fact that truck accidents continue to occur, it’s likely that there would be even more if regulations did not exist.
Who Is Responsible for a Trucking Accident?
Some of the parties who may be partially or completely liable for a trucking accident include:
Truck drivers do not always drive in a safe manner. They are incentivized to deliver loads quickly, which may cause them to take safety shortcuts, such as:
- Attempting to multitask on the road
- Lying about their hours of sleep or miles driven
- Not conducting pre-trip inspections of the truck
- Not carefully securing loads
Many truck drivers work as independent contractors and may be directly responsible for the harm they cause.
Trucking companies owe many duties to other motorists who share the roadways with their drivers. If their failure to uphold these duties causes an accident, they may be financially liable for the consequences. Some of these duties include:
- Hiring qualified drivers
- Supervising drivers
- Drug and alcohol testing drivers
- Maintaining trucks in a safe manner
- Following federal and state regulations that apply to them
- Responding to safety concerns
In some situations, truck drivers use a truck that they lease from a person other than their employer. Depending on the circumstances, the truck’s owner may be responsible for maintaining it. If they fail to maintain it and a mechanical defect causes the accident, the owner may be responsible for the damages that result.
Many trucking companies delegate maintenance of their fleet to a third party. This third party is responsible for checking trucks regularly, identifying potential problems, and making necessary repairs. If negligent maintenance was conducted and an accident occurred as a result, the maintenance company may be responsible for the accident.
CARGO LOADING COMPANY
The company that loads the cargo onto the truck may also be outsourced to a third party. If this is the case, that company is responsible for ensuring the load is tied down securely and will not shift during transit. Cargo spills or crashes caused by weight imbalance may be the cargo-loading company’s negligence.
What Documents are Necessary Following a Trucking Accident?
After a trucking accident, certain key documents are necessary for legal proceedings or insurance claims:
The logbook includes information such as hours worked and rest periods, which can help determine whether fatigue was an element in an accident.
Bill of Lading: Proof of Property Transported
As this document provides details about what was being transported by the truck at the time of the incident, it can sometimes provide insights into whether the cargo load could have influenced the accident.
The trip report outlines specific details about the driver’s journey, including where they traveled, mileage covered during travel, fuel expenditures incurred, and more, all of which become crucial while investigating circumstances that could have led to the crash.
This data can be instrumental in supporting your trucking accident case, as it can demonstrate the driver’s route, and hours of service, and even pinpoint the location of the accident. A well-documented trip report can help you prove liability and facilitate your claim for compensation.
Internal Reports: The Company’s Responsibilities
There’s a legal obligation for trucking companies to maintain records about their drivers and vehicles. Such documents might encompass in-house accident reports or investigation findings, playing an invaluable role while assembling your truck accident claim. These internal papers could house information concerning the driver’s past incidents, historical accidents within the company, and possible breaches of safety protocols.
Are Truck Safety Regulations Helping?
Truck safety regulations have been a significant topic of discussion, considering that truck accidents account for a large number of fatalities and injuries on the roads today. The FMCSA has implemented various regulations to enhance safety on the highways and reduce the number of incidents involving trucks. But the question remains: are these regulations truly making a difference?
Without stringent regulations in place, the frequency of accidents would likely see a severe increase. These rules exist to create an environment where safety is prioritized, and potential risks are minimized, which leads to fewer mishaps.
Possible Compensation You Can Recover in a Plano Truck Accident Claim
Texas law gives accident victims the right to recover compensation for the full extent of the damages they suffered, which may include:
- Medical expenses for past, current, and future medical treatment for injuries caused in the accident
- Lost wages for time missed from work
- Lost or reduced earning capacity, if the accident left you permanently disabled or required you to take a lower-paying job
- Costs to repair or replace your vehicle and other damaged personal property
- Pain, suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish caused by the accident
An experienced Plano truck accident lawyer can evaluate your claim and explain what it might be worth.
Contact Our Experienced Plano Truck Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a truck accident in Plano, reach out to The Law Office of Edward W. Sampson for help. We are board-certified in Personal Injury Trial Law, a distinction bestowed upon less than 5% of Texas lawyers. We focus exclusively on personal injury law and obtaining maximum compensation for accident victims and their families. Contact us or call us today at (214) 220-8863 for a free case review.