The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. stands up for the rights of semi-truck accident victims in Texas, going up against major corporations and insurance companies in pursuit of justice and financial recovery for our clients. Contact us to find out how we can help you.
Semi-trucks played a role in 4,050 fatal accidents and 87,000 injury crashes nationwide in 2015. Collisions with large commercial trucks can easily be fatal, as they involve greater force and magnitude than typical crashes. If victims survive to tell the tale, they often suffer serious to catastrophic injuries, including those to the brain and spine.
How Important is Hiring an Attorney After a Collision with a Commercial Truck?
Collisions with commercial trucks are not the same as your average car accidents. Insurance claims involve unique rules and federal regulations. Commercial trucks are “common carriers,” meaning they transport goods for money. Insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits therefore must abide by common carrier laws. This includes federal laws under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as well as Texas-specific trucking laws. To navigate this complex web of laws as a crash victim, you need help from an attorney.
Trucking companies don’t delay in hiring investigators to look into crashes in Texas. They know they are at risk of potentially serious liability and will do what they can to sway the claim in their favor. It is up to you as an accident victim to hire your own lawyers to investigate the crash and speak up on your behalf. Otherwise, the huge corporation in charge of the commercial truck that struck you could take advantage of you as an unrepresented individual.
When you trust your case to a trucking accident attorney, you gain important insights and resources that will help your insurance claim or lawsuit. For example, a lawyer will take immediate steps to ensure the preservation of vital evidence, such as the truck’s black box. Preserving the black box can give you information such as how fast the truck driver was going at the time of the accident, as well as the state of the vehicle and stopping power. The sooner you speak to a lawyer about your crash, the sooner you can benefit from legal representation during negotiations with commercial trucking companies.
Trucking Industry and Accident Statistics
Trucking is one of America’s largest industries, with more than 33.8 million registered commercial trucks responsible for moving about 10.55 billion tons of freight each year. In 2015, all registered trucks in the U.S. traveled an estimated 450.4 billion miles. Millions of those miles were in Texas – one of the most popular states for trucking in the country. Texas’ large trucking business means millions of semi-trucks co-mingling with smaller vehicles on major city highways and rural roads every day.
Some of the latest truck accident statistics for the state and country are as follows:
- In 2016, 3,986 people died in large truck crashes around the country. The majority (66%) of these deaths were occupants of passenger vehicles and 16% were motorcyclists, bicyclists, or pedestrians.
- In 2016, 403 semi-trucks were involved in fatal accidents throughout Texas. The majority (288) of these fatal crashes occurred on rural roads, while 115 were in urban areas.
- Harris County recorded the highest number of commercial motor vehicle accidents in the state of Texas in 2016, with 5,628 such crashes. These accidents in Harris County took 30 lives and injured 663 others.
As a client of Aaron A. Herbert or one of his associates, you’re much more than just a statistic. We use our knowledge of past trucking accidents to better serve are present and future clients. We understand the most common reasons semi-truck crashes happen in Texas and how to get the most possible for insurance claims. We’ve gone up against some of the biggest trucking companies in the state and come out ahead for our clients. Our team wants to help you learn and protect your rights as a truck accident victim in Texas.
Biggest Trucking Companies in Texas
If you find yourself in a harmful collision with a big rig, you will most likely have to discuss your crash with the trucking company or the company’s insurer in the future. There are 777,240 private trucking companies in the United States. The majority (97%) operate 20 or fewer trucks. As one of the greatest trucking states in the country, Texas has a higher number of trucking companies than most other states – including huge corporations. Five of the biggest names in trucking in the Lone Star State are:
- Swift Transportation. With a location in Lancaster, Texas, Swift Transportation is one of the largest trucking companies in the state with 18,000 trucks and 57,300 trailers.
- JB Hunt Transportation Services, Inc. One of the biggest names in the industry nationwide, based out of Dallas. JB Hunt has 10,900 trucks companywide.
- Central Freight Lines, Inc. This Texas trucking company has 1,751 units and 1,518 drivers. This company’s trucks drove 99,893,991 miles in 2016.
- A Truck Express, Inc. This on-demand trucking company specializes in transporting bobtail and tractor-trailers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. It currently has 65 units.
- Texas Trucking Co. Inc. The Texas Trucking Company has done business in the state since 1976. It has 20 power units and 18 drivers. It’s not one of the biggest companies, but it’s one of the most well known locally.
Should you get into an accident with one of Texas’ better-known or larger trucking companies, you will need assistance from an attorney with experience handling such claims. The biggest trucking companies have faced lawsuits and insurance claims before and know how to protect their interests by minimizing victims’ recoveries. You’ll be up against significant resources and exceptional defense attorneys. Hire your own skilled litigators to maximize your odds of success.
Most Common Types of Trucking Accidents
The design of large commercial trucks makes them susceptible to certain types of accidents more than others. The shape and size of big rigs results in specific accident types. Trucking companies should be aware of these accident types and train their drivers on how to avoid them. Failure to do so, resulting in a traffic collision, might be negligence. Here are some of the most common types of trucking accidents and their most frequent causes:
- Jackknife. A jackknife trucking accident describes a case in which the trailer of the big rig swings out at a 90-degree angle, forming the shape of a jackknife with the cab. Truck drivers cannot control jackknifing trucks, which may collide with other vehicles or turn over. Drivers can prevent jackknifing with proper braking techniques down hills or on wet roads.
- Rollover. Large trucks may rollover or turn on their sides if they take curves too fast, slide off the roadway, or brake incorrectly. A truck rollover is extremely dangerous for all involved and can result in a multi-vehicle collision on the highway. Driving at safe speeds can reduce the risk of rollover.
- Tire blowouts. If one or more of a truck’s 18 wheels blows out in transit, it can be disastrous. The trucker might lose control of the vehicle and collide with others on the roadway, or the blowout could cause the truck to flip. Blowouts can result from manufacturing defects, poor vehicle maintenance, or debris in the roadway.
- Blind-spot accidents. Long commercial semi-trucks with trailers have enormous blind spots that can cause accidents. If a trucker does not check his or her mirrors carefully enough before making a lane change, he or she could merge on top of other vehicles.
- Lost loads. Failure to properly secure cargo on a commercial truck could result in a dangerous lost load on the road. Materials falling from truck beds on the road can strike other vehicles, cause accidents, and kill drivers. It is the loading team’s job to properly secure cargo according to federal rules and regulations.
Rear-end collisions, wide-turn crashes, and underride wrecks are also common types of semi-truck accidents in Texas. The truck driver often bears responsibility to prevent serious accidents, using proven driving techniques and proper judgment. When truck drivers drink and drive, drive drowsy, drive distracted, break the law, or fail to pay attention to the road, accidents happen.
Types of Trucks and What Risks They Have
Just as there are many different types of cargo, many different types of commercial trucks exist to fill the needs of America’s economy. Each type of truck poses unique risks on the roadway. Some are more prone to accidents than others due to the size or shape of the vehicle or the cargo it carries. Tractor-trailers, for example, haul cargo and have long trailers that pose an increased risk of blind-spot accidents. Higher centers of gravity also make these trucks more prone to rollovers.
Flatbed trucks make it easier to load and unload cargo but pose a higher risk of lost loads on the roadway. Tanker trucks that transport liquids, cement, gases, or hazardous materials can vary in size and create extremely dangerous situations if they crash or rollover. Flammable liquids and hazardous materials can be deadly in crashes.
Extra-wide loads can cause side-swipe accidents and blind-spot collisions. Dump trucks, garbage trucks, and delivery trucks can carry many different materials and have a limited view of the surrounding roadway. They operate in residential areas, increasing the risk of pedestrian and bicycle collisions.
Your Texas Semi-Truck Accident Attorneys
It’s amazing the difference hiring an attorney for your Texas truck accident claim can make in its outcome. We at The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. have seen it first-hand. As soon as a lawyer starts representing you, large trucking companies and insurers start to listen. They take your claim more seriously, offer higher settlement amounts, and respect your rights. An attorney by your side during settlement negotiation can help you achieve higher recovery for your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, or the death of a loved one. For more information, call (214) 200-HURT or go online to request a free consultation.