Category Archives: Truck Accidents

Truck Accident Lawyers

Dangerous Trucking Practices Put Motorists at Risk

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Large commercial trucks are inherently dangerous on the roads because of the sheer disparity in size and weight to other vehicles. Because of the risks, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)1 as well as the state of Texas set out many different safety regulations that must be followed to prevent collisions between trucks and smaller cars. Unfortunately, many truck drivers and trucking companies violate these safety provisions and injuries often result. The following are only some examples of dangerous practices by some truck drivers and their employers.

Truck Driver Safety Issues

When a truck driver is behind the wheel of a big rig that weighs tens of thousands of pounds, they are expected to drive in a safe manner and in accordance with all relevant rules of the roads. Some of the ways in which truck drivers violate safety rules and cause crashes include as follows:

  • Driving after drinking or under the influence of illegal drugs
  • Texting or other forms of distracted driving
  • Not performing all pre-trip inspections
  • Failing to abide by hours of service regulations,2 which can lead to fatigued driving
  • Driving with serious health risks
  • Speeding, tailgating, dangerous lane changes, and other types of aggressive driving
  • Not adjusting driving for weather or road conditions
  • Violating any other traffic safety provisions
  • Unsafe Practices by Trucking Companies

In addition to driver error, the companies that employ drivers can also engage in dangerous practices that lead to collisions and injuries. Some examples of trucking company negligence include the following:

  • Allowing unlicensed or untrained drivers to operate commercial vehicles
  • Hiring drivers with a history of DUI or serious collisions or safety violations
  • Not properly inspecting or maintaining all trucks in the fleet
  • Not complying with conspicuity requirements for all trucks
  • Not performing the required random or post-collision alcohol or drug testing on drivers
  • Failing to discipline or suspend drivers for safety violations or intoxicated driving
  • Not properly monitoring drivers
  • Encouraging unsafe behaviors such as speeding or hours of service violations to make more deliveries and more profits.

Consult with a Skilled Dallas Truck Collision Attorney to Discuss Your Case Today

The Dallas truck collision attorneys at Clements & Clements work to expose dangerous trucking behaviors and hold drivers and their employers accountable for putting the community at risk. Please call today at 214-827-1122 to discuss your truck crash and injuries today.

Alcohol-Related Trucking Collisions

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Dallas Truck Accidents Attorney - Clements & ClementsAccording to the Centers for Disease Control,[1] collisions involving drunk drivers are responsible for roughly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 51 minutes. When the wreck involves a large commercial truck, the risk of fatalities is even higher.

Most states, including Texas, have adopted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration[2] regulations for commercial drivers and alcohol, which set a 0.04 percent blood-alcohol concentration limit. This is half the BAC limit for non-commercial drivers in most states. The FMCSA rules also stipulate that commercial drivers may not operate a commercial vehicle within four hours of using alcohol.

If a truck driver is driving while drunk or on drugs and causes a crash, there could be multiple parties responsible. In addition to the driver, the trucking company may be held liable if the driver is an employee. Even if the driver is self-employed and works for the company as an independent contractor, the company may still be held liable in certain circumstances.

Alcohol and Drug Tests for Dallas Commercial Drivers

When truck drivers make the decision to get behind the wheel when they are intoxicated, they put everyone else on the road with them at risk of serious injury. Big rigs require every ounce of the driver’s skill and attention to operate safely under normal conditions. When drivers attempt to operate them after having a few drinks, the results can be catastrophic.

Commercial drivers may be required to submit to alcohol testing randomly, after a collision, where there is reasonable suspicion, or as a condition of returning to duty following an alcohol policy violation. In addition to alcohol testing, the FMCSA regulations allow for drug testing in the following circumstances: as a condition of employment, where there is reasonable suspicion, after a crash and as a condition of returning to duty following a drug policy violation. The following drugs are often screened: marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates and phencyclidine (PCP). When pulled over on suspicion of DUI, commercial drivers also face harsher penalties for refusing to submit to a blood alcohol test. Under FMCSA rules, refusal to take a blood alcohol test is the equivalent of pleading guilty to DUI.

Call an Experienced Dallas Truck Collision Attorney

Trucking wrecks caused by driving while drunk or on drugs are caused by individuals who failed to Texas safety rules. If you have been involved in a collision with a truck driver who has consumed alcohol, it is necessary to speak to a skilled Dallas truck collision attorney to hold those responsible for such crashes fully accountable, so they do not continue their reckless behavior. At Clements & Clements, our team of truck crash lawyers are aggressive advocates for our clients, working tirelessly to obtain full compensation for the physical,
financial and emotional toll the wreck takes on you and your family. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Dallas truck collision lawyers, call Clements & Clements today at 214-827-1122 or send us an email through our online contact form.

References
[1] http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html
[2] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov

Dallas Trucking Collisions Caused By Driver Error

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Smashed Truck WindowThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Large Truck Crash Causation Study[1] reviewed 141,000 large truck injury and fatal crashes.  The collisions reviewed during the course of the Administration’s study demonstrated that truck driver error was responsible for a majority of the crashes as follows:

  • Non-Performance: The driver fell asleep, was disabled by a heart attack or seizure, or was physically impaired for another reason.
  • Recognition: The driver was inattentive, was distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle or failed to observe the situation adequately for some other reason.
  • Decision: The driver was driving too fast for conditions, misjudged the speed of other vehicles, or followed other vehicles too closely.
  • Performance: The driver panicked, overcompensated, or exercised poor directional control.

The national large truck crash causation study set forth different types of driver error resulting in truck collisions including:

  • Driver Fatigue Causing Trucking Collisions

Fatigue leads truck drivers to fall asleep, be inattentive, misjudge gaps, ignore the signs of impending dangers, panic, freeze, and under- or overreact to a situation.  The FMCSA study provides that fatigue accounted for 13% of the collisions, including 18,000 large trucks.

  • Hours of Service Rules

Federal regulations (called the “hours of service rules”) set forth rules to ensure that truck drivers obtain the necessary rest and restorative sleep in order to drive safely. Under these rules, truck drivers can work a maximum of 14 hours per day, during which time they can only drive for a maximum of 11 hours. The driver must be off duty for 10 consecutive hours prior to the start of a shift. The driver also cannot drive after being on duty for 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight consecutive days. Pressure to continue working from a carrier accounted for 10% of the large truck crashes involving 16,000 commercial trucks.

  • Drug Use by Truck Drivers

The FMCSA study provides that truck driver’s use of illegal drugs accounted for 2% of the total accidents or 3,000 trucks while over-the-counter drug usage accounted for 17% of the collisions or 25,000 trucks.

Drivers may not use any controlled substances unless prescribed by a licensed physician who is familiar with the driver’s medical history and assigned duties and has determined that the drug use will not adversely affect the driver’s ability to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Federal regulations[2] require trucking companies to:

  • test their drivers for alcohol and drug use as a condition of employment, and
  • require periodic random tests of the drivers while they are on duty and after an accident involving a fatality.

Contact a Dallas Truck Collision Attorney

If you or a loved one were involved in a collision with a large truck, you may have sustained life changing disabilities as a result of your injuries.  It is important to speak to a Dallas truck collision attorney. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Dallas truck collision lawyers, call Clements & Clements today at 214-827-1122 or send us an email through our online contact form.

References:

[1] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief
[2] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/drug-alcohol-testing/overview-drug-and-alcohol-rules

Dallas Trucking Collisions Caused By Brake Or Tire Failure

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Concrete MixerA study sponsored by Department of Transportation[1](DOT) found that 29.4% of all large truck crashes involved brake failure, brakes out of adjustment, or other brake-related issues.  If you are injured in a Dallas truck collision where brake or tire failure either caused or contributed to the accident, it is important to speak to an experienced truck accident attorney.

Defective Truck Brakes

Brakes in tractor-trailers are different than those systems found in passenger vehicles. While the differences are many, one main difference is that many tractor trailers have air brake systems in which the various components work together to create and maintain a supply of compressed air that is used to transmit pressure from the drivers’ control to the service brake. The air brake systems can include the service brake system, the parking brake system, and the emergency brake system.  When truck brakes malfunction, blame may be placed on several different individuals or business entities including:

The Brake Manufacturer:  The federal government has imposed strict regulations on the safety of truck braking[2] systems. A truck must be able   to: develop a certain braking force (based on a percentage of the truck’s   weight), decelerate to a stop from 20 miles per hour at a rate specific to its size, and meet the automatic brake adjustment system requirements.

If truck brakes do not meet these federal standards, a victim of a trucking crash may have a claim against the manufacturer. Usually, these claims come in two forms: (1) the manufacturer did not design the brakes properly or (2) the brakes were correctly designed, but some defect occurred in the manufacturing process.

Drivers and Trucking Companies: In some instances, actions of the driver or trucking company can cause the brakes to fail.

Depowering the front brakes. Some owner-operator truck drivers deliberately unhook or depower the front brakes on the truck and rely only upon the brakes of the trailer and downshifting to stop or slow the vehicle. They do this in order to minimize the expense of tire and brake wear and replacement costs.

Improper loading. If the truck load is not evenly distributed, the brakes may overheat and malfunction.

Trucking Collisions Caused by Tire Issues

There are many different causes of truck tire failure including:

  • Defective tires. In some cases, a tire manufacturer produces and sells a defective truck tire.  Those defective products may or may not be recalled by the federal government.
  • Failure to maintain tires. A trucking company may not maintain the tires properly.  In other cases, truck drivers may use tires that fail to meet the minimum requirements or mix bias and radial tires on the same axle.
  • Failure to perform pre-trip tire inspections. Sometimes a trucking collision is caused by a failed tire that the driver should have noticed in the required pre-trip inspection of the truck. Improper tire pressure can lead to deterioration and eventual catastrophic failure. A tire that is worn or damaged may fail as a blowout and result in loss of control of the vehicle.

Call an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one are involved in a collision with a large truck, where brake or truck failure may have caused or contributed toward the crash, it is important to speak to a skilled Dallas truck collision attorney. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Dallas truck collision lawyers, call Clements & Clements today at 214-827-1122 or send us an email through our online contact form.

References:

[1] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-ltccs-analysis-series-using-ltccs
[2] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/393.40

Texas Truck Collisions Can Cause Significant Losses For Victims

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clash truck and carIndividuals who are hurt in crashes involving commercial trucks are often seriously injured. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) indicates1 that these kinds of vehicles can weigh as much as 20 to 30 times the amount a passenger vehicle weighs, making them capable of causing tremendous damage when they are involved in collisions. Fortunately for victims of truck crashes, the losses they sustain can often be recovered by filing a personal injury claim. The kinds of damages truck crash victims often successfully seek include the following:

Medical expenses – Victims can often sustain extremely serious injuries that can require intensive medical attention. Injuries such as facial fractures, traumatic brain injuries,2 burns, or accidental amputations may result in millions of dollars of medical expenses, and some of these injuries may require ongoing treatment well into the future.

Lost income – Many individuals who are injured in collisions with semi-trucks are unable to work for an extended period of time and, in some cases, may be unable to return to work at all. For this reason, victims are often able to obtain compensation for the income they lose as a result of a wreck, including the income that they will not receive in the future. In many cases, establishing these kinds of damages requires the assistance of an expert who can testify to the amount a person in the victim’s position would have earned over the course of his or her career had in not been for the injury-causing crash.

Property damage – Trucks can cause significant damage to other vehicles, personal property, land, and even buildings in the event of a collision. People who are involved in these kinds of incidents can often obtain compensation for the loss in value of their property or the costs associated with returning it to the condition in which it was prior to the collision.

Contact a Texas truck crash lawyer today to retain legal counsel

Anyone that has been hurt in a wreck involving a commercial truck should talk to an attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with a Texas truck collision lawyer, call Clements & Clements today at 214-827-1122 or send us an email through our online contact form.

References:

1 http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/topicoverview
2 http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/tbi/tbi.htm

Increased Number Of Bicyclists And Pedestrians In Fatal Truck Collisions

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Truck AccidentTraffic-related fatalities can happen in many different ways. Cars can crash into other cars, cars can collide with pedestrians, commercial truck drivers can run over smaller vehicles, and many other scenarios can lead to life-threatening injuries and tragic deaths. One type of collision that has caused an increasing number of fatalities in recent years occurs when a commercial truck collides with a bicyclist or pedestrian.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) gathers and publishes statistics regarding different kinds of commercial vehicle crashes and the resulting injuries and fatalities on an annual basis. The FMCSA published the following statistics:1

  • In 2009, 56 bicyclists and 259 pedestrians died in collisions with commercial vehicles.
  • In 2013, 78 bicyclists and 338 pedestrians died in collisions with commercial vehicles.

These substantial increases represented the two largest increases of any type of truck-related fatalities over this four-year period of time.

Truck collisions can cause catastrophic injuries

There are many possible reasons why the increase in bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities occurred. First, these individuals have little to no protection if they are in a collision with any type of motor vehicle of any size. Second, according to the FMCSA, 75 percent of the trucks in the above fatalities weighed more than 26,000 pounds. When hit by a vehicle of that size and weight, bicyclists and pedestrians can sustain serious injuries including:

The above are only some of the catastrophic and often fatal injuries that can happen in this type of collision.

Contact an experienced truck collision attorney in Dallas, Texas today

If you have lost a loved one in a truck collision or have sustained serious injuries yourself, you should not delay in calling the personal injury lawyers at Clements & Clements in Dallas. Our experienced legal team understands how complicated it can be to prove negligence in truck crashes and we have the resources and skill to do so. If you would like more information regarding your rights to recovery, please call us for a free consultation at 214-827-1122 as soon as possible.

References:

1https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/fmcsa-webinar-nov-18-examine-large-truck-crash-fatalities-involving-pedestrians-and
2https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/spinalcordinjuries.html

Commercial Truck Drivers and Fatigue: a Dangerous Combination

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LEMPAALA FINLAND - AUGUST 7 2014: American Show truck tractor Peterbilt 379 from Norway arrives at Lempaala as part of the truck convoy to Power Truck Show 2014 in Alaharma Finland.The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued regulations that require truckers to get a certain amount of rest and limits the length of time a driver can operate his or her vehicle in a given period, known as “hours of service” regulations. This is a driving safety rule all drivers must follow. The schedule that commercial truck drivers keep requires them to travel hundreds of miles each day on interstates and highways that often are featureless and monotonous. It is commonly understood that fatigue can have a significant and negative impact on a driver’s ability to control his or her vehicle.

To ensure compliance of the driving safety rules, truckers are required to carry logbooks that detail the way that they spend their time. As a result, people who are injured by fatigued drivers are often able to establish that a driver was not in compliance with the law and recover compensation as a result. To determine if you have a case, you should talk to an attorney immediately. In other words fatigued truck drivers and their companies chose to violate the driving safety rules . Profits over people.

How can fatigue result in wrecks?

While truck drivers are affected to varying degrees by fatigue, we all get irritable, less aware of our surroundings, and can lose focus more easily when tired. In addition, our reaction time slows and we may have increased difficulty completing basic physical tasks. All of these issues can have a significant impact on a truck driver’s ability to operate a large commercial truck. Some of the kinds of truck wrecks that may be caused by driver fatigue include the following:

  • Lane departure crashes
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Rollover incidents
  • Jackknife crashes

The best way to determine whether you can recover for your losses after a truck crash , a violation of the driving safety rules, is to have your case reviewed by an attorney.

Contact a Dallas truck crash lawyer today to schedule a consultation

Anyone that has been injured in a collision involving a commercial truck should talk to an attorney. In some cases, a trucker’s violation of the hours-of-service regulations can be sufficient to establish legal liability on the part of the truck driver or his or her employer. “Rule Breakers are Crash Makers!” To schedule a consultation with an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney, call Clements & Clements today at 800-750-1126 or send us an email through our online contact form.

Representing Truck Crash Victims Requires Knowledge of Specific Laws and Regulations

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Renault PremiumSemi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles pose an inherent risk of injury to other people using the roads. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates1 that approximately 95,000 people were injured in wrecks involving large trucks during 2013. The entire trucking industry is regulated by complicated and voluminous regulations that apply to almost aspect of operating a commercial vehicle, ranging from the reflective materials on the outside of a trailer to the minimum requirements for issuing an individual a commercial driver’s license2 (CDL).

When these regulations are violated, it may be sufficient to establish legal liability on the part of the truck driver or trucking company if that violation was a significant factor in causing a collision. As a result, it is important to retain an attorney who is familiar with the federal and state laws and regulations that apply specifically to the trucking industry. Some of these rules that are commonly at issue in truck crash cases are discussed below.

  • Hours of service – These laws regulate the amount of consecutive hours and/or days a driver can work without resting.
  • Conspicuity – These regulations require trucking companies and truck owners to have adequate reflectors and reflective tape to make trailers more visible at night.
  • Health requirements – Drivers must pass medical examinations in order to determine that they are healthy enough to drive.
  • Pre-trip inspections – Drivers are required to properly inspect the truck prior to every leg of the trip to prevent malfunctions.
  • DUI – The limit for driving under the influence of alcohol is stricter for truck drivers, as it is unlawful to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.04 percent as compared to the regular limit of 0.08 percent.

Contact a Dallas truck wreck attorney today to schedule a free case evaluation

Many people who are injured in truck collisions are legally entitled to significant financial compensation. The skilled Dallas truck lawyers have the legal skill and experience required to effectively represent people injured in motor vehicle crashes with semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call Clements & Clements today 800-750-1126.

References:

1 http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812150.pdf
2 http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/commercial-drivers-license

Investigating a Dallas Truck Crash Requires Time and Money

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clash truck and carAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration1 (NHTSA), there were an estimated 95,000 people injured in collisions involving large trucks during 2013. Additionally, 72 percent of those injured were the occupants of vehicles other than the truck. Fortunately for victims, other parties can often be held liable for any economic and non-economic losses experienced as a result of the crash. In order to recover, however, victims need to be able to establish that their wreck was the result of negligence,2 which can often require significant investigation and an investment of time and money. Fortunately, an experienced Dallas truck collision law firm such as Clements & Clements will have the resources to help you bring your claim to a successful resolution. Some of the ways we can help truck wreck victims are detailed below.

Collect and analyze evidence supporting your case – While many truck collision cases are settled with little discussion regarding liability, some cases require gathering and reviewing a significant amount of evidence. Examples of the kinds of evidence that may be relevant include vehicle maintenance records, onboard computer data, video footage that may have happened to document the incident, or witness statements. If we accept your case, our attorneys will collect and review evidence supporting your case on your behalf.

Pay for any up-front costs associated with your case –Litigation is not cheap. There are costs associated with taking a case to trial, deposition costs, expert witness fees, evidence preparation costs and other litigation expenses. Fortunately  for people who are injured in wrecks involving trucks, our firm will pay these costs and will not require reimbursement unless we successfully recover for you.

Contact a Dallas truck collision law firm to discuss your case today

Victims of motor vehicle collisions involving large trucks are regularly entitled to substantial financial compensation as a result of their collision. The kinds of losses that are often recoverable include medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life, as well as others. The Dallas personal injury lawyers of Clements & Clements are committed to helping people injured by careless truck drivers and trucking companies obtain the compensation they deserve. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at (800) 750-1126 or send us an email through our online contact form available here.

References:

1 http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812150.pdf
2 https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/negligence

Specialized Trucks Can Pose Equally Specialized Risks

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Flatbed Semi TruckAnyone who has driven on the streets in or around Dallas has almost certainly seen a variety of specialized trucks that are designed to haul a particular type of load or perform a certain function. While these vehicles are essential to living in a modern city, they also pose an inherent risk of injury to the general public. In many cases, people injured by these kinds of vehicles are legally entitled to significant financial compensation under Texas law.1 The lawyers of Clements & Clements can often help truck wreck victims recover for their injuries, so anyone injured in a traffic incident involving a truck should call our office as soon as possible.

The best way to avoid injury is to understand the kinds of risks these vehicles can pose. To this end, below is information about a few of the more common types of specialized trucks and the specific risks they pose

Flat-bed trucks – These vehicles have a flat surface as a trailer rather than an enclosed space as is found on most trucks. As a result, these vehicles can often lose their cargo and cause injury to people directly behind them or in the vicinity.

Box trucks – Box trucks are often used by moving companies or can be rented by the general public by the hour. These trucks tend to be the largest vehicles that people without commercial driver’s license2 (CDLs) can drive, so people driving box trucks are often inexperienced and have difficulty maneuvering or negotiating tight spaces.

Garbage trucks – These trucks pose an extremely specific risk as they stop and start several times and often operate in extremely narrow alleys. As a result, they can easily injure pedestrians who may be in the vicinity.

Tanker trucks – Tanker trucks are specialized vehicles that are designed to haul liquids, gases, or dry bulk commodities from place to place. When they are improperly loaded, it can cause significant problems with vehicle stability.

Contact a Dallas truck collision law firm today to discuss your case with an experienced attorney

When people are injured in crashes involving specialized trucks, the results can be devastating. Fortunately, the lawyers of Clements & Clements are standing by to represent the legal rights of people who are hurt by the negligence of others. For more than 25 years, our attorneys have strived to obtain the best outcome possible for each client we represent. To schedule a free case evaluation with a Dallas truck collision lawyer, call our office today at (214) 827-1122.

References:

1 http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/
2 https://www.txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLicense/commerciallicense.htm