Crashes involving 18-wheelers or other large trucks and commercial vehicles can be devastating. The driver and passengers in smaller vehicles are at particular risk of serious injuries. In the worst-case scenarios, people involved in truck accidents do not survive.
If you have been hurt in a semi-truck accident in Houston, turn to the Texas semi-truck accident attorneys with the knowledge, experience, and resources to handle your case and win. Turn to the Houston 18-wheeler accident lawyers at The Callahan Law Firm.
Led by former mechanical engineer and Texas board-certified personal injury trial attorney Michael Callahan, we have a proven track record of successfully representing individuals and families involved in trucking accidents.
Contact our firm today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our Houston 18-wheeler truck accident lawyers. We can help you learn more about your rights and options following your accident.
Do You Need a Lawyer after an 18-Wheeler Accident?
Truck accidents can leave people with catastrophic, life-altering injuries. A truck accident can be caused by the negligence of a truck driver as well as the trucking company, but their insurance company will do its best to avoid liability for your injuries and damages. If you answer yes to any of these questions, you should talk to an experienced attorney to help you recover the financial compensation you deserve:
- Did your injuries require medical treatment?
- Does the doctor say you need additional treatment?
- Are you having trouble working due to your injuries?
- Are you still in pain?
- Are you having trouble participating in the same activities you did before your accident?
Reach out to The Callahan Law Firm today. You will talk to one of our Houston truck accident lawyers about how we can help you following your accident.
Truck Accidents Statistics in Texas
Why Truck Accidents Are More Complicated
Many people think that truck collision are no different from any other type of motor vehicle accident. In reality, truck accident claims are far more complicated than a typical car accident. Here is why:
- More catastrophic injuries – The size and speed (especially on the highway) of large 18-wheelers and other trucks mean that truck accident are more likely to result in severe and catastrophic injuries. Extreme forces result when a massive truck is involved in a collision. When truck accident victims suffer more severe injuries, medical treatment is more extensive and much more expensive. Significant injuries and extensive medical treatment increase the amount of damages that an accident victim will claim. More severe injuries can also mean that an accident victim will require future medical treatment after the accident claim is resolved by settlement or in court. Any compensation award must account for the accident victim’s future damages including medical expenses and care, loss of earnings, as well as human damages such as pain and physical limitations.
- More potentially liable parties – The trucking industry includes not only truck drivers and trucking companies, but also companies such as shippers, brokers, and others. Any one of these companies may have responsibility for a truck accident. And there are times when more than one company may share fault. That makes it necessary for an accident victim or his or her attorney to thoroughly investigate and determine the causes of the accident and those responsible.
- More state and federal regulations – The trucking industry is heavily regulated at the state and federal levels. Regulations govern the size and total weight of vehicles, the types of cargo that can be carried, how cargo must be loaded and secured, and how long drivers may be behind the wheel at any one time. When a truck driver or trucking companies disregard these regulations, an accident can be the result. Trucking companies must also document their compliance with many of these regulations. The truck driver and trucking company records can show that a failure to comply with regulations caused a truck accident.
Types of 18-Wheeler Truck Accidents
Any crash involving a large commercial truck can be devastating for the occupants of other vehicles involved in the collision. However, the type of truck accident can affect the severity of injuries. The accident type can also indicate who may have been at fault for the crash. Examples of different types of truck accidents include:
Evidence We May Use in a Truck Accident Claim
Given the scope of state and federal regulatory requirements as well as the complexity of these types of claims, the truck accident attorney must be familiar with trucking regulations, applicable state laws, and the fundamentals of accident investigation to be able to determine and collect important evidence. That evidence helps us determine how the accident happened, why it happened, and who may be held at fault for the crash.
Examples of evidence we use in pursuing truck accident claims include:
- The police accident report
- Accident scene photos
- Eyewitness statements
- Surveillance camera or dashcam footage
- The truck driver’s employment records, including his or her driving experience, driving history, training history and accident history
- The trucking company’s records, including dispatch and investigation records
- The truck driver’s toxicology report (if the driver takes an alcohol/drug test)
- The truck driver’s hours-of-service logs
- The truck’s electronic data recorder information
- The freight or load manifest
- The truck’s maintenance logs
- Accident reconstruction simulations and reports
- Vehicle damage and repair reports
- Your medical records from the treatment of your injuries from the accident
Damages in a Truck Accident Claim
If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident in Houston, the past and future damages that may be entitled to recover include the following:
- Medical expenses, including hospital bills, physical/occupational rehab, and pain medication
- Personal care, including home health care, housekeeping, and home maintenance services
- Lost income for time missed from work
- Lost earning potential, if injuries disable you from returning to full-time work or returning to work altogether
- Lost quality of life due to physical disabilities or disfigurement, or due to the inability to participate in activities you previously enjoyed
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium, which can be claimed by your spouse for the loss of your companionship and society due to your injuries
You can also seek compensation for damage to your personal property, such as vehicle repair costs or the cash value of your vehicle if it was destroyed in the accident.
Texas Statute of Limitations on Truck Accident Lawsuits
In Texas, the statute of limitations generally requires you to file a personal injury lawsuit that is based on negligence within two years of the date of the accident. If the lawsuit is not filed before the statute of limitations expires, the court may dismiss your suit. That means you permanently lose your right to seek compensation in court. This is one of the many reasons why it is so important to hire the right lawyer and law firm as soon as possible after a truck crash.
Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents in Houston
Truck accidents arise due to numerous factors. Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Over-aggressive driving, including speeding and unsafe lane changes
- Driver fatigue
- Driver inattention and distracted driving
- Following too closely, also known as tailgating
- Improper space management by the truck driver
- Unsafe turns
- Inadequate truck driver training
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Unsafe backing
- Improper maintenance of the tractor or trailer
- Overloading the truck or improperly balancing or securing the load or cargo
- Defective truck parts
Who Can Be Held Liable in an 18-Wheeler Accident Case?
Most motor vehicle accident cases involve only the motorists involved in the crash. However, in a truck accident case where the 18-wheeler was at fault, many more parties may share some or all of the liability. Parties that may be liable for truck accident injuries and damages include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The owner of the tractor and trailer
- The shipping company
- The broker
- The truck’s mechanics
- The truck’s manufacturer as well as truck part manufacturers
Frequently Asked Questions About Houston Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are serious events that often result in significant injuries and permanent disabilities. People injured in truck crashes and their families quickly realize just how complicated a truck accident injury claim can be.
When investigating the causes of a truck crash, there can be many responsible parties in addition to the truck driver. Thus, a thorough investigation must begin as soon as possible after the crash to ensure that critical evidence is collected and all those that caused or contributed to the crash are identified.
The legal team at The Callahan Law Firm has provided answers to a few of the most common questions we get about truck accidents that happen in Houston and throughout Texas. For specific answers to your individual questions, contact us now for a free consultation and discuss what happened.
The honest answer is that it is difficult to impossible to say how much a specific truck accident claim might be worth because every truck crash is different. The value of your case will depend on the injuries you suffered, the medical treatment received, the necessity and cost of future medical care, physical impairment, the investigation of the crash and the findings, evidence collected regarding the crash and the responsible parties, the amount of liability insurance available, and other factors.
While it’s difficult to put an exact number on a case without having more detailed information, Texas truck accident victims can generally be compensated for:
- Their cost of medical care in the past and future
- Their lost wages as a result of the truck crash
- Their diminished ability to work and earn a living as a result of their injuries
- Their pain and suffering
- Their physical impairment
- Their disfigurement
- Their mental anguish, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder
- Their property that was damaged in the accident
You have the right to pursue your truck accident claim without a lawyer. However, trying to investigate a truck accident case, preserve and obtain all relevant evidence, communicate with the insurance company as well as their investigators and attorneys, obtain the medical treatment needed, and address all the other issues created because of the crash without the help of an experienced truck accident attorney on your side will put you and your family at a distinct disadvantage and, quite frankly is a recipe for failure.
For one thing, you’ll be going up against insurance companies and trucking companies with experienced and aggressive legal teams who will fight your claim every step of the way. Additionally, without an attorney, you’ll be waging this legal battle on your own while at the same time dealing with the injuries suffered in the accident.
Finally, getting the critical evidence to establish liability in a truck accident case can be challenging if you don’t have the required experience, knowledge, and resources to know what to look for and how to get it. Hiring the right law firm, one that regularly handles truck accident cases, will greatly increase your chances of prevailing in your claim and getting the justice and money you need.
Truck accidents, and more specifically crashes involving tractor-trailers, often result in more serious injuries than car accidents for one simple reason: An 18-wheeler is much bigger and heavier than any car, pickup, van, or SUV. While many passenger cars weigh 2,000-3,000 pounds and SUVs can weigh around 5,000-6,000 pounds, a semi-truck hauling an empty trailer generally weighs around 30,000-35,000 pounds. If the truck is pulling a loaded trailer, it may weigh up to 80,000 pounds.
This additional weight means that an 18-wheeler in motion has a tremendous amount of energy and momentum which is transferred to any object it hits. In other words, a truck in motion will hit with significant force when it collides with another vehicle. In addition, trucks have a higher center of gravity compared to a passenger vehicle which can be a factor in causing significant and catastrophic injuries to the people inside a passenger vehicle.
The reasons are many. First, there is the crash scene and the initial investigation by law enforcement. Although investigating officers will do their best, the truth is most of them do not have the extensive training needed to thoroughly investigate a truck crash and the crash site. Formal, extensive training in accident reconstruction and commercial motor vehicles including applicable federal and state regulations make a big difference in the quality, accuracy, and results of the crash investigation and the resultant conclusions. That is why in a significant truck crash, your lawyer will hire investigators, an accident reconstructionist, and possibly others to investigate the crash to determine what happened. In addition, most truck tractors and other late-model vehicles have electronic data recording devices, and a timely download of such data can show vehicle speed, braking, the timing of braking, and other critical information in the moments before the crash. This kind of critical evidence must be preserved and then obtained to understand what happened and why. In our experience, rarely does law enforcement perform the data download.
Next, a trucking lawyer will investigate the truck driver, the driver’s driving history, the responsible trucking company or companies based on the U.S. Department of Transportation number and Motor Carrier number of the rig, the owner of the trailer, information regarding the load being hauled at the time including who loaded the trailer, the owner of the load, the shipper, as well as information regarding other possible responsible entities including brokers, maintenance personnel, and others. In addition, intimate knowledge of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations as well as applicable state regulations and laws is essential.
In sum, truck crash cases are complex. Anyone injured in a trucking accident as well as their family members has enough to deal with trying to get adequate medical care, recover from the injuries, and deal with all the other effects of being involved in a truck crash. An experienced truck accident lawyer will work on all the details of properly handling the case and allow the injured person, or surviving family members, to do their best to heal. There is tremendous peace of mind that comes with knowing you have competent professionals handling your case so that you can focus on a future.
How Our Houston 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help
If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, the Houston truck accident attorneys of The Callahan Law Firm are here to help. Our mission is to help you get the financial compensation you need and are entitled to under the law. Compensation can help you get through the difficult process of healing from your injuries and getting back as close as possible to the life you had before.
Our knowledgeable attorneys can help you win your case by:
- Conducting our own investigation of the accident, including recovering and reviewing key pieces of evidence such as driver logs, truck data recorder information, freight manifests, and truck maintenance records.
- Working with accident reconstruction experts when appropriate to help us build a persuasive argument showing how your accident occurred and how the truck driver and/or trucking companies or other parties were responsible for causing your crash.
- Collaborating with medical and financial experts to help us explain the impact of your injuries and damages.
- Filing claims with the trucking companies and their insurers, and aggressively negotiating for a settlement that provides you and your family with fair compensation.
- Preparing your case for trial, if necessary, and utilizing our experience and skill as trial lawyers to present your case to a jury and win.
When you choose The Callahan Law Firm to help you with your Houston truck accident case, you will get the assistance of a law firm that understands how traumatic your accident has been for you and your family. We will take on the hard work of pursuing your legal claim. That will allow you to focus your time and energy on your recovery.
We know that big corporations and insurance companies will do whatever it takes to avoid paying you the compensation you are entitled to. Members of our legal team have worked for insurers in the past, and as a result, they know the tactics and tricks insurance companies and their adjuster use to avoid liability to injured victims. That is why our attorneys will not rest until we get you the results you deserve. We go the extra mile to ensure our clients and their families can move forward with their lives as best possible after a catastrophic truck accident.
Our firm brings more than 25 years of experience to injured accident victims and their families. We focus our efforts on personal injury matters. As a boutique personal injury law firm, we can provide you and your family with the focused attention and effort that your case deserves. We make ourselves available to you at any time to speak in person, over the phone, or via video call, email, or text. We are always ready to discuss the progress of your case or to answer any questions you may have.
Our firm also brings the experience and legal skill needed to handle even the most complicated truck accident cases. Founding attorney Michael S. Callahan is board-certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in the field of Personal Injury Trial Law. That distinction is held by less than two percent of all attorneys in the state of Texas. Members of our legal team also have extensive backgrounds in engineering and insurance. Those backgrounds help us build the strongest possible cases on our clients’ behalf.
Schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation with The Callahan Law Firm to talk with an experienced Houston truck wreck lawyer. You will learn about your legal rights and options for pursuing financial recovery. You will also learn how our firm can give you and your family the best chance at securing maximum compensation for your injuries and damages. There’s no fee owed by you unless we recover money on your behalf.