Accidents involving 18-wheelers or other large trucks and commercial vehicles can lead to catastrophic outcomes, with drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles particularly vulnerable to significant injuries. In the most tragic circumstances, these accidents can result in fatalities.
Following the trauma of being involved in a commercial truck accident, those involved require extensive support to recover. If you’ve suffered injuries from an incident involving a semi-truck or 18-wheeler in Houston, it’s essential you get in touch with a competent Houston truck accident attorney. At The Callahan Law Firm, our attorneys have the experience, skills and resources to successfully handle your case and secure the compensation you are entitled to under the law.
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 Houston truck accident law firm to schedule a free consultation with one of our 18-wheeler truck accident lawyers. We can help you learn more about your rights and options following your accident.
How Common Are Truck Accidents in Houston?
Truck accidents in Houston and Texas have been a major concern, with alarming statistics illustrating the severity of the issue.
- According to statistics, there were 19,425 truck accidents in Texas in the year 2022.
- Texas saw the most truck accidents in the entire country
- Texas had the most truck accidents with injuries as well as the most with fatalities, with 692 people losing their lives in truck accidents.
- In Harris County, where Houston is located, there were 6,203 commercial motor vehicle crashes
These staggering statistics paint a clear picture of the pressing need for increased awareness, stricter regulations, and improved safety measures to address the truck accident problem in Houston and throughout Texas.
Where Do Most Truck Accidents Happen in Houston, Texas?
The high-congestion urban environment and continuous stream of truck traffic make Houston, Texas, a hotspot for truck accidents. As a significant metropolitan area, Houston has numerous major freeways, roads and intersections. Coupled with traffic to and from the Port of Houston, refineries, chemical plants, and other industrial facilities, the Houston metropolitan sees more than its fair share of commercial vehicle collisions. Knowing where many of these accidents commonly happen can help to increase public awareness, which in turn helps to lower the potential for future accidents. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the following are the some of the roadways that experience the most accidents in Houston:
- West Tidwell Road
- Cullen Boulevard
- Clay Road
- Hill Croft Avenue
- Fry Road
- North Shepherd Drive
- Louetta Road
- South Post Oak Road
- Westheimer Road
- Veteran Memorial Drive
- Fondren Road
- Beechnut Road
- Garth Road
Understanding the frequent locations of these accidents can contribute to tailored safety initiatives and heightened awareness.
TYPES OF 18-WHEELER TRUCK ACCIDENTS
Any crash involving a large truck can be devastating for the occupants of passenger vehicles involved in the collision. However, the type of truck accident can affect the severity of injuries. Examples of common truck accidents include:
Jackknife Accidents: This happens when the trailer portion of a tractor-trailer skids, causing it to angle acutely towards the cab – similar to how a folding knife closes.
Rollover Accidents: Because of their size and weight distribution, 18-wheelers can tip or roll over under certain conditions, such as when its load is not properly distributed or secured, or during quick turns.
Blind Spot Accidents: Due to their size and length, commercial trucks have extended areas on both sides that aren’t visible through standard mirrors – termed ‘No-Zones.’ Collisions frequently occur when smaller cars get lost within these blind spots.
Underride Crashes: Smaller vehicles can move under the trailer portion of an 18-wheeler during crashes, resulting in severe and often fatal injuries to the car driver and its occupants.
Rear-End Crashes: Due to their considerable size and weight, larger vehicles such as 18-wheelers need more time and distance to come to a halt. When a truck driver fails to maintain adequate space between the front of the tractor truck and vehicles ahead, the result is often a rear-end collision.
No matter what type of accident you’ve been in, seeking medical attention and consulting with a personal injury lawyer is essential.
What Causes Most Truck Accidents In Texas?
Understanding the many factors leading to truck accidents is crucial for promoting road safety and preventing these incidents from occurring. A few Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Aggressive driving, including speeding and unsafe lane changes
- Driver fatigue
- Driver inattention and distracted driving
- Following too closely, also known as tailgating
- Unsafe turns
- Inadequate truck driver training
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Unsafe backing up
- Improper maintenance
- Overloading the truck or improperly balancing or securing the load or cargo
- Defective truck parts
These causes can lead to a variety of injuries, which most often include the following:
- Fractured and broken bones
- Head injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Back and spinal cord injury
- Nerve damage
- Internal injury
- Cuts and bruises
- Neck pain
Understanding the root causes of truck accidents and the most common injuries is instrumental to implementing preventative measures and enhancing safety protocols.
What Should I Do After a Truck Accident In Texas?
Should you find yourself in an accident with a large truck in Texas, here’s what you need to do:
- Check for Injuries: Check yourself and others involved in the accident for injuries. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911 immediately for medical assistance.
- Call the Police: Report the accident to the police, even if it’s minor. This will ensure an official accident report is filed, which can be crucial for proving liability and documenting witness information.
- Exchange Information: Exchange contact and insurance information with the truck driver and any other involved parties. Additionally, if there were any witnesses to the incident, make sure to gather their contact information. Having third-party observers can be invaluable in piecing together an accurate account of events.
- Document the Scene: Take photos and/or video of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, and any visible damages. This evidence can be valuable for insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits.
- Notify Your Insurance Company: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide them with accurate information about what happened..
- Seek Medical Attention: Even if you feel fine initially, it’s essential to seek a medical evaluation promptly. The rush of adrenaline can mask some injuries at first, and undergoing a thorough check-up will help detect any latent injuries that may have resulted from the accident.
- Preserve Evidence: Preserving evidence involves keeping records or materials that could prove useful in proving your case. This might include photographs from the accident scene, damaged vehicle parts, medical invoices showing treatment costs, and a copy of the police report.
- Avoid Making Statements: Avoid making statements about the specifics of the accident to anyone other than the investigation police officer, especially with insurance companies, before consulting your attorney. Anything you say or post online may be used unfairly against you later when liability and damages are being determined.
- Contact a Houston Truck Accident Lawyer: If you or a loved one have been injured, it’s wise to contact a Houston personal injury attorney who actually focuses their legal practice on truck accident cases. These professionals are well-versed in applicable laws and regulations, know how to gather essential evidence, protect your rights, and maximize any financial recovery for your injuries and damages.
Your safety and well-being is a priority after being involved in a truck accident. Taking the appropriate measures post-accident protects your legal rights and ensures you have the essential evidence to support your claim and get full justice. Contact a Texas truck accident lawyer today!
Do You Need An 18 Wheeler Accident Attorney Houston?
If you’ve been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler in Houston or anywhere in the state of Texas, seeking the assistance of a skilled truck accident attorney is crucial. These legal professionals are adept at handling complex truck accident cases and can guide you through the process of proving the negligence of a truck driver (or other involved party) while safeguarding your rights and interests.
If the answer to any of the following questions is yes, it would be in your best interest to schedule a consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer in Houston to determine your possible legal recourse:
- Was the crash caused in whole or in part by a negligent act of the truck driver?
- Did your injuries require medical treatment?
- Did 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?
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to The Callahan Law Firm today. You’ll have the opportunity to discuss what happened with one of our Houston truck accident attorneys and learn how we can help.
Why Truck Accidents Are More Complicated Than Other Accidents
A common misconception is that truck accidents are the same as any other motor vehicle accident. In reality, these incidents are considerably more complex, and people often endure far worse injuries. Here’s why this discrepancy exists:
Higher Likelihood of Catastrophic Injuries and Extensive Medical Treatment
Truck accidents are more likely to cause severe, life-altering injuries (and fatalities) due to the size and weight of trucks compared to smaller vehicles. The extensive medical treatment that those involved in truck accidents often require can quickly result in significant financial burdens. The list of potential damages claimed includes medical expenses, lost wages, and impacts on the quality of life.
In addition to extensive medical treatment, people involved in a truck accident may also experience long-term or permanent physical disabilities, requiring ongoing care, therapy, and assistance. When assessing compensation, it is crucial to consider the full scope of current and future medical costs, as well as any necessary modifications to the person’s home or lifestyle to accommodate their new limitations.
More Potentially Liable Parties
One of the primary factors that can complicate truck accidents is the presence of multiple potentially liable parties. Unlike car accidents, which most often only involve the drivers and their insurers, truck accidents can involve various entities.
In a truck accident, potentially liable parties may include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The owner of the truck
- The manufacturer of the truck or its parts
- Third-party maintenance providers
- Freight brokers or loaders responsible for the cargo
With so many parties potentially involved, determining liability in a truck accident is often complicated, requiring extensive investigation and expert analysis to ensure that all responsible parties are held accountable.
More State and Federal Regulations
Another key factor contributing to the complexity of truck accidents is the extensive set of state and federal regulations governing the trucking industry. These regulations are in place to promote safety and minimize the risk of accidents, and when involved in a personal injury claim, it’s essential to work with an attorney who understands these rules. Some of the key regulations governing trucking include:
- Weight limits and restrictions: Trucks must adhere to specific weight limits to avoid overloading and destabilization, which can significantly increase the risk of an accident.
- Hours of service regulations: These regulations dictate how long a truck driver can drive without taking breaks or resting in an effort to reduce the risk of accidents due to driver fatigue.
- Maintenance and inspection requirements: Truck operators and companies are required to maintain their vehicles and perform regular inspections to ensure they are in safe operating condition.
- Drug and alcohol testing: Truck drivers are subject to strict drug and alcohol testing regulations to ensure they are not operating under the influence.
When pursuing a personal injury case involving a truck accident, it’s crucial to have a lawyer and law firm experienced in successfully handling truck accident cases and who understands the applicable trucking laws, regulations and industry standards. This will impact the outcome of your case. Violations of these rules will support the claim for negligence on the part of the truck driver, the trucking company, or other responsible parties, strengthening your case and increasing the likelihood of receiving just compensation for your injuries.
Evidence We May Use To Win a Truck Accident Claim
When it comes to successfully proving a truck accident case, understanding the unique aspects of these incidents and related regulations is essential. The evidence we gather is influenced by our knowledge of truck accident claims and the relevant rules and regulations, as well as the particulars of your specific case.
Our goal is to obtain essential evidence that will show how the truck accident happened, why it happened, and who is responsible for the crash and the injuries.
Examples of evidence we use in pursuing truck accident claims include:
- The police accident report
- Accident scene photos
- Eyewitness statements
- Surveillance video or dashcam footage
- The truck driver’s employment records, including their 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 accident
What Damages Can Be Claimed in a Commercial Truck Accident Case?
In a commercial truck accident case, there are several different types of damages that can be recovered. Understanding what these are will inform what needs to be done moving forward and give you an idea of what to expect:
Economic Damages: These compensate for actual financial losses stemming from the incident. They most commonly include medical bills, prescription costs, rehabilitation expenses, lost wages due to missed work, reduced earning capacity, and repair or replacement of damaged property.
Non-Economic Damages: These refer to compensation for what we refer to as human damages – physical pain and suffering, physical impairment, emotional distress, mental anguish, diminished quality of life, loss of consortium and potentially others.
Punitive damages: These damages aren’t designed to compensate the plaintiff but are instead awarded to punish the defendant and discourage similar behavior in the future. Succeeding on a punitive damages claim requires a showing by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant engaged in fraud, malice, or gross negligence.
If you’ve been in a truck accident involving an 18-wheeler, semi-truck, flat-bed truck, tanker truck, or other type of commercial motor vehicle, reaching out to an experienced truck accident lawyer with an established record of success in handling these type cases is critical.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim After An 18-Wheeler Accident in Houston?
In Texas, the general rule is that you have two years from the date of the negligence that cased the accident or injury to file a negligence-based personal injury lawsuit. If you fail to file a proper claim on time, you will lose your right to ever make the claim..
It’s important to note that there are exceptions to this general that can either extend or shorten this deadline. Certain circumstances – such as the plaintiff being a minor, potential fraud cases, or claims against governmental entities – could affect this timeline. Therefore, it’s essential to consult an experienced lawyer who can guide you and ensure your claim is filed on time.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Most attorneys who handle truck accident cases are hired on what’s called a contingency fee basis. Essentially, this means they are paid and their case expenses are reimbursed only if the client makes a financial recovery in the case – either through settlement or trial.
In such arrangements, attorney fees are a set percentage of the total amount recovered – usually between 33% and 40% of the total recovery. This fee structure completely aligns the goals of clients and lawyers – achieving maximum compensation.
At The Callahan Law Firm, we handle truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help. There is no charge for the initial consultation, and we are paid only if you win.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HOUSTON TRUCK ACCIDENTS
Facing the aftermath of a truck accident can be overwhelming, and many questions will arise. This section aims to respond to some frequently asked questions about Houston truck accidents, providing you with essential information and hopefully offering some peace of mind.
For answers to other questions that haven’t been addressed, don’t hesitate to contact The Callahan Law Firm to schedule a free consultation.
The value of a truck accident claim can vary greatly since the specifics of each case differ widely. However, the most common factors that affect the value include the following:
Severity and Nature of Your Injuries: The more severe and debilitating the injuries, the higher the potential value of the claim. An injury claim is valued based on the harms and losses suffered by the person injured, or the family that has suffered the loss.
Insurance Policy Limits: The at-fault party’s insurance policy limits is a factor as that informs the amount of compensation available.
Strength of Evidence: The stronger the evidence of negligence, the greater likelihood of success in proving liability. This can lead to a higher settlement value or a larger jury verdict if the case goes to trial.
Whether You’re Partially at Fault: In Texas’s comparative negligence system, if you are found to be partially responsible for an accident, any compensation amount may be reduced by that percentage.
Experience of Your Attorney: Having an experienced lawyer in your corner will undoubtedly impact the value of your claim and the amount recovered.
These are just some of the factors that will affect the value of your claim. Ultimately, it is always determined on a case-by-case basis, and an experienced attorney will be able to review your case and evaluate these factors to provide a better idea of what you can expect.
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 by the crash without the help of an experienced truck accident attorney will put you and your family at a distinct disadvantage. Quite frankly, it is a recipe for failure.
It’s critical to understand that 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.
The best way to even the playing field is to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer to protect your rights and take the necessary steps to get you the compensation you need to continue focusing on your recovery.
Truck accidents, and more specifically crashes involving tractor-trailers, often result in more serious injuries. This is because an 18-wheeler is much bigger and heavier than any car, pickup truck, 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 tremendous energy and momentum, which is transferred to any object it hits.
Truck accident cases are typically more complex than car accidents for several reasons:
Larger Damage and Injuries: Given the size and weight of commercial trucks, accidents involving them often result in more severe damage and injuries than those involving only passenger cars.
Multiple Parties Involved: While a typical car accident might involve just two parties, truck accidents can include numerous parties, such as the driver, trucking company, cargo loader, shipper, truck broker, maintenance providers, or vehicle manufacturer, which makes determining liability more challenging.
Varying Regulations: Truck drivers and companies are subject to added federal laws and regulations as well as state laws and regulations. It’s critical for your lawyer to understand and identify any regulatory violations contributing to an incident.
Complexity of Evidence Gathering: Besides usual evidence like police reports or witness accounts, truck accident cases may also draw heavily on data from ‘black boxes’ installed within the trucks, providing detailed info about speed and brake application during the time leading up to the collision. Obtaining this data can take time and effort. In addition, a truck accident attorney will frequently hire experts such as an accident reconstructionist in cases involving serious and catastrophic injuries.
Complex Insurance Policies: Commercial vehicles have different insurance policies that can offer multiple layers of insurance coverage. Discovering all applicable insurance policies and then understanding the policies and how they interact is essential to maximizing a financial recovery in a truck accident case.
These factors combine to create substantial challenges while dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident.
Given these complexities, aligning yourself with an experienced truck accident lawyer is essential. The right lawyer and law firm will carefully develop your case, ensure essential evidence is obtained, and work to secure full compensation you rightfully deserve because of what happened.
How Our Houston 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help
A truck accident can have life-altering consequences for the people involved. Our Houston-based attorneys skilled in handling 18-wheeler accidents are here to guide you every step of the way. From conducting investigations to working with experts and preparing your case for trial, we offer a full suite of services, including:
Conduct Our Own Investigation: Our team will thoroughly investigate the incident and collect essential evidence, including police crash reports, witness statements, electronic data from the tractor-truck, and accident reconstruction data.
Work with Accident Reconstruction Experts: Depending on the circumstances of the crash and the injuries, we’ll collaborate with accident reconstruction experts to gather critical crash data in order to create a clear picture of the incident, which can be incredibly useful in proving cause and liability. Their data and testimony will establish the sequence of events and liability, and can be used to create 3D images, videos and other demonstrative evidence showing what happened, when and why, all of which is instrumental in helping us tell the story of the case to the jury.
Collaborate With Medical and Financial Experts: We will work with necessary medical, vocational, financial and other experts to make sure the full array of damages are understood. This ensures that related future medical costs as well as diminished earning capacity are included when necessary.
File Claims With the Trucking Companies and Their Insurers: We’ll handle the claim filing processes with relevant parties, including the insurance carriers involved in the incident. We understand all too well the strategies these entities employ to minimize claim payouts.
Prepare Your Case For Trial: In every truck accident case we handle, our legal team works to prepare the case as if it will go to trial. This ensures essential evidence is gathered and the case is worked thoroughly and properly. In addition, it conveys to the other side – the trucking company, other negligent parties, and their insurance companies – that we will take the case to trial unless a settlement that is acceptable to our client can be reached.
Provide Emotional Support: Beyond the practical and legal aspects, our team understands what you and your family are going through. We strive to be there for our clients and support them during this difficult time.
When you hire the legal team at The Callahan Law Firm, you will be represented by legal professionals who understand the trauma and challenges that follow serious and catastrophic injuries. We will take on the hard work of properly handling your case which allows you to focus your time and energy on your recovery and trying to move forward with your life.
Contact us today for a free initial consultation with The Callahan Law Firm, and let’s discuss what happened and what we can do to help. We handle our cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not pay us or reimburse case expenses unless you make a financial recovery. In other words, you do not pay us unless you win.