Getting in an accident with a large truck can lead to serious injuries that change the way you experience life. These injuries can cause substantial physical pain, emotional distress, lost earnings and medical bills. At The Doan Law Firm, our truck accident lawyers in Houston are committed to helping clients rebuild their lives after devastating collisions. If you were recently injured or a loved one was killed in a commercial truck accident, contact us for legal assistance. We will arrange a free consultation so that you can speak to an attorney at no cost about a potential case.
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Why Choose The Doan Law Firm?
Harris County is a Busy Commercial Trucking Hub
Metro Highway Congestion
The Dangers of Houston Roads
Common Reasons Behind Houston Truck Accidents
Were You Injured in a Houston Truck Accident?
Why You Need a Truck Accident Attorney
Fighting Back Against Careless Commercial Trucking Companies
Proving Liability for a Truck Accident
How Negligent Truck Maintenance Contributes to Accidents
How Much Is Your Case Worth?
How Long Does it Take to Settle a Texas Truck Accident Claim?
No Fee Unless You Win
What Should You Do After a Houston Truck Accident?
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney Today
With no less than 12 Interstate LTL (“Less than Truckload”) and 14 Interstate TL (“Truckload”) trucking terminals, the Houston/Harris County to Galveston/Galveston County area is “home” to a significant portion of the daily commercial trucking traffic on Interstate Highways 10 & 45 as well as on US Highways 59, 90, and 290.
When you consider that this same area is also spanned by connector routes such as I-610 and Texas 8, it should be obvious that much of Southeast Texas’ personal and recreational transportation shares the roadways with trucks that range in size from pizza delivery subcompacts to tractor-trailer combinations that may exceed 60 feet in length and weigh more than 75,000 pounds.
According to the American Transportation Research Institute’s 2018 Top 100 Truck Bottleneck List, 11 of the worst bottlenecks in the nation are to be found in Texas. Of those 11, 7 are found in the Houston area and are presented in the table below.
Major Commercial Trucking Traffic Bottlenecks / Houston Metro Highways
|Nat’l Rank||City||State||Location||Avg Speed||Peak Avg Speed||Non-Peak Avg Speed|
|18||Houston||TX||I-10 @ I-45||42.4||32.0||46.8|
|19||Houston||TX||I-45 @ US-59||37.3||26.7||41.4|
|23||Houston||TX||I-10 @ US-59||42.6||31.2||48.4|
|41||Houston||TX||I-45 @ I-610(N)||45.1||34.8||49.5|
|48||Houston||TX||I-10 @ 1-610(W)||46.1||36.7||50.0|
|58||Houston||TX||I-610 @ US-290||42.2||31.6||46.7|
|93||Houston||TX||I-610 @ US-59(W)||41.8||33.2||44.0|
As is the case nationwide, commercial trucking in Texas is actually surprisingly safe. This means that, on average and per 100 million miles driven, commercial trucks are involved in fewer accidents with injuries than are privately-operated vehicles such as cars and light trucks. Unfortunately, in accidents involving a commercial truck and a private vehicle, the smaller vehicle (and, of course, its occupants) almost always suffer more damage.
Unfortunately, reliable data on the number of commercial trucking accidents that result in a fatality or serious injury is difficult to locate. The more accurate information is usually uncovered by the news media, as illustrated below.
In a recent feature story, “Out Of Control: Houston’s roads, drivers are country’s most deadly,” the Houston Chronicle reported that
To put these numbers in perspective, in full-year 2017 there were “only” 302 murders in Houston. Clearly, something is very wrong with Houston’s drivers.
Despite federal laws that are in place to ensure the safety of the commercial trucking industry – such as fleet maintenance and driver training requirements – thousands of these accidents take place each year. According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in 2019, large trucks were involved in 5,005 fatal accidents. Our attorneys realize that most truck accidents are preventable. They take place when a truck driver or another party is negligent or careless. The most common causes of truck accidents in Houston include:
The Doan Law Firm can provide a comprehensive investigation of your truck accident to determine causation. Then, we can help you file the required paperwork against one or more parties for causing your crash. This could be the truck driver, owner/operator, trucking company, car company, government, part manufacturer or a combination of parties. Our lawyers are passionate about holding wrongdoers accountable for their part in causing devastating truck accidents and can take over your search for justice. A distracted truck driver accident attorney in Houston is ready to take on your case today.
The injuries most commonly connected to truck accidents are serious to catastrophic, meaning they will have a future foreseeable impact on the victim. Catastrophic injuries in Houston often lead to the loss of an important bodily function, such as the ability to walk or communicate. At The Doan Law Firm, we represent clients with many different types of injuries from truck accidents in Houston, including:
Our lawyers offer personalized legal services tailored to each client’s unique needs and injuries. We can connect you to top physicians in Houston that can help you recover and restore your health as much as possible. Then, we can go up against any defendant, big or small, in pursuit of maximum financial compensation for your injuries. We know what each case needs to succeed.
Accidents involving larger commercial trucks often become very complicated insurance claims and lawsuits. That is because truck companies typically have deep pockets they can draw from, as do their insurance carriers. This means you will be going up against well-funded insurance carriers and their legal teams.
When you have a skilled lawyer by your side, you will have an advocate that will not be intimidated by these other parties. Here attorney will match their resources in order to conduct a complete investigation into your claim. Your attorney will make sure that you are evaluated by trusted medical and economic professionals who can adequately calculate your expected losses.
Importantly, your lawyer will be responsible for all communication with the other parties involved, including the negotiations, to ensure you receive a fair settlement. If necessary, your lawyer will be the one to prepare your case for a trial by jury.
Regardless of what you may have been told before, the typical commercial trucking company is concerned with one thing and one thing only: making a profit on every “run!”
Commercial trucking is an expensive business. Take a look at a conservative estimate of what it costs to keep a truck on the road:
Estimated cost just to stay on the road: about $2,200 per week.
So, how do you think a trucking company stays in business? You guessed it: cut costs!
Some of the most important pieces of evidence that we can use in a truck accident claim are the truck driver’s personal logbook and driving record, as well as the truck’s “black box.” The logbook can reveal if the trucker has skipped any necessary breaks to rest, and the trucker’s driving record can show us if they have a history of dangerous driving behaviors. Certain models of trucks have “black box” recorders, like an airplane, which uses GPS data to track the truck’s speed at the time of a collision.
Blaming a truck accident only on a truck driver might be only partially correct, though. The trucking company that hired or contracted the trucker can be liable for the accident due to encouraging or requiring the truck driver to violate Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. For example, it is common for trucking companies to schedule truck drivers for shifts that exceed the FMCSA maximum of 14 hours with at least 3 hours on break. Trucking companies can also be held vicariously liable for the mistakes of their drivers, depending on the circumstances.
In some cases, a third party is named as a defendant. A third party is someone who wasn’t at the crash site but who still contributed to the accident, such as the manufacturer of a defective truck part or the city in charge of road maintenance. Proving liability for your truck accident will require preserving and collecting key evidence of negligence or fault. A Houston personal injury attorney from The Doan Law Firm can be invaluable in collecting evidence to support your truck accident lawsuit. We can work with investigators and experts to strengthen your case and challenge inaccurate testimony.
One of the main tactics that insurance carriers and trucking companies will use is to try and shift some or all of the blame for the incident on to you, the injury victim.
Why would they do this?
If the other party can successfully shift liability for the incident, this could reduce how much compensation they pay. However, that does not necessarily mean a truck crash victim received no compensation. Texas operates under what is called a “modified comparative negligence” system. This means that individuals can receive compensation even if they are partially at fault for causing their own injuries, up to a certain point. If a person is 51% or more responsible for their own injuries, they will be unable to recover compensation.
If an individual is less than 51% responsible for causing their own injuries, then they can still receive compensation, but it will be reduced depending on their percentage of fault. For example, if you sustain $100,000 worth of medical bills and lost wages after a truck crash occurs but are found to be 20% responsible for the incident by a jury, you would receive $80,000 instead of the full $100,000 to account for the 20% of fault.
When we examine information available from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), we can see that “Every motor carrier shall systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained, all motor vehicles subject to its control.”
This can seem like a confusing definition, perhaps even repetitive. But what this means is that the motor carrier must themselves maintain each vehicle or rely on a trusted third party to do the inspection and maintenance on their behalf.
In the event trucking carriers fail to regularly inspect and maintain their vehicles, they could be held responsible for a crash if the failure to maintain the vehicle is what caused the incident. The FMCSA is very clear that commercial motor vehicles are not to be operated in a condition that is likely to cause an accident or breakdown of the vehicle.
There may be various parties who could be held liable for it a truck crash caused by negligent maintenance. This could include the truck carrier (or truck owner operator if that is how the vehicle is operated) as well as any third-party maintenance company responsible for the vehicle. There will need to be an extensive investigation into which party or parties played a role in the inspection and maintenance of a particular truck involved in a collision. A skilled Houston truck accident lawyer will understand the steps needed to take to figure out which parties to investigate and how to obtain the evidence needed to prove what happened.
Filing a truck accident claim against one or more parties could result in payment for several of your losses. The value of your case will depend on the severity of the accident and your injuries. If you suffered a catastrophic injury or a loved one died, for example, this will increase the value of your case. The law in Texas allows for the recovery of both economic and noneconomic damages. You may be entitled to financial compensation for both tangible and intangible losses connected to the crash. Common types of damages include:
The value of your case is something that you should discuss with an attorney before you accept an insurance settlement. Your lawyer will want to maximize your settlement or verdict as your legal advocate. This means you can count on an accurate evaluation of how much your case is worth from a lawyer, regardless of an initial settlement offer you’ve received from an insurance carrier.
There is no set amount of time it takes for a truck accident claim to settle in Texas. However, we do need to caution you that these cases typically take longer than a traditional vehicle accident claim. In the best-case scenario, the insurance carrier will approve full compensation and send the money within a month or so after the incident occurs. However, insurance carriers can be notoriously difficult to deal with, particularly when they are backed by a well-funded trucking company and legal team.
If there is any dispute about fault for the incident or if the insurance carrier disagrees with how much compensation to pay, this could drag negotiations out for months or even more than a year. If it becomes necessary to file a civil personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver, company, or maintenance team, this puts the case into the civil court system in Texas. This means that it will take longer for the claim to be resolved. If a jury trial becomes necessary, it could take several years for a case to resolve. Please understand that most cases do not go all the way to a jury.
At The Doan Law Firm, our team is fully prepared to take your case as far as necessary to ensure that you recover the compensation needed.
If you have been involved in a commercial trucking accident, you already know that trucking outfits and their insurance companies have what seems to be an abundant supply of “investigators,” claims adjusters and lawyers. Regardless of what they might tell you, these people are not on your side, and they could care less about your injuries and other losses. Their job is to “cut costs” by finding every possible way to deny you your right to be compensated for your injuries and other losses.
And how do you stand up to those who want to deny you what is rightfully yours? By hiring an experienced commercial truck accident lawyer.
By now, everyone has read the newspaper ads and/or seen those late-night television commercials where a “paid non-attorney spokesperson” is making promises like “No fee unless WE win!” At our firm, we say that those other paid actors (and the occasional real lawyers) get it backward. What they should be promising is what we always promise: If YOU don’t win, WE don’t win.
When you hire our commercial trucking accident lawyer, he will bring years of experience successfully pursuing commercial truck accident lawsuits to make sure that YOU receive a full and fair settlement after YOU were hurt because of an overworked or fatigued driver’s mistakes.
At The Doan Law Firm, we understand that after you have been involved in a commercial trucking accident you will probably be facing more than your share of problems such as loss of your personal vehicle, lost income, medical expenses, and possibly legal expenses that are all due to your accident and injuries. Rather than have you endure even more hardships while you fight for justice, we are always willing to advance you any funds that are necessary for us to prepare your case for trial. In the legal world, this is called a contingency fee agreement and is explained in greater detail elsewhere on our website.
There are various steps that you can take following a Houston truck accident to help ensure that you recover maximum compensation.
If you have been injured in a commercial trucking accident, we invite you to contact the truck accident lawyer at The Doan Law Firm to arrange a free review of your potential commercial truck accident injury lawsuit and a review of the legal options that may be available to you and your family members. As always, your case review is always free and does not require you to hire us to represent you in court. If you decide that we should act as your advocate, our truck and car accident lawyers in Houston are always willing to represent you in exchange for a previously-negotiated percentage of the settlement that we will win for you.
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