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What can be Obtained in an Early Investigation of a Tractor-Trailer Accident?

investigating a truck wreck

The early investigation of an accident involving a tractor-trailer and an automobile is crucial to pursuing a successful claim for compensation. There are number of important benefits derived by initiating an early investigation of a tractor-trailer and automobile collision.

Access to the Record of Duty Log

One of the key pieces of evidence that can be accessed via an early accident investigation is access to what is known as the “record of duty.” A truck driver and a trucking company are only required to maintain a record of duty for up to six months, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The record of duty contains information that can be crucial to making a negligence claim against a tractor-trailer driver. For example, the record of duty includes a log of a driver’s route. It includes a list of all stops made during the course of a trip. With this information, a person making a claim arising from a commercial truck and automobile accident can determine if the big rig operator was speeding.

The log will also set forth how long a driver has been operating a tractor-trailer. A commercial truck driver is permitted to operate a tractor-trailer for a maximum of 11 hours, with 10 consecutive hours off duty between trips. The record of duty will demonstrate whether a big rig driver is in compliance with this regulation.

A prompt investigation of an accident can reveal evidence to support a tractor-trailer driver that was speeding or fatigued while operating a big rig. Speeding and fatigue represent two of the most common underlying causes of tractor-trailer accidents in Texas and across the United States.

Important Computer Data (Black Box)

Many tractor-trailers are outfitted with what technically are known as electronic control modules, better known as a black box. It is crucial to obtain the data from the black box immediately after an accident. The failure to do so can result in the black box being unavailable. In addition, if the truck is put back into service, the data on the black box can be overwritten. Losing the data on a black box can result in a person involved in a tractor-trailer accident lacking vital evidence in a claim.

Properly Documenting the Accident Scene

An early investigation of a tractor-trailer accident by a quick response team ensures that the collision scene is documented properly. This includes videoing and photographing the scene. Properly documenting the accident scene also involves identifying witnesses and obtaining statements from them. The evidence that can be derived from an early and proper documentation of an accident scene can make the difference between a successful or a failed claim for compensation following an accident with a commercial truck.

The Defense Will Have Their Team On-Site

Most major trucking companies and many of the insurance carriers for motor carriers maintain teams to respond quickly after an accident has been reported. Generally, the teams include an expert witness, an attorney and representatives from the insurance company.

It is been our experience that on the most serious of tractor-trailer accidents, the defense team is on site within 24 hours. For many wrongful death cases the defense team is securing important evidence within hours after learning of the crash.

Select an Award Winning Specialist Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney

It is important to choose the right attorney for your case. Spending a little time to research the attorneys track record in tractor-trailer crash cases and the makeup of their practice can greatly enhance your chances of a successful experience through the lawsuit.

Search for attorneys whose practice centers around truck accident litigation and avoid others who handle a myriad of business disputes and general litigation.

Call us for no obligation consultation- Toll Free 1-866-758-4529.

 

 

 

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – https://www.federalregister.gov/agencies/federal-motor-carrier-safety-administration

Strategies for Eliminating Distracted Commercial Truck Driving

In the state of Texas, and elsewhere in the United States, distracted driving is a major underlying cause of accidents. Indeed, thousands of people are injured annually across the country in distracted driver commercial truck accidents. There are some specific strategies that can be employed to eliminated distracted driving by big rig operators.

Do Not Multitask and Never Text

A fundamental strategy to employ to lessen the chance of distracted driving is to avoid multitasking. This includes talking on the phone, adjusting the radio, or even texting. Eating and drinking should also be avoided while operating a commercial truck. Texting and driving a commercial truck will not only get you a ticket, but is also 23 times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event.

Cell Phone Use

Studies show that drivers are 6 times more likely to become involved in a critical even when dialing a cell phone. The FMCSA has also passed rules restricting how a cellphone can be dialed by a trucker.

Keep Focused

A second key strategy to utilize to lessen the risk of distracted driving is to maintain a sharp focus. A big rig operator needs to avoid anything that takes the focus off driving. This means actively scanning the road, including taking advantage of a truck’s mirrors.

Adjust Before Starting to Drive

Another tactic to use to lower the driver distraction is to make all adjustments before getting on the road. This includes everything from prepping the GPS, setting the radio, adjusting mirrors, climate control, and other things. This should be avoided while driving whenever possible.

Snack Smartly

As noted previously, eating and drinking should be avoided while driving. In addition, a driver should eat healthy snacks before and after a trip. In addition, snacking can occur when breaks are taking while driving, during breaks for fueling and other purposes.

Personal Grooming

A surprising number of rig drivers engage in grooming, and even dressing, while driving. Grooming and dressing should be completed before a big rig driver gets behind the wheel.

Driving While Fatigued

37% of all commercial truck drivers report that they have nodded off, or fallen completely asleep, behind the wheel. Fatigue is classified as a major driving distraction. Even if a driver does not nod off, fatigue prevents a commercial truck driver from being fully connected to the important task of operating a commercial truck.

Properly Address Emergencies

If some sort of emergency occurs, the first step to take is to pull to the side of the road and contact appropriate emergency personnel. Even the use of hands-free devices while driving can cause a driver to become distracted.

Storage

Another strategy to employ to avoid distracted driving is to make sure all items carried in the cab of a truck properly are stowed. Items that are loose, and even rolling around inside the cab, can prove to be distracted and dangerous.

Contact a Truck Wreck Attorney in Houston

If you have questions about a commercial vehicle accident, call our Houston trucking accident law firm for a consultation about your rights and options.

(281) 893-0760 24/7

Smart IQ Beat: https://qjfzq2fanlmgxz8x3qlzih10-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/SmartIQ_Beat_Trucking_Distracted_Driving-UK.pdf

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/driver-safety/distracted-driving/mobile-phone-restrictions-fact-sheet

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/driver-safety/distracted-driving/no-texting-rule-fact-sheet

Common Defenses in Trucking Accident Cases

Texas has the highest number of trucking accident injuries in the nation. More people are injured or killed in the greater Houston area than any other place in Texas.

attorney for trucking accident

The truth of the matter is that trucking companies carry commercial insurance policies that protect them against personal injury claims. Many of these companies have truck accident quick response teams they sent to accident sites to help defend their case.

How Truck Drivers and Insurance Companies Defend Claims

Despite what many people believe, the fact that a truck driver gets a ticket because of the accident does not mean that the insurance company concedes liability. In fact, many insurance companies use the tactic of telling the injured victim that the insurance company “accepts liability” or “accept responsibility,” only to dispute liability once a lawsuit is filed.

Statements by the adjuster and even written documentation of accepting responsibility do not bind the insurance company to stipulate liability in the case.

Here are some of the common claims that trucking companies and their insurers use to defend cases:

  • The injured person was the person really at fault or partially at fault.
  • A phantom or “unidentified” other driver is responsible or partly responsible for the accident.
  • The crash was simply an accident, and the truck driver acted reasonably and should not be held accountable.
  • The plaintiff (the injured person) has not proved the case or damages.
  • The plaintiff was not injured in the accident or is exaggerating his or her injuries.
  • The medical treatment required for the victim was not reasonable or necessary to treat them for injuries sustained in the accident.
  • The plaintiff has not proved his or her lost wages.

In short, insurance companies for truck drivers almost always dispute liability in court and always dispute damages. Some adjusters try to infer that you do not need an attorney in the hopes that you will delay and hurt your case before you will hire the attorney you need.

Consult with A Leading Truck Accident Attorney in Houston

If you are family member has been injured in a Houston truck accident, consult with a reputable truck accident attorney as soon as possible after the crash.

Study after study has shown that people who hire a good attorney net more money than handling a case on their own. Not to mention the stress, worry and work of trying to handle a legal claim without representation.

To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with truck wreck attorney Greg Baumgartner call us at (281) 893-0760 or fill out the online consultation form.
http://www.txdot.gov/government/enforcement/annual-summary.html

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts

The Impact of Competition in the Trucking Industry on Safety

A variety of factors has enhanced competition in the trucking industry in recent years. Deregulation has a significant impact on the industry, resulting in increased competition. Also, the implementation of NAFTA has expanded the utilization of big rigs to transport cargo in the United States, and across North America.

Many people proclaim that there are significant benefits associated with deregulation of the trucking industry and the implementation of NAFTA. Indeed, there are trucking industry analysts that maintain that increased competition between companies is beneficial in some ways, including for consumers.

With that note, not everything is rosy in the aftermath of increased competition among trucking businesses in the United States, and specifically in the state of Texas. The stark reality is that that increased competition in the trucking industry in recent years has raised concerns about safety compliance.

Competition of “Efficient” Delivery of Goods

One area in which competition in the trucking industry significantly intensified is regarding the more “efficient” delivery of goods. In the trucking industry, efficiency equates with the speed of delivery.

In the grand scheme of things, the need to more quickly deliver goods via commercial truck transit has resulted in very real concerns regarding safety issues. These include big rig operators driving at rates above the speed limit or too fast for prevailing conditions.

Not Enough Qualified Drivers

The competition for drivers has never been as fierce as it is today.

One simply has to listen to the radio for numerous adds looking for truck drivers to know there is a shortage of good drivers.

With many trucking companies paying sign up bonuses for the best drivers, many companies are having trouble filling jobs with experienced drivers.

Pressure on Drivers Leads to Speeding

A primary cause of commercial truck accidents is speeding or driving at a speed beyond what is prudent for prevailing conditions, particularly weather conditions.

Industry competition prods many commercial operators to drive at unsafe rates of speed with alarming regularity. Consequently, the number of speed-related commercial truck accidents has increased.

Driver fatigue is another leading cause of commercial truck accidents in Texas and across the United States. Another means by which a trucking company theoretically can obtain a competitive edge is by keeping drivers on the road for longer periods of time.

Drivers get away with this safety violation usually by not keeping accurate log books.

Currently, a driver is required to take a prescribed break after operating a rig for 10 hours. By ignoring or stretching, this mandate, a few trucking companies believe they can obtain a competitive edge over the competition through quicker transit and delivery of a load.

As an aside, elongated periods of time on the roadway also results in commercial truck drivers utilizing substances thought to aid them in staying awake.

The use of these drugs can also have dangerous consequences when it comes to roadway safety.

Truck Accidents and Roadway Lighting

In the state of Texas, on average about 15,000 accidents involving commercial trucks, or semis, occur each year. About 2,300 of these accidents result in serious injuries. Additionally, between 250 and 300 people die in traffic collisions involving big rigs each year.

Some different tactics are being explored to reduce the number of accidents involving commercial trucks, in Texas and across the United States. One strategy that can lower the number of 18-wheeler accidents is installing more roadway lighting and improving the lighting that currently exists on streets and highways.

General Facts About Nighttime Driving

75% of miles driven in Texas, and elsewhere in the United States, occur during daylight hours. Only 25% of driving happens in the darkness of night. With that noted, the nighttime fatality rate is three times greater than that in the daytime. Accidents involving serious injuries spike upwards at a similar rate on dark, nighttime roadways.

Operating a big rig truck, or any other type of motor vehicle is primarily a visual task. Lack of light significantly diminishes a driver’s ability to identify roadway obstacles, observe other drivers, and operate a vehicle, including a commercial truck, in the safest possible manner.

Roadway Safety and the Addition of Lights

The U.S. Department of Labor has aggregated some studies that underscore the significant safety benefits associated with installing or improving, lighting on roadways. These studies report that addition of lighting on highways can reduce collisions upwards to 50%.

Also, these studies indicate that the incidence of fatal accidents is cut almost in half with the installation of better lights on the highways.

These studies have been conducted not only in the United States but other countries around the world. The results have been similar, all showing a reduction in accidents when roadway lighting is in place.

Cost-Effective Safety Enhancement

There do exist other strategies that can be employed to reduce the incidence of nighttime accidents involving commercial trucks. These include everything from actual road design alterations to enhanced monitoring of drivers.

In the final analysis, the addition of roadway lighting proves to be the most cost-effective alternative.

For example, road reconstruction and reconfiguration is highly costly. The net effect of this type of effort does not yield the same reduction in collisions as does lighting installation, which itself is significantly less expensive.

Better or more enhanced monitoring of drivers might prove cheaper than light installation. However, the reduction in collisions through this type of effort does not rise to the level of what achieved through with roadway lighting.
https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/roadway_dept/night_visib/lighting_handbook/#fig1a

Sleep Apnea and Increased Commercial Truck Accidents

Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is defined medically as a decrease in airflow due to recurring partial or complete obstruction of a person’s upper airway. The body reacts to this initially through responses like pronounced snoring. Ultimately, a person stops breathing for fairly brief periods of time. OSA occurs while a person is sleeping.

Truckers sleep apnea

OSA can have a significant impact on various aspects of a person’s life. Included on the list of life functions affected by OSA is a person’s ability to drive a commercial semi-truck safely. The profound fatigue associated with OSA impairs a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle.

The Prevalence of OSA

A significant segment of the population suffers from obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. According to studies by the National Institutes of Health, 9 percent of women and an alarming 26 percent of men suffer from OSA.

The overweight or obese individual is more likely to suffer from OSA. With the projected increase in the number of overweight or obese people in the United States, the number suffering from OSA will increase.

Awareness of OSA

A majority of individuals who suffer from OSA are not diagnosed. They have no idea they suffer from the condition. As a result, they have taken no action to address the problem. In many cases, OSA is initially detected by a significant other, because of the profound problems with snoring.

Truck Drivers and OSA

A recent study of commercial truck drivers by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Morris, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, concluded that truck drivers with untreated OSA have a preventable accident rate five times greater than truckers unafflicted with the condition.

An estimated 20 percent of all accidents involving big rigs are thought to be caused by sleepy, drowsy, or fatigued drivers. OSA is the most common cause of excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue, including with commercial truck drivers.

Proposed Sleep Apnea Screening

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is considering the possibility of implementing required sleep apnea screening of all drivers under its jurisdiction. Also, the FMCSA is pondering regulations that require commercial drug drivers diagnosed with OSA to obtain treatment.

The failure to get appropriate treatment for sleep apnea would result in commercial truck driving losing his or her ability to operate a big rig.

If You Are Hurt in a Trucking Accident

When commercial truck drivers have an accident with other vehicles the odds of injury or worse are fairly significant.

Call our outstanding team of 18 wheeler accident attorneys at (281) 893-0760 for a no obligation consultation on your rights and options.

Resources:

National Institutes of Health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2727690/

Harvard School of Public Health: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/truck-drivers-sleep-disorders-crashes/

Avoiding an 18-Wheeler Accident in Houston

avoiding a houston truck wreck

Houston is the largest city in the state of Texas and the fourth largest city in the United States. The greater Houston area is estimated more than 3 million people and composes an area of over 600 square miles.

Houston has been rated as some of the most congested traffic in the state of Texas and also ranks nationally in that dubious category. Particularly congested are the major highways such as Interstate 10, US 290, Interstate 45 and Interstate 59.

It’s no surprise that the larger the numbers of motorists on the highway have a direct correlation to the number of truck accidents that occur. Today, there are an estimated 17 million commercial trucks licensed in America.

Because the greater Houston area has the largest percentage of truck accidents in the state of Texas, Harris County residents should be aware of how to minimize the chances of being involved in a crash with the big rig.

The Texas Department of Transportation confirms that 18 wheelers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and take approximately one-third longer to stop at highway speeds than a passenger car or pickup truck. It is impossible for Harris County motorists to avoid completely driving around big rigs.

The following are some safety recommendations for traveling around 18 wheelers.

  1. Avoid allowing an 18 wheeler or tractor-trailer to tailgate. A tailgating truck may lead you changing lanes when you can safely do so or allowing the truck to get ahead of you. Speeding up to the extent you can do so legally and safely is also an option to keep a big rig off your tail.

Big trucks take up to 40 percent longer much to stop. If a big rig is following you closely and you have to make a sudden braking maneuver, the odds of you getting hit by the big rig are significant.

  1. Give turning trucks plenty of room. One major cause of truck accidents is the wide turning truck not accommodating other traffic. Be careful not to get caught on a squeeze play by running out of roadway around a big rig that is turning.
  1. Avoid truck blind spots. Big rigs are notorious for their blind spots on either side of the big truck as well as immediately in front and behind the vehicles. When you are in these blind spots, the truck driver will not know that you are there and the odds of an accident increase.
  1. Careful passing– If you pass a tractor-trailer on the highway, do not move back over into its Lane until you are a safe distance in front of the truck. As set forth above, there is a blind spot in the front of the truck, and these big rigs take much longer to stop.

What Should I do if I am involved in an accident with a tractor- trailer?

If you or family member been in an accident with a commercial vehicle such as a tractor-trailer, semi-truck or garbage truck, it is important that you contact our truck accident team as soon as possible by calling Toll Free 1-866-758-4529.

We fight for maximum compensation for your injuries, and your damages can include such things as medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement. For those who have lost loved one in a wrongful death truck accident, damages differ depending on whether the victim died instantly or survive for a time after the crash.

To discuss your rights and options after a commercial vehicle crash, call us for a free no obligation consultation.

Call Us at – 281-893-0760 – 24/7

We have been helping truck accident victims for over three decades and have a record of success second to none.

How Truck Drivers Cheat on Their Log Books

In three decades of litigating truck accident cases, I’m continuously amazed at how truck drivers and sometimes trucking companies can cover up abuses of the regulatory process by allowing or creating fake log books.

Sometimes the safety violation is inadvertent, and sometimes the safety violations are blatant and intended to circumvent the law.

The hours of service regulations under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Section 395.8 set forth the minimum standards for keeping log books.

What Log Books Record

log books for truckers

Drivers are required to record three different areas of activity on a daily basis.

Those are:

  1. Off-duty,
  2. Sleeper berth,
  3. Driving and
  4. On duty and not driving.

Section 395.8 of the FMCSR sets forth the maximum on duty and driving time for truck drivers. The limitations on driver’s ability to be on the job or the road are intended to reduce the number of fatigued drivers causing crashes.

In the past are two main ways truck drivers cheated on their logbooks.

  1. DUPLICATE LOGS

    Some truck drivers are very conscious of the need to keep log books in case they are pulled over for an unexpected inspection. If the driver intends to violate the law, keeping duplicate sets of logbooks is one method utilized by drivers.

  2. FILLING OUT THE LOG BOOKS LATER

    Filling out logs days later is the most used method for circumventing the hours of service regulations required by law.

    A truck driver may choose to fill out the logbook when necessary for company purposes, and they do so sometimes on a weekly basis. This backtrack method ensures that the driver never discloses to the company a violation of the hours of service regulations.

The Reasons Truckers Cheat on Their Log Books.

 

  1. Shipping delays – delays by a shipper or the recipient of a load often set a truck driver back from his schedule and make his planned route unfeasible. When faced with unexpected delays and other places to go, violating the hours of service regulations allow the driver to continue as planned.
  2. Wanting to be home – many drivers much prefer their beds to that of a sleeper berth or hotel room. For that reason, some drivers choose to drive more than the allowed hours to spend more time at home. Many trucking companies recognize this problem in the industry and are taking steps to make truck driving more attractive to a home life.
  3. Pay-most truck drivers are paid by the mile and not by the hours worked. The more miles a driver can travel in one day the more pay the driver will take home for that day’s work. Risking an infraction often is chosen to maximize compensation needed for one’s family.
  4. Failing to keep daily logs – failing to keep logs as required leads to drivers looking back and filling out the log to comply with the regulations and not the actual driving.

How Truck Drivers get Caught

  1. A serious accident– once there is a serious injury accident or a wrongful death crash, an investigation by law enforcement or trucking accident attorneys usually reveals whether or not a driver has cheated on his logbooks.

One of the main ways a driver gets caught after a crash is by comparing the driver’s logbooks with the shipping documents and also the black-box data that is ever more readily available on newer trucks.

  1. Electronic logselectronic logbooks are now required for most over the road truck drivers. The new electronic log rules were enacted to help protect truck drivers and the motoring public from hours of service violations by truck drivers. While they are undoubtedly methods that drivers can use to circumvent the electronic recording devices, the fact is that implementation of this rule will reduce the number of hours of service violations.
  2. Unexpected inspections– inspections can lead to hours of service violation simply because the driver is not ready for anyone to scrutinize his logbooks. Inspections also lead to a very high number of vehicles placed out of service due to mechanical issues.

The New ELD Rules

Electronic logging devices are now mandatory for the majority of truck drivers engaged in interstate commerce. The rules are intended to make log entries quicker, more accurate and easier to share. Additionally, the rules will serve an important function of helping to prevent cheating on log books.

Most of the time, when a truck driver is found falsifying his log books, the motor carrier takes action to prevent the infraction from occurring again. Sometimes though a motor carrier can be focused on the bottom line and not on the safety regulations and fail to enforce hours of service rules. Usually, this will be smaller trucking companies.

There are a few exemptions from the compliance of the new electronic logging device rule for drivers of older vehicles and those who are not frequently required to maintain a log.

A recent study of the benefits of electronic hours of service recording was conclusive on the benefits for both compliance and safety.

Authorities:

https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/retrieveECFR?gp=1&ty=HTML&h=L&mc=true&=PART&n=pt49.5.395

https://blog.bigroad.com/blog/5-easy-fixes-for-hours-of-service-violations

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-12-16/pdf/2015-31336.pdf

3 Benefits of Fleet Monitoring Technology for Trucking Companies

Tired truck drivers

The high-tech era has reached the doors of trucking companies.

 

 

There now exists useful fleet monitoring technology that can be highly beneficial to trucking companies. Indeed, this evolving technology can be useful to trucking companies in some important ways.

 

Here are the 3 biggest benefits to trucking companies that use the software.

Fleet Monitoring Technology and Enhancing Big Rig Safety

 

 

A major way in which trucking companies, as well as operators and the public generally, can benefit significantly from fleet management technology is in the safety arena.

 

Through software applications that permit the real-time monitoring of the operation of a big rig, a trucking company can immediately address many safety issues.

 

For example, if a big rig operator is speeding, or engaging in other types of reckless roadway conduct, a fleet management supervisor can be immediately aware of the issue.

 

Unfortunately, trucking companies fairly frequently fail to ensure that trucks in a fleet are properly maintained.

 

Another element of fleet monitoring technology includes functionality that alerts when a semi-truck is due for routine truck maintenance or safety inspections.

 

Fleet Monitoring Technology and Driver Behavior

 

 

A recurring problem among trucking companies involves semi-truck operators who fail to follow restrictions on the amount of time they can be behind the wheel of a rig.

 

These safety rules are known as the hours of service regulations. Although driver fatigue is not the number one cause of roadway accident involving semis, it is one of the more common causes of a big truck wreck.

 

Another benefit of utilizing comprehensive fleet monitoring software is controlling and improving driver behavior. The technology can work to ensure that drivers do not operate a truck beyond the timeframes mandated by law and regulation.

 

As mentioned previously, the technology also provides real-time data about speed and other issues associated with a driver’s operation of a rig. The mere fact that this surveillance exists often is enough to immediately correct less than ideal conduct by a big rig operator. Speeding trucks is a leading cause of truck wrecks.

 

Reducing Fuel Costs

 

 

Another benefit that can be realized through the use of fleet monitoring software is the reduction in overall fuel costs. Lessening the incidence of speeding is a primary area in which fuel costs are reduced through fleet monitoring software.

 

Also, the technology is also capable of identifying unnecessary, excessive idling, an issue for many trucking companies that contribute to increased fuel use and associated costs.

 

As an aside, burning less fuel in the operation of a fleet has another benefit. Using less fuel also results in a lessening of the carbon footprint made by a truck fleet on the environment.

 

 

 

Resources:
Fleetmatics (Verizon): https://www.fleetmatics.com/truck-tracking

FieldLogix: http://www.fieldtechnologies.com/trucking_fleet_tracking/

What’s My 18 Wheeler Accident Case Worth?

 

Value of a trucking accident

What’s my case worth is one of the more frequent questions we get in our 18 wheeler accident law firm?

 

At the outset, let me say that is almost impossible for an attorney to give a value on a case before a complete investigation has been done and all of the medical records and bills have been reviewed with a fine tooth comb.

 

It is true that commercial vehicle accidents involve much higher numbers than a typical car to car crash. There are many reasons for this phenomenon, the main ones being that trucking companies carry commercial insurance policies and 80,000-pound vehicles tend to create more severe injuries.

 

There are many factors that can influence the value of a personal injury claim stemming from an 18 wheeler crash. Here are a few of the main ones.

 

 

Factors That Influence the Value of a Trucking Accident Injury Claim

 

 

Cause of the Wreck

 

How the crash occurred, can have an impact on the value of the case even when the other driver receives a ticket. Texas is a mutual responsibility state meaning that if someone is found partially at fault, their monetary damages are reduced by the judge by their percentage of fault. If the party is more than 51% at fault, in Texas they are precluded from recovering damages.

 

Therefore, the accident factors need to be analyzed even when one person get a ticket.

 

Trucking companies all carry commercial insurance policies and are very quick to defend claims made against them even those that are crystal clear liability wise. Early investigation of a trucking accident is always a good plan.

 

 

Medical Treatment

 

Aside from liability, one of the biggest factors in a trucking accident case is the medical help received by the injured person. What a qualified doctor has to say in the medical records goes a long way toward establishing the human damages from a trucking accident.

 

Lapses in treatment and the specific medical providers involved also can have an impact on the value of the case. Juries tend to undervalue the testimony and opinions of chiropractors yet take specialist such as orthopedic doctors which more seriously.

 

Along those lines, what your medical doctor has to say about your injuries, diagnosis, and prognosis for the future are critical in valuing a case.

 

 

Severity of Impact

 

The severity of the impact is another factor that can affect the value of the case. If the crash looked to be a minor fender bender, it is more difficult to prosecute than one where the jury can look at a photograph and say while they’re lucky to be alive.

 

For this reason, if you are involved in an 18 wheeler accident, getting photographs before your vehicle is totaled or repaired usually is a good idea.

 

Preexisting Injuries

 

If you have injured the same area previously or have had problems with the same part of your body in the past, this can affect the value of the case. Some defense doctors will always opine that the injured person had a pre-existing spine condition. Some injuries are more susceptible to this type of defense than others.

 

It is important to note that even if you have had a pre-existing condition if the crash aggravated the condition such that further medical treatment was necessary you still may have a case.

 

 

Your Legal History

 

Your legal history can also have an impact on the value of the case. If you’ve had previous personal injury claims, they may or may not come into evidence in a case. If you have had trouble with the law that also may be admissible in court.

 

It is important when speaking to your attorney that you make them aware of your complete legal history.

 

 

The Value of Your Attorney

 

It is a simple fact that insurance companies do not treat unrepresented claimants the same as those who have an experienced and qualified attorney. Insurance companies are in the business of making profits and the less they pay you for your case, the better off they are.

 

Insurance companies do not want you to retain an attorney because they know they will end up having to pay real value for the claim and if the case does not settle, a jury can resolve the matter.

 

Who your attorney is also matters.  Insurance companies retain records on each attorney when evaluating the value of the case.

 

Highly rated attorneys with substantial trucking accident experience are taken much more seriously than attorneys that “need the money.”

 

We advise personal injury victims to research the attorneys they consider before signing any paperwork.

 

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