Why 18-Wheeler Accidents are More Complicated

Red 18-wheeler driving on highway

Getting into a car accident of any kind can be stressful, but an 18-wheeler truck accident is often more complicated, and many times it can lead to life-changing injuries. On Texas highways, these types of accidents are all too common.

Texas saw more than 600 fatal crashes involving a commercial vehicle last year, with thousands more injured. Houston’s massive highways are frequently packed with 18-wheelers, many of which are en-route from South America to deliver goods up north. The news is filled with reports of 18-wheeler crashes along our highways.

Driving near these vehicles can be quite dangerous, especially if truck drivers experience fatigue from driving too many hours or if they’re texting or talking on their phone while driving. Brakes malfunction, a tire could blow, or a driver might speed in poor weather.

Injuries sustained in an 18-wheeler accident are often far worse than an accident with a private passenger car. Your medical bills could be sky high, and you may have to be out of work and on disability for months on end. If you’re a parent, you might be unable to care for your children as you recuperate and may need added help. Some injuries become life-long ones that you’ll need constant support for.

If you’ve been injured in an 18-wheeler accident, or you have a loved one who’s been injured or died in one, you should know that you don’t have to settle for what a trucking company’s insurance company might offer you as a lump sum for your injuries. Depending on your specific situation, you may be entitled to much more.

Higher Standards for 18 Wheelers

What sets 18-wheeler accidents apart from your average car crash is that 18-wheeler drivers are held to a higher standard. They have strict federal safety measures they must comply with, or they risk losing their license and being out of work.

Truck drivers must have a commercial driver’s license from their home state and they might be subject to more specialized training and certifications if, for example, they’re driving a truck carrying hazardous materials.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) subjects 18-wheeler drivers to specific regulations, though not everyone follows the rules. Sometimes drivers who want and need to make more money may bend the rules. Truck drivers have even been known to take drugs to help them stay awake for longer. Regulations control:

  • How many hours 18-wheeler operators drive for at one stretch
  • Cellphone use (phones are prohibited while actively driving)
  • Drug and alcohol use (truck drivers have a lower limit when it comes to blood alcohol testing for DWI charges)

Trucks are also subject to rules and regulations. For example, they must be regularly inspected and checked to make sure they’re operating safely and effectively on the road.

Some of the most common causes of 18-wheeler truck accidents are driver fatigue – with the truck driver not sleeping enough before getting behind the wheel again – or driver distraction – texting, talking on their phone or fiddling with the radio while driving.

Time Matters with 18-Wheeler Injuries—Don’t Delay

If you’ve been in an 18-wheeler accident, the most important step for you to take is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away.

Experienced 18-wheeler accident lawyers understand well the rules and regulations that 18-wheeler trucks and their drivers are subject to. A good attorney will consider your injuries and time away from work and help you file a lawsuit and build a strong case.

In 18-wheeler truck accident cases, time is always of the essence. Both the truck driver and the truck must undergo a thorough investigation. You want both of these investigations to occur as close to the actual accident as possible.

Otherwise, if months pass before an inspection is done, the truck that hit you could be modified, sold or even disposed of. The strong evidence you need for your case could be gone. An experienced 18-wheeler accident lawyer can help to expedite this process, getting investigations going right away and acquiring all the right records.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an 18-wheeler accident in Texas, get checked out by a doctor right away. An experienced 18-wheeler accident lawyer should be your next call. In our twenty plus years practicing law, we’ve helped countless clients who’ve been injured in an 18-wheeler accident recoup money for their injuries.

Our clients start by filling out a brief initial questionnaire to see if we can help. Then, we start working together, and our firm only gets paid if we recover funds for your pain and suffering. Contact us to learn more and get a free initial consultation on any 18-wheeler wreck.

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Gregg S. Harrison has been practicing law in Texas since 2001. He focuses on cases involving all types of accidents, product liability, personal injury, and premise liability. Mr. Harrison is also an experienced family law and estate planning attorney. He is dedicated to helping clients through extremely stressful situations.