As experienced truck accident lawyers practicing in Austin, Texas, we’ve seen firsthand the catastrophic injuries our clients have suffered because the truck driver was not paying attention, tired, or even drunk.
500,000 Truck Accidents each year in the US
A trucking accident occurs when large trailers (10,000+ lbs.) collide with other vehicles or pedestrians. Around 500,000 trucking accidents occur every year in the United States. Of these, approximately 5,000 trucking accidents result in fatalities. In fact, one out of every eight traffic fatalities involves a trucking collision. If you’ve been injured by an 18-wheeler, you should definitely hire experienced truck accident lawyers.
Truck Accident Facts
In 2002, 434,000 large trucks (gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds) were involved in traffic crashes in the United States; 4,542 were involved in fatal crashes. A total of 4,897 people died (11 percent of all the traffic fatalities reported in 2002) and an additional 130,000 were injured in those crashes – many hospitalized.
One out of nine traffic fatalities in 2002 resulted from a collision involving a large truck.
Of the fatalities that resulted from crashes involving large trucks, 79 percent were occupants of another vehicle, 7 percent were non-occupants, and 14 percent were occupants of a large truck.
Of the injuries that resulted from crashes involving large trucks, 77 percent were occupants of another vehicle, 3 percent were non-occupants, and 20 percent were occupants of a large truck.
Large trucks are much more likely to be involved in a fatal multiple-vehicle crash — as opposed to a fatal single-vehicle crash — than are passenger vehicles (84 percent of all large trucks involved in fatal crashes, compared with 61 percent of all passenger vehicles).
In 29 percent of the two-vehicle fatal crashes involving a large truck and another type of vehicle, both vehicles were impacted in the front. The truck was struck in the rear nearly 2.5 times as often as the other vehicle (17 percent and 7 percent, respectively).
Why you need Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers
Truck accidents often end in fatalities, or serious and sometimes permanent injuries. Trucking companies and their insurance companies usually offer little help to the victims of a truck accident. Truck accident lawsuits are very expensive for both the victim and the company involved and often the truck company will attempt to settle the case for pennies on the dollar. Experienced truck accident lawyers can help level the playing field so that you are able to reach a just and equal settlement.
Most of the deaths and injuries involve the passengers of vehicles while the drivers of the tractor trailers usually escape trucking collisions with little or no personal injury.
Due to the large size of trucks, an 18 wheeler accident can greatly endanger the lives of other smaller vehicles unnecessarily when tractor trailer operators fail to consider proper crash prevention.
Trucking injuries can be prevented if passenger vehicle drivers take special care when driving near tractor-trailers. If a trucking collision does occur, record as much information as possible, including names and contact information of witnesses.
Common Causes of an 18-wheeler accident:
Failure to properly to accommodate blind-spots
Debris or articles in the road
Exhaustion or fatigue on the part of the driver
Excessive speed and failure to follow rules of the road
Tire failure or separation
Driving under influence of drugs or alcohol
Unsecured cargo or freight shifting in the payload section
Unsafe driving practices
There are many reasons why 18-wheeler accidents are so catastrophic. The pressure for speed and efficiency by the trucking companies and the deregulation of the industry are both major factors – 18-wheeler drivers are typically required to work long hours with little or no sleep. Large trucks consistently break the speed limit in order to deliver goods quickly – adding fuel to an already dangerous fire. The sheer size of an 18-wheeler makes for a massive impact and hinders the ability of the truck to make sudden stops. The results are too often fatal.
Big Rig Trucking Accidents Lawyers
Alarmingly, big rig accidents have increased each year as unsafe driving, over-sized loads and various other treacherous practices put the public and the truck operators in danger. Because of the commercial greed and pressure from trucking companies to deliver goods as quickly as possible, as well as the deregulation of the trucking industry, these type of accidents account for one of every eight traffic fatalities. This intense sense of urgency proves to be a deadly one – federal crash statistics have determined that 20% of big rig accidents are due to excessive speed.
Big rig accidents are especially dangerous for vehicles nearby. Due to the large size of trucks, a trucking accident can greatly endanger the lives of other smaller vehicles unnecessarily when truck operators fail to consider proper trucking accident prevention. In fact, most of the deaths and injuries involve the passengers of vehicles; truck drivers usually escape trucking accidents with little or no personal injury.
There are unique laws and regulations that are designed specifically to protect motorists from the negligent actions of truck drivers and trucking companies, but fault must be aggressively proven. It’s extremely important to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who can meticulously scrutinize all of the records and logs leading up to the accident in order to prove the driver’s negligence.
Interstate Trucking Accidents
As our nation’s interstates mushroom exponentially to keep up with the vast expansion of the commercial and recreational travel population, trucking accidents have become nearly epidemic. The mix of incredibly fast interstate speeds and monstrous size of these trucks – a big rig truck typically weighs 80,000 lbs and ranges about 67-75 feet long – is a volatile and deadly recipe for disaster.
The presence of these trucks on interstates continues to grow – approximately 7% of all the vehicle miles driven in the nation are done so by big rig drivers today. As the competition for trucking contracts increases (over 200,000 new trucks were registered last year), drivers are under increased pressure to deliver their goods faster, even if it means falsifying log books and breaking the law. Fatigue also becomes a huge issue – in a recent survey, almost 20% of truckers admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at least once in the previous three month period.
If you have survived an interstate trucking accident, you’ve been through enough. The pain of injuries compounded with a mountain of medical bills can be overwhelming, and you should be compensated for your suffering.
Wheel Blowout Accidents
When tire tread becomes defective or old, there can be a sudden tire failure or rupture, causing a lightening quick, extremely dangerous loss of control. This then causes the back end of the truck to swing out or “fishtail”, resulting in the vehicle skidding out and sliding sideways in the direction of travel. When this occurs, the truck can often trip and go airborne, starting a rollover. A blowout can also cause the truck to violently stop moving – leaving a deadly pile-up behind it.
If you have been hurt in wheel blowout accident, you can receive monetary compensation for your suffering. Whether the accident is caused by faulty materials or driver negligence, you have the right to fight back. Don’t waste any time before pursuing rightful reparations for your loss.
Jack Knife Accidents
Jack-knifed trucking accidents are especially perilous, both for the driver and nearby passengers or pedestrians. A jack-knife refers to the dangerous situation that occurs when a large 18 wheel truck goes into a skid and the trailer swings out and stops to form an angle of 90 degrees with each other. The chances of this dire quandary increase in inclement weather – jackknifing generally occurs when the drive wheels are locked when they reach a slick spot while the front wheels and the trailer keep rolling forward. These horribly destructive accidents can even cause multiple car pile-ups on the freeway, often with many casualties.
If you’ve been the victim of a trucking accident, don’t waste any time before seeking the reparations that you deserve for experiencing such a traumatic event. Experienced and knowledgeable truck accident lawyers can help you maneuver through the complex legal system to fight for your compensation.
Truck Under Ride Accidents
Tractor-trailer under ride accidents occur when a passenger vehicle, hits the back of a truck whose base is higher than the car, putting small family passenger cars in particular danger. These accidents happen because the height of the front of the car is too small to hit the bed of the truck, often falling 10 to 20 inches below. This height discrepancy puts the bed of the truck right at the head-chest level of the passengers within the car, and injuries in these accidents tend to be catastrophic, if not fatal.
Driving negligence is dangerous – but truck driving inattention can be especially deadly. There’s no excuse for the unnecessary death of thousands of innocent people and you shouldn’t be held financially accountable for someone else’s dangerous behavior.
Impaired Truck Driver Accidents
Each year thousands of motorists and big rig drivers are killed or maimed by the negligent operation of trucks. One of the most common and deplorable characteristics of these fatal accidents is the impairment of the driver. In 1999, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 30 percent of all traffic deaths occurred in accidents in which at least one driver or non-occupant has a BAC of .10 or higher and at least some alcohol was present in 38% of all fatal crashes – an especially sobering statistic in relation to trucking accidents.
Unfortunately, alcohol is not the only deadly substance that leads to these kinds of accidents. A study by the Insurance Institute for Traffic Safety (IITS) of interstate tractor-trailer drivers found that 15% of all drivers had marijuana, 12% had non-prescription stimulants, 5% had prescription stimulants, 2% had cocaine, and less than 1% had alcohol in their systems. Due to the intense pressure for time efficiency, a National Transportation Safety Board investigation of fatal truck accidents found that stimulants were the most frequently unidentified (15%) drug class among fatally injured truck drivers.
Driving while intoxicated is inexcusable and deadly, and the risks are amplified for truck drivers. If you’ve been injured by an accident due to an impaired truck driver, you deserve to be rightly compensated for your traumatic experience. Experienced truck accident lawyers can help you maximize the reparations that you receive for your suffering.
If you were involved in an truck accident in Texas, we’ll be happy to mail it to you (together with a host of other free stuff).