Top-Rated Truck Accident Lawyer in Arlington, TX
Over 1.2 billion tons of cargo are moved across Texas highways each year. The trucking industry is a vital element of the Texas multimodal freight system, a freight shipping system that has made Texas the number one exporter in the nation. Unfortunately, this critical link in the Texas economy is also a dangerous component to our Texas roadways.
Truck Accident Injuries Victims Could Sustain in Arlington, Texas
Injuries suffered in truck accidents can be severe and could affect a victim and the victim’s family for the rest of their lives. Common injuries that victims suffer in accidents involving large commercial trucks are:
- Bone fractures
- Soft tissue injuries
- Nerve damage
- Severe lacerations
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of limb
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Severe burns
- Internal organ damage or loss
- Spinal cord injuries
Nobody expects to be involved in an accident with a large truck, so victims are often left blindsided by just how much these events can alter a person’s life. Injuries suffered in truck accidents can create a forced change in lifestyle, a loss in wages, and an accumulation of medical bills that can feel impossible to keep up with.
Possible Mechanical Issues That Could Result in a Truck Crash in Arlington, Texas
It is common for people to assume that a driver is at fault for an accident, but sometimes no driver is found to be at fault for a crash. For instance, a mechanical issue unbeknownst to a driver can cause them to lose control of their vehicle and wreck.
The number of mechanical problems that could cause or contribute to a truck accident is infinite, but the most common mechanical issues include:
- Brake failure is one of the most common mechanical failures in trucks. The brake system in large commercial trucks needs to be able to send about 80,000 pounds of weight to a screeching halt at any given time. Therefore, they require much more stopping power than the brakes on the average 5,000-pound passenger vehicle would. The brakes on large trucks are also somewhat difficult to operate and require more maintenance than other truck parts, so they tend to fail more often on trucks than they do on other vehicles.
- Tire blowouts: We all have seen the remnants of shredded truck tires deserted on the highway shoulder. Tire blowouts are incredibly common on large trucks because they must consistently withstand an immense amount of pressure from the massive weight they carry. If a hole appears, whether by a slow leak or sudden puncture, it can cause the driver to lose control and send their truck off-road or into the path of another vehicle.
- Broken windshield wipers: Windshield wipers are one of the most underrated safety features equipped on vehicles today. If windshield wipers break or become worn out, they can cause drivers to lose their ability to see the road ahead, rendering them unable to operate their vehicle safely.
- Underride guard failure: Underride guards are steel bars that hang from large trucks to prevent a passenger vehicle from moving underneath the truck in a crash. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reported that the FMCSA annual inspection regulations do not currently require the underride guards on tractor-trailers to be inspected, meaning that we could be sharing the roadways with trucks that have damaged guards that are liable to failure in the event of a crash. However, in December 2020, the FMCSA announced a proposal to add truck rear underride guards to the safety checklist.
- Lighting issues: Since tractor-trailers usually travel at night, all large trucks must adhere to strict federal lighting safety standards in the FMCSA section 393.11 for lamps and reflective devices. Should a truck’s lighting devices be found defective, the manufacturer or mechanic could be found liable in the event of an accident.
- Transmission failure: The transmission on a large truck is designed to transport a significant amount of weight, but too much weight can cause the transmission to fail. As a result, even if the transmission passes safety inspections, an overloaded truck can burn through a transmission quicker than expected, which could result in a crash.
The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) was conducted by the FMCSA to analyze the causes of severe crashes that involved trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of over 10,000 pounds. All crashes analyzed in the study involved at least one large truck and at least one injury or fatality. The analysis brief from the LTCSS estimates that about 10% of the accidents examined resulted from an issue that stemmed from the truck itself.
What Duties are Truck Drivers Responsible for in Arlington, Texas?
Truck driving as a career has a rate of fatal injury that is more than seven times higher than the overall workplace average, as reported by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Not only does the industry put truckers at risk, but it puts everyone that shares the road with them at risk, too.
In order to decrease the rate of injuries and fatalities that occur in truck accidents, truck drivers are responsible for abiding by a list of duties to ensure the safety of themselves and those around them. They include guidelines such as:
- Obeying hours of service (HOS) standards
- Not driving when their ability to remain alert is impaired (whether by alcohol, drug use, illness, fatigue, or anything else that could prevent them from safely performing their duties)
- Follow all state and federal regulations for truckers
- Not exceed posted speed limits
- Ensure that their payloads are adequately secured
- Notify their employer of any previous convictions they may have, such as traffic violations, driver’s license suspensions or revocations
- Avoiding distractions while driving
- Use extreme caution in adverse conditions
- Check vehicle to ensure that mechanical, safety, and emergency equipment is in good working order
- Follow appropriate safety procedures for transporting dangerous goods
If you witness a truck driver in Texas performing their duties in a manner that could result in an accident, you can report them with the FMCSA National Consumer Complaint Database (NCCDB) or the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
Who Could Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident in Arlington, Texas?
Determination of liability in the average motor vehicle accident is often as simple as determining which driver committed a traffic violation. Accidents involving large commercial trucks, however, are rarely as straightforward. Trucking crashes are usually complex cases that involve multiple liable parties.
Parties that could potentially be liable for resulting in a truck accident include the:
- Trucking company
- Manufacturer of the truck or its parts
- Owner of the cargo
- Cargo loaders
- Passenger vehicle drivers
- Truck owner
- Truck’s mechanic
Trucking companies will sometimes try to prevent being held liable for an accident by requiring the drivers to purchase their own trucks so that they can be considered independent owner-operators. However, a trucking company’s argument that they are not at fault because the driver is an independent contractor seldomly holds any water.
Discovering reckless or negligent misconduct in a Texas truck accident requires research by someone who knows how to navigate the waters of the state’s legal system. An experienced Arlington truck accident attorney can help you establish all of the at-fault parties involved in your accident with a large commercial truck by:
- Conducting an independent and thorough investigation of your accident
- Requesting evidence such as dashcam footage or trucking logbooks
- Utilizing information from police reports and even truck maintenance logs
- Obtaining data recorded by the electronic data recorder
- Accessing trucking logbooks and maintenance logs
Contact Our Experienced Arlington Truck Accident Lawyers Today So We Can Help
Any out-of-pocket expenses you have incurred due to a truck accident may be recoverable through filing a claim for damages. Victims may choose to work with an experienced truck accident attorney to learn about their options to move forward after suffering a truck crash.