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Corpus Christi Truck Accident Lawyer

Corpus Christi Truck Accident LawyerCommercial motor vehicles, including large commercial trucks, contribute to over 30,000 injuries suffered in Texas each year, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. If you have been injured in a collision with a truck in the Corpus Christi, Texas area, partnering with an experienced Corpus Christi truck accident attorney can help ensure that your legal rights are protected.

Regulations for the Prevention of Truck Accidents in Corpus Christi, Texas

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has implemented guidelines to prevent truck accidents and protect the public’s safety. These policies are intended to regulate:

  • Qualifications for truck drivers
  • Truck operations
  • Vehicle repairs and maintenance
  • Weigh stations
  • Roadside inspections
  • Compliance reviews
  • Complaint investigations
  • Trucking terminal audits

If these federal regulations are not followed correctly, not only could it put innocent people at risk, but it could render truck drivers, their employers, or the truck’s mechanics liable in the event of a crash.

The minimum financial responsibility requirements for different large commercial vehicles are also set by the FMCSA and are as follows:

  • General freight: For-hire vehicles in interstate or foreign commerce with a gross weight rating over 10,000 pounds that do not transport hazardous materials must carry at least $750,000 in insurance coverage.
  • Low hazmat: Vehicles in interstate or foreign commerce over 10,000 pounds in weight must carry $1,000,000 in coverage if they carry oil, hazardous waste or other hazardous materials.
  • High hazmat: Any vehicle in foreign, interstate, or intrastate commerce with a gross vehicle weight of 10,001 or more pounds must carry at least $5,000,000 in insurance coverage if they carry hazardous substances transported in cargo tanks, portable tanks, or hopper-type vehicles with capacities over 3,500 water gallons.

The massive weight and size of tractor-trailers can impede their ability to make a quick stop in the event of an emergency. Even when weather and driving conditions are perfect, it can take a semi-truck about 525 feet (or roughly two football fields in length) to come to a complete stop from a speed of 65 mph. When faced with danger, this lack of stopping power is liable to cause accidents that can result in severe injuries and even fatalities. A failure to carry the minimum insurance coverage could leave trucking companies unable to cover the costly expenses victims can accumulate in a collision with a large commercial truck.

Truck drivers or trucking companies in violation of federal safety guidelines can be reported by visiting the FMCSA National Consumer Complaint Database (NCCDB).

Corpus Christi truck drivers or their employers can be reported to TxDOT if they are in violation of safety or traffic laws. Written or oral complaints can be submitted about any TxDOT policy, program, operation, employee, or contractor by utilizing their Customer Complaint System.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Corpus Christi, Texas

TxDOT has reported that there were 414 crashes that involved at least one commercial motor vehicle in Nueces County during 2019. The year before, Nueces County had 394 crashes involving at least one commercial motor vehicle. That is a 5% rise in commercial motor vehicle accidents over just a single year.

Although it may be difficult to pinpoint what is causing the rise in commercial motor vehicle accidents, there are several common reasons a large truck may crash in Corpus Christi and the rest of Nueces County, such as:

  • An improperly secured load
  • Defective tires
  • Poorly trained drivers
  • Unevenly loaded cargo
  • Fatigued driving
  • Powertrain failure
  • Faulty brakes
  • Steering issues   
  • Reckless driving
  • Inadequate safety inspections
  • A payload that is too heavy
  • Distracted driving
  • Poor weather conditions

Trucking companies are to be held accountable for taking all essential safety precautions and inspections to ensure the safe operation of their trucks. Should a trucking company neglect to do so, they could be held liable in the event of an accident.

Other than the driver and the trucking company, there are several parties that could be held liable for a truck crash, including the:

  • Manufacturer of the truck or its parts
  • Owner of the cargo
  • Cargo loaders
  • Truck’s repair facilities or mechanic

Drivers of other vehicles and injured parties could also be found liable for a truck crash. In cases where this occurs, claimants may still be able to recover compensation under Texas state law. Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 33.001 states that an injured party can be held partially liable for their damages and still recover compensation if they are found to be no more than 50 percent responsible for their injuries. The court would then withhold the claimant’s percentage of liability from their compensatory award. However, in cases where the injured party is found to be more than 50 percent liable, they will be barred from recovering their damages.

What You Should Do After Being Involved in a Truck Accident in Corpus Christi

Experiencing any motor vehicle accident is traumatic on some level, but when the crash involves a large commercial truck, the effects can be particularly disastrous. If you have been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler or other large commercial truck, there are a few things you should do to protect your health, wellbeing, and legal rights.

What actions should be taken immediately after experiencing a truck accident in Texas?

  • Call emergency services. Ensuring the safety of yourself and your passengers should always be your first priority after a motor vehicle accident of any kind. If anyone needs emergency medical attention, dial 911 right away.
  • Seek medical attention. Whether you feel like you were injured in an accident or not, it is always best to get checked out by your doctor. You may not feel like you were injured at first, but your doctor may be able to identify any latent injuries that could affect your wellbeing in the future.
  • File police report. Under Texas state law, you must report any accident that resulted in an injury or over $1,000 in property damage. The police officer will fill out what is known as the Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report form CR-3, which includes information such as:
    • Conditions of the road
    • Location of the crash
    • Weather conditions
    • Lighting conditions
    • Details of what happened
    • Driver identification
    • Insurance information from all parties
    • Statements from the drivers
    • Date and time of the crash
    • Location of the accident
    • Witness statements
    • Traffic violations
    • Lighting, weather, and road conditions
    • Trucking carrier identification
    • Hazardous material classification, if applicable
    • Property damage
    • Fatalities
    • Possible vehicle defects
    • Possible contributing factors
  • Document the scene. Take photographs or video recordings of the vehicles involved, any other damaged property, injuries, and views of the scene and surrounding areas.
  • Gather contact information. Collect the license and insurance information of the other drivers involved. Also, obtain contact information, such as full names and phone numbers, from any bystanders or witnesses of the incident.
  • Report the crash with your insurance provider. When reporting the crash with your insurance company, be sure not to provide any recorded statements or deliberate fault until you have spoken with an experienced Texas truck accident attorney.
  • Keep all records related to the accident in a secure place. All documentation related to the crash, such as medical bills you have accumulated, paychecks illustrating a loss of wages, and copies of police reports, will need to be kept in a safe place.
  • Contact a Texas truck accident attorney. If there is any information related to your accident that you were not able to collect, an experienced truck accident lawyer will be able to help you find any documentation that you are missing, such as traffic reports or other evidence that could be vital in the event that you choose to pursue a claim.

Taking these steps will help ensure that you have the necessary information needed to hold the responsible party (or parties) liable for the injuries and property damage you suffered in a crash with a commercial truck should you choose to do so.