Research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has shown that Texas is consistently ranked number one in the country for having the highest number of truck-related fatalities year after year. Catastrophic collisions often occur in Dallas, with motorist injuries tied to truck accidents numbering in the thousands.
If you or someone you care for has recently been hurt in a serious accident involving a commercial vehicle such as an 18-wheeler, you might be wondering how to start the process of holding the responsible parties accountable. Victims and their families have a limited period in which they can pursue a claim in Texas, so it is important to take prompt legal action and speak with an experienced Dallas truck accident lawyer after experiencing a severe truck accident in Dallas.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Dallas, Texas
The size and weight of most commercial trucks can make them difficult to maneuver on the road; and, while truck drivers must legally abide by several regulations, the difference in size and weight between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles undeniably contributes to the severity of these crashes.
Truck drivers are instructed to maintain certain levels of safety and care, both on and off the road, to prevent any risks that could cause an accident. In the city of Dallas, Texas, some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Traffic rule violations
- Distracted driving (such as using a GPS, texting, talking on the phone, watching videos, etc.)
- Operating a commercial vehicle over maximum driving hours
- Driving while fatigued
- Impaired driving
- Inexperience driving a commercial truck
- Lack of training on proper truck handling and safety
Long-haul truck drivers are usually trained to uphold a certain standard of performance while navigating with or without cargo. This training often highlights the importance of state and federal trucking regulations. Often, trucking companies may be liable for employing untrained drivers or for providing inadequate training.
Types of Commercial Truck Accidents in Dallas
Commercial trucks can cause a variety of accidents that may result in severe injuries to all parties involved. Some of the more common types of commercial truck accidents in Dallas include:
- Head-on collisions
- Wide turn accidents
- Sideswipe accidents
- Truck rollover accidents
- Jackknife truck accident
Reports show that 17.9% of all accident-related fatalities in the United States occur at an angle, which can be difficult for drivers to avoid in any circumstance. It is important to understand the type of accident you or the person you are caring for was involved in so that you can obtain all of the necessary details for your Dallas truck accident case.
What is Truck Jackknifing?
Truck jackknifing is one of the most frequent types of truck accidents, and it can be more dangerous than any other collision. A “jackknife,” named for the V-shape that it creates that resembles a pocketknife, occurs when the trailer on an 18-wheeler bends at a 90-degree angle at the point where it is connected to the cab of a truck.
Jackknife accidents can happen if a driver is speeding, their brakes are faulty, if their cargo is too heavy, or if the conditions on the road are dangerous, among other reasons. An accident that involves a truck jackknife can result in serious damage for all drivers involved.
Trucks Often Cause the Most Damage in a Crash
The size of an average 18-wheeler on the road means that they can have a devastating effect on regular passenger vehicles involved in a collision. While a commercial truck is protected by the frame of their cabs, even the most advanced safety systems and careful driving habits by commuters often provide little defense from a wreck involving a truck.
Though large trucks make up just 4% of the vehicles on the road, they account for 13% of all traffic deaths, per the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Though they are also more likely to cause multi-car pileups, one-on-one crashes occur more often. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Commission reports that 97% of deaths in car accidents involving large trucks are of the occupants of the passenger vehicle. When a truck hits a car, the forces involved can often be fatal or cause long-term injury in most victims.
Although trucks have been known to cause 13% of traffic fatalities, they are responsible for just 6% of accident injuries. Crashes that involve commercial trucks and vehicles are more likely to put other drivers on the road in danger, with reports indicating that 74% of injuries and 82% of fatalities that occur as a result of accidents involving trucks are experienced by the occupants of the passenger vehicle.
Managing the complexities of liability becomes more challenging when victims and their families must face trucking and shipping companies, insurance claims, and manufacturers. A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in Dallas, TX can make the legal claims process easier for victims who are recovering from their accident-related injuries.
What Should I Do After a Dallas Truck Accident?
Much like any other accident, if you find yourself involved in a collision with an 18-wheeler or a long-haul truck in Dallas, there are a few necessary measures that you should take immediately after the incident if you are physically able. Regardless of whether the accident occurred on a crowded highway or a city street, you must take the following steps:
- Obtain medical care. The first thing you should do is ensure that you and your passengers are safe and unharmed. If you find yourself injured after a truck accident, call for medical assistance as soon as you are able.
- Tip: Be sure to provide clear direction to where the accident occurred. In many cases, emergency response personnel will also send out law enforcement officers to help reroute traffic, clean up the road, and create a police report at the scene of the accident.
- Gather evidence. If you have not left the scene due to crash-related injuries, take photos or record video footage from the crash site for your personal records. Use your phone, or one of your passengers’ phones, to capture photos and videos of:
- Damage to the vehicles involved
- Any debris that was in the road
- Tire and skid marks
- Visible injuries that you or your passengers sustained during the crash
Depending on where the accident occurred, you may have several bystanders who can act as witnesses and provide statements about the collision. You can ask for their written or recorded statements, which can be taken with video or voice memos, to be used later as evidence. If you can do this, be sure to save the contact information of the witnesses and their full names in case they need to be reached for further questions.
Frequently Reported Injuries from Truck Accidents in Dallas
Many drivers are cautioned about the dangers of potential car accidents when they are learning to navigate a vehicle, but the consequences of a collision with a commercial truck are much more devastating. We have served a variety of clients in Dallas who have experienced truck accidents and learned that some of the most frequently cited injuries include:
- Broken bones: Many victims experience fractures or breaks due to the impact of the collision. Most breaks occur in the legs, arms, collarbones, ribs, and face.
- Scratches and cuts: Debris from truck accidents, such as metal and glass, can cause significant damage such as serious lacerations, burns, punctures, and other wounds.
- Soft tissue injuries: Truck accidents often result in damage to a victim’s soft tissue, which can cause sprains, torn ligaments, muscle pain, strained tendons, and whiplash.
- Spine damage: Injuries that affect the spine have the potential to cause serious, long-term problems for a victim’s mobility. These injuries can include a damaged spinal cord, broken vertebrae, or even paralysis.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): Among the more damaging injuries that victims report after truck accidents are traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which can include concussions, comas, or hematoma (bleeding in or around the brain).
Victims of truck accidents can experience a range of physical and mental symptoms after their truck accident in Dallas. Some injuries can cause life-changing repercussions such as dismemberment, coma, disability, or cognitive impairments.
How Long Does a Truck Accident Lawsuit Take in Dallas?
Reports show that fatal truck accidents have increased by 16% since 2016, with more families choosing to take legal action. The deadline for pursuing a case after a truck accident in Dallas is two years following the date of the collision. However, the length of time that it requires to pursue a truck accident case in Dallas depends on several details regarding the incident.
If a victim chooses to pursue a claim, there are several steps involved that may be alleviated with the assistance of a qualified truck accident lawyer. After choosing to seek legal counsel, the following stage of a truck accident claim in Dallas involves an investigation into the collision, which is known as the discovery process. Discovery may last several weeks to months depending on the complexity of the accident.
The discovery stage is followed by negotiations, which may involve a neutral third party to facilitate mediation. If a case makes it to trial, it may take longer to resolve than a case that is resolved through mediation.
Why Are Truck Accidents More Dangerous Than Car Accidents?
18-wheelers tend to be involved in far more severe wrecks than cars and other passenger vehicles because tractor-trailers are the biggest, heaviest vehicles on the roads. Weighing up to 20 times more than the average car, a fully loaded big rig is far more likely to end up causing horrific and life-threatening crashes (when compared to a car) because of:
- Underride risks: In rear-end or side-impact collisions between an 18-wheeler and a car, the car can slide beneath part of a trailer, possibly shearing off the top of the vehicle. Often deadly, underride wrecks typically occur when at least one motorist is inattentive, fatigued, or impaired.
- Bigger blind spots: Tractor-trailers have much larger blind spots than passenger vehicles, which can mean a much greater risk of sideswipe accidents, right-turn wrecks, and other truck crashes. It’s common for blind spot big rig wrecks to involve multiple vehicles and victims.
- Mechanical failures: 18-wheelers are two times more likely than passenger vehicles to have an equipment malfunction on the roads. That’s according to the latest reports, which also highlight the brakes and tires as being the two systems most vulnerable to mechanical issues on the roads.
It’s also worth noting that:
- The above are by no means the only reasons that trucks are usually involved in more severe wrecks than passenger vehicles.
- Those in passenger vehicles are four times more likely than truckers to be killed when fatal big rig wrecks happen in Dallas, Texas.
What Should a Trucker Do After an 18-Wheeler Accident in Dallas, TX?
Get emergency medical care immediately if you have been hurt in a Dallas big rig crash. If you’re alert and able to take any other steps after a tractor-trailer wreck, here’s what you can do to safeguard your rights and interests:
- Call 911 if anyone’s hurt, if another crash could happen, or if you simply want to ensure that there is a police report for the wreck. If there are no injuries and only property has been damaged in the collision, you can call the non-emergency line for the Dallas Police Department (DPD). See the table below for a list of the non-emergency phone numbers for the 8 divisions of the DPD.
Division of the Dallas Police Dept.
Non-Emergency Phone Number
- Find a safe place to wait for police, like a sidewalk, a shoulder area, or anywhere that’s not in the path of traffic.
- Contact the trucking company to report the accident.
- Collect information from others involved in the tractor-trailer crash, along with any witnesses at the scene.
- Photograph and record videos of the accident scene, doing your best to capture as much detail as possible. That includes damaged vehicles, injuries, parties at the scene, weather conditions, road conditions, and more.
- Only talk about the facts of the crash you’re 100% certain of and never admit fault. This is important to remember when you’re talking to police, other victims, witnesses, insurance company adjusters, and others.
- Get medical attention ASAP at the scene or as soon as you can after leaving the scene.
- Continue receiving all follow-up medical care you need, following doctors’ orders, restrictions, and prescriptions precisely.
- Consult a Dallas truck accident attorney ASAP for crucial answers, information, and advice about the available legal remedies.
What Type of Damages Are Compensated in a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
Financial recoveries for 18-wheeler crash lawsuits are injury- and victim-specific. Generally, however, this compensation can cover past and future damages and:
- Damages can be economic and non-economic: This means that compensation can cover losses that are directly quantifiable, like lost earnings, as well as impacts that are not strictly numbers-based, like psychological trauma and impacts to victims’ quality of life.
- Compensation may be available even if victims share some liability for the wreck: Texas law provides that victims can recover a portion of damages as long as they are not primarily at fault for a big rig crash.
- Financial recoveries can be complex to calculate and challenging to recover: For these reasons, it’s generally in victims’ best interest to work with an attorney who can help them determine and pursue the compensation they deserve.
Top-Rated Dallas Truck Accident Attorney
It may be possible to improve the outcome of your Dallas truck accident case when you work with an experienced truck accident lawyer. Your legal representative has access to certain resources that most citizens do not, which means that an experienced and skilled Dallas truck accident lawyer will be able to:
- Use their resources to strengthen your case by requesting evidence such as dashcam footage or trucking logbooks
- Use information from police reports and even truck maintenance logs to prove negligence on the part of the truck company or driver
- Obtain relevant data recorded by the onboard black box
In Dallas, victims of truck accidents give themselves a distinct advantage in the courtroom by having a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer on their side when facing large trucking companies and their insurance representatives. These cases can be often overwhelming for families who have never had to experience the legal system before. Working with a reliable truck accident lawyer in Dallas can make it easier for victims and the people close to them to move past this challenging time.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is Fault Determined in a Dallas Truck Accident?
Fault for a Dallas truck accident is typically determined by:
- Investigating the 18-wheeler crash: This involves identifying and collecting any items that may be evidence of fault, as well as damages. Depending on how a truck accident happens, the subsequent investigation may involve interviewing witnesses, taking photos and videos of the crash scene, gathering debris from the scene, and more.
- Analyzing the evidence: The evidence for a Dallas truck accident can reveal or affirm the exact causes of the wreck. In some cases, experts may be needed to help interpret and explain the evidence. Whatever causes the evidence ends up pointing to, those can be integral to uncovering negligence, making fault determinations, and discovering which parties are liable for it.
After a big rig wreck in Dallas, parties like (but not limited to) the following tend to be make their own fault determinations:
- Police: If police respond to the scene of a Dallas tractor-trailer crash, they will conduct their own investigation, writing up a report with their findings. That can include police officers’ fault determinations, along with details about actions taken by law enforcement after the accident, like citations issued, breathalyzer testing, or any arrests that were made.
- Insurance companies: Insurers conduct their own investigations to make their own fault findings. While that may mean relying on the findings of police reports, it can also mean being at the scene as a quick response team and conducting truck accident investigations alongside and independent of police.
With fault for Dallas truck accidents, it’s also essential to understand that:
- Partial fault is not necessarily a bar to compensation: Texas law states that “a claimant may not recover damages if his percentage of responsibility is greater than 50 percent.” That opens the door for victims who are not primarily at fault for an 18-wheeler wreck in Dallas to recover, though compensation will be reduced in these claims.
- Others get fault determinations wrong: Victims cannot depend on the fault determinations made by others. That’s because parties, like police, may not have all of the evidence when they issue their reports. And others, like insurance companies, are not necessarily conducting unbiased investigations. That means it’s in victims’ best interests to make their own assessments of fault.
- Truck accident victims can be wrongly blamed: Many parties can benefit when victims are wrongly blamed, especially insurance companies and those who are at fault for an 18-wheeler crash. This is another reason that victims should question others’ fault findings and, instead, make their own assessments of fault. Generally, it’s best to do this with the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer.
What Damages Can I Recover in Dallas for My Truck Accident Claim?
Damages will depend on the injuries and losses you have suffered in the tractor-trailer accident. That may include past and future losses that are economic and non-economic in nature. Damages also depend on:
- Whether you were partially at fault for the crash: If so, any compensation for your claim can be reduced by the same proportion as your level (or percentage) of fault in causing the wreck. So, if you were 25% at fault for a big rig crash, any recovery from a claim would likely be reduced by 25%.
- The evidence and what you can prove: To recover compensation for an 18-wheeler crash claim, you will need to establish how a big rig accident harmed you with medical records, medical bills, and other evidence. If you can’t link your losses and injuries to the crash with convincing evidence, it can be difficult to impossible to secure damages for a truck accident claim.
Like fault determinations, damage calculations can be complex, often requiring a careful review evidence and the help of an experienced attorney. Setting that aside, damages for Dallas truck accident claims can generally include compensation for (and may not be limited to):
- Medical bills and treatments
- Lost wages and earnings
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
If you lost a loved one in a fatal 18-wheeler crash in Dallas, a successful claim could also result in damages for funeral expenses and burial costs. Whatever amount of damages are secured for truck accident claims, these recoveries can be invaluable to helping victims and families heal, rebuild, and focus on the future.
Why Should I Hire a Dallas Truck Accident Attorney?
Hire a truck accident attorney in Dallas, TX because:
- You want to bring a strong claim, and you don’t want to gamble your recovery by going at it alone.
- You want experienced representation, helpful advice, and strategic advocacy throughout your case.
- You are focused on achieving full, fair compensation.
After an 18-wheeler crash in Dallas, Texas, the truth is that:
- You don’t have forever to file a claim.
- Insurance companies, trucking companies, and others can act quickly to investigate wrecks and start preparing their defense against victims’ claims.
- A Dallas truck accident attorney can show others you mean business while providing the representation needed to set a case up for the best resolution possible.