Truck accidents have been on the rise in Houston, Texas for the past few decades, according to reports from the Texas Department of Transportation. Trucks carrying oil and drilling equipment have created a dangerous environment on the roads, with studies indicating that commercial vehicle and big rig fatalities rose 52% from 2009 to 2013. These statistics indicate that drivers who share the road with 18-wheelers and similarly sized commercial trucks have an increased chance of experiencing a serious truck collision in Texas.
These accidents can occur at any time for a number of reasons, resulting in traumatic injuries or fatalities. If you’ve sustained injuries in a truck crash, an experienced Houston truck accident lawyer can help you understand your options. We help truck accident victims across Texas, including the following areas:
- The Woodlands
- Clear Lake City
- San Angelo
- League City
- San Antonio
- Fort Worth
- El Paso
- Corpus Christi
- Grand Prairie
- Round Rock
- Wichita Falls
- College Station
Our experienced Houston truck accident lawyers can help you with the following types of accidents:
- Oilfield Trucking Accidents
- 18-Wheeler Accidents
- Tractor Trailer Accidents
- Truck Driver Negligence
- Fatigued Driver Accidents
- Intoxicated Truck Driver Accidents
- Distracted Truck Driver Accidents
- Underride Accidents
- Truck Accidents Caused by Unsecured Cargo
- Truck Crashes Caused by Mechanical Issues
- Rollover Truck Accidents
- Jackknife Truck Accidents
Likewise, read the following truck accident guides that may help answer any of your truck accident questions.
- Trucking Laws
- Causes of Truck Accidents
- Truck Accident Injuries
- Recovering Damages After a Truck Accident
- How Insurance Works in Texas Truck Accidents
- Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements in Texas
- Negligent Hiring of Truck Drivers in Texas
- Pursuing a Truck Accident Claim in Texas
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What Should I Do After a Serious Truck Accident?
The first thing you should do after being involved in a serious truck-related accident is to determine if you or your passengers have suffered any severe injuries. After you have ensured that everyone in your vehicle is safe, contact a medical professional by dialing 911. Emergency responders will be dispatched to the scene of the accident and will be able to determine whether or not you have sustained damage that you could not identify, such as a concussion, broken bones, or internal bleeding. Once the paramedics arrive at the scene, they will instruct you on what to do next.
If you have not experienced a severe injury, you should make it a priority to immediately gather evidence from the scene using your cell phone or a camera. When gathering evidence, some of the most important pieces to obtain at the scene are:
- Statements or testimony from any witnesses or bystanders
- Witness names and contact information
- Photos of the damaged vehicles (both inside and outside)
- Photos of visible injuries on you or your passengers
- Photos of the scene of the accident, such as:
- Debris in the road
- Skid or tire marks
- Potholes or cracks in the pavement nearby
- Street signs that indicate your location
- Speed limit signs
Cell phone video is also an option for recording important details from the scene. Ensure that these photos and videos all have a time stamp attached, as well. If you were involved in the crash, you may choose to send these pieces of evidence to a trusted third party who can keep track of them, or you may choose to upload them to a cloud-based storage app to back them up and share them digitally.
What Types of Trucks are Involved in Houston Truck Accidents?
Commercial trucks come in different sizes depending on whether they are carrying cargo or if they are used for other purposes. Some of the most common trucks that are on the roads in Texas transport oil, while others transport goods, food, animals, and/or livestock. Regardless of their size or the responsibilities of the driver, truck accidents can occur on the roads in Houston, Texas with a variety of different vehicles, some of which include:
- Tractor-trailer 18-wheelers
- Garbage or dump trucks
- Animal cargo trucks
- Cement trucks
- Logging trucks
- Delivery trucks
- Flatbed trucks
- Tanker trucks
- Oilfield trucks
- Tow trucks
- Box trucks
Commercial trucks sharing the road with cars in Houston have the potential to create dangerous conditions on the road, which may lead to severe collisions. It is necessary to always exercise the highest level of caution when sharing the road with commercial vehicles and truck drivers.
Common Reasons Truck Accidents Occur in Houston
Texas has the highest annual number of truck-related fatalities and injuries in the country. Although the issue is statewide, many of these crashes occur in cities like Houston with large populations and congested roads. According to statewide research, some of the most common causes of truck accidents can include:
- Violating traffic rules
- Driving while distracted (e.g., GPS, texting, streaming video, etc.).
- Driving while fatigued
- Driving in excess of maximum driving hours
- Lack of training
- Impaired driving
For drivers in Houston, fatal or damaging truck accidents have become a common occurrence. Motorists have a difficult time avoiding the possibility of a truck-related accident, especially in a state that has more 18-wheelers on the road than anywhere else in the country. Reports have also indicated that there are over 172,000 individuals employed as truck drivers in Texas, with 15 out of every 1,000 jobs belonging to that profession.
Truck Defects that May Cause Serious Accidents
Many instances of truck accidents in Houston, Texas involve violated traffic rules and distracted driving, but there are a variety of instances where the cause of a dangerous accident is revealed to be a vehicle defect. Some of the most frequently cited defects that can result in a serious truck accident include:
- Faulty, bald, old, and/or unmaintained tires
- Brakes that have not been properly calibrated
- Damaged headlights and taillights
- Improperly installed reflective tape
- Broken windshield wipers
- Cracked windshields
- Faulty underride bars
- Lack of blind spot mirrors
- Engine failure
- Carrying cargo too heavy for the vehicle
- Poorly maintained steering equipment
- Failure to safely attach a cargo trailer
- Damaged couplings
- Improperly restrained cargo
Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that their employees are qualified for the job and able to perform the tasks that the role requires. These tasks include maintaining their vehicles, so they continue to operate safely. Failure to adhere to these standards of care can place liability on the trucking company, which may be found liable for negligence in their hiring and training practices.
Types of Truck Defects
When an insurance company or a lawyer is investigating a truck accident in Houston, Texas, they will often look to see if there are different types of defects on the vehicle that resulted in the accident. There are three main types of defects that are frequently found on commercial vehicles in Texas when evaluators examine them after an accident. These types of defects include the following:
- Design Defect – When a manufacturing company does not adequately ensure that the part they distribute was created and designed to be safe, the design of the product can be labeled as hazardous to the health and security of the driver and any victims involved in the trucking accident. It is the manufacturer’s responsibility to produce a safe product. When they fail to meet this responsibility, design defects occur that can lead to serious accidents for truck drivers and others on the road.
- Manufacturing Defect – During the process of the truck’s construction, there may have been a mistake that occurred on the production line, or an integral piece may be missing. This means that the truck or one of its parts was not built according to pre-established specifications. This defect can alter the vehicle’s ability to operate and function at the level that it is required to, causing serious risk to the driver.
- Lack of Warning Defect – Some parts of a truck are dangerous regardless of whether they were built to standard or not. Trucking companies and manufacturers are required to provide clear and proper warnings about how to safely handle certain aspects of a truck during maintenance or regular use.
Regardless of the type of defect that caused a serious Houston truck accident, those malfunctions in a truck’s ability to operate properly can give victims an opportunity to establish fault. They can do so by showing that the accident in which they sustained injuries resulted from those specific defects. This may strengthen any Houston truck accident claim.
How Serious Can a Truck Accident Be?
The size of a truck, regardless of its function as a commercial vehicle, often means serious consequences for others involved in an accident. Of all the truck accidents recorded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2019, 74% of all reported injuries and 82% of all fatalities were found with the occupants of the passenger vehicle. In fatal crashes involving just a truck and one other vehicle, that rate climbs to 97%.
It can be difficult to navigate the landscape of liability and insurance claims on your own, especially when you are healing and recovering from a serious truck driving accident in Texas. An experienced Houston truck accident attorney can provide you with assistance in working with insurance companies after your truck accident.
What Compensation Is Available for Victims After a Texas Truck Accident?
It can be difficult to go up against a litigious truck company and their insurance company in court. Establishing a case after experiencing a serious Houston truck accident is challenging without the help of a knowledgeable and experienced truck accident lawyer protecting your interests.
When it comes to cases of truck accidents, the burden is on the victim to prove their losses to establish fault. In Houston and the rest of Texas, the law allows victims of truck accidents to recover the following damages:
- Past and future medical expenses, such as:
- Hospital bills
- Surgical costs
- Physical therapy
- Doctors’ visits
- Property damage
- Mental anguish in the past and future
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost wages in the past and loss of earning capacity in the future
- Physical impairment in the past and future
- Disfigurement in the past and future (e.g., scars, burns, loss of limb)
- Punitive damages
Many of the most common injuries that occur in a Houston truck accident case are known to cause physical impairments, disfigurement, and other lifelong conditions that can change a person’s way of life and impact long-term wellbeing. No matter what kind of truck is involved in the accident or how it occurs, these injuries can cause irreparable damage.
Common Injuries After Truck Accidents in Texas
Being involved in a truck accident in Texas has the potential to cause lasting injuries and serious damage to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Many of these injuries are considered severe and can permanently change the lives of victims and their families. Some of the most common injuries that are reported following truck accidents in Texas include the following:
- Whiplash: Damage to the muscles and ligaments in the neck that occur after a victim’s head has been moved suddenly and quickly during an accident.
- Burns, bruises, and cuts: Commonly attributed to debris from an accident such as shattered windshield glass, engine parts, and other small items that can cause damage.
- Damaged soft tissue: This can occur when the body’s ligaments, tendons, and muscles are injured as a result of blunt force.
- Broken bones: One of the most frequently reported injuries after a truck accident are broken or fractured bones in the legs, arms, ribs, collarbone, pelvis, and face.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI): TBI can occur after an accident that was particularly severe and may cause coma, concussion, or hematoma (bleeding in/around the brain).
- Spine injuries: Many spine injuries can result in serious and life-changing damage for victims of truck accidents, including broken vertebrae, damaged spinal cord, or paralysis.
When injuries occur following a Texas truck accident, seeking medical attention immediately is a necessary step in ensuring the safety of any of the victims involved in the collision. Even if a victim appears to not have sustained any visible damage, they should still seek out help from a doctor or a physician who can conduct a professional medical evaluation.
Contact Our Top-Rated Houston Truck Accident Lawyers Today
To find out how we can help you with a trucking accident injury lawsuit, contact us today at (713) 352-7975. Our friendly staff will ask a few questions about your case and connect you to an experienced Houston truck accident attorney. You can also fill out the “Free Case Evaluation” form at the top of this page.
Frequently Asked Questions About Houston Truck Accidents
What should I do after a truck accident?
To avoid missteps that could hinder your claim, here are six important things to do after a truck accident:
- Call 911.
- Do not apologize or admit fault.
- Get medical attention.
- Obtain identifying information from all involved parties. Get names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance companies, policy numbers, driver’s license numbers, and license plate numbers.
- Take pictures of the crash scene and as much of the damage as possible.6. Consult an experienced truck accident lawyer in Houston, TX.
Do I need a Houston truck accident attorney for my case?
If you are unsure about how to communicate with insurance adjusters or you have come to a standstill in negotiations, an attorney can keep your claim moving forward. In fact, retaining an experienced truck accident lawyer in Houston, TX is one of the best ways to get help navigating the claims process while increasing your chances of a fair resolution.
Should I speak to the truck driver after the accident?
If possible, speak with the truck driver only to gather his or her name, contact information, and vehicle and insurance information. You should also share your information with the truck driver and any other parties involved in the crash. You should not apologize or admit fault when communicating with other parties.
Should I accept a settlement for my truck accident claim?
Often, it is not wise to accept the insurance adjuster’s settlement offer for your truck accident claim without having a lawyer review it first. The reason is that insurance companies will usually attempt to settle claims as quickly as possible for as little as possible. An experienced truck accident lawyer will understand how to approach insurance negotiations and determine how much you really deserve for your claim. (S)he can also diligently assert your rights while working to get you fair compensation.
How will hiring a truck accident attorney help my case?
A knowledgeable Houston truck accident lawyer can be the key to securing successful resolutions and fair compensation. Retaining a compassionate injury attorney to represent your interests can show the insurance companies you mean business. It may also lower the chances of your claim being rejected outright or downplayed while giving you a trusted ally who can work to get full, fair financial recoveries. Ultimately, those recoveries can help the injured get treatment, heal, and move on from the devastating injuries caused by a truck accident.