From lack of training to inadequate maintenance, there are many recurring causes of truck accidents. Though today’s automobiles are equipped with more effective safety features than ever before, truck accidents can still cause permanent and fatal injuries. Whether you or someone you love has suffered broken bones, traumatic brain injury (TBI), paralysis, or death in a truck accident, truck accidents lawyer Luke Dow at Luke Dow Law Firm can help. An accomplished personal injury attorney serving Austin, TX, he has the experience and know-how to help you secure compensation for your losses, including property damage and medical bills.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Most often, truck accidents occur between two large trucks, a truck and a passenger car, or a truck and a parked vehicle. However, they can also happen in the absence of another vehicle. The primary causes of truck accidents include:
- Lack of training: There are state, federal, and industry regulations that commercial truck drivers must abide by. Consequently, they are held to a much higher standard of responsibility than those who drive other types of vehicles. When a trucking company fails to train their drivers on how to safely operate the truck, serious and deadly accidents can occur.
- Overloaded cargo: An overloaded truck is more likely to cause a rollover accident than one that has been properly loaded.
- Fatigue: Long-haul truck operators strive to deliver cargo as quickly and efficiently as possible, however, neglecting to rest in an effort to cut a few hours can yield dangerous results.
- Lack of maintenance: Brakes that are not checked, maintained, and replaced on schedule can lead to dangerous truck accidents. Tires that are not properly maintained can cause a truck to lose control, creating an unsafe driving environment for all motorists, pedestrians, and property nearby.
Road and weather conditions can also contribute to trucking accidents. Regardless of the circumstances, due to the large size and weight of trucks and semi-tractor trailers, accidents often result in serious property damage, significant injury, and even fatalities. A trucking accident can have lasting medical and financial consequences. If you have been injured, you need a personal injury attorney who can stand up for you in court and ensure you receive the compensation you need.
Understanding Trucking Laws
Trucking companies and drivers are subject to both federal and state laws. At the federal level, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) play key roles in managing trucking regulations. In addition, the Department of Transportation in Texas creates additional laws to regulate trucking within the state. Some common trucking requirements include:
- Commercial driver licenses: All drivers of large trucks, such as 18-wheelers, are required to have the proper commercial license for the state in which they are working.
- Hours of service: Commercial motor drivers are subject to specific hours of services that regulate how long a driver can operate the vehicle without taking a break.
- Maximum permitted weight: Depending on the size of the truck, there are certain limits on how much weight they can haul.
- Quality control: Both the manufacture and repairs of commercial vehicles are strictly regulated. If a defect causes a truck accident, the incident may fall under product liability law.
- Hazardous waste: Regulations for transporting hazardous materials are enforced by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).
These are only a few examples of the numerous laws governing the behavior of the trucking industry. When regulations are not followed and an accident results, you can take legal action to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
There are a variety of individuals and entities your attorney will need to consider when determining who should be held liable for a truck accident. According to the FMCSA, as much as 87 percent of truck crashes have been found to be caused by driver error. However, there are additional parties who may be partially or fully at fault, including:
- The owner of the truck or trailer
- The company or individual who is leasing the vehicle from the owner
- The manufacturer of the vehicle, tires, or other parts
- The shipping company
- The loader of the truck’s cargo
Trucking companies often try to avoid penalization and fees by passing off the blame to other sources. Oftentimes, the trucking, hauling, and leasing companies confuse the issue by arguing amongst themselves. Mr. Dow and our team have the resources to determine who is really at fault in the accident. We will work meticulously to collect the necessary evidence and hold them responsible for their actions.
The Importance of a Seasoned Lawyer
Since multiple parties can be responsible for a truck accident, it is important to work with a seasoned truck accidents lawyer who understands how to determine liability. There are multiple factors to consider, such as state and federal regulations, repair, maintenance, work hours, and employee supervision.
When regulations are not followed and an accident results, you can take legal action to pursue the compensation you deserve.
The driver, trucking company, manufacturer, and loader can all be legally responsible. Truck accident attorney Luke Dow is board-certified and has been helping clients in personal injury cases for more than 20 years. He will examine your case to identify who is responsible and why. He will collect evidence of negligence or recklessness, including police reports, photographs, and witness statements, and use that information to put forth an irrefutable case.
Contact Luke Dow Law Firm
The trucking industry is filled with large companies staffed with teams of attorneys. These professionals are paid to protect the legal and financial interests of the company in the face of personal injury and negligence suits. An experienced and reputable personal injury lawyer, Luke Dow has what it takes to help you receive maximum compensation for your medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages following a serious truck accident. To learn more about attorney Luke Dow and our firm, send us a message or call us at (512) 480-9502 today.