San Antonio Truck Accident Attorneys
Truck Accidents in Texas
Trucks crisscross the interstates and surface roads of San Antonio, Bexar County, and the entire state of Texas every single day. Unfortunately, the drivers of many of these trucks and the companies that operate them often fail to conduct important safety checks, perform maintenance, or follow the regulations set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This negligence can cause serious accidents, where anyone in a smaller vehicle can be catastrophically injured while the truck driver walks away.
If you or a loved one has been in a tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler, or commercial truck accident, you need a San Antonio truck accident attorney with the experience to pursue your truck accident case and the reputation to make the trucking company and its insurance carrier treat you fairly. Count on Maloney Law Group, P.L.L.C.
What are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were 4,119 fatalities in 2019 that were caused by truck accidents. Specifically, the statistics reflect fatal traffic accidents involving large trucks like semi-trucks, big rigs, tractor-trailers, and 18-wheelers. To say that large trucks are oftentimes a danger on American highways is an understatement.
To start bringing the number of truck accidents down, it will take every driver and trucker knowing more about the causes of truck accidents, so that they can then be avoided or prevented. Among the most common causes of truck accidents are trucker fatigue, distracted driving, insufficient training, defective truck parts, poorly loaded cargo, and commonplace driver mistakes like lingering in a truck’s blind spot.
Truck Driver Exhaustion
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) allows most commercial truck drivers to stay on the road for 11 hours in a 14-hour shift. Truckers who do not leave a 150 air-mile radius from their depot can drive for even longer due to a special exception.
Truck driver exhaustion is believed to be one of the most common causes of truck accidents because of the likelihood of a trucker becoming fatigued towards the end of their shift. Think of the last time you had to drive for five or six hours. You were probably fighting heavy eyelids by the time you reached your destination. Now imagine trying to drive for twice as long and how exhausted you would probably be.
Preventing Exhausted Driving
Trucking companies will play the largest role in preventing exhausted driving. Only they can give truck drivers shorter routes and shifts that allow them to get enough rest between drives. However, until the FMCSA requires such scheduling to become the norm, it is unlikely this will happen. Profits are often placed before people in such situations.
Just like any other driver on the road, truck drivers can find themselves distracted by a variety of things. Smartphones are the most likely distraction these days because everyone has one and there are so many different forms of entertainment provided by one. On long trips and stretches of highway, truck drivers might be tempted to busy themselves with their smartphones and falsely think that putting their truck in cruise control is enough to safely drive.
Other forms of truck driver distractions include:
- Adjusting the radio or GPS
- Eating or drinking
- Looking at billboards
- Reading a book
Preventing Distracted Driving
Truck drivers need to hold themselves accountable whenever they are behind the wheel. Engaging in any form of distraction is unacceptable. No matter how long their shift that day, a truck driver needs to pay constant attention to the road around them.
Some truck accidents are caused by insufficient training. Novice truck drivers will have greater difficulty controlling their large vehicles than truck drivers with more experience and training. Just understanding the size of a big rig and how much space it occupies while in motion can be a challenge for untrained, inexperienced truckers.
How to Correct Insufficient Training
Trucking companies must only hire truck drivers who have been sufficiently trained and who have commercial driver’s licenses. When they hire someone who needs more training, the trucking company should ensure that training is provided and completed before routes are given to the trucker. When a truck accident can be traced to insufficient training, the liability could be placed on the trucking company, too.
Defective Truck Parts
A truck accident can be likely if any of the following parts become defective:
- Braking system
- Underride rails
Brake and tire failures are among the most common types of truck part defects, which is unfortunate because they are also among the most likely to cause a crash. When the brakes fail or a tire bursts, the truck driver could suddenly lose control of their vehicle.
How to Identify & Fix Defective Truck Parts
To prevent dangerous truck defects from causing a crash, truck drivers should regularly inspect their vehicles. The FMCSA has a lenient inspection regulation for truck drivers, though. Parts of a commercial truck only need to be kept in a workable condition. Due to the vagueness of that requirement, truck drivers might inspect their trucks for defects anywhere from once per trip to once per year.
Poorly Loaded Cargo
Did you know that the cargo placed on or in a semi-truck can be the source of a terrible accident? If cargo is not loaded correctly, then it can come loose and fall into the road, striking any driver behind the truck. In other situations, cargo can be loaded top-heavily, which makes the entire trailer prone to tipping over. Jackknife accidents are also more likely when a trailer is overloaded beyond the 80,000-pound federal weight limit as set by the FMCSA.
Preventing Cargo Mishaps
The crews that load cargo onto tractor-trailers have the most important role in preventing cargo-related accidents later. They must always be careful not to put too much freight in a truck or over a particular axle or set of axles. All cargo must be secured to FMCSA regulations and in a way that prevents anything from coming loose in transit. Failing to load cargo correctly can make the loading company – which is often not the same as the trucking company – liable for a truck accident.
Driving in a Truck’s Blind Spots
According to studies from the American Trucking Associations® (ATA), upwards of 80% of all truck accidents are not caused by truck drivers but instead inattentive motorists in smaller vehicles. Although this percentage has not been clearly verified by other highway safety organizations, it can be assumed that at least a noticeable percentage of truck accidents are caused by motorists. One of the worst mistakes that a motorist can make is lingering too long in a commercial truck’s blind spots, which are as large as they are numerous.
Truck drivers have a responsibility to signal and check their mirrors when they want to merge, change lanes, or turn. However, drivers also have a responsibility to try to stay out of blind spots and yield the right-of-way when it is reasonable to do so.
How to Stay Out of a Truck’s Blind Spots
There are four blind spots on a commercial truck:
- Front: The blind spot in front of a big rig can cover about 20 feet immediately in front of the cab, which is enough to hide an average-sized sedan.
- Back: The blind spot behind a big rig can cover about 30 feet immediately behind the trailer, which is enough to hide two or three cars.
- Left: The blind spot on the left obscures one lane to the left and slightly behind the driver’s door, which can hide an entire car or SUV.
- Right: The blind spot on the right of a big rig is the largest. It obscures two lanes to the right and behind the passenger-side door, and it is broad enough to hide several vehicles. You should not pass on the right, if possible, just to avoid this huge blind spot.
As a motorist, you should be aware of these four blind spots and do what you can to avoid them. Sometimes, you have to drive in a blind spot due to traffic conditions, though. Don’t assume that if you get into a truck accident while in a blind spot that you’re automatically liable and can’t file a claim. Leave that decision up to an attorney.
Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident?
Commercial drivers are subject to strict trucking industry safety regulations. It is up to individual drivers and their employers to ensure they are following protocols and making responsible decisions on the road.
Unfortunately, many drivers are up against difficult timetables at work. The pressure to meet deadlines despite inclement weather, packed schedules, and long hauls can cause people with good intentions to cut corners—ultimately leading to serious accidents.
There are many potentially liable parties in trucking accident claims, including but not limited to:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The party responsible for truck maintenance
- The party responsible for truck repairs
- A manufacturer or distributor
- Another motorist or person sharing the roadway
Trucking companies and their insurance carriers will often do everything possible to reduce their liability after an accident. We work hard to hold these and other entities accountable for the damage they have allowed.
At Maloney Law Group, P.L.L.C., we understand how the trucking industry works. We have spent more than 30 years practicing personal injury law—long enough to gain an intimate knowledge of semi-truck and 18-wheeler accidents, how they could have been prevented, and who to hold accountable when someone has been injured in a truck crash.
What Damages Can Be Recovered After a Truck Accident?
Due to their immense size and weight, semi-trucks tend to cause catastrophic damage when they collide with other smaller vehicles. Victims often sustain severe injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, leading to months, years, or even a lifetime of complications. At Maloney Law Group, P.L.L.C., we understand the need for fair financial compensation for victims so that they can obtain critical medical care now and in the future.
Our San Antonio truck accident attorneys can help you seek compensation for your:
- Current and future medical bills
- Lost income/wages
- Lost future earnings
- Lost or reduced earning ability
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Counseling and rehabilitative expenses
- In-home care costs
If your loved one was tragically killed in a truck accident, we can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages, such as funeral/burial expenses, the value of support and services provided by the decedent, and loss of love, companionship, and guidance.
Do You Need an Attorney After a Trucking Accident?
One of the first things you should do after a truck accident is contact an attorney. Our legal team works closely with accident reconstruction experts to show how the accident happened and who was at fault. It is not uncommon for drivers to speed in order to make up lost time on their route, drive for longer than they should and get tired, or fail to perform adequate safety checks on their equipment. Whatever the cause, we will find it and use this information to further your case.
Once we have a complete picture of your accident and injuries, we can present this information to the trucking company and its insurance carrier. We are able to resolve many cases through negotiation but are not afraid to pursue just compensation in front of a judge and jury if need be.
Call a truck accident attorney from Maloney Law Group, P.L.L.C. today at (210) 361-2997 to schedule a free consultation regarding your accident.
Birth Injury $7,000,000
Birth injury involving hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (2020) Contingency Fee: $2,800,000.00 Reimbursable Expenses: $75,578.00 Net to Client: $4,124,421.00
Birth Injury $5,750,000
Birth injury involving hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (2014) Contingency Fee: $1,786,738.72 Reimbursable Expenses: $170,000.00 Net to Client: $3,396,261.28
18-Wheeler Accident $5,000,000
Head-on collision causing serious injury and death (2008) Contingency Fee: $1,799,990.00 Reimbursable Expenses: $150,000.00 Net to Client: $3,050,010.00
Carbon Monoxide Leak $4,290,000
Crew exposed to harmful gasses resulting in injuries (2006) Contingency Fee: $1,716,000.00 Case Expenses: $100,000 Net to Client: $2,474,000.00
Construction Accident Death $3,600,000
Dangerous work conditions resulting in death (2015) Contingency Fee: $1,440,000.00 Case Expenses: $125,000.00 Net to Client: $2,035,000.00
Trucking Accident $3,000,000
Trucking accident resulting in death (2015) Contingency Fees: $1,000,000.00 Case Expenses: $93,455.68 Net to Client $1,906,544.32
Brain Aneurysm $1,820,000
Failure to diagnose ruptured brain aneurysm in the Emergency Department resulting in serious injury (2020) Contingency fee: $712,090.00 Reimbursable expenses: $157.285.61 Net to client: $950,624.39
Back Surgery Paralysis $1,600,000
Negligence during back surgery resulting in paralysis (2014) Contingency Fee: $640,000.00 Case Expenses: $170,000.00 Net to Client: $790,000.00
Construction Site Ceiling Collapse $1,450,000
Ceiling collapse at a construction site resulting in injuries (2012) Contingency Fee: $438,476.26 Case Expenses: $26,952.51 Net to Client: $984,571.23
Necrotizing Infection $1,370,000
Failure to diagnose and treat a necrotizing infection resulting in death (2019) Contingency Fee: $548,000.00 Reimbursable expenses: $165,301.67 Net to client: $656,698.33
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