The massive weight and length of a tractor-trailer can mean that a collision poses a disproportionate risk of catastrophic injury or wrongful death to others sharing the roadways of Parker County. A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh over 26 times more than a passenger car. This fact does not make it less shocking that the decedent in fatal trucking accidents is the occupant of the other vehicle in 97 percent of collisions between large commercial trucks and passenger cars according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Given the high risk of suffering severe injury in a collision involving a tractor-trailer (semi-truck, big-rig, 18-wheeler, large truck, or commercial truck), injury victims gain a significant advantage by retaining an experienced and proven Parker County trucking accident attorney. While some people assume any personal injury attorney excels in trucking litigation, tractor-trailer collisions are not just motor vehicle crashes involving a large vehicle.
Why Semi-Truck Collision Lawyers Trust the Hampton Eppes Law Group
Trucking litigation requires different experience, skills, and expertise than a typical auto accident. Our attorneys have nearly forty years of collective experience, which includes successful litigation of trucking accident lawsuits. Our lawyers have received a litany of honors and recognition, which includes multiple selections to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers and recognition as Rising Stars and Top 40 under 40 attorneys by the same organization. Our attorneys have also received the highest rating of 10.0 from AVVO. We understand the unique nuances involved in semi-truck litigation, such as:
Commercial Carrier Regulatory Structure: The trucking industry is heavily regulated with many of these rules designed to mitigate the risk to the public of sharing the road with these mammoth vehicles. Parker County tractor-trailer accident lawyers must have extensive knowledge of regulation like Hours of Service (HOS) rules, random drug testing, pre-hiring screening, weight and load limitations, vehicle maintenance requirements, and more. Violations of these regulations designed to protect others on the road often form the basis for imposing liability on careless truck drives and indifferent commercial carriers.
Gathering of Evidence & Investigations: Trucking companies in Parker County and throughout Texas frequently have rapid response teams of investigators who can be immediately dispatched to the scene of a crash. These experts begin analyzing the physical evidence and developing theories to avoid liability as soon as they arrive at the crash site. Our law firm also uses trucking industry and crash reconstruction experts, so we can develop persuasive legal and factual contentions. Trucking companies are prepared when one of their drivers is involved in an accident, and we can make sure you are too.
Spoliation: While the risk of evidence being destroyed, erased, or modified can be present in any litigation, this issue arises often during trucking litigation. For example, a big-rig might be repaired and rushed back into service. This tactic will mean a plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert cannot examine the vehicle to determine how the accident occurred. Additionally, the truck’s onboard data recorder might delete critical data about pre-crash speed, the location of the collision, sudden braking, HOS, and other evidence of liability. Our Parker County trucking accident lawyers regularly send letters to trucking companies advising that the vehicle and the contents of the data record are the subjects of litigation. This letter will warn the trucking company that failure to maintain the evidence in its post-crash condition can subject the company to monetary sanctions or sanctions that compromise the company and driver’s defense.
Verification of Information: While commercial truck drivers are required to maintain logbooks that document HOS, vehicle maintenance, and other information, these records are so commonly falsified that they are referred to in the industry as “lie books.” We use the discovery process to obtain and analyze gas receipts, tire invoices, lodging bills, and data stored on a truck’s electronic data recorder to expose this type of fraud.
Negligent Practices Causing Trucking Accidents in Parker County
Trucking accidents can be caused by the same traffic violations and unsafe driving practices that lead to auto collisions, but thee are special risks that apply to the trucking industry.
Driver Fatigue: HOS rules are designed to mitigate the risk of injury and death caused by exhausted commercial drivers. These rules limit the number of hours a driver is on-duty or behind the wheel and impose minimum break periods. Trucking companies often have compensation plans that motivate drivers to ignore anti-fatigue limits.
Medically Unfit Drivers: Although drivers must obtain a certification of medical fitness, the standards for making this determination are both lax and vague.
Truck “No Zones”: While all motor vehicles have blind spots that are not visible with mirrors, these areas around a tractor-trailer are much larger. Commercial drivers must be attentive to vehicles moving into and out of these no visibility zones.
Poor Route Choice: Given the limits in maneuverability, weight, and length of large trucks, routes need to be carefully selected. Steep grades, narrow two-lane roads and certain bridge or overpasses might not be safe for an 80,000 pound vehicle.
Overloaded/Improperly Loaded Big-Rig: When trucks exceed the maximum cargo weight or loads are not balanced and secured properly, the handling of the vehicle can be adversely affected. The driver might lose control of the vehicle or tip it over because of the shifted load.
Lack of Training: Driving a big-rig requires skill and concentration, so commercial companies endanger public safety when they fail to conduct adequate screening, training, and supervision of their drivers.
Drug and Alcohol Impaired Drivers: Commercial carriers must conduct pre-employment drug screenings, as well as testing at other times, such as in the wake of a crash or at random times. Further, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels for DUI involving commercial drivers are much lower than other motorists. When trucking companies entrust big-rigs to their drivers without performing mandatory testing, this failure can be a basis of liability.
Design and Manufacturing Defects: When the components or systems on a tractor-trailer like the brakes or tires are defective, the manufacturer of the part or vehicle might be financially responsible for a crash.
Learn about Your Legal Rights and Remedies
If you or a loved one has suffered injury because of an unsafe truck driver or indifferent trucking company, our Parker County trucking accident attorneys can investigate your situation and advise you of your legal options. We invite you to contact us today at (817) 877-5201 for a free case evaluation.
Hampton Eppes Law Group
117 N. Main St.
Weatherford, Texas 76086