18 wheeler trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. And when they are involved in crashes, the results are often catastrophic.
Holding negligent truck drivers and trucking companies accountable is the only way victims can receive compensation for their injuries, losses, and damages. And in most cases, only an experienced 18 wheeler accident attorney can help victims build strong legal claims and fight for maximum compensation.
At Husain Law + Associates — Houston Accident & Injury Lawyers, P.C., our attorneys have extensive experience representing victims of 18 wheeler crashes in Dallas and across Texas. Our dedicated team of truck accident lawyers has handled hundreds of these complex cases over the past decade, achieving millions in compensation for our deserving clients.
When you choose Husain Law + Associates — Houston Accident & Injury Lawyers, P.C., you can trust that you have compassionate yet aggressive attorneys who will stop at nothing to maximize your recovery. We have the resources and expertise to handle even the most challenging truck accident cases involving catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. Our lawyers are not afraid to take cases to court when insurance companies do not offer just compensation.
What qualifies as an 18 wheeler?
An 18 wheeler, also known as a semi-truck, big rig, or tractor-trailer, is a large commercial motor vehicle that consists of a tractor unit pulling one or more trailers. To qualify as an 18 wheeler, the vehicle must:
- Have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of over 10,000 pounds
- Have at least 5 axles – 2 on the tractor and 3 on the trailer
- Be used for commercial purposes, not personal
- Pull at least one trailer that is over 33 feet long
The ’18 wheeler’ terminology comes from the typical wheel configuration – 18 total wheels with 10 on the tractor unit and 8 on the trailer. However, the number of wheels can vary based on axle configuration. The critical defining factor is the GVWR over 10,000 lbs used for commercial trucking.
What are the most common causes of 18 wheeler accidents in Dallas?
Some of the most common causes of 18 wheeler accidents in Dallas include:
- Driver fatigue – Drowsy or sleeping drivers are a major problem, especially with truckers trying to meet tight delivery schedules. Fatigued drivers have slow reaction times and impaired judgment.
- Speeding – Trucks going over the speed limit are harder to control and stop. Speeding reduces the driver’s ability to respond to changing conditions.
- Improper loading – Improperly loaded or overloaded trailers can cause handling problems, tire blowouts, and rollover accidents.
- Distracted driving – Actions like texting, eating, or adjusting the radio divert the driver’s attention from the road.
- Equipment failures – Defective brakes, tires, lighting, or other truck parts can lead to catastrophic accidents. Lack of maintenance is often a factor.
- Drug/alcohol impairment – Intoxicated truck drivers pose a serious public safety risk.
- hazardous weather/road conditions – Rain, snow, ice, and high winds can be very dangerous for these large, heavy trucks.
Proper training, experience, safe driving practices, and maintenance are key to preventing 18 wheeler crashes. But other motorists need to be cautious around big rigs as well.
Who can be held legally responsible for an 18 wheeler accident?
There are multiple parties that can share legal responsibility and liability after an 18 wheeler crash:
- The truck driver themselves for errors like speeding, distraction, impairment, etc.
- The trucking company that hired and manages the driver. They can be liable for negligent hiring/training/supervision.
- The owner of the tractor-trailer unit. They can be responsible for equipment safety and maintenance issues.
- Truck manufacturers. Product defects and design flaws can put liability on the manufacturer.
- Cargo loaders. Improperly loaded trailers can cause handling deficiencies and rollovers.
- Repair shops. Faulty repairs to brakes, tires, etc that lead to a crash may implicate the mechanic/shop.
- Other drivers. Their actions could have contributed to causing the accident.
- Government agencies. Inadequate road design, signage, or maintenance may share blame.
The best 18 wheeler accident lawyer in Dallas will investigate all potentially liable parties and build the strongest case on the victim’s behalf.
What are the most common 18 wheeler accident injuries?
Due to their massive size and weight, collisions with 18 wheelers often inflict severe and catastrophic injuries:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) – The sudden impact causes violent movement of the brain inside the skull. This can cause concussions, bleeding, and permanent damage.
- Spinal cord injuries – Fractured vertebrae, pinched nerves, and paralysis are common spine trauma.
- Broken bones – Fractures of the arms, legs, ribs, hips, skull, and other bones frequently occur. Compound fractures that pierce the skin are particularly dangerous.
- Internal organ damage – Blunt force trauma can lead to lacerations, hemorrhage, and rupture of organs like the liver, kidneys, spleen, etc.
- Amputations – Crush injuries and severed limbs frequently result when part of the body is caught under the truck.
- Burns – Friction with the roadway or post-crash fires can cause severe burn injuries.
- Wrongful death – With massive force involved, fatalities are common in 18 wheeler collisions. Families can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
Many accident victims are left permanently disabled and scarred from their injuries. The negligence that caused these catastrophic outcomes warrants substantial compensation.
What types of compensation can be recovered in an 18 wheeler accident claim?
Injured victims can potentially recover multiple types of damages through an 18 wheeler accident claim or lawsuit:
- Past and future medical expenses – Bills related to hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, therapy, in-home nursing care, and medications.
- Lost income – Salary and benefits lost if injuries prevent a return to work. Includes future diminished earnings if a disability is permanent.
- Loss of earning capacity – Compensation for reduced ability to work and earn income over the lifetime.
- Pain and suffering – Damages for physical and mental anguish caused by the injuries.
- Loss of enjoyment of life – Compensation if injuries make activities and pleasures impossible.
- Disfigurement – Compensation if injuries leave permanent scars or disfigurement.
- Wrongful death – Financial support and compensation for grieving loved ones if negligence caused death.
- Punitive damages – Additional amounts levied against reckless defendants to punish and deter egregious conduct.
An experienced 18 wheeler accident lawyer in Dallas will seek full and fair compensation to cover all losses and needs of their injured clients. Settlements can extend into the millions based on case specifics.
What key steps should be taken after an 18 wheeler accident?
It is critical to take certain key steps immediately after an 18 wheeler crash:
- Seek medical attention – This is crucial even if injuries seem minor initially. Diagnostic tests may reveal unseen trauma or damage.
- Report the accident – Alert police to the scene so a formal report can document what occurred.
- Gather evidence – Take photos of damage, skid marks, and injuries. Get witness contact info. Take notes about what happened while fresh.
- Do not admit fault – Anything said can be used against you. Avoid claiming blame or accepting responsibility.
- Hire an attorney – An experienced 18 wheeler accident lawyer in Dallas can handle evidence collection, communications with insurers, legal filings, and protect your rights.
- Focus on recovery – Follow doctor’s orders closely. Keep records of all treatment, expenses, impact on work, mobility limitations, and pain experienced.
Prompt accident reporting and preserving evidence is crucial. It is crucial in allowing an 18 wheeler accident lawyer in Dallas to build the strongest case and maximize compensation.
Why hire an 18 wheeler accident lawyer to handle your clain instead of handling it yourself?
It is highly advisable to hire an experienced Dallas 18 wheeler accident lawyer rather than trying to handle a claim yourself. Benefits of legal representation include:
- Maximizing compensation – 18 wheeler accident lawyers negotiate top-dollar settlements based on case details. Individuals often accept lowball offers or get taken advantage of by insurers.
- Proving liability – Establishing the trucker or company’s negligence requires in-depth investigation, accident reconstruction, hiring experts, discovery requests, and legal acumen.
- Navigating claims process – Paperwork, deadlines, insurance adjuster calls, and proceedings are complex. Attorneys manage smoothly.
- Litigation capabilities – If a fair settlement isn’t reached, attorneys can file lawsuits and argue cases in court effectively.
- Leveling the playing field – Large insurers have vast resources. Attorneys even the odds.
- Peace of mind – You can focus on recovery while your attorney fights for compensation.
With so much at stake, the resources and expertise of a truck accident lawyer in Dallas are invaluable after a serious truck accident. They maximize claims and protect client interests.
How are 18 wheeler accident cases unique from other motor vehicle accident claims?
18 wheeler accident cases differ from typical car crash claims in several important ways:
- Multiple liable parties – Beyond just the truck driver, companies, owners, manufacturers, cargo loaders, etc. may share the blame.
- Complex regulations – Trucker logbooks, equipment standards, safety rules, maintenance requirements, and other transportation industry regulations come into play. Determining violations requires specialized legal knowledge.
- Higher value cases – Catastrophic injuries like paralysis and death are more common. Damages and settlements are substantially larger as a result.
- Specialist expertise needed – Understanding the trucking industry, conducting tractor-trailer inspections, hiring truck operations experts, and collecting data recorder evidence require niche legal skills.
- Longer timeframe – Document collection, witness interviews, government record retrieval, and technical investigations make cases drag on.
- Rapid response required – Crucial early evidence like skid marks, visibility conditions, weather, and temporary injuries require fast action.
These unique aspects demonstrate why hiring a truck accident attorney, seasoned in the intricacies of these cases, is a must.
What trucking regulations apply to 18 wheeler accident cases?
Various federal and Texas trucking regulations govern issues like:
- Hours of Service – Drivers can’t exceed maximum driving hours without mandated rest periods. Fatigue violations may constitute negligence.
- Vehicle inspections/maintenance – Trucks must meet safety standards. Improper upkeep can be introduced as evidence.
- Load securement – Cargo must be properly loaded, balanced, and tied down. Unstable loads heighten rollover risk.
- CDL licensing – Drivers must hold a valid Commercial Driver’s License. Lack of proper licensing may be used against defendants.
- Drug/alcohol testing – Drivers must be tested for intoxicants after crashes. DUI opens avenues for punitive damages.
- Logbooks – Truckers must thoroughly document travel, rest stops, loading/unloading, and duty status. Incomplete or false records can help prove violations.
Experienced attorneys will thoroughly investigate for any regulatory breaches that strengthen their client’s case. Trucking safety standards help protect the public.
Is there a deadline to file an 18 wheeler injury claim in Texas?
Yes, under Texas statute there is a two-year deadline from the date of an 18 wheeler accident to file any related personal injury or wrongful death claim. This is known as the statute of limitations.
Key points on this critical filing deadline:
- It applies to both insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits.
- The clock starts ticking on the actual date the truck crash occurred.
- Missing the deadline forever bars any claim arising from that accident.
- Extensions are rare, requiring proof like fraud that prevented earlier filing.
- In serious injury cases, exceptions may allow minors additional time after turning 18.
- Wrongful death cases must be filed by the two-year mark or within 3 months after probate closes, whichever is later.
Don’t risk losing your right to recover damages. Contact a Dallas 18 wheeler accident attorney as soon as possible after any truck crash.
Should an 18 wheeler accident claim be settled out of court or pursued through a lawsuit?
There are pros and cons to settling out of court versus filing a lawsuit after an 18 wheeler crash:
- Faster payment of compensation
- Avoid extended litigation delays
- Lower attorney fees and expenses
- Greater privacy of settlement terms
- Less investigation means lower settlement
- No court means less motivation for top-dollar offers
- Jury sympathy and outrage can’t pressure higher settlement
- Court orders facilitate access to more evidence
- Jury verdicts often award higher damages
- Publicity pressures companies to settle
- Uncovers all liable parties
- Drags out process to final payment
- No guarantee of a favorable jury verdict
- Higher litigation costs may eat into recovery
- The stress of depositions and trial
An experienced personal injury lawyer is best placed to advise you whether settlement is in your best interests, or if pursuing maximum recovery through litigation is warranted.
How long does a typical 18 wheeler accident lawsuit take in Texas?
The length of an 18 wheeler accident lawsuit depends on many factors, but typically will run 12-24 months in duration:
- 3-6 Months for pre-suit investigation and filing of the initial complaint
- 2-4 Months for defendants to file responses
- 2-3 Months of written discovery document exchange, interrogatories, and depositions
- 2-4 Months for motions, hearings, and court rulings on evidence issues
- 6-12 Months for technical investigation, securing experts, accident reconstruction, etc.
- 4-6 Months for pretrial conferences and preparation
- 2-4 Weeks for jury selection and trial
- 1-2 Months for judgment and post-trial motions
This demonstrates why hiring an 18 wheeler accident lawyer after a crash is so important. Compiling evidence, making the case, and reaching a resolution is a lengthy process. Time is of the essence.
What information and evidence should an 18 wheeler accident lawyer collect after an accident?
Crucial information and evidence to collect after a crash with a big rig includes:
- Truck driver’s name, license, insurance, contact info
- Trucking company name and DOT number
- Photos of the vehicles, damage, injuries, skid marks, debris field
- Police report with officer statements, diagrams, and crash details
- Eyewitness names and contact information
- Video footage from nearby security or traffic cameras
- Company records like driver logs, inspection reports, personnel files
- The truck’s electronic data recorder and engine control module
- Weather reports, road condition reports
- Medical records documenting injuries
- Lost income data like pay stubs, employment records, tax returns
When should a 18 wheeler accident lawyer in Dallas be consulted after an 18 wheeler accident in Dallas?
Contacting a qualified Dallas 18 wheeler accident attorney should be one of your very first calls after seeking medical care.
- Do not provide any recorded statement to insurers without counsel.
- An attorney can begin gathering evidence immediately. Crucial early details and factors fade over time.
- Prompt initiation of claim investigation activities will produce maximum information.
- The attorney can assist with interacting with law enforcement and medical providers to secure documentation.
- Witness recollections remain sharpest closest to the accident date.
- Any public statements, social media posts, or admissions must be coordinated through legal counsel.
- Continued medical treatment, recovery, and impact documentation will be guided by your 18 wheeler accident lawyer in Dallas.
- The attorney can secure the truck and critical data before the company tampers with potential evidence.
A swift response and early attorney involvement increases the chances of building the strongest injury claim possible after a truck crash.
What questions should be asked when hiring an 18 wheeler accident attorney in Dallas?
Key questions to ask when vetting and retaining an 18 wheeler accident attorney include:
- How many years have you practiced personal injury law? How many truck accident cases have you handled?
- What is your reputation and track record of recovering top dollar for clients? Can you provide case examples?
- Are you intimately familiar with complex federal and Texas trucking regulations?
- Do you have experience litigating against national insurance carriers?
- Will you personally handle my case or will it be passed to less experienced associates?
- What is your thorough process for investigating truck crashes and building a winning case?
- Will you carefully explain my legal options if the insurance company offers an inadequate settlement?
- If a trial becomes necessary, are you prepared to take the case to a jury verdict?
- How responsive will you be to my calls and questions throughout the legal process?
- What are the fees for your legal services? Are they contingency-based or hourly?
Taking time to vet potential counsel ensures you secure the best attorney to fight for maximum compensation after a devastating truck collision.
Don’t delay in seeking experienced legal representation for your 18 wheeler accident case. Call Husain Law + Associates — Houston Accident & Injury Lawyers, P.C. today at (713) 804-8149 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Time is of the essence in these cases, so put our truck accident attorneys on your side today!
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