Houston Truck Accident Lawyers
If you have been involved in a wreck with a commercial truck, you may be entitled to recover damages for your injuries by bringing a legal claim against the party at fault. Graham Sutliff and Hank Stout are Houston truck accident lawyers who can help determine whether you may be entitled to compensation.
The main theory of liability in a commercial truck wreck case, or any auto accident case, is negligence. To establish a case, the injured party has to show that the trucker owed a duty to him or her to exercise reasonable care in operating the massive vehicle. The injured person must also show that this breach, or failure to exercise reasonable care in driving, was the cause of the injury.
If you or a loved one has been injured by the carelessness of a bus or truck driver in Houston, you need to make sure that you hire a law firm that understands these types of cases, what must be done to preserve evidence, and the rules and regulations applicable to the truck or bus involved in the collision.
Questions After a Truck Accident
- How am I going to pay my medical bills?
- How can I afford the medical treatment I need?
- If I can’t work, how do I pay my bills?
- Am I entitled to be paid for the work I missed?
- What if my injuries are so bad that I am unable to go back to work?
- The insurance company says its wants to do the right thing, but why won’t it pay my medical bills?
- If the insurance company says its accepting responsibility, why won’t it pay me for my missed work?
Sutliff & Stout can help you answer these questions or any other questions you may have regarding your collision and the claims process. Our attorneys strive to put your mind at ease regarding the claims and litigation process so you can focus on recovering.
Types of Trucks
Let’s take a look at the types of big truck accidents that occur on Texas roadways everyday.
- Dump Trucks: A dump truck is a truck used for transporting loose material not unlike sand or gravel. A dump truck usually causes accidents while backing up due to a limited view, causing pedestrian accidents in neighborhoods as well.
- 18-Wheelers: These monster vehicles account for 85 percent of all cargo shipped in the country.
- Flatbed Trucks: These trucks hit the open road with their beds flat and open. Many of the accidents caused by this massive vehicle happen because the load on the flatbed isn’t tied down properly.
- Extra Duty Trucks: These trucks are used to carry the largest of equipment. They are so large, they usually require special permits to operate.
- Semi-Trucks: These are 18-wheelers that have trailers connected to and pulled by another trailer. These trucks require a CDL licensed driver and actually account for the majority of truck wrecks in Texas. Known as “articulated” vehicles, they often have problems with control because of their two-part nature (tractor and trailer). Many accidents are due to braking or steering input when the trailer is traveling at a different speed than the tractor.
- Tanker Trucks: These trucks carry liquids, hazardous in many cases, and can be the subject of special regulations. Because the chemicals sway back and forth while en route, accidents are caused when the weight of these liquids causes the tank to tip over on curves and turns.
Here are the most common causes of truck accidents in the state of Texas:
- Sudden braking. When it comes to braking, commercial trucks and trailers may require a good amount of distance before they stop completely.
- Lane Changes. Sudden lane changes right in front of a commercial big truck can create risk of accident.
- Cross-winds. On windy days, a truck can shield another car from heavy winds. When that driver passes the truck, a gust of wind may suddenly catch the driver off-guard.
- Aggressive driving. In a collision where a big rig and car are involved, the car will lose. Don’t engage in aggressive driving techniques against a truck driver.
- Tailgating. Drivers who rear-end 18-wheelers may find that the front of their vehicle passes below the truck. This can cause the primary point of impact to be with the car’s windshield. The metal bars on the back of the truck below the chassis are meant to prevent such underride (car going under trailer).
What to Do and What Not to Do after a Truck Accident
- Do not give a statement to the driver’s company, hired investigator or insurance company.
- Seek out qualified medical treatment for any injuries or pain you are having following the collision. If you do not have medical insurance, you should locate a qualified personal injury lawyer who can help you find a qualified doctor to help you. Along these lines, while chiropractors have a place in the medical field, we strongly recommend you first seek out treatment from a qualified physician who specializes in the area of medicine that is applicable to your injury or pain.
- Do not sign anything from the at fault party unless you fully understand and appreciate the legal effect that the document may have on your rights.
- In the case of a substantial injury or wrongful death, we suggest that you hire a qualified trucking accident lawyer in Houston as quickly as possible.
- Don’t give a recorded statement to the insurance company.
- Report the truck accident immediately.
- Call your insurance agent as soon as you can.
- Review and understand your insurance coverage.
- Make notes of all conversations.
- Take photographs of the vehicles involved.
- Do not give the insured any written statements whatsoever.
- Do not automatically accept the estimates of your damages as given by the insurer.
- Avoid signing any releases or waivers.
- Remember your policy time limits.
- Do not accept any final payment checks, unless you are absolutely ready to do so.
Evidence to Gather Following a Truck Accident
- A detailed preservation letter needs to be sent to all parties involved in the collision. This will remove any ambiguity regarding when the obligation to start preserving evidence started.
- If appropriate, a consultant needs to be hired to download the ECM or “black box” from the truck. Most commercially rated vehicles have devices that store a significant amount of information related to the speed and operation of the vehicle prior to the collision. If this information is not downloaded shortly after the collision it can be lost forever.
- Depending on the circumstances and extent of the injuries involved in the collision, an accident re-constructionist may need to be retained to conduct a visual inspection of the vehicles and scene to make sure everything has been properly documented.
- In instances where your vehicle has been totaled, it may be necessary for your lawyer to purchase the vehicle from your insurance company to ensure that it is preserved during the pendency of your claim.
- Cell phone records need to be obtained to make sure such records are not destroyed. It is important to note that some companies such as Boost or Cricket will delete records after 60 or 90 days.
Bus Accident Injuries
Most injuries involving buses happen while a passenger is boarding and disembarking; for instance, when passing motorists disregard school bus signals, or when children cross streets unsafely. Serious injuries also happen in collisions, including highway accidents where school buses go off the roadway. Such injuries require a qualified attorney in order to collect any compensation resulting from such injuries.
Modern school bus designs incorporate a significant degree of restraint into the seat design. The seats are designed to minimize injury either from children being ejected or from colliding with the seat in front of them. The consensus is to try and improve safety on buses through better design. Trying to enforce a seat belt rule full of kids and teens can be unrealistic for a bus driver.
When it comes to fifteen passenger vans (vans used by church groups, private schools, etc.), safety is a huge concern because of the high chance of rollover during an accident. Thus, after an accident, passengers involved have a potential product liability claim in addition to claims of negligent driving.
Buses actually have one of the best records in public transportation safety in the U.S., but this isn’t always the case. Whether you’re involved in a single bus accident or a multiple vehicle collision, a bus accident can cause devastating injuries due to the sheer size of their frame.
Since a number of bus companies are public entities, damage claims are often difficult due to government entity involvement, and there are even strict limitations. You need an attorney who understands the complexities attached to bus accidents, and who can maximize your compensation to award you the money you deserve for the injuries you’ve sustained.
Schedule a Free Consultation in Houston to Discuss Your Case
If you have been involved in a bus or truck accident in Houston, contact Sutliff & Stout at (713) 987-7111. We are ready to answer your questions, help you with your concerns, explain your legal rights, and pursue justice on your behalf.