Commuting to work on I-30 in Dallas can be a nerve-racking experience when you’re driving alongside a massive semi-trailer truck. Big rigs, 18-wheelers, and other commercial vehicles can outweigh passenger vehicles by tens of thousands of pounds, and in many cases, carry toxic or flammable cargo items.
When a commercial truck causes an accident, the occupants of passenger vehicles like cars, SUVs, and vans often sustain devastating injuries. The size and weight difference between commercial and passenger vehicles makes death or serious injury a likely outcome, particularly in accidents involving factors like high speed or a head-on point of impact.
If you were hurt in a truck crash in Texas, or if you lost a loved one to a collision with a commercial truck, you and your family could be entitled to compensation for your pain, suffering, and financial losses. Get help from our experienced truck accident lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm by dialing (817) 476-1797 today.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Dallas
Crashes involving large trucks can stem from several different forms of negligent conduct. For instance, the following are all common causes of truck accidents in Dallas:
Distracted driving is a very common source of truck accidents. In general, there are three different forms of distraction that may occur.
First, drivers may be visually distracted when they take their eyes off the road. Second, drivers may be manually distracted by any activity that causes them to remove their hands from the wheel. Finally, cognitive distraction happens when motorists take their minds off the task of driving.
There are several different activities that frequently distract truck drivers in Dallas. Some activities such as texting or using a GPS may even involve multiple forms of distraction. Thankfully, if your crash was caused by a distracted driver, then our truck accident attorneys can help pursue payment for the injuries your sustained.
Speeding is a common form of negligence that can lead to truck accidents. Trucks are massive vehicles that require ample space to maneuver and come to a stop. When a truck driver exceeds the speed limit, they reduce their ability to control their vehicle effectively.
Speeding becomes especially dangerous on winding roads or in inclement weather conditions. For instance, a truck driver may be rushing to meet a tight delivery deadline. In their haste, they ignore posted speed limits and push their vehicle well beyond safe speeds. As they approach a sharp curve in the road, they realize too late that they can’t navigate the turn at such a high speed. The truck veers off the road, crashing into a guardrail or even tipping over. The impact can result in not only damage to the truck but also a potential hazard for other vehicles on the road.
High-speed truck accidents are especially likely to result in serious harm. Fortunately, there are several forms of evidence that may be utilized to prove that speeding drivers are at fault for their collisions.
Disobeying Traffic Signals
Traffic signals and signs are in place to regulate the flow of traffic and prevent accidents. Disregarding these signals, whether intentionally or due to inattention, can lead to catastrophic collisions. Imagine a truck driver who fails to stop at a red light at a busy intersection. This blatant violation of traffic rules can result in a collision with cross-traffic vehicles that have the right of way. The force of the impact can cause severe injuries to drivers and passengers involved, potentially leading to long-term medical treatment and rehabilitation.
Improper Cargo Securement
The safe transport of cargo is of paramount importance for truck drivers. Improperly secured cargo can lead to accidents, road hazards, and damage to the truck itself. Consider a scenario where a truck is carrying a load of large construction materials. If these materials are not properly secured, they might shift during transit. As the truck rounds a corner or encounters a sudden stop, the unsecured materials can shift dramatically, causing the truck to become imbalanced. This imbalance could lead to the truck overturning or jackknifing, endangering nearby vehicles and causing a substantial traffic disruption.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Truck drivers and trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that their vehicles are in proper working condition before hitting the road. Neglecting routine maintenance checks can result in mechanical failures while driving. For example, a truck with worn-out brake pads or malfunctioning brake systems might struggle to stop in time, especially when traveling at high speeds. In a scenario where the truck driver encounters a sudden traffic slowdown, their inability to brake effectively could lead to a collision with the vehicle ahead.
Truck drivers often face grueling schedules and long hours on the road. The pressure to meet delivery deadlines might lead some drivers to push through fatigue. However, tired driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. Consider a tired truck driver who has been driving for hours without adequate rest. As their fatigue increases, their concentration diminishes, and they might even nod off momentarily. In this state, they could drift into other lanes or fail to react promptly to changing road conditions. This could result in an accident where the truck collides with another vehicle or runs off the road.
Operating a truck under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a reckless act that endangers everyone on the road. Alcohol and drugs impair a driver’s coordination, decision-making abilities, and reaction times. If a truck driver is intoxicated, their ability to navigate turns, maintain a steady speed, and respond to sudden changes in traffic is compromised. For instance, a drunk truck driver might miss a stop sign at an intersection, leading to a collision with a vehicle that had the right of way. Such accidents can result in devastating injuries and loss of life.
Negligent Hiring Practices
Trucking companies have a responsibility to thoroughly vet and hire qualified drivers. Negligent hiring practices can lead to putting inexperienced or unsafe drivers behind the wheel. Imagine a scenario where a trucking company fails to conduct proper background checks on potential drivers. They hire an individual with a history of reckless driving, accidents, and traffic violations. This driver might continue their unsafe behaviors, eventually causing an accident due to their poor decision-making and lack of driving skills.
Following other vehicles too closely, or tailgating, is a dangerous behavior that can lead to rear-end collisions. When a truck driver tailgates another vehicle, they leave themselves very little room to react if the vehicle in front slows down suddenly. This lack of reaction time can result in the truck colliding with the vehicle ahead. For instance, a truck driver who is tailgating a passenger car might not be able to stop in time when the car’s driver hits the brakes unexpectedly. This can lead to a collision that causes damage to both vehicles and potentially injuries to the occupants.
Illegal Left Turns and Improper Lane Changes
Making illegal left turns and sudden lane changes without signaling are risky behaviors that can lead to accidents involving trucks. Imagine a scenario where a truck driver attempts an illegal left turn at an intersection where such a maneuver is prohibited. In doing so, they cut off an oncoming vehicle that had the right of way, leading to a collision. Similarly, improper lane changes without checking blind spots can result in sideswipes or collisions with other vehicles, especially when the truck driver fails to notice a vehicle in their blind spot.
Common Injuries Sustained in Trucking Accidents in Dallas, TX
Even when they are treatable, serious injuries can permanently alter the lives of the victims, as well as those of family members, spouses, and other loved ones. Depending on the location and severity of an injury, the victim may lose their ability to work and support themselves, destroying their career and leading to financial hardship. They may lose their mobility, requiring around-the-clock assistance from a medical caregiver. They may lose their marriage. They may substantially lose their enjoyment of daily life.
While it is impossible to ever truly “make up for” these devastating personal losses, the compensation that may be obtainable through a settlement or lawsuit can help to ease the financial burden of medical care and unemployment while providing greater stability for the victim and their loved ones. We fight hard to obtain the greatest compensation as possible for our clients, even if that means going to court.
With extensive experience handling many different practice areas and types of accidents, our personal injury lawyers have encountered all types of serious, unintentional injuries. We have a thorough understanding of how and why various injuries occur, and the complications and expenses that can result from their treatment. When necessary, we consult with medical experts to help strengthen our clients’ cases. Types of commercial trucking injury claims we handle include:
- Bulging Disc
- Herniated Disc
- Vertebral Fracture (Broken Spine)
- Fractured Clavicle (Broken Collarbone)
- Fractured Femur (Broken Thighbone)
- Fractured Fibula (Broken Leg)
- Fractured Humerus (Broken Arm)
- Fractured Patella (Broken Kneecap)
- Fractured Radius (Broken Forearm)
- Fractured Rib
- Fractured Tibia (Broken Shin)
- Fractured Ulna (Broken Forearm)
- Pelvic Fracture (Broken Hip)
- Ear Injuries
- Eye Injuries
- Mandibular Fracture (Broken Jaw)
- Orbital Fracture (Broken Eye Socket)
- Permanent Scarring and Disfigurement
- Tooth and Lip Injuries
- Zygomatic Fracture (Broken Cheekbone)
Hand and Wrist Injuries
- Barton’s Fracture
- Colles’ Fracture
- Joint Dislocation
- Smith’s Fracture
Other Serious Injuries and Complications
- Burn Injuries (Second Degree Burns, Third Degree Burns)
- Cuts and Lacerations
- Head Injuries
- Hearing Loss
- Friction/Abrasion Injuries (Road Rash)
- Neck Injuries
- Nerve Damage
- Organ Failure (Heart Failure, Lung Failure, Kidney Failure)
- Paralysis (Quadriplegia/Tetraplegia, Paraplegia)
- Soft Tissue Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
- Sprains (Pulled/Torn Ligaments)
- Strains (Pulled/Torn Muscles)
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Vision Loss
Getting Compensated for a Truck Accident Claim in Dallas, TX
Commercial trucks are heavy, large, and difficult to stop quickly in emergency situations. As a result of these factors, catastrophic injuries and fatal injuries are tragically common outcomes when a 16-wheeler, 18-wheeler, semi-trailer, or big rig collides with a passenger vehicle. When human carelessness is added to the mix, the stage is set for disaster.
Because of the great devastation their powerful vehicles can cause, truck drivers must take great safety precautions to avoid crashes and collisions. Unfortunately, these precautions — despite being mandated by federal law — often fall by the wayside in the effort to meet deadlines and ensure a speedy turnaround. Commercial drivers who prioritize efficiency over safety are gambling with other motorists’ lives every time they get behind the wheel of their vehicle.
When commercial trucking companies permit or, in some cases, even encourage their drivers to disregard safety standards by driving excessive hours, an accident that should have been avoidable becomes all but inevitable due to fatigue. Sadly, intentional safety violations are common in the trucking industry, with even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noting in one safety report that “regulations that attempt to reduce fatigue are highly controversial and widely violated.”
When a truck accident in Dallas or elsewhere in Texas is caused by preventable human errors, such as a driver falling asleep at the wheel, the driver may be liable for the victim’s medical bills and other expenses. Depending on the details of the situation, liability may also extend to the trucking company that hired the driver.
Types of Evidence Needed to Prove Fault for Truck Accidents in Dallas
In order to recover monetary damages in a truck accident case, you must be able to prove that your crash happened as the result of the defendant’s careless or intentional behavior. There are several different types of evidence that may be presented to accomplish this task. For example, any of the following may be utilized in your case:
Eyewitness testimony plays a crucial role in proving fault for truck accidents in Dallas. Eyewitnesses are individuals who were present at the scene of the accident and can provide firsthand accounts of what transpired. Their statements can help establish the sequence of events leading up to the accident, the behavior of the involved parties, and the conditions on the road. For example, if an eyewitness observed a truck driver running a red light and colliding with another vehicle, their testimony can provide valuable insight into the driver’s actions and the events that led to the collision. Eyewitness testimony can serve as persuasive evidence in court, helping to establish fault by corroborating or challenging the accounts of the parties involved.
Expert Witness Testimony
Expert witness testimony involves the input of professionals with specialized knowledge relevant to the circumstances of the truck accident. These experts can include accident reconstruction specialists, mechanical engineers, medical professionals, and others with expertise in various fields. Their testimony can help the court and the jury understand complex aspects of the accident, such as the physics of the collision, the mechanical condition of the vehicles involved, the impact on the victims, and the potential role of negligence. For instance, an accident reconstruction expert can analyze factors such as vehicle speed, road conditions, and driver behavior to determine if a truck driver’s actions align with safe driving practices. Expert witness testimony can provide a strong foundation for establishing fault based on technical analysis and professional judgment.
Accident reports are official documents generated by law enforcement officers who respond to the scene of an accident. These reports typically include details about the accident, such as the location, date, time, vehicles involved, weather conditions, and a description of what happened. Accident reports can provide an objective account of the incident and can be used as evidence to support or challenge the narratives presented by the parties involved. For instance, if an accident report indicates that a truck driver was cited for reckless driving or disobeying traffic signals, this information can be used to demonstrate the driver’s negligence and establish fault.
Physical Evidence from the Scene
Physical evidence collected from the scene of the truck accident can be crucial in determining fault. This evidence can include skid marks, debris, vehicle damage, and any other traces left behind as a result of the collision. For example, the pattern and length of skid marks can offer insights into vehicle speeds and the point of impact. This physical evidence can be analyzed to reconstruct the events leading up to the accident and help establish fault by providing a tangible representation of the sequence of events.
Photographic Evidence from the Scene
Photographs taken at the scene of the truck accident can visually capture the aftermath and provide important visual context for understanding the accident’s dynamics. Photographs can document vehicle positions, road conditions, traffic signals, and any relevant signage. For instance, if photographs show a truck driver’s failure to stop at a red light, this visual evidence can support claims of negligence and fault. Photographs can also help preserve important details that might fade from memory over time, ensuring an accurate representation of the scene for legal proceedings.
In some cases, surveillance footage from cameras located near the accident scene can provide clear and unbiased evidence of what transpired. Surveillance footage can capture the accident from multiple angles and provide a comprehensive view of the events leading up to the collision. For example, if a nearby traffic camera recorded a truck driver’s reckless behavior just moments before a collision, this footage can be instrumental in establishing fault by showing the driver’s actions and their impact on the accident.
Victims’ Personal Recollections
The personal recollections of individuals involved in the accident, including drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, can also contribute to understanding fault. Their accounts of what they experienced and observed can provide valuable insights into the actions of the parties involved. For instance, if a passenger in a car describes the truck driver as being visibly distracted by their phone moments before the accident, this firsthand account can help establish negligence and fault. While personal recollections may be subjective, they can still provide essential information about the events that unfolded and contribute to the overall understanding of the accident.
Dangerous Roads for Truck Drivers Near Dallas, Texas
Most commercial trucks are carrying their cargo across state lines on long-distance journeys, which means accidents often occur on highways, interstates, and other major roads. As bustling metropolitan areas that act as hubs for energy, finance, tourism, and shopping, Dallas is heavily threaded with dense, congested highways where truck collisions with other vehicles are likely to occur.
Some common locations of truck crashes in Dallas include:
- Beltway 8 (Sam Houston Tollway)
- I-10 (Baytown-East Freeway/Katy Freeway)
- I-20 (Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway)
- I-30 (Tom Landry Freeway)
- I-35E (Stemmons Freeway)
- I-35W (South/North Freeway)
- I-45 (Gulf Freeway)
- I-345 (North Central Expressway)
- I-610 (610 Loop)
- I-635 (Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway)
- I-820 (Jim Wright Freeway/Airport Freeway)
- US-287 (Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway)
- US-290 (Northwest Freeway)
- SH-161 (President George Bush Turnpike/PGBT)
Damages You Can Recover in a Dallas Truck Accident Lawsuit
There are multiple types of economic and non-economic damages that you may seek to have compensated in a truck accident lawsuit. During a free review of your potential case, our experienced truck accident lawyers can explain which of the following may be sought:
First, you may obtain payment for any medical bills that you sustain because of your truck accident injuries. This includes the cost of all prior, current, and future treatment that you require. For instance, if you were hurt because of a truck accident, then you may sue the at-fault party for the cost of your ambulance ride, hospital bills, prescription medication, surgical treatments, and post-operative care.
Usually, damages for medical expenses will be established using your medical records. Therefore, it is imperative that you visit a doctor as soon as possible after your truck accident. If you wait for your injuries to heal on their own, then you may be unable to recover the documentation needed to support your claim against another party.
Many truck accident injuries restrict victims’ abilities to work during their recoveries. Thankfully, you may also acquire payment for lost wages in a truck accident lawsuit. These damages will typically be calculated using plaintiffs’ average weekly incomes.
Further, if your truck accident injuries prevent you from working in the future, then you may be awarded damages for your diminished earning capacity. Still, supporting a claim for lost future income can be a complicated ordeal. Large amounts of complex evidence may be needed to support such a claim. Accordingly, guidance from our legal team can be highly beneficial when pursuing these damages in your case.
Property damage is another form of compensation that may be awarded to plaintiffs in truck accident cases. As an example, if your car was damaged as a result of your truck accident, then you may sue the at-fault party for the cost of your vehicle’s replacement or repair.
It may benefit you to take photos of your damaged property immediately after your truck accident if possible. The defendant in your case may attempt to assert that your property damage is actually related to some other incident. By presenting photos from the scene of your crash, you may establish that your property damage stems from the truck accident at issue.
Pain and Suffering
In addition to recovering payment for financial losses like medical bills and lost wages, you may also obtain compensation for the non-economic harms caused by your truck accident injuries. There are multiple forms of non-economic damages that may be available in your case.
For instance, many truck accident injuries can produce high degrees of physical pain. In particular, broken bones, burns, ruptured tendons, brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries can all be excruciatingly painful. Fortunately, you may seek financial compensation for the physical pain caused by your truck accident injuries.
In addition to causing physical pain, truck accident injuries can also cause victims to incur debilitating emotional suffering. As an example, someone who incurs a spinal cord injury may be restricted from engaging in their favorite hobbies after their collision. Further, a victim with a traumatic brain injury may have difficulty participating in meaningful relationships with their family members. Accordingly, plaintiffs in truck accident lawsuits may also recover monetary damages for the emotional suffering caused by their injuries.
Finally, plaintiffs in truck accident lawsuits can also recover payment for a wide range of out-of-pocket expenses related to the harm they incurred. For instance, a victim may need to pay for help with transportation to their court proceedings and doctor’s appointments. Also, a parent injured as the result of a truck accident may need to pay for assistance with child care while their injuries heal. In either case, such expenses could be included in the plaintiffs’ claims against at-fault parties.
Damages for out-of-pocket expenses are usually established using receipts. Therefore, you should try to keep the receipts for any expenses that you suffer because of your truck accident injuries.
Statute of Limitations to File a Trick Accident Lawsuit in Dallas
Time limits to file specific types of lawsuits are set forth by states’ statutes of limitations. Under Tex. Civ. Prac & Rem. Code § 16.003, you will typically have two years from the date of your crash to bring your potential truck accident lawsuit to court. If you do not file your case on time, then you may miss your opportunity to recover payment for your injuries.
Even though you may have up to two years to file your truck accident case, you should begin building your claim as soon as possible after your accident. The longer you wait to begin working on your case, the more difficult it may become to gather pertinent evidence. For instance, eyewitnesses can forget crucial details and important documents can become lost. The more quickly you get in touch with our law firm, the more efficiently our team can gather the information we need to win your case.
Evaluating Settlement Offers in Dallas Truck Accident Lawsuits
When you file a truck accident lawsuit, the defendant will likely attempt to settle your claim before going to trial. If you enter into a settlement agreement, then the defendant will pay you a specific sum of damages in exchange for the dismissal of your case. There are potential advantages to settling your case early. For example, by entering into a settlement agreement, you may save on some of the costs associate with going to trial such as witness fees and administrative expenses. Further, plaintiffs who reach settlement agreements may obtain payment more quickly.
Unfortunately, defendants in truck accident cases regularly attempt to settle their lawsuits for less than they are worth. If you are not presented with an acceptable settlement offer, then you must go to trial to obtain the financial compensation you deserve.
However, there is a risk. If your lawsuit is not successful at trial, then you may receive no monetary damages whatsoever. Accordingly, guidance and support from our experienced legal team can be very helpful when evaluating settlement offers in your case.
Injuries to Truck Drivers in Natural Gas Tanker Accidents
Transportation workers in the natural gas and oil industry face one of the highest risks of injury out of any workers in the country. Drivers of natural gas tankers often face increased risk of injury in the case of an accident due to leaking chemicals and potential fire hazards. If the valves or tanker on a truck are damaged, the driver is often throne at the highest risk of death or injury.
When you are injured in the course of your job duties, you may be expected to file through workers’ compensation. In Texas, you have the right to reject workers’ comp. coverage within your first 5 days of taking a new job. If you want to retain your right to sue your employer for injuries in a truck accident, you must reject workers’ comp. coverage.
To get coverage for your injuries, your lawyer must prove that your employer was at least partly at fault for the accident. One of the most common ways to hold an employer at fault is to point to maintenance problems with the vehicle. Faulty tires or problems with the tanker itself could cause a crash leading to serious injury.
Many truck drivers injured in accidents face permanent injuries that make it impossible to return to work. Things like spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, or loss of limb could make returning to work to support your family difficult. Filing a lawsuit for your injuries may be able to help you get the compensation you need to protect yourself and your family after an injury.
If a loved one was killed while working in a truck accident, you may be entitled to substantial compensation for your loss. Talk to an attorney for help understanding what compensation you might be entitled to in your lawsuit.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Dallas Trucking Accident Attorneys
Drivers and vehicle passengers have a right to be protected against negligent truck drivers who endanger human safety by making careless or reckless decisions on the road. Sadly, our Dallas trucking injury lawyers have seen countless claims where an innocent person was hurt or lost their life on a Texas highway because of a negligent trucker’s actions behind the wheel. Backed by decades of experience fighting for compensation on behalf of injured drivers and passengers throughout the Dallas metropolitan areas, our knowledgeable legal team knows what types of details to probe for when handling these complex cases. We will develop a negotiation or litigation strategy best suited to your family’s interests, then aggressively apply that strategy using our firm’s full resources, always keeping you up-to-date on the progress of your claim.
If you or one your family members was injured in a truck accident in Dallas or any of the surrounding communities, call the Dallas personal injury lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm immediately at (817) 476-1797 for a confidential legal consultation. Depending on what caused the crash or collision, you may be able to get compensated for current and anticipated medical bills, lost income, future earnings losses, and other expenses.