Were you injured in a truck accident?
Although truck-related collisions represent a small portion of the total crashes reported daily, commercial vehicles have a much heavier mass than passenger cars. It means that these collisions typically cause more significant damage and an increased chance of injury.
If you or a loved one suffered harm in an accident with an 18-wheeler or tractor trailer, call fort worth 18 wheeler accident attorney at Patterson Law Group for sound legal advice. It costs nothing to speak with a dedicated Fort Worth truck accident lawyer about the merits of your claim.
Truck Accident Statistics in Fort Worth, TX
According to TxDOT, there were 1,008 commercial vehicle accidents in Fort Worth in 2021, which averages nearly four per day throughout the city. It is worth noting that this statistic considers fatal accidents, those without injuries, and everything in between. Out of 1,008 accidents, nine resulted in fatalities and roughly 30 percent involved injuries to the passengers in a motor vehicle or the truck driver. In addition, these collisions frequently involve costly property damage.
Several factors contribute to these accidents. Many truck crashes in Fort Worth stem from the negligence of another party, such as unsafe lane changes, tailgating, and speeding. Out of all potential factors, speeding is arguably the most common cause.
Statistics for Tarrant County
In Tarrant County, Texas, those numbers are substantially higher than the rate of truck accidents within Fort Worth proper. In total, TxDOT reported 2,174 commercial vehicle accidents in 2021, with 18 of those collisions ending in fatalities.
Types of truck accident cases we handle
If you were hurt in a collision with a commercial vehicle, speak to a car accident lawyer who has experience handling all types of truck crash cases, including:
- Tractor-trailer jackknife
- 18 wheeler accident
- Pickup truck crash
- Big rig rollover
- Commercial truck wreck
- Firetruck accident
- Delivery truck collision
We also handle hit-and-run injury claims involving commercial trucks. Consult with a Fort Worth hit and run accident lawyer who has decades of experience fighting for Texan’s rights.
Common causes for truck accidents
Part of putting together a strong personal injury case is drilling down and investigating the root cause of an accident. Causes of truck accidents, include:
Driver inattention can occur for a number of reasons and it is one of the largest causes of truck and vehicle accidents. Cell phone use is a major problem on Texas roadways, but it’s not the only distraction available to drivers. A trucker’s cab is akin to a studio apartment on wheels for many drivers. It’s not uncommon for drivers to eat or drink while driving, which is another major source of distraction. It only takes four seconds of inattention to cause an accident.
Equipment fails from time to time, but when it fails while driving the result can be horrific. Tires are the most common piece of equipment to fail, but brake, engine, and light failures frequently occur as well. When equipment fails there may be negligence involved. Parties that could be responsible for equipment failure include the truck manufacturer, the part manufacturer, the truck dealer, and even a mechanic or installer if repairs were made.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Sometimes the manufacturer or installer is to blame for equipment failure, but other times it’s the result of poor vehicle maintenance. Large commercial trucks drive thousands of miles every day and require routine checkups to ensure everything is working properly. Worn brake pads or cracks in the windshield can become major problems if left unattended to. Drivers have the responsibility of inspecting their rigs and submitting a vehicle maintenance report at the beginning of every shift.
Improperly Loaded Cargo
Truckers and loading teams are required to abide by cargo securement rules set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The rules specify weight, width, height, size, and length limits along with outlined methods for securing cargo for transportation. If cargo isn’t properly loaded in accordance with these regulations, it can fall off into the road leading to catastrophic accidents.
Drivers must complete a training course and obtain a commercial driver’s license before commanding the wheel of a large commercial vehicle. Still, there is a learning curve even after training is completed, especially when it comes to driving in poor weather conditions. An inexperienced driver may skid, hydroplane, or jackknife in conditions of heavy rain, snow, or ice.
Unrealistic Schedules & Dangerous Compensation Systems
Unfortunately, truck companies can sometimes put policies or schedules in place that encourage unsafe driving behaviors. Trucking companies are notorious for paying truck drivers by the mile, rather than by the hour. The pay-per-mile system in combination with tight shipping schedules encourages drivers to maximize their driving distances at a cost. A driver may drive despite being tired or may ignore posted speed limits, which both increase the risk of a truck wreck.
At the end of the day, truck drivers are only human and they occasionally make mistakes like everyone else out on the road. Unfortunately, something as simple as forgetting to use turn signals or check blind spots can be deadly.
Patterson Law Group is here to help you move forward with your life. Speak to truck accident lawyer Fort Worth residents have come to trust for aggressive, client-focused advocacy.
Common truck accident injuries
As the largest and heaviest vehicles on the road, a collision with an 18-wheeler is rarely ever a small accident. If a wreck doesn’t kill a victim, it will often leave them with serious injuries that take years, or even decades to recover from. Medical bills and medical expenses from catastrophic injuries can quickly build up into an overwhelming financial burden. Common tractor-trailer accident injuries include:
Head injuries can range from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries. The former can fade in a day or two, while the latter can result in significant personality changes or death. Head injury symptoms may take time to develop and brain injuries can be sustained without being knocked unconscious. In fact, brain injuries can occur without direct trauma to the head. Rapid acceleration/deceleration and whiplash can lead to damage of the brain.
Head injuries should not be taken lightly, as they can lead to loss of cognitive and motor functions. It’s possible a person may never be the same again after sustaining a serious head injury.
Neck & Back Injuries
Our neck and back perform critical roles in everyday movement, which can be severely restricted in the event of a neck or back injury. These types of injuries often prevent victims from being able to perform work or other important daily activities. Herniated disks and whiplash are some of the most common road accident back and neck injuries. More severe back injuries can result in debilitating pain or paralysis.
The impact from a commercial truck accident typically provides more than enough blunt force trauma to shatter bones. Hip bones are the most commonly fractured bones in an accident. Arm, rib, and leg bones are also commonly broken in crashes.
In certain unfortunate cases, arms, legs, hands, or feet may be severed or amputated in the aftermath of a catastrophic impact. Amputation may occur in cases where body parts are crushed or burned so severely that circulation will never be restored.
Spinal Cord Injuries & Paralysis
Tractor-trailer collisions carry a greater risk of spinal cord injury and paralysis in comparison with auto accidents, because of the larger impact force. Damage to the bones, muscles, or nerves in the spinal cord can result in temporary or permanent paralysis. Damage to the spinal cord isn’t always immediately apparent and truck accident victims should seek immediate medical attention to receive an MRI scan along with the appropriate medical treatment if necessary.
Sadly, more victims will die in truck accidents in the span of a year than the number of deaths for all domestic commercial airline crashes in the past 45 years. Truck collisions are far more likely to lead to death due to the severity of impact.
Rib & Torso Injuries
The ribcage surrounds a number of vital organs, which makes them extremely important to protect. Broken ribs are not only extremely painful, but severely limit a victim’s ability to take deep breaths as well. An untreated broken rib could puncture a lung or cause other severe damage to the body.
When you combine the blunt force of an 18-wheeler collision with the body’s interaction with certain safety equipment, the result could very well be internal damage. Seat belts and airbags save lives, but the sheer force of impact can damage internal organs such as your kidneys, spleen, bladder, liver, and pancreas. Internal injuries can be difficult to treat and may lead to life-long physical limitations.
Cuts & Lacerations
Cuts and lacerations are often minor compared to many of the other injuries on the list. However, cuts can cause disfiguring scars and may also lead to infections, which could result in serious injury or death. Permanent damage may arise depending on the depth and severity of a cut.
Burns are more common in commercial trucking accidents than auto accidents, because there is a greater inherent risk of fuel tank rupture. First degree burns and certain superficial partial thickness second degree burns can heal completely. More severe burns can cause scarring, disfigurement, and even nerve damage.
What should I do after a truck accident?
Following any kind of collision, your top priority is your health. After calling 911 to report the accident, seek medical attention right away, even if injuries seem minor or non-existent. Adrenaline can often mask the pain of injuries, which can worsen without swift intervention.
If you can, take photos or video of the accident scene, making sure to capture the point of impact, surrounding traffic signs, skid marks and other details that could help prove who was at fault.
Sworn statements from eyewitnesses can be crucial evidence for truck accident lawyers. If anyone saw the accident occur, get their names and contact information.
You will also need the truck driver’s name, license number and insurance information as well as that of all involved motorists.
Remember, the sooner you talk to a personal injury lawyer about your rights, the better your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
Who is liable in a tractor-trailer crash?
Accident victims often believe they can only file a lawsuit against the driver, but there are a number of parties that may be involved. Commercial trucks are typically owned by companies and serviced by third party vendors. Moreover, the cargo on a truck could be owned by an organization that is entirely separate from the trucking company. Who can be held liable will largely depend on the cause of the semi-truck accident, but liability may fall on:
- The truck driver
- The truck owner
- The trailer owner
- The service company for the truck
- The truck manufacturer
- The trailer manufacturer
- The company that leased the truck
- The company that leased the trailer
- The company that loaded the cargo
- Government agencies, in the event of road defects
An experienced truck accident lawyer Fort Worth can help investigate your crash to determine who is responsible for the accident.
Economic Damages in a Texas Trucking Accident
In 2019, the top verdict for a truck accident in Texas awarded the plaintiff $80,005,006. The next highest award came to $40,145,909. As you can see, Texas truck accidents can cause severe damage and have high case settlements or payouts.
Because Semi-trucks are so large, often weighing up to 80,000 pounds, an accident’s impact can severely injure you or loved ones. The severe damage to you and your vehicle can cause you to accumulate high costs, medical bills, and vehicle repair or replacement. The most common economic damages after a Texas trucking accident include:
- Medical expenses – Hospital visits, doctor visits, physical therapy, surgery, medication, etc.
- Loss of income – loss of your job, or forced to take several days to weeks off due to injury
Economic damages are calculated if you have the proper records available. You should always keep records after an accident to ensure that you can recover for all the damages you are owed. The Fort Worth truck accident lawyers at Patterson Law Group can help you get a hold of all the medical and police records vital to your trucking accident case.
Non-Economic Damages in a Texas Trucking Accident
Non-economic damages are damages that do not have a direct monetary value attached to them or better known as pain and suffering. This include things such as:
- Physical pain
- Reputational damage
- Worsening of prior injuries
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
There is a cap to non-economic damages, according to Texas law. In general, they cannot exceed $750,000. Of course, economic damages are measured separately from non-economic damages.
If you’re unclear about what non-economic damages are and how the process works, talk to a personal injury attorney at Patterson Law Group to determine what can be recovered in your truck accident case.
Punitive Damages in Truck Accident Cases
Punitive damages are specifically designed to punish the negligent party who caused the accident and your injuries. Punitive damages cannot be awarded in every case. In general, you must prove the other party was careless and negligent to receive punitive damages.
For punitive damages to be awarded, the driver must have shown blatant disregard of his duty to protect others on the road, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, asleep, distracted, or intentionally breaking the law.
Suppose the accident was caused by equipment failure, and that failure could have foreseeably been stopped. You may have a claim against the truck and/or trailer owner, manufacturer, or leasing company. The trucking company can be liable if they failed to properly train their drivers, or forced their employees to work too many shifts, leading to the driver falling asleep.
Are there time limits for seeking compensation after a Fort Worth trucking accident?
Yes, there is a limited time frame to pursue personal injury compensation after a Fort Worth truck accident. Like all states Texas has a statute of limitations, which expires two years from the date of the trucking collision. In order to seek monetary damages from negligent parties, plaintiffs are required to bring their civil action within this deadline. Once the statute expires, you will mostly likely be barred from seeking legal compensation.
Time is of the essence. Do not delay in seeking advice from a knowledgeable truck accident attorney in Fort Worth. Reach out to Patterson Law Group for a free consultation so we can evaluate your case and get started.
Truck Accidents FAQs
Can the shipper be held liable if the hazardous materials being shipped on the truck caused injury?
An empty truck is dangerous in and of itself. A truck carrying hazardous materials only increases the risk of serious injury in an accident. Hazardous materials could include flammable liquids, radioactive materials, explosives, dangerous gases, and poisonous chemicals. In certain cases, the shipper of hazardous materials can be held liable for resulting accident injuries, especially if the shipper failed to inform the driver or the trucking company of the hazardous nature of the shipped goods.
What laws apply to truck drivers that may apply to my case?
A mixture of federal and state laws govern the trucking industry. Violation of certain laws or regulations could have played a role in the accident. Laws commonly involved in truck accident cases pertain to:
- Required driver training
- The number of hours a driver can work for a given period of time
- The maintenance schedule of the truck and tractor-trailer
- The weight limit of both the truck and the cargo
- The use of drugs or alcohol
What kind of trucks are involved in accidents?
Ultimately, any type of truck can be involved in an accident. Common truck types include semi-trailers, dump trucks, garbage trucks, tanker trucks, flatbed trucks, and tow trucks. Naturally, the larger the truck is, the higher the risk of serious injury in an accident.
I’m not a Texas resident, but my truck accident happened in Texas. Do I hire a Texas lawyer?
When an accident occurs outside of the state you reside in, the truck accident claims process can get complicated. Jurisdiction laws typically require that you file a case in the state where the accident occurred. Moreover, unless a limited law license is granted, an attorney must have admittance into the Texas state bar in order to practice law in Texas. A Texas attorney in good standing with the state bar will already be prepared to handle your case and will be more familiar with local and state laws. If you were in a truck accident in Texas, it would be to your benefit to schedule a free consultation with a Texas personal injury lawyer.
Are any measures being taken to decrease Texas truck collisions?
Since trucks serve an increasingly important role in our commerce-driven society, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has imposed very strict rules on truck drivers, tractor-trailers, and the trucking industry as a whole.
- No More Radar Detectors: Since studies have demonstrated that truck drivers using radar detectors exhibited a tendency to speed, all big rigs weighing more than 18,000 pounds are prohibited from carrying a radar detector inside.
- No Transporting Unauthorized Passengers: Even though it may be tempting for long-haul drivers to carry unauthorized passengers, such as family members on the lonely road ahead, FMCSA has declared it a safety hazard since this type of distraction may cause serious crashes. However, drivers can have co-drivers with written authorization from the trucking company beforehand.
- No Talking on Mobile Phones: Although nearly 50 percent of the states in the U.S. still permit drivers to use handheld devices while operating a vehicle, in regards to truck drivers, there is a federal ban on the use of ALL handheld cell phones that supersedes individual state laws.
- No Texting While Driving: As stated under FMCSA’s no-texting rule, all truck drivers are banned from sending email, using voice commands, opening web pages, reading or sending text messages, or touching more than one button to send or receive phone calls. If caught breaking this law, a truck driver can be charged more than $2,500 for each individual offense while truck companies could be forced to pay fines over $10,000 per each cited violation.
Where are the most dangerous intersections in Fort Worth?
We believe education is a powerful tool to prevent more accidents. If drivers know the most dangerous streets and intersections, we can all be more cautious while driving there. There have been over 40,000 accidents in Fort Worth over the past 6 years, and we took the time to review them all & create this interactive map.
Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers
Along with these laws, our dedicated and Fort Worth truck accident lawyers at the law firm of Patterson Law Group are working tirelessly to make Texas residents safer. In fact, one of our clients received $500,000 in his pocket in a recent personal injury case where his shoulder was injured as a result of being struck by an 18-wheeler.
Give us a call today at 817-784-2000 if you or a loved one has been involved in a truck-related collision in Texas. Schedule a free case evaluation with one of our truck accident lawyers Fort Worth.
Learn how an experienced Fort Worth truck accident lawyer can help you
Our dedicated and experienced Fort Worth truck accident lawyer at Patterson Law Group is working tirelessly to make Texas residents safer. In fact, one of our clients received $500,000 in a recent personal injury case when his shoulder was injured due to being struck by an 18-wheeler.
When you work with us, we take the time to understand your needs, concerns and goals. You are treated with the respect and compassion you deserve, and as we work diligently to hold negligent parties accountable. You can be confident that we will leverage every resource to secure a fair and favorable outcome. We fight to recover the maximum compensation for each client, and leave no stone unturned in our pursuit for justice.