Houston Truck Accident Attorneys with Nationwide Reach
At Simmons & Fletcher, P.C., our Houston truck accident lawyers have years of experience fighting for many trucking accident victims against adjusters, investigators, and lawyers on the trucking companies’ payroll. The motor carriers’ attorney will always work to minimize liability for your injuries.
It’s times like these that you should seek help from an experienced Houston trucking accident attorney to protect your rights and get you the justice you deserve. We fight trucking companies nationwide.
Do not let these big corporations sweep evidence and negligence under the rug. Specifically, evidence that will prove your case. You need a law firm with the best personal injury resources and experience to fight these corporations. Truck accidents are different from car accidents, and our teams of lawyers are well-trained in both.
Schedule your free consultation with a Houston truck accident lawyer at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., Injury & Accident Lawyers today.
You can also feel free to call (713) 932-0777 today if you have additional questions or need to know anything else about hiring an attorney for your semi-truck accident case!
Why Choose Us For Your Houston Truck Accident Case?
The law firm of Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., has the experience you need to fight the trucking industry’s defense team. Our personal injury attorneys have handled semi-truck crashes ranging from bad brake cases to rollover incidents to underride truck accidents resulting in decapitation.
The consultation is free; you pay no attorney fees unless we win your truck accident. Our firm’s approach is unique to other firms. Our truck accident attorneys in Houston want to win your case with compassion and support. We have a goal to center the lives and experiences of our clients while trying to recover full compensation for them. We want to act on your behalf, and we will speak out for you when you need it most. Our Christian trial lawyers start with the offer of a no-strings-attached, completely free review of your case ⎯ contact us today.
Do I Need To Hire a Houston Truck Accident Lawyer?
If you have been involved in a truck wreck, you need to hire a Houston truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to pursue your personal injury case. Modern commercial trucks contain an electronic data recorder (often called the truck’s black box) with valuable data about the truck’s motions, movements, and trips. There are also helpful maintenance and repair records, trip inspection records, logs, and other data that can provide essential details and clues as to why the wreck happened. The sooner you hire a trucking accident lawyer, the more likely they are to be able to preserve this information before it gets lost or destroyed.
What Should I Do Immediately Following a Truck Accident?
- Your health comes first ⎯ seek immediate medical attention. Follow any paramedic’s or doctor’s orders.
- If you are not severely injured, you need to move to safety but remain at the scene.
Call the police right away.
- Look for witnesses and record their personal information (names, telephone numbers, etc.).
- Conduct research and hire a lawyer ⎯ a personal injury lawyer from one voted best Houston law firm by the Houston Chronicle Viewer’s Choice Poll in 2023.
Taking these steps after a Texas truck crash will help us to get a head start on your case and fight for a positive outcome.
What are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Houston, TX?
Unfortunately, large truck accidents happen every day, and thousands happen every year. The U.S. saw 4,965 deaths in 2020 and 5,005 deaths in 2019 due to truck accidents, according to NHTSA reports. Truck collisions occur for many reasons, but most are avoidable. In general, most truck accidents stem from negligence. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Brake failure;
- Excessive speeding while driving on the highway;
- Failing to apply the brakes safely;
- Failing to take into account the weather or road conditions;
- Distracted driving or driver inattention;
- Failure to yield the right of way;
- Unsafe lane changes;
- Driver fatigue;
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, prescription medications, and over-the-counter aids;
- Defective tires;
- Other vehicle defects;
- Improperly secured cargo shifting or falling off the truck;
- Overweight vehicle or unbalanced center of gravity, resulting in loss of control;
- Imbalances caused by oversized loads;
- Following too close;
- Misjudging the distance to or speed of another vehicle.
As you read the above list of common types of commercial truck accidents, you should understand that most involve truck driver error. However, some of these truck accident causes involve vehicle maintenance and inspection, which may be a shared duty of the truck driver’s employer, a mechanic, and the shipper. However, the truck driver is never relieved of his duty to conduct pre-trip and post-trip inspections of the vehicle and the tires to ensure the vehicle is safe to operate.
What Injuries Are Common in Houston Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents in Houston are sadly all too common and, along with them come serious and life-altering injuries like:
Many victims also experience eye, neck, and back injuries. Other common truck accident injuries include:
- Herniated, Bulging & Protruding Discs. Your spine is not designed to be a punching bag; the soft tissue pads between the bones can compress to the point of deforming or exploding, resulting in disc injuries or even a spinal cord injury.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries. Commercial vehicle accidents often cause the head to slam back and forth, doing significant damage to the brain. Head injuries could be a concussion that goes away in a day or two, or something much more serious. Recovery will depend upon the injury’s severity and the quality of medical treatment you receive
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The fear of driving is a common outcome of being involved in a life-altering collision for victims of truck accidents.
- Mental Anguish. The severe trauma of the pain and suffering you endure, or even the loss of a loved one can lead to mental anguish and severe emotional distress in a truck accident.
- Wrongful Death. Sadly, fatal truck crashes are not uncommon when an 18-wheeler crash occurs.
A less typical truck accident injury might be:
- Amputation/Limb Loss. An 18-wheeler’s size and weight are a lot greater than the average family passenger vehicle, increasing the chances of someone in the smaller passenger vehicle losing an arm or leg to a severe crush or shearing injury. 18-wheeler trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and the impact of these crashes can be devastating.
- Ruptured Spleen. A ruptured spleen is an excruciating and serious injury that can result from blunt force trauma to the chest, either from hitting the steering wheel, dash, or other objects.
- Paralysis. While less frequent, the complete loss of one’s ability to use their legs, arms, or both can occur in a big truck accident.
The types of injuries you sustain are important in determining the amount of compensation you may recover. Accounting for all of your economic and non-economic damages, as well as your future medical needs and physical impairments, requires that your Houston commercial vehicle accident attorney builds your case with the right medical and expert testimony.
Drop us a line at (713) 932-0777 to get your free case evaluation and know your legal rights today!
What Damages and Compensation Can I Recover with a Truck Accident Lawyer?
A truck accident can have extensive effects on your life. Fortunately, you may be owed compensation for damages, including:
- Lost wages;
- Reduced earning capacity;
- Past and future medical expenses;
- Property damage to your vehicle;
- Loss of consortium.
From lost wages to in-home care and other piling medical bills, our Houston law firm can help. We will do everything we can to help you recover financial damages and recover from your accident. Contact us today.
Can I Get Punitive Damages Against the Trucking Company?
You may seek punitive damages in any case where the facts support it and the jurisdiction allows it. In truck accident cases, the most common grounds for punitive damages include:
- Drug or alcohol use on the job;
- Habitual bad driving;
- Excessive wrecks;
- Violation of traffic safety laws;
- Exceeding the maximum allowed service hours;
- Negligent hiring;
- Distracted driving, such as cell phone use;
- Logbook falsification;
Strict federal laws prohibit certain conduct like alcohol and drug use. Violations of these rules offer a better chance of settling punitive damages through successful litigation with the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer in Houston.
Who is Liable In A Crash With a Commercial Motor Vehicle?
In many cases, liable parties include the driver, the trucking company, the manufacturer, the customer, and other drivers. Still, every case is unique and must be analyzed based on its own set of facts.
- The Truck / Commercial Vehicle Driver: The other driver is the first and most obvious possibility in any motor vehicle accident, from passenger cars to big rigs or tanker trucks. Truck drivers are responsible for any reckless or negligent behavior they exhibit behind the wheel. However, that analysis is more complicated with an accident involving large trucks or commercial vehicles. Who bears responsibility for the driver’s actions depends on various factors, including the truck driver’s status as an employee or an independent owner-operator.
- The Trucking Company: The trucking company can be responsible for a commercial motor vehicle accident in many ways. For example, say the trucker is an employee of the company. In that case, the company may have vicarious liability—that is, the company may be responsible simply because the driver who was responsible was acting on behalf of the company. The trucking company will also be accountable if inadequate training, poor policies, pressuring fatigued drivers to drive, faulty maintenance of the vehicle, or other negligence created or contributed to the accident.
- The Vehicle Manufacturer. In the event that a truck design or manufacturing defect caused or contributed to the accident, the manufacturer, the seller, and anyone between them in the supply chain may be liable for resulting damages. The same is true for the manufacturer, seller, and others in the supply chain for any defective part that may have contributed to the accident.
- The Customer: Commercial trucks routinely carry goods and materials throughout the state and country. Suppose those goods are unreasonably dangerous or present a hazard due to improper packing, inadequate information provided to the trucking company, or other negligence. In that case, the customer may bear or share legal responsibility for the accident in Texas.
- Other Drivers: The actions of other drivers may contribute to the cause.
In many personal injury claims, multiple parties may be responsible. Overlooking one of those parties when pursuing truck accident claims can result in less-than-complete compensation or even an outright loss. To learn more about how the defendants can be held accountable for your losses and to settle a claim that will work in your favor, hiring an experienced Houston personal injury attorney is important as they will outline the steps for you and be prepared to take your case to a jury verdict if necessary.
Can I Sue if I am Partially at Fault for the Accident?
The answer to this question depends upon where the wreck happened, where you have a right to bring an injury claim, and what laws apply to those jurisdictions. In the State of Texas, we go by comparative negligence.
To make a recovery in Texas state courts, the truck accident victim must be found as less than 50% at fault in the collision. Thus, being 50% at fault or less does not bar recovery in Texas and other comparative negligence states. In contributory negligence states, however, the plaintiff cannot be any percent at fault. The federal court system has its own rules and regulations that must be followed. You should discuss the comparative/contributory negligence laws with an 18-wheeler accident attorney before filing a personal injury lawsuit if you are unsure of the state and federal safety regulations that apply.
How Do You Prove Negligence in a Texas Truck Accident?
Determining who was negligent and what percentage of fault they had in causing the wreck requires a detailed truck accident investigation and a solid understanding of personal injury law. Because the trucking company will get its accident reconstruction team to the scene to start shaping the story, you cannot simply rely on the accident report to determine liability. You must have advocates on your side conducting their own investigation of personal injury. Our law firm will help investigate by taking steps like:
- Gathering evidence from the crash;
- Reviewing the medical records of our clients.
- Investigating any possible trucking company negligence;
- Using any discovered evidence to fight for maximum compensation.
A Houston truck accident lawyer will build a strong case on your behalf. At Simmons & Fletcher, our team will work tirelessly to reach a settlement where you can get the result you deserve.
See our infographic below for how to Investigate a truck accident in order to establish negligence.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Large Truck Accidents in Texas?
Under Texas law, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of your truck accident in Houston. However, you might not file your truck accident lawsuit in Texas. You may file your case in the state where:
- The collision occurred;
- The negligent truck driver resides;
- The trucking company is incorporated;
- The trucking company is domiciled.
Each state may have separate statutes of limitations. You can determine the exact statute of limitations for any state here. You can consult a lawyer about the best place to file your claim before any applicable statute of limitations is at risk of passing.
If you have lost a loved one, you can also file a wrongful death lawsuit. Texas wrongful death claims often have their own deadlines affecting who may file a lawsuit and the amount of time they have after a fatal truck accident.
How Long Does a Lawsuit Take in Houston for 18-Wheeler Accident Cases?
A lawsuit against a truck or trucking company arising from a commercial vehicle wreck can take a few months, or it can extend out for several years depending upon certain factors.
How Complex is the Case?
The more complex a case is, the more likely it will take accident reconstruction experts and medical experts to prove your case.
How Severe Are the Injuries You Suffered?
Complex injuries such as traumatic brain injury and broken bones can severely impact the bodily functions of the victim and will require an expert on future medical care, such as a lifecare planning expert or an economist, to calculate the lost earning capacity and future needs of the accident victim.
How Many Parties Are Involved?
Having multiple parties almost always results in finger-pointing to deflect the responsibility. Two affected parties is difficult enough, but multi-vehicle accidents pose even more complexities. If your truck accident involved another car, motorcycle, or ride-share driver, your case may take longer to resolve. Generally, the more people involved, the more complex the case. Some parties may deny your claim and try to deprive you of the compensation you need to care for yourself and your loved ones, which can delay the process.
What if You Go to Trial with Your Case?
Lastly, some courts are backlogged and it can take a long time before cases are settled. The assigned judge, court, jurisdiction, and venue may determine how fast your accident attorney can move your case to trial. Thus, you need a Houston Truck Accident Attorney who will take your case forward and help you get the compensation you deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions About Texas Truck Accidents
How Do I Find a Truck Accident Lawyer Near Me?
Convenience is important when you are shopping for groceries or getting gas. However, when looking for a lawyer to handle your truck accident claim, proximity is no substitute for experience. Truck accidents are complex, and trucking companies have investigation and defense teams to defend them every step of the way. You need to select your truck accident lawyer based on his having the knowledge and experience to handle the claim. Christopher K. Fletcher has that experience. Fill out this form for your first free consultation.
How Much Does a Houston Truck Accident Attorney Cost?
If a recovery is made, attorney fees are 33.33% if no lawsuit is necessary. These fees increase to 40% if a lawsuit must be filed and 45% if an appeal occurs following a judgment. Our attorneys operate on a contingency fee, which includes an entirely free consultation. There is no up-front out-of-pocket cost to hire a truck accident lawyer or pursue your case. In brief, you do not pay anything unless we win your case!
What Types of Truck Accidents Are Professional Truck Drivers Liable For?
A trucker and trucking company are responsible for any type of collision that results from their negligence. They have a duty of care to drive with reasonable caution and conduct pre-trip and post-trip inspections to evaluate whether the truck needs repair. Truck drivers are liable for accidents caused by:
- Unsafe lane changes when someone is in any of their blind spots;
- Tire blowouts, if the driver or employer should have known its dangerous condition;
- Tires falling off the truck, if due to an improper installation or inspection;
- The truck’s load falling off the truck after being improperly secured;
- Failing to perform timely application of brakes, resulting in rear-end truck accidents.
What is the Difference Between Brake Failure and Timely Application?
Brake failure involving a semi-truck occurs when the driver presses the brake timely, and, for whatever reason, it does not work properly to slow the speed of the vehicle. Timely application is the cause of big rig accidents where the brakes are working fine, but for whatever reason, the driver fails to apply the brakes soon enough to stop the vehicle.
Who is Liable When a Truck’s Brakes Fail?
Several parties may be liable when a semi-truck’s brakes fail, including the driver, the company, the manufacturer, and the brake shop or maintenance shop. Here is how each of them may be liable:
- The Truck Driver: The truck driver can be responsible if they failed to perform federally mandated pre-trip inspections of the truck or took otherwise negligent actions involving the truck’s brakes.
- The Trucking Company: The responsible party may be the company that owns the truck if they failed to make reasonable inspections of the truck’s brakes or failed to perform proper maintenance on the truck. Ultimately, the trucking company is responsible for all driver conduct while acting within the course and scope of his employment.
- The Truck Manufacturer: The responsible party may be the truck or brake system manufacturer if they are proven to have produced and distributed a defective vehicle or brakes.
- The Brake Shop/Maintenance Company: If an independent company repairs, replaces, or maintains the braking system on the truck, that company can be held accountable when the brakes fail due to negligence.
Talk to a Houston truck accident attorney near you to get a case evaluation and determine the negligent parties you may need to file a claim against.
Who Is Liable For Truck Equipment Failure?
While equipment may fail due to a manufacturing defect, it is more commonly the failure to maintain the equipment that results in equipment failure.
Every trucking company and truck driver is responsible for ensuring their trucks are in good, safe working order. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations require the inspection of trucks and tires before and after every trip in a pre-trip and post-trip inspection. Any deficiencies must be repaired timely. Brake failure of any of the steering axles, trailer axles, or drive axles can result in an imbalance in the way brakes are applied and thereby cause jackknife truck accidents.
Additionally, defective or worn tires can cause a loss of traction, resulting in a jackknifing trailer. Thus, proper inspections and maintenance of the truck must be performed timely to prevent accidents.
Are There Restrictions on How Long an 18-Wheeler Driver Can Drive?
Federal law places a limit on the number of hours a truck driver may operate an 18-wheeler to help prevent fatigued driving. A truck driver hauling a load has the following driving restrictions:
- They may only drive a maximum of 11 hours total after taking 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
- They may only drive up to the 14th hour after being off-duty for 10 consecutive hours.
- They may only drive if 8 hours or less have passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes. (This is a mandatory break that applies unless certain exceptions apply.)
- They may only drive for up to 60 hours in one week or 70 hours in any 8 consecutive days.
- Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must spend at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or a combination of the two.
It is imperative that a driver of large commercial vehicles knows these limitations on their drive time and that they follow these rules to prevent a serious truck accident resulting in serious injuries or fatalities.
Are Truck Drivers Insured Against Trucking Accidents?
Yes, trucking companies must insure their truck fleets with the minimum liability insurance required by law. A company’s insurance policies are called commercial insurance policies, which are issued to cover vehicles that employees operate for business purposes. Some commercial insurance policies are “withering” policies, meaning that the insurance limits include the cost of defense in large commercial truck accidents. For injured parties, this means that the longer a case drags on, the more money you lose in coverage.
Since catastrophic injuries are not unusual in a common truck accident, this can be a factor that an accident law firm needs to consider. Remember that insurers do not have your best interest in mind and insurance companies will hold off on telling you all the information you need to know. That is why you need a top law firm and truck accident attorneys to face up to and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.
How Much Insurance Do Truck Drivers Have?
The amount of insurance any particular 18-wheeler may carry varies depending on what they’re carrying and the size of the company they belong to. Most states and federal trucking regulations require local trucks to carry a minimum of $500,000 per occurrence. Typically, verdicts and settlements from commercial vehicle accidents are paid by the insurance company for the commercial trucking company.
Who pays a truck accident settlement or judgment on behalf of the truck driver or trucking company may also depend on whether the truck was hauling interstate vs intrastate. Intrastate trucks are regulated by state law. If you are in a state with low minimums, you could have no choice but to pursue the trucking company itself to pay the insurance claims.
Fortunately, our skilled legal team understands how frustrating complex insurance policies can be. That is why a Houston truck accident lawyer from Simmons & Fletcher will fight to get your voice heard.
What If The Truck Driver Is Not Licensed?
Drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a commercial motor vehicle. No truck driver should be behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer without a valid license. Any company or person who entrusts a person with a truck without checking that the person has a valid CDL is a potentially liable defendant when that person causes a truck wreck.
Are Emergency Vehicles Commerical Motor Vehicles?
No. Emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire trucks, and police vehicles are not regulated as commercial motor vehicles despite the size of many being comparable to large trucks. If these vehicles are operated by the City, State, or County, then they are protected by Texas sovereign immunity laws that limit their exposure. Even the private ones have their own insurance rules–many of which are very inconsistent and poorly regulated.
Talk to a Houston Truck Accident Law Firm Today!
You may be entitled to compensation if you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one due to a negligent truck driver’s actions. The longer you wait, the more this evidence may disappear. Truck companies must only keep truck maintenance records for a limited time. While truck drivers must turn in the federally mandated truck driver logs and reports, the trucking company may have very limiting rules on what they actually keep.
Call Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., or fill out this form for a free consultation with a Houston truck accident law firm whose main focus is getting fair settlements for families and victims. Let’s put our experience to work and see what we can do for you. Our truck accident lawyers are available and committed to helping you during this difficult time.
Get legal advice and get it now. Call our truck accident lawyers at (713) 932-0777.
Review: 5/5 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “Simmons and Fletcher law firm went above and beyond for me. I was in a bad wreck that required neck surgery. They constantly called and checked on me to see how I was doing. They showed that they cared about me not just my case. I was also going through a rough divorce case at the same time. They helped me out in so many ways I couldn’t have asked for a better attorney to fight for me. Chris Fletcher made sure I got what I deserved. Stephanie Quinn was amazing, she always so caring and checked on me. If I needed anything she acted quickly and made sure things were taken care of. I didn’t have as much stress through this whole process thanks to the hard work and effort they put in. Not many attorneys care about you as a person as well as take care of your case. I would recommend anyone to use Simmons and Fletcher as their attorney.” – Amber R., an actual client.