Dallas Truck Accident Lawyer
Commercial truck accidents can be complicated. Our law firm can help
Talk to an experienced Dallas truck accident attorney and they will tell you right away – these claims can be challenging. Whether you’re dealing with a high-speed tractor-trailer accident on I-30 or I-45, a jackknife accident on I-20, or a rear-end delivery truck collision on Commerce Street, commercial truck accidents often result in serious injuries.
This is especially true in Dallas and throughout Texas. Every year, there are more truck accidents in Texas than in any other state in the country. In recent years, twice as many fatal truck accidents involving large trucks (18-wheelers, delivery trucks, tanker trucks, etc.) occurred in Texas compared to the second deadliest state.
Along with all these fatalities, many people sustain severe injuries. Such injuries can result in lifelong chronic pains, disfigurements, disabilities, and many other problems. Expenses can add up fast too, including medical bills, vehicle repairs, and lost income if injury victims are unable to work while they recover.
And unlike car accidents, there is often more than one at-fault party when it comes to commercial truck accidents. So what should you do after a truck accident in Texas? What are your options? Know your rights. Talk to an experienced Dallas truck accident lawyer. Contact The Marye Law Firm right away.$1,900,000 truck accident settlement
Make the right choice – choose The Marye Law Firm
For more than two decades, our dedicated legal team has been standing up for the rights of people injured in truck accidents in Dallas and throughout Texas. We understand the difficulties victims face. We know how serious such accidents can be for injury victims and their families. That’s why we want to help.
Whether you’re seeking compensation in the form of a settlement or filing a truck accident lawsuit, we believe we’re the right Dallas law firm for you for many different reasons.
- Decades of experience handling truck accident claims
- Personalize approach tailored to suit each individual case
- Attention to detail when investigating commercial truck crashes
- Familiarity with state and federal laws that apply to commercial truck accidents
- Effective negotiation skills when dealing with insurance companies and trucking companies
- Exceptional courtroom tactics when taking a truck accident lawsuit to trial
Click here to download a printable PDF of this infographic.
Notable truck accident settlements and verdicts
Mr. Harris was involved in a wreck with an 18-wheeler that had run a stop sign in southern Louisiana. He suffered a fractured skull that required the insertion of metal plates in his head. Mr. Harris was initially represented by a Louisiana attorney who had estimated the value of his claim at $600,000 and who recommended he seek treatment from a chiropractor.
Mr. Harris subsequently contacted The Marye Law Firm, and we referred him to a shoulder specialist. The specialist immediately diagnosed a torn rotator cuff and that was surgically repaired. The Marye Law Firm also consulted with a neurologist and a neuropsychologist who evaluated Mr. Harris and diagnosed him with a brain injury.
L. Harris — client
- Settlement: $1,900,000.00
- Attorneys’ fees: $633,333.33
- Expenses: $9,748.98
- Client received: $1,256,917.69
J. Smith and D. Robertson v. M. Sinacola & Sons Excavating, Inc., and D. Coleman
No. CC-15-01867, Dallas County Court at Law No. 5
Smith, a flooring installer, was driving a pickup truck on Interstate 635 in Dallas County with D. Robertson, a construction worker. A van was behind them, and a pickup was behind the van. Traffic came to a stop, and D. Coleman, in a tractor-trailer, rear-ended the pickup, which rear-ended the van, which rear-ended the Smith and Robertson. The visual property damage to the Smith and Robertson’s vehicle was minimal. As a result of the collision, Smith sustained injuries to his neck and back, including an aggravation of a prior lower back injury. Robertson sustained neck and back strains as well as a wrist injury.
The plaintiffs sued Coleman and his employer, M. Sinacola & Sons Excavating Inc., for negligence.
D. Robertson – client
- $38,000 past medical cost
- $2,000 past physical pain
- $40,000 plaintiff’s total award
J. Smith – client
- $262,000 past medical cost
- $110,000 future medical cost
- $10,000 past physical impairment
- $15,000 past physical pain
- $10,500 past lost earning capacity
- $3,000 future lost earning capacity
- $410,500 plaintiff’s total award
Common causes of truck accidents
Accidents caused by commercial truck drivers happen for many different reasons. According to a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck accidents happen for three main reasons:
- Driver error – 87 percent
- Vehicle problems – 10 percent
- Environmental factors – 3 percent
As you can see, the majority of truck accidents occur due to negligence or mistakes made by the truck driver, the trucking company, or another at-fault party. Some of the most common causes include:
- Distracted driving – Unfortunately, distracted driving is a common problem for all drivers and this extends to large commercial drivers. Truck drivers often spend an extensive amount of time away from home and on the road. Because of this, they are more prone to texting and eating while driving. Likewise, they often rely on operating GPS systems to navigate to different areas of the country. These distractions can cause accidents even for those who are operating small cars, but driving an 18-wheeler requires constant focus. The size of the truck and the weight of the cargo means that large trucks require more time to stop than cars. Even a slight change in speed can lead to a major accident if the driver is not continuously watching the road and the vehicles surrounding them.
- Speeding – Commercial truck drivers often have deadlines to meet when hauling loads around the country. Paired with the fact that they drive for hours on end each day, many are tempted to speed up to meet these deadlines and finish their jobs. This can pose a major risk to the driver and others on the road as excessive speeds can make it difficult to stop the truck when needed and can cause the vehicle to flip and tilt due to the weight of the load.
- Dangerous road conditions – Whether a quick downpour makes the road slippery, fog temporarily prevents the driver from seeing the road or the roads themselves are in poor conditions, this can lead to disaster. Truckers are responsible for operating safely in adverse conditions.
- Fatigue – Truck drivers typically spend all of their working hours on the road. After driving for an excessive amount of time, many battle fatigue. There are laws in place that are intended to deter drivers from driving when drowsy, but they are often ignored to meet the demands of their workload. When a person drives while fatigued, it can have effects similar to driving while under the influence of alcohol. This puts anyone in the path of a drowsy driver in extreme danger.
- Driving Under the Influence – A Dallas 18-wheeler accident lawyer is familiar with many of the tactics that are used by professional drivers to get their work done faster. One of the biggest concerns is when these drivers ignore laws that are in place to protect the public. In many instances, drivers skip sleep to meet unrealistic deadlines put in place by their employers. Although laws state that drivers cannot drive for more than 14 hours, it is not uncommon for them to drive several hours beyond this. At this point, they are often sleep-deprived and unable to properly focus on the road ahead of them. Without sleep, their responses are similar to those of an intoxicated individual. To fight these effects, truckers also turn to other means to stay alert. Certain drugs that act as stimulants, like cocaine, amphetamines, Adderall, and Ritalin, are the most commonly abused by truckers. This is because they prevent the trucker from falling asleep while driving, but they can dramatically impair the driver’s ability to drive and make decisions. In these cases, drivers face serious consequences for their actions.
Types of truck accidents
Truck accidents can cover a wide range. Common types include:
- Tractor-Trailer Accident – Accidents involving 18-wheelers, big rigs, and semi-trucks are among the most serious crashes we handle at our law firm. Such accidents can be especially bad when they involve tractor-trailers on busy Dallas highways like the LBJ Freeway (I-20 and I-635) and the Julius Schepps Freeway (I-45).
- Rear-End Truck Accident – Large trucks need more time to stop and slow down. That’s why drivers need to leave enough room between their vehicles and the cars in front of them. When they don’t, they can cause serious rear-end truck accidents.
- Rollover Accident – Truck accidents in which the truck rolls over onto its side often occur due to negligence. Sometimes, it’s because the truck driver was going too fast, especially in a tractor-trailer on a highway like I-35W in Dallas. Other times, the cargo might have been improperly loaded, causing the truck’s cargo to become loose and the truck to become unstable.
- Jackknife Accident – Jackknife truck accidents involve the trailer part of a tractor-trailer folding in towards the cab in a V shape. When this happens, other vehicles can get crushed in between the trailer and cab, causing serious injuries or fatalities.
- Underride Accident – Because tractor-trailers are higher off the ground than most other vehicles, smaller cars can sometimes become trapped underneath the trailer. Often, such accidents occur due to mistakes made by the truck driver or due to poor truck maintenance.
- Fatal Truck Accident – Many serious truck accidents result in a fatality. When that happens, surviving family members often have several legal options available to them, including filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party.
What makes truck accident claims complicated?
There are many reasons why truck accident claims in Texas are much more complicated than other accident claims. Some of the reasons why include:
- Different rules and regulations apply to drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
- Different state and federal laws apply to commercial truck accidents in Texas, including Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
- Different state and federal agencies investigate commercial truck accidents, including the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
- More than one party might be at fault and responsible for compensating you for your accident-related expenses.
- Injuries are often more severe due to the large size of commercial trucks.
- Settlements and verdicts are sometimes larger due to the greater financial impact of commercial truck accidents.
What laws apply to truck accidents?
As briefly explained above, different laws apply to accidents involving commercial truck drivers. Many of these laws can be found within Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Some of the most important federal laws under Title 49 of the CFR include:
- Required minimum qualifications to drive a commercial truck. This includes CDL requirements, minimum age (21 years old) to operate a commercial truck, and the ability to read and speak English to understand road signs and talk with the general public. (Title 49, Part 391 of the CFR)
- How many hours commercial truck drivers can work before they must take a mandatory rest break. These rules are called Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. (Title 49, Part 395 of the CFR)
- How long commercial truck drivers must keep certain records – including HOS logs and the driver’s record of duty status documents – before they can legally destroy such records. (Title 49, Part 395, Section 8 of the CFR)
- All commercial truck drivers nationwide cannot use a handheld mobile telephone or read or send a text message while driving. (Title 49, Part 392, Section 80 of the CFR)
- Reasons why a licensed commercial truck driver can be prohibited from driving a truck. Such reasons include being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failing to inspect the truck to make sure it’s in proper working order, and cargo in the truck not properly secured. (Title 49, Part 392 of the CFR)
- Schedule and minimum standards for maintaining, inspecting, and repairing trucks. This federal law also states exactly how long commercial truck drivers must keep such required records. (Title 49, Part 396 of the CFR)
Who’s responsible for paying for my truck accident?
One of the major reasons why commercial truck accident cases are so complicated is because there’s often more than one at-fault party. This means you might be able to seek financial compensation from more than one person or company. Such at-fault parties can include:
- The truck driver who caused your crash.
- The trucking company that employs the driver, especially if the company knowingly hired a driver with a history of reckless driving or other infractions.
- The company that loaded the cargo, especially if the contents of the truck were improperly loaded or not properly secured, causing the vehicle to tip or roll over.
- The company that owns the trailer.
- The company that owns the cab.
- The truck manufacturer, especially if a mechanical defect or defective product caused your accident. This can include defective brakes or defective tires.
In addition, you may be able to take legal action against the insurance company (or companies) for the at-fault party. This is especially true if the at-fault party’s insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith and makes a lowball settlement offer.
How much is my case worth?
There’s no set dollar amount when it comes to truck accident claims. Some cases are worth thousands of dollars. Others might be worth significantly more. The bottom line is injury victims should be compensated for all their accident-related expenses.
Depending on the circumstances, that might mean you may be able to seek financial compensation for:
- Emergency medical care, including surgery, immediately after your accident.
- Follow-up medical treatment to monitor your progress.
- Physical therapy, especially if you have mobility issues or suffer from chronic pain.
- In-home care if you need long-term help with medical issues or domestic chores.
- Replacing or repairing your damaged vehicle.
- Replacement income if you cannot work while you’re recovering from your crash.
- Future income if you cannot return to work due to a permanent disability.
Remember, you didn’t do anything wrong. You shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistakes. Get the money you deserve. Talk to a Dallas truck accident lawyer at The Marye Law Firm.
What clients say about our truck accident lawyers
“Professional and compassionate team of lawyers and staff. A co-worker recommended The Marye Law Firm last year after the loss of my husband in a trucking accident. They were able to win my case and more importantly, they understood my needs and were able to assist from start to finish. Would recommend to anyone who has been involved in a trucking accident in the Dallas area” – Shannon
“Before my involvement in a trucking accident that left me unable to work, I had never hired a lawyer before. I was nervous about the process and had a lot of questions along the way. The Marye Law Firm’s team put my mind at ease by explaining everything in terms that I could understand. I appreciate all of their support and help during this particularly rough patch in my life.” – Brad
“I was fortunate enough to survive a run-in with an 18-wheeler earlier this year, but not without a severe spinal injury. My injury affects every aspect of my life and has made it hard to live a normal life. While most people don’t know how difficult it is to manage this pain every hour of the day, The Marye Law Firm’s staff got it. They ensured that I was comfortable at every meeting and truly treated me like a person instead of just another case like some of the other firms I had contacted. Highly recommended.” – Terri P.
“During all legal proceedings, The Marye Law Firm’s staff was exceptional. They were prepared, timely and confident which resulted in compensation that I desperately needed to cover medical expenses and lost wages. Thanks, The Marye Law Firm!” – Catherine
Our approach to truck accidents
We take a very detailed, aggressive approach to every truck accident case we handle at The Marye Law Firm. Our multi-faceted strategy for successfully resolving each claim varies from one client to another. But in nearly all cases, our tactics involve the following essential elements.
- Investigate case – One of the most crucial jobs of a Dallas truck accident lawyer is the case investigation. This is a process where the lawyer acts to determine how and why the wreck occurred. To proceed with the case, this investigation must be able to prove that the truck driver was liable for the accident by gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and inspecting the truck involved. Many times, this can include multiple parties, such as the driver, as well as their employer. In this stage, a Dallas truck accident lawyer will ultimately discover whether the accident was caused by mechanical failure, drug or alcohol use, drowsy driving, or something else entirely. They will also evaluate any medical records or damages incurred by the client to understand their needs and shape the specifics of the case.
- Gather evidence – Ideally, the process of gathering evidence after a commercial truck accident takes place quickly before it is moved to another location or is otherwise meddled with. Evidence can take the form of many different objects and each piece of evidence plays a crucial role in the success of a case. Some common forms of evidence that are gathered after a truck accident in Dallas include the hours of service (HOS) log, GPS data, cargo and maintenance records, witness testimonies, and the driver’s background and employment history. Additionally, in cases of drivers who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the results of drug and alcohol tests will also be key evidence.
- Determine liability – A crucial component that Dallas truck accident lawyers must consider in these cases is whether or not they can prove liability. Essentially, this means that they must be able to prove to the Judge that the truck driver was responsible for the accident due to an error in judgment, mistake, or another avoidable occurrence. In some cases, the liability may fall on multiple parties. For example, a truck driver who has an accident due to a mechanical failure may be liable for the accident as well as their employer.
- Demand compensation – When it comes to the amount of compensation that can be recovered from a large truck accident case, there is a wide range of possibilities. This is because each case is unique and the extent of damages incurred by one person can be drastically different from another. Some of the costs that can be recovered after proving that the truck driver was at fault for the accident include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering permanent disfigurement, or the loss of enjoyment of life. Despite this, these figures are not distributed at random. Lost wages and medical bills, for example, must be proven with documents like wage loss statements and copies of medical bills that detail the costs. From there, the amount of damages that can be received from things like pain and suffering are typically left up to the discretion of the Judge. The specifics of a commercial truck driver’s insurance coverage will also come into play in these scenarios.
Should I file a lawsuit?
Many truck accident injury victims decide to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for their crash. This approach can often be an effective way to get the money you deserve. However, it’s important to understand just how complicated the legal process can be when it comes to commercial truck accidents.
First, you need to determine who caused your accident. Was it the truck driver, the trucking company, or someone else? What makes commercial truck accidents different is there could be more than one at-fault party. Once you determine who’s the at-fault party or parties, you can file a lawsuit against them.
You will also need to decide where to file your truck accident lawsuit. Because commercial truck accidents in Texas may involve companies from another state or even another country, where you choose to take legal action can make a big difference.
For all of these reasons – and many more – this is why it’s important to talk to an experienced Texas truck accident lawyer right away. Deciding whether to file a lawsuit can be a difficult decision. Your attorney can advise you on whether this approach makes the most sense for you.
Why you should act fast
Time is of the essence when it comes to making a large truck accident claim. Part of it has to do with the strict deadlines in each state for filing a lawsuit or taking other legal action. Such deadlines are known as the statute of limitations. In Texas, injury victims must take legal action within two years of the crash, according to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Title 2 § 16.033.
But that’s just the start. What you might not realize is other deadlines often apply long before the two-year deadline expires. Such deadlines involve when trucking companies can destroy certain records, including:
- Truck inspection records (can be destroyed after 12 months)
- Truck driver’s Hours of Service (HOS) logs (destroyed after 6 months)
- Truck’s event data recorder (EDR) data, which includes the speed the truck was traveling at the time of the crash, if the truck driver attempted to slow down and when the driver last took a break. Many EDR devices erase such information after 250 ignition cycles or in as little as three weeks.
- Traffic camera footage of the accident or security camera footage. Such footage is often recorded over in a matter of days.
Don’t miss out on your opportunity for justice. Make sure you talk to an attorney right away. That way, your lawyer can immediately request access to such evidence before it’s destroyed forever.
We’re serious about winning your case. Contact us
This might be your only chance to demand the money you deserve. Seize it. Contact our law firm and schedule a free case evaluation with a Dallas truck accident lawyer you can trust. We promise to get right to work on your case. That way, you can focus on what matters most – recovering from your truck crash.
The Marye Law Firm – we take winning seriously.