Crashes involving 18-wheeler trucks and other commercial vehicles often result in catastrophic injuries or even death due to the size and weight of the vehicles involved. Most of the crashes involve either distracted driving or driver fatigue. This is a result of placing a driver in a truck for long hours: the driver becomes tired and bored, and this is a recipe for disaster.
Contact an experienced personal injury law firm if you’ve been injured by an 18-wheeler. They know the important steps to take to preserve evidence early on in the case, like sending a preservation of evidence letter and obtaining a download of the semi’s data recorder. Glasheen, Valles & Inderman represented four students involved in a semi-truck-school-bus wreck in 2010 near Big Lake, Texas. In that case, the truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and his truck rear ended a school bus. Our clients had multiple injuries including broken legs. We hired sleep deprivation experts and truck driving experts to show the nature and dangers of driving while fatigued. We located several former employees of the defendant who testified that driving fatigue was a regular problem that went unaddressed. With the help of our team, our clients received the best orthopedic medical care and therapy. We helped our clients structure the settlement to ensure that the children will have an opportunity to attend any college and helped them establish a secure lifetime income. Glasheen, Valles & Inderman obtained a $6.28 Million jury verdict in October in a case involving a semi truck rear-ending a passenger vehicle causing permanent paralysis.
Because truck wreck cases can be complex, gathering as much evidence as possible early on is critically important. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck wreck, the most important thing you can do is quickly contact a personal injury attorney who has experience with truck wrecks. Time is of the essence. Critical evidence disappears, is deleted, or is otherwise unavailable within days of the crash. This includes tire skid marks, the truck driver’s cell phone information, vehicle inspections and more. Hiring an attorney as soon as possible allows the attorney to quickly preserve evidence, maximizing the value of your case and likelihood of a positive outcome.
We have experts to inspect trucks involved in accidents. In many cases, the trucks have service violations such as brakes that are out of adjustment. Many trucks now have GPS devices that record movement of the trucks, so that we can compare the truck’s movements to the log books. We can sometimes also determine the speed of the truck from this GPS information or from a download of the truck’s airbag control module, or ACM. The ACM contains a wealth of valuable information like whether cruise control was engaged, whether the driver turned the steering wheel before the crash, whether the brakes were applied, and more. Our firm also has cell phone experts that can download the truck driver’s cell phone usage history, including calls, texts, and internet use. This data can be critical in proving the truck driver was distracted at the time of the crash.
In addition to the common law negligence principles, the operation of commercial trucks is governed by federal rules and regulations promulgated by the Department of Transportation, and in some cases other federal agencies as well. DOT rules impose strict pre-employment screening requirements and ongoing drug testing requirements. They also require truck drivers to thoroughly inspect their vehicles before and after their shifts and document problems requiring attention. They impose maximum hours of service to reduce the likelihood that a fatigued driver will get behind the wheel, and also impose a variety of other placarding and record-keeping requirements. Federal regulations also prohibit commercial vehicle drivers from texting while driving, which is defined as “manually entering alphanumeric text into, or reading text from, an electronic device.” Some companies are unaware of all of the rules and regulations that apply to them and others ignore them. Again, the results can be catastrophic.
In many truck wreck cases we also discover that truck drivers have falsified their log books in order to operate outside the maximum hours of service allowed under DOT Regulations. Trucking companies sometimes create incentive programs that give their drivers an incentive to break the law by driving faster or for more hours than are allowed by law.
Regardless of how it occurs, where truck wrecks result from negligence, the law provides a basis for you to recover just compensation for your losses. Those losses may include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, future earnings potential damages and other compensation.
Our firm has successfully prosecuted many truck accident cases. To read the stories behind some of our past settlement and verdicts, go to our proven results, including a settlement of $5 million net-to-client for a truck wreck brain injury and $1.7 million net-to-client for an 18-wheeler wreck brain injury. In October 2016, we obtained a $6.28 Million jury verdict involving an 18-wheeler truck crash that left our client paralyzed from the waist down.