Austin Truck Accident Lawyer

Semi-trucks and eighteen wheelers are heavier and slower to respond in dangerous situations relative to a passenger vehicle.  This in combination with their size and weight can cause devastating truck accidents in. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that the thousands of crashes that occurred in 2016 involving large trucks, cost the lives of 4,564 people. Texas was also discovered to be one of ten states with the highest average of large bus and truck crashes from 2014 to 2016.

If you or a loved one has suffered serious or fatal injuries due to someone else’s negligence, the skilled Austin truck accident attorneys at the Bonilla Law Firm will fight for you. With over 30 years of experience, our Austin personal injury lawyers help recover compensation for injured victims, we won’t stop until you receive what you are owed. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Austin Truck Accident Resources

Why Choose Us?

We are a local personal injury legal firm in Austin. Unlike many of the mass market multi-location firms, we maximize our efforts into building substantial cases for our clients. We have conducted numerous field inspections of 18 wheelers, retained accident reconstruction & trucking experts, sent spoliation letters to preserve evidence, and more. Our core values are the standard to which we are accountable in how we interact with clients and in all situations:.

Our Austin truck accident attorneys provide a helping hand and offer valuable insight and experience to take on a trucking insurance company. Many commercial trucks and trucking industries employ their own attorneys and legal teams to limit their own fault and mitigate payouts. At Bonilla Law Firm, our attorneys are here to communicate and file the necessary paperwork to help resolve your case. Our Austin truck accident lawyers provide the following approaches to all of the cases we take on:

Experience

  • We have decades of litigation experience, allowing us to supply clients with prompt, efficient and effective legal representation.

Integrity

  • We are dedicated to maintaining the highest moral standards in our decision-making, actions, and communications.

Results

  • We thoroughly investigate every case and provide the most optimal means of obtaining the best possible outcome.

What are Common Factors in Texas Trucking Accidents?

Commercial truck drivers are constantly on the road, many of them in an effort to meet strict delivery deadlines. This leads to an increased risk of:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving in dangerous conditions (bad weather / seriously ill)
  • Improper truck maintenance (brake pads need replacement, tire blow-outs, inattentive to transmission)
  • Improperly loaded truck (cargo weight not distributed evenly)
  • Defective truck parts and equipment

Due to the sheer size of a semi-truck, accidents involving these vehicles frequently end in serious injuries. From traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and in the most severe instances wrongful deaths. These types of truck accident injuries are sometimes life changing and our law firm acts as an advocate on behalf of truck accident victims.

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Austin Truck Accident Liability

Liability in a commercial truck accident is determined by which parties are found to be at fault. Determining fault will require a thorough investigation, which an Austin personal injury attorney experienced in truck accident claims can help with. More than one party may be held responsible if there is proof of negligence, including the truck driver, the company that owns or maintains the truck, equipment manufacturers and retailers (in a product liability or defective product claim).

There are federal laws and safety regulations in place that regulate how truck drivers and trucking companies must operate, established by the US Department of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). They contain strict rules regarding:

  • The requirement of thorough background checks on drivers
  • Limiting the number of hours a truck driver can operate his or her vehicle
  • Restricting a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle when ill or fatigued
  • Regular maintenance and inspections of semi trucks and other commercial vehicles
  • Set rules about logbooks, document retention, and other procedures

A truck driver or trucking company can be found negligent if proven that they failed to operate within the federal guidelines and would then be liable for the damages caused by the accident.

What Happens If I’m Partially Responsible for a Truck Accident?

The State of Texas is a comparative fault state. When there are more than one parties partially responsible for the accident, comparative fault involves shared fault for parties at fault for the accident.

Texas’ negligence laws allow individuals that are partially at fault to recover compensation. However, if an individual is found to be partially at fault for an accident, the amount of compensation awarded will be reduced by that individual’s responsibility in the accident.

Individuals are allowed to recover compensation if they are less than 49% responsible for an accident. If they are more than 50%, parties will be unable to recover damages from another party.

If you are partially liable for the accident, the total amount of compensation you can receive from other at-fault parties can be affected.

Shared fault injury cases in Texas falls under the “modified comparative negligence rule.” This rule means that the compensation you’re awarded will be reduced by the amount equal to your percentage of fault. For example, if you are found to be 25% at fault and are receiving $10,000, then the award will be reduced by 25% which leaves you with $7,500.

If you’re found to more than 50% liable then you will not be able to collect compensation at all from other at-fault parties.

What Are Common Injuries Involved From Truck Accidents?

Truck accident injuries can result in catastrophic injuries. Due to the sheer size and force of these vehicles, accidents involving a big rig can leave victims in passenger vehicles with life-long injuries. Some common injuries that ensue after truck accidents involve:

Back and Neck Injuries – Back and neck injuries are common injuries suffered in truck accidents. Cases of whiplash are common in truck accidents and neck pain can be a symptom of other injuries caused by truck accidents.

Spinal Cord Injuries – Accidents to the spine and spinal cord can be absolutely devastating to a victim. Spinal cord injuries can become catastrophic and lead to paralysis. Medical bills can become astronomical and can cause financial hardships to victims that have sustained spinal cord injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injuries – Severe blunt force trauma can lead to traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries can range in severity from mild headaches, to life-long disabilities and potential death. Traumatic brain injuries are not only costly, but can force family members into financial troubles as a result of round-the-clock care.

Burns – Burns can occur as a result of truck accidents. The severity of the burns vary from first degree burns to third degree burns.

Internal Injuries – Internal injuries are common when individuals are exposed to blunt force and can occur after significant injuries. Internal organs and blood vessels can be damaged from internal injuries. Some symptoms of internal injuries include pain in the abdominal region, dizziness and fainting.

If you have fallen victim to a truck accident, it is imperative to see a doctor. Even if you do not have any visible injuries and have no pain, it is important to see a doctor to establish a physical injury report.

What Are the Federal Trucking Regulations?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) outlines the federal regulations in order for trucks to be in compliance with regulations. Some of the main federal trucking regulations include:

Alcohol and Drug Testing

Truck drivers in the United States are mandated to follow both federal and state regulations. Alcohol and drug testing is designed to identify controlled substances in the system of truck drivers.

There are four normal scenarios for alcohol and drug testing for a truck driver. These scenarios include:

  • Pre-employment screenings
  • Reasonable suspicion
  • Random drug and alcohol screening
  • Post-accident screening

The FMCSA outlines that trucking employers have a designated representative required to oversee employer compliance with all alcohol and drug testing procedures. If an employer has a reasonable suspicion that an employee is under the influence of any mind-altering substance, it is the employer’s duty to test the truck driver for alcohol and/or drugs.

Hours of Service

Truck drivers of commercial vehicles are mandated to follow federal regulations that outline and limit the amount of hours in a given time period. Truck drivers hauling property can drive for a maximum of eleven hours per day, but can only do so after having taken ten consecutive hours off. Truck drivers are not allowed to drive beyond the fourteenth hour after beginning that truck driving shift. For truck drivers that reach seventy hours of driving in one week must rest for at least thirty four hours in a row that consists of two nights. Truck drivers are also required to maintain and log their driving time.

truck accident lawyers Austin TX

What Qualifications Are Required for Truck Drivers?

Operating a commercial truck is very different from operating a more traditional passenger vehicle. Due to these differences there are certain qualifications that are outlined for commercial truck drivers. These driver qualifications stipulate that a truck driver must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Must be able to speak English sufficiently enough to converse with general public
  • Must be able to safely operate the type of equipment the driver is assigned
  • Is physically qualified to operate and drive a commercial motor vehicle
  • The driver must have a current and valid commercial motor vehicle operator’s license issued only by one state
  • Has successfully completed a driver’s road test, or the driver has provided an operator’s license or certificate that his/her employer accepts as equivalent to a road test.

Additionally all drivers must refrain from the consumption of alcohol or drugs including any prescription medication that can impact a truck driver’s ability to operate a commercial vehicle. A truck driver cannot have alcohol in their system that exceeds .04% of blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Should I See a Doctor After a Truck Accident?

Yes. After any personal injury, it is very important to see a doctor. A doctor will create records of the medical injuries that occurred from an accident. In the event that an accident victim chooses to pursue injury compensation, this report will be crucial to establishing the injury facts of the case.

Attorneys and doctors agree that after a truck accident occurs, individuals involved should see a doctor. Immediately after an accident, a body releases hormones including adrenaline and cortisol. In some cases, individuals involved in automotive accidents will show little or no symptoms because of these hormones. However, once the hormones wear off the injuries and pain can become visible.

Legal Rights of Injured Victims

In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury accident cases gives you two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit in the state’s civil court system. (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code, Title 2 section 16.003.) If you do not file suit within this time your right to compensation will be lost, as a Texas civil court will most likely refuse to hear your case.

Don’t Wait to Get Help and Hire an Austin Truck Accident Attorney

When you have serious injuries resulting from an accident, you need experienced truck accident lawyers from the Bonilla Law Firm PLLC. Our law firm has three plus decades of combined experience working with personal injury claims. If you or a loved one have been injured as a result a big rigs negligence the personalized attention and advice that your case deserves, contact our Austin truck accident lawyers for a free consultation today.

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