Houston Truck Accident Lawyers
Large Truck Accidents in Texas
Every year, hundreds of Texans are killed in collisions with semi-trucks, big rigs, 18-wheelers, and other large trucks. Even when these accidents aren’t fatal, victims are often left with catastrophic injuries and numerous physical, emotional, and financial challenges. Worse yet, big truck companies rarely take responsibility for these collisions without some sort of legal intervention.
If you or someone you love was involved in a large truck accident in Houston or anywhere in Harris County, reach out to The Shellist Law Firm, PLLC to learn how our experienced trial lawyers can help you seek the justice you deserve. Led by founding attorney, Steven Shellist, a recognized authority in the local legal community, our team aggressively advocates on behalf of victims of negligence and their families. We are here to guide you through the legal process and help you fight for the maximum compensation you are owed.
What Are the Common Types of Truck Accidents?
A truck accident refers to any collision or incident involving a large commercial truck, such as a semi-truck, tractor-trailer, or big rig. These accidents can result in serious injuries, fatalities, and significant damage to property due to the size and weight disparity between trucks and other vehicles on the road.
Common types of truck accidents include:
- Rear-end collisions: When a truck crashes into the back of another vehicle. This can occur due to the truck driver's failure to maintain a safe following distance or to brake in time.
- Jackknife accidents: This type of accident occurs when the trailer of a truck swings outward from the cab, forming an acute angle resembling a folding jackknife. Jackknife accidents often happen when the truck's wheels lock up during braking, causing the trailer to skid out of control.
- Rollover accidents: These accidents happen when a truck tips over onto its side or roof. Rollovers can occur due to factors like excessive speed, sharp turns, unbalanced cargo, or adverse weather conditions.
- Underride accidents: An underride accident occurs when a smaller vehicle slides under the trailer of a truck. These accidents are particularly dangerous because they can result in severe injuries or fatalities for the occupants of the smaller vehicle.
- Blind spot accidents: Trucks have large blind spots, also known as "no-zones," where other vehicles are not visible to the truck driver. Accidents can occur when vehicles enter these blind spots and the truck changes lanes or makes a turn without seeing them.
- Tire blowouts: When a truck's tire suddenly bursts while in motion, it can cause the driver to lose control, leading to a potential accident. Tire blowouts can occur due to factors like overloading, improper maintenance, or road hazards.
- Head-on collisions: These accidents involve a truck colliding with another vehicle head-on. Head-on collisions are often catastrophic due to the high speeds involved and the significant force of impact.
- Runaway truck accidents: A runaway truck accident happens when a truck loses its ability to slow down or stop, often due to brake failure or driver error. These accidents can result in the truck colliding with other vehicles, buildings, or infrastructure.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Texas Truck Accidents?
Like other car accidents, most truck accidents result from negligence. Sometimes, truck drivers are the negligent ones; in other cases, trucking companies, cargo loaders, and other third parties act carelessly or wrongfully, leading to serious and even deadly collisions.
Some of the most common causes of large truck accidents include:
- Truck Driver Error/Negligence: Although most truck drivers are highly trained professionals, this does not mean that they cannot make mistakes or act carelessly behind the wheel. Examples of truck driver error and negligence include speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, traffic violations, failure to yield the right of way, unlawful turns, unlawful passing, and more.
- Hours-of-Service Violations: Truck accident law requires truck drivers to follow federal and state hours-of-service that limit the number of hours they can legally drive. Hours-of-service violations can lead to fatigued driving, which has been proven to be as dangerous—if not more dangerous—than driving while intoxicated.
- Improperly Loaded Cargo: Truck cargo must be properly loaded and secured to avoid shifting during transit. Shifting cargo can cause truck drivers to lose control of the vehicle, ultimately resulting in devastating crashes. Overloaded trucks that exceed federal or state weight restrictions can also lead to serious accidents.
- Inadequate Truck Maintenance: Semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other large commercial vehicles must be regularly inspected and maintained. Failure to conduct routine truck maintenance can result in serious problems, such as brake failure or issues with steering. This, in turn, can lead to deadly accidents.
- Trucking Company Negligence: Examples of trucking company negligence include failing to conduct background checks on new drivers, failing to properly penalize drivers who violate the law/company policies, improper training or supervision, and encouraging drivers to meet unrealistic schedules, quotas, or deadlines.
- Defective Trucks/Truck Parts: Defectively designed vehicles and those containing faulty components—such as tires, brakes, steering, engine components, and other parts—pose a serious risk to others on the road. The truck driver may lose control, or the truck may roll over or jackknife as a result of a collision.
- Third-Party Negligence: Other forms of negligence by third parties, including other drivers on the road, may also contribute to or cause a truck crash. For example, a distracted driver may drift into a truck’s lane, causing the truck driver to swerve to avoid the distracted driver and hit someone in the opposite lane.
Determining the cause of a truck accident is important, as it typically indicates who is liable. At The Shellist Law Firm, PLLC, we conduct exhaustive investigations and work alongside accident reconstructionists to evaluate exactly what happened—and who is responsible.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident?
Truck accident claims tend to be much more complex than standard car or motorcycle accident claims for several reasons, including the issue of liability. After a typical motor vehicle accident, an injured victim can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Usually, there is only one liable party, and it is the person who caused the accident.
In truck accident cases, however, the person who caused the accident may not be the only liable party. In some cases, they may not be liable at all. This is because most trucking companies are liable for the conduct of their drivers when those drivers are classified as employees. As such, if a truck driver causes an accident, the victim and/or their family may have a claim against the trucking company rather than the truck driver.
Sometimes, the truck driver is liable. This is usually the case when the truck driver negligently caused the accident and is classified as an independent contractor, or the trucking company is otherwise not liable. However, another party could also be partly or wholly liable.
Other potentially liable parties of a truck accident include:
- Truck Manufacturer: If a mechanical failure or defect in the truck's design contributed to the accident, the manufacturer or distributor of the vehicle or its parts may be held liable under product liability laws.
- Cargo Loaders: Those responsible for loading and securing the cargo onto the truck can be held liable if an improperly loaded or unsecured cargo contributed to the accident.
- Maintenance Providers: If the accident resulted from inadequate maintenance or repairs to the truck, the party responsible for maintaining the vehicle may be held liable. This could include maintenance companies, repair shops, or individual mechanics.
- Government Entities: In some cases, poor road conditions or inadequate signage may contribute to a truck accident. Government entities responsible for road maintenance and safety may be held liable if their negligence contributed to the accident.
- Other Drivers: In multi-vehicle accidents involving a truck, other drivers involved may also share liability if their actions contributed to the crash.
You must work with an attorney who can evaluate the details of your case and identify who is liable for your damages. At The Shellist Law Firm, PLLC, our Houston truck accident lawyers have decades of trial experience and are known for their aggressive, collaborative approach to litigation. We are prepared to fight tirelessly for you and the full, fair compensation you deserve.
Speak to Our Truck Accident Attorneys Today
If you were injured or if someone you love was tragically killed in an accident with a semi-truck, tractor-trailer, big rig, delivery truck, or 18-wheeler, you need a legal team that will fight for you. The Shellist Law Firm, PLLC represents clients in Houston and the surrounding areas in bringing personal injury and wrongful death claims against negligent truck drivers, trucking companies, and other liable parties. We offer highly personalized and compassionate legal services tailored to each individual’s unique needs, concerns, and goals. As your legal team, we will be there for you every step of the way.
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Practicing Law for Two DecadesHaving practiced law for 20 years, you can be confident attorney Steve Shellist can successfully handle your case.
Extensive Trial ExperienceAs a former chief prosecutor, Mr. Shellist knows how to present a compelling case in front of a jury.
Highly Personalized RepresentationAt Shellist Law, we believe every case requires tailored representation in order to achieve the best possible outcome for the client.
Legal Analyst on ABC-13Over the years, Mr. Shellist has been called on by ABC-13 News to share his expertise on many newsworthy cases.