Get Answers to Your San Antonio Truck Accident Questions Here
When a catastrophic event puts your future at risk, anxiety and uncertainty will cause you to have a million questions. What can you do? How can you provide for your family? Will you recover?
Allow the extensive experience and knowledge of the Packard Law Firm put your worries to rest. Come learn the answers to your questions and see how we can help pull you out of the depths of uncertainty.
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Why are 18-Wheelers so dangerous?
18-wheelers are monstrous vehicles. A loaded 18-wheeler will weigh between 60 and 80,000 pounds. That is 20 times the weight of an average passenger vehicle. And when you are talking about damage to a car or to the people inside, it is not just the speed of the vehicle, it is the momentum. And when you are talking 60 to 80,000 pounds it will just crush a passenger car. These 18-wheelers kill and maim people every day.
Government studies show that 18-wheelers account for only 4% of the vehicles on the road, but they are involved in 1 in 8 of the traffic fatalities. So watch out for them because they are really dangerous.
And if you have been hurt by one, you can speak to truck accident lawyer today, we will be glad to help you.
How is a big truck case different than a regular car wreck case?
Well they are usually a lot more complex and they have a lot more issues. For example, you are going to need an expert witness almost all the time, usually more than one. You are going to want to evaluate the rig itself. It is very important to examine the vehicle, the 18-wheeler. You want to check the tires to make sure they are not overly worn, you want to make sure the brakes are at the right settings. Essentially you want to make sure that the vehicle should have been in service, so you look at the maintenance records, for example. And you also want to make sure that the load was secured, so that it wasn't sliding around as that could be the cause of the accident. None of that is relevant in a typical car wreck case, most of the time.
Different Regulations For Truck Industry
There are also unique federal and state regulations that apply only to big rigs and 18-wheelers and such. And so you want to check to make sure that the driver and the trucking company complied with the applicable federal regulations. Was the person really qualified to be driving, was the person sleepy, did the trucking company put them on a schedule that was unrealistic so that they had to drive sleepy.
Characteristics About The Truck Driver
You also want to check to see if the trucker was distracted. Because now a days, in many of these trucks, they have actual computers right there by the steering wheel. They have a keyboard and a computer screen. They are supposed to pull over when they want to talk to dispatch or their family, but lots of times they do that while they are driving. And there is a study out there that says that these truckers are 10 times more likely to cause an accident when they are distracted. You want to evaluate whether they are intoxicated or drunk or on drugs and of course you want to evaluate whether they are speeding. Many of these trucks have black boxes, kind of like an airplane, that records speed and other critical data. But even when they don't have that, there are very sophisticated ways to calculate the speed of a vehicle and to reconstruct the accident. And the formulas and the science behind how you calculate the speed of an 18-wheeler are very different than what happens when you are dealing with a regular passenger car.
Why You Need An Experienced Truck Attorney
Bottom line is this, if you have been hurt by an 18-wheeler, you want a truck accident lawyer who has done this enough times to know what the issues are, who the real experts are, what the regulations say and what to do so that you can be protected and your family can be taken care of.
So give us a call if you have one of these cases, we know what to do.
Related Truck Accident Information:
As a lawyer, do you need to be involved in the scientific and technical details of an 18-wheeler case?
In an 18-wheeler case, a truck accident lawyer really needs to be involved in enough of the details to know when an expert is trying to pull the wool over their eyes. They don't have to know all the science but they have to be willing to learn it so that they can be conversant with the experts. They have to know the rig, they have to know the regulations and they have to know the science.
I had a case one time where an 18-wheeler killed four people. And the expert that the other side had hired, had calculated the speed of the 18-wheeler at something that was very disadvantageous to our case. And we knew that he was wrong, but my expert couldn't figure out what he had done wrong. So I went out and bought the textbook that the expert had used when he was in college. And I read the whole thing, some of it multiple times. And we found it. That the expert from the other side had used the wrong formula. He used a formula for a passenger car, when if you use the right formula for an 18-wheeler, the speed would have been very different.
I confronted that expert in open court in front of the judge and the judge threw out the expert and all of his testimony as non-scientific and it turned the whole case. So you have to have a truck accident lawyer that is willing to get into the details, get into the science and if he doesn't know, he is willing to learn it. Because on these kinds of cases where the stakes are high, there is no telling what the other side will do.
If you have a case like this, give us a call because we know what to do to protect you.
Is it really important to act quickly in an 18-wheeler case?
In an 18-wheeler accident, it is very important that the family and the person who is injured, call a truck accident lawyer whose got a team of experts immediately. There is a lot of evidence that can get lost if they don't act quickly. In fact, the federal regulations allow the trucking company to destroy evidence after a certain period of time.
Act Quickly After A Truck Accident
So there is debris on the road, there are skid marks, there are burn marks, there are shards of glass and a lot of that stuff goes away if you wait too long. And some of it goes away very quickly. In addition you have witnesses, you have the tow truck driver, the police officer, bystanders, people in other vehicles. Those people need to be contacted and their testimony needs to be preserved. I have seen cases where the witnesses just got lost and you couldn't find them any more. Or they forget what happened. Or even worse the insurance company for the other side gets to them and gets them somehow to sign a statement that doesn't reflect what happened. And so it is important to have someone on that very early.
Truck Collision Inspections Are Time Consuming
In addition you have to evaluate the rig itself. There are things you have to check on, to make sure the brakes were properly set, the tires weren't overly worn, to make sure the vehicle should have been in service in the first place. And you want to get that vehicle as close to the accident as possible so that they can't argue that something else has created the defect that you are relying on.
San Antonio Truck Accident Experts
For all of those reasons, it is imperative that you call immediately so that my team of experts can get out there. Because rest assured, the insurance company is going to have their team out there as soon as the accident happens. If we don't get out there soon too we are going to be playing catch up.
So if you have one of these cases, give us a call or fill out the form on the website because we know what to do to help you.
Am I at a higher risk for a truck accident if I’m in an intersection? Do turning trucks pose a threat?
According to U.S. Department of Transportation statistics, over 200,000 truck accidents occur each year, severely injuring more than 100,000 victims. Of these accidents, nearly an astounding 35 percent occur in or as a result of an intersection turn.
Think about it: how often have you come to an intersection and had to slowly inch into it because you weren’t 100 percent sure that someone wouldn’t T-bone you? How often have you held your breath as a semi turned toward you and came within inches of scraping off your door? Due to the explicit design and rules of intersections, even the slightest miscalculation of time or angle could cause a severe accident.
Unfortunately, due to a big truck’s size, length, and weight, it’s extremely difficult for the truck driver to accurately calculate his turns. As a result, turning at intersections—especially turning left at intersections—is one of the main regular causes of truck accidents.
Crossroads: A Turn for the Worse
Intersections are aptly nicknamed crossroads, as they can quickly become a turning point in a trucker’s life. You see, when a truck turns, the driver must be able to successfully judge not only the space in which he’s planning to turn, but also the entire area around the truck. The risk and potential damage is much greater for larger trucks, as the trailer end must clear the curb, pedestrians, and other vehicles.
Right hand turns are generally considered easier for truckers as the turn radius is smaller and drivers can see the intended path more easily than when turning left. However, left-hand turns pose several problems that can cause massive damage and severe injuries to truckers themselves as well as anyone in their path. Complications include:
- Decreased visibility: Because trucks are so long, drivers have an extended blind spot on the left side. Thus, visibility is decreased when driving straight, and the situation worsens when making a turn. When a trucker turns left he may not be able to see cars next to him inch forward or pedestrians running against the light until it is too late. At that point, his only options will be to collide with the obstruction, or veer against it ultimately raising the risk of a t-bone, rollover, or jackknife collision.
- The need to navigate through and cross additional traffic: Turning left at an intersection triples the odds of a collision as trucks are forced to turn in front of traffic (in some cases, up to three lanes of oncoming traffic) in addition to paying attention to two bike lanes and a crosswalk. If these lanes become compromised for any reason, a collision may be unavoidable.
- Precariously wide turns: Tuck beds and trailers require more room than regular vehicles to make 90 degree turns. Since trailers are longer than regular cars, they require a broader angle of entry when turning. This is why left turn lanes are placed farther back than straight lanes: to provide extra space to accommodate wide turns. Truck drivers must compensate for their truck’s length by widening their turn radius. However, if the driver misjudges the turn or if other drivers or pedestrians are blocking his path, the trucker will be unable to properly maneuver, thus increasing the chance of an accident.
Making the Choice to Turn for the Better
Due to the potential complications and difficulties that truckers face when turning at intersections, it is always a good idea to give them a wide birth. However, even when you try to be as accommodating as possible, when a truck falters or the driver loses control there may not be anything you can do to prevent you and your family from suffering tragic injuries.
That’s where we come in.
The Packard Law Firm can help you navigate through the crossroads of your accident and get you the help and recovery your family needs. So remember, you’ll never be stuck with nowhere to turn as long as you have us. Schedule an appointment today by filling out our contact form and see how we can help you move forward.
What should I do if the truck in front of me loses control?
Every year thousands of truckers lose control of their rigs and cause irreparable damage. In 2012 alone, over 100,000 people were severely injured due to truck accidents—70 percent of whom were car passengers and pedestrians. (The remaining 30 percent were drivers or passengers of the trucks which caused the collisions.)
So what’s the deal? Why are trucks so dangerous?
Although poor maintenance and environmental factors are sometimes to blame, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that truck drivers are 10 times more likely to cause truck accidents than any other determining factor. Anything from fatigue-induced distractions to simple miscalculations are enough to cause a driver to lose control of his truck. Unfortunately, due to the size and weight of most semis, once control is lost it’s extremely difficult to get it back. This unfortunate span of events can consequently lead to a collision, a rollover, or a multi-car accident.
Although it’s easy to see how a truck can cause an accident, it’s not so easy to stomach the thought of you and your family being caught up in one. Thankfully, despite the risk factors, you can protect yourself and your family from a tragedy by simply knowing how to handle yourself when forced to drive near a truck…whether it shows signs of distress or not.
Safety Tips for Driving Near Trucks
Considering the possible injuries when you suffer a truck accident, it’s extremely important to understand how you can decrease your family’s risks by being able to avoid an accident altogether. The following safety tips win not only help you become a safer driver, but they can also help you avoid the consequences of a trucker’s mistake.
- Put some distance between you: When driving behind a truck—whether you’re in his lane or the passing lane—you should always have at least two car lengths between your front end and the truck’s back end. This will allow room for maneuvering as well as give you the time and distance you need to brake in case of an emergency. If a truck begins to show signs of distress (wobbling, erratic swerving, etc.), you need to increase your distance even more, to six or seven car lengths, in order to increase your safety zone in case of a rollover or jackknife.
- Limit your passes: Trucks are required to go five to ten miles per hour under the posted speed limit; however, this doesn’t necessarily meant that you should pass them. Make sure you judge the situation correctly and that you have enough room to pass safely. If you’re coming up to an on-ramp, refrain from passing until you’ve cleared oncoming traffic; the truck driver may need the room to change lanes and may not see you if you’re passing. If the truck is behaving erratically, do not pass; the trucker may not have control and could swerve or even roll over into the passing lane at any moment. Avoid the truck’s crumple zones (sides and blind spots) at all costs.
- Change lanes: If possible, try to avoid being directly behind or in front of a truck. You never know if it may suddenly brake, speed up, tip, or roll over—especially if it seems to be wobbling or jerking. If it is in the right lane, move into the left while maintaining an adequate distance so you’re not in its path.
When a truck loses control near you…
- Get away from it as soon as possible: As soon as you’re safely able, decrease your speed and get off the highway. You can always get back on later, but if you’re not near the truck, you can’t be harmed.
- Call for help: Once you’re away from the truck and can safely do so, warn the police or traffic control center that there may be a potential truck hazard. Give them the approximate coordinates and a detailed description of how the truck was moving. They will be try to locate the distressed truck and stop it before an accident occurs.
Contact a Texas Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Driving can be an extremely stressful endeavor, but suffering a catastrophic accident can be life-altering. Don’t allow a trucker’s mistake to run over your family’s future. Take the proper precautions to avoid an accident and remember that the Packard Law Firm Family is here to help you get the aid you need.