tractor-trailer-crash-denver-300x218This photograph is from the latest horrific crash in Denver you may have seen on the news. A young 18 wheeler driver was speeding on an interstate highway. He failed to stop as he approached vehicles backed up at a car wreck, rammed into the rear of one, and set off a catastrophic series of tractor trailer crashes. There were a total of 28 vehicles involved. A massive fire erupted and four people were trapped inside who tragically lost their lives. Other people suffered life-threatening injuries.

This nightmare didn’t happen in Texas — but it easily could have. Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos held a Texas commercial driver’s license, lived in Houston, and was hauling lumber to San Antonio.

The driver clearly was incompetent. He was only 23 years old and had little experience behind the wheel of a big rig. He was recklessly driving at a rate of 85 mph and had been reported for weaving in and out of congested rush-hour traffic. The speed limit for commercial trucks was restricted to 45 mph to avoid tractor trailer crashes like these.

The Denver wrecks are just the latest reminder of why we need to increase our regulations of 18 wheeler drivers and companies.

The very small trucking business owned by the driver’s brother should not have been allowed to be out on the highways. This truck tractor had prior mechanical difficulties and had caused tractor trailer crashes in other states. The driver claimed his brakes failed. When was the last time they had been inspected?

There were over 4,300 deaths and 30,000 injuries caused by tractor trailer crashes in 2016, the most recent year data is available according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Almost all were in the passenger car, SUV, or truck that was crashed into by the tractor trailer that can weigh more than 80,000 pounds GWVR.

The occupants of the smaller vehicle are extremely vulnerable and need to be compensated for their injuries and damages. But with increased trade and a growing population, not to mention a surge in Amazon purchases, our highways and roads are busier and more dangerous than ever.

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Courtesy of NBC-5

On Friday afternoon a tractor trailer driver was muscling his way east on Interstate 20 in Weatherford when he collided into traffic that had backed up. The driver was not able to slow down, hit a stopped SUV, and set off a chain-reaction. The 18 wheeler hit the median wall and cable system that fortunately prevented it from going onto the other side of the highway and cause more mayhem. The big rig flipped over on its driver side, spilling plastic bottles all over the interstate. The interstate was shut down into the night-time hours. Here’s another fatal 18 wheeler crash that didn’t need to happen.

Sadly, a 44-year-old woman in one of the cars in front of the 18 wheeler lost her life. And seven other people had to be rushed to area hospitals and two other people were treated at the scene. We extend our condolences to the family of the woman and prayers for a speedy recovery to the injured victims.

Berenson Injury Law recently concluded a case for a man seriously injured in a 18 wheeler crash not far from this site and another where a woman lost her life when a tractor trailer rear ended her and other vehicles. We have unfortunately had to handle many other fatal 18 wheeler crashes like this over the past nearly 40 years.

We see how constant they are. But they shouldn’t be.

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fort-worth-18-wheeler-accident-300x142Dallas 18-wheeler crash this morning claims lives of three

The number of people getting seriously injured and even killed in Texas due to crashes involving 18-wheelers unfortunately continues to rise. Just this morning, the most recent tragedy happened in Dallas at about 2:00 AM when three people in a car lost their lives on Interstate 30. It is not clear at this time how the crash happened and we often see driving while intoxicated crashes at that time. But sadly, this is just another news story and statistic about Texas truck injuries and fatalities. And there is no end in sight.

The photograph is not from the Dallas crash but from a case we recently resolved at a mediation. We filed suit after this tractor-trailer rear-ended several vehicles on an interstate in Fort Worth.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that a shocking 4,317 people died — 556 of those being Texans — and 30,000 people were injured in large truck crashes. Of course, almost all of the victims were the occupants of other vehicles. The 80,000 gross vehicle weight rated tractor-trailer almost always wins the battle with the smaller car or pickup truck.

And care to guess which state had the highest number of large trucks that were in fatal wrecks? Woo hoo, we’re #1, with 539 commercial vehicles involved in these crashes.

That’s way too many. After all, one is too many, especially if it has affected your or someone you love.

The flurry of truck wrecks is despite the constant improvement and increase in technology, testing, training, and regulations –and no doubt lawsuits against commercial truck companies and their negligent drivers —  that have improved the safety of the our highways.

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We have a serious problem on our interstates that no one is talking about. Trucking companies can’t find enough people who want to drive at the same time truck demand is at an all-time high. Fewer long haul drivers means longer hours for those who are driving. This means more cases of driver fatigue– and more crashes – even though personal injury lawyers are filing more lawsuits to try to make our roads safer.

America's Trucker Shortage

What is causing America’s trucker shortage?

Even though trucking companies are paying much higher wages due to the trucker shortage, fewer people are wanting to drive big rigs. Industry leaders say they need to find 200,000 truck drivers, but are only able to add 50,000. Truckers are leaving in record numbers with few wanting to take their place.

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There are many reasons why deadly truck accidents happen. This photo is from a case we recently concluded where our client’s SUV crashed into the jack-knifed 18-wheeler on Interstate 30 west of Fort Worth. Sometimes the commercial truck driver is negligent for going too fast or not paying attention to other vehicles on the road. Other times the trucking company is to blame for failing to perform needed maintenance or hiring an unqualified driver. Both can be at fault or other vehicle drivers can share the blame. Whatever the reason, if you’ve lost a loved one in a fatal commercial truck crash in Texas or have suffered injuries, you need a good truck wreck attorney on your side to get you the results you want.

For example, in the photograph pictured above, a car driver on the other side of the highway was also at fault. Fortunately, no one died, although our client required a major leg surgery and many months of rehabilitation before he could walk again.

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What is the best way to recover damages after truck collision? Proving violations of federal regulations for 18 wheelers

Any driver knows that tractor trailers and other big trucks on the road are intimidating — and sometimes very dangerous. This is why Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations for 18 wheeler trucks are so important. To keep drivers safe on the road, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enacted specific rules. But often trucking companies and truck drivers do not follow them in their hurry to make money. Regulations that are often broken include the following.

Federal Regulations for Semi Trucks

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After you have been involved in a crash with an 18 wheeler or other big truck, you need to know who is going to pay your medical bills and how much money is available to pay your other damages.

Dallas-Fort Worth truck lawyer Bill Berenson explains what you need to know about commercial truck insurance and truck accident cases. 

Recent Case Shows Why You Need a Good Injury Lawyer After You Are in a Collision

Our law firm recently settled a lawsuit arising out of this multi-vehicle crash but it wasn’t easy. There were six vehicles and eight injured people and the small truck company did not even have an insurance policy. Even so, the injury lawyers involved figured out a way to obtain the amount required for commercial truck insurance under federal law and get our clients paid after attending a mediation. But crashes like this with 18-wheelers, box trucks, pickup trucks, and SUVs can cause devastating injuries and huge medical bills. Finding out who to contact, how to proceed, and how much money is available can be difficult — often intentionally. Our firm knows what to do after a commercial truck collision after almost 40 years of fighting for injured Texans. This post will explain how commercial truck insurance works and how it can get you repaid for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages you have sustained after a truck accident.

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The increasing number of accidents involving large trucks and the severity of the injuries they cause is a serious problem for motorists. While the effects of accidents involving 18-wheelers like the one pictured can be devastating, smaller commercial vehicles also pose a common safety risk. Trucks driven by plumbers, grass cutters, cable installers, florists, and other businesses rely on a fleet of vehicles to deliver their products or services. Are they held to the same safety regulations as larger vehicles?

Trucking Safety Regulations

The Role of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Fortunately the answer is yes — depending on several factors. The FMCSA is the federal government agency responsible for regulating and providing safety oversight of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The primary goal of the agency is to reduce crashes and the resulting injuries and fatalities caused by large trucks and buses but it also has jurisdiction over smaller vehicles. States also have laws related to the license and driving requirements for commercial vehicles. Any business using commercial motor vehicles must obtain authority from both state and federal trucking authorities.

Whether bad driving, poor maintenance, distracted driving, lack of sleep or lack of training in emergency situations, these Texas truck crashes in the last few months were preventable. A good personal injury lawyer can help stop these from happening and help the victims and their families recover their damages.

Blowout Causes Fatal Crash

Recent Texas Truck Crashes

Take, for example, the crash of an 18-wheeler in Hill County last month. Barreling down a rural stretch on Texas Highway 31 according to KWTX, the young driver lost control of his vehicle after a blowout, causing the truck to leave the roadway and overturn. The tires were old. Tragically, the 26-year-old driver died at the scene.

Fatal truck crashes cause thousands of drivers and passenger of much smaller vehicles to become innocent victims. Our government’s inaction as the number of truck crashes surge is maddening. 

Tragic truck crashes are becoming the the new norm instead of rare events. Just last year here in Dallas and Tarrant Counties, we had these terrible statistics: almost 6,000 collisions involving tractor-trailers tragically took the lives of 53 people and injured over 3,500 others.

Crashes between tractor-trailers and passenger vehicles often have devastating impacts on motorists. An 18-wheeler easily has a weight of 80,000 pounds in comparison to about 4,000 pounds for a normal car. Here are some recent examples of the effects that truck crashes can have:

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