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Truck Accident Investigation

If you have seen the aftermath of a collision between a car or pickup truck and a tractor-trailer, you know that the results can be life-changing, even catastrophic. If you or someone you love has been involved in a crash with a commercial vehicle, it is important that you get a good truck accident investigation ASAP. This will help win your liability case against the 18-wheeler driver and his company.

The injuries, medical bills, lost wages, pain, disfigurement, and disability, and vehicle damage from a collision with a semi truck can be phenomenally high. You will need a substantial sum to reimburse yourself for your damages. This can be a major injury, high-dollar situation that both sides want to win. Almost every personal injury case is settled out of court. You can usually make the insurance company representatives pay a reasonable amount of money, but only after you have proven your case. Getting a fair settlement or a jury verdict from an insurance company or trucking company can be impossible without a strong legal team backing you.

What a personal injury lawyer is looking for

Your injury attorney can create a reconstruction of the accident scene, especially if he is able to view the scene before the police have cleared away the debris. This can provide important information about what each vehicle was doing at the time of the collision. For example, did the semi truck drift out of its lane, tailgate, speed, or fail to yield the right of way at an intersection? Did the weight shift when it should have been properly secured or did an unsecured piece of cargo fly out of the vehicle? Was the truck properly maintained? Was the driver qualified? Were any other vehicles at fault? Was the weather or condition of the road a factor? A fast immediate investigation enables your personal injury lawyer to collect evidence. In a motor vehicle collision, no matter how severe, the police report is primarily an internal document for record keeping. The police often don’t take witness statements, take photographs, reconstruct the accident scene, download vehicle speeds and stopping data, or stop the trucking company from destroying evidence. It also allows your attorney to notify all parties that a lawsuit is in progress. He can notify all parties, particularly the trucking company, that no evidence may be tampered with, destroyed, or changed in any way.

What each side will be doing

The driver is carefully trained and knows what he must do. You don't. He must call his dispatcher, who will alert the company's crash response team, including attorneys and accident reconstruction experts. They will be at the site within minutes and will coach their driver, scour the scene, take photos and measurements, talk to witnesses, and work with the police officer to possibly shape his perception. But you will be injured, dazed, and might even be unconscious. You might be taken away from the scene to the emergency room by ambulance. What do you think will happen in the mean time? Important evidence will be taken that you need. It can possibly be destroyed or lost. The investigation must begin as soon after the impact as possible. Each minute, each day can be critical. But too many people wait for a police report to arrive and then find that it contains insufficient information to prosecute their case. Or they never see the police report and have no idea how to get one. We immediately obtain the report for any one who asks us, at no charge. This protects evidence that can win or lost your lawsuit including the driver's cell phone with text messages about traffic, speed, delivery times, weight, malfunctions, stops, and required rest. And almost all cell phone use while driving is outlawed by the FMCSA.

Text Messages

Berenson Injury Law has filed many commercial vehicle collision lawsuits over the last 39 years. We just resolved one against a major carrier that injured two people, one seriously.

What our law firm does after being hired

  • Go the the site of the wreck to get evidence
  • Work with an accident reconstruction expert
  • Get statements from witnesses
  • Get the police officer's photos and notes
  • Obtain and analyze the police report
  • Research the other driver and company
  • Write a letter demanding that the trucking company preserve the truck and all evidence
  • Mail a letter to the trucking company making it preserve evidence
  • Download black boxes of vehicles involved
  • Helps our client get the medical treatment they need
Commercial truck collisions are often difficult legal battles because they can cause serious injuries. If you have been involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer, it is in your best interest to hire a good personal injury lawyer. If you are looking for a legal team to get a good verdict or settlement from a trucking company, contact Berenson Injury Law. We will help you get the compensation that you deserve.

We have too many commercial truck crashes in the DFW area

In the past few weeks, we have seen lots of 18-wheeler collisions at night in the DFW area. For example, a tractor trailer loaded with frozen food ended up on its side after an early morning crash along Interstate 635 in North Dallas and a 18-wheeler crashed into a dump truck and scattered cargo across a highway in Fort Worth. These commercial truck crashes -- and many others -- happened late at night. We are thankful that no one was hurt in these two truck crashes, as they often cause severe or fatal outcomes. Here is a photo from the scene where our client was seriously injured in a tractor-trailer crash that happened at night. What causes them and what should you do if you are unfortunately involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer or other large truck?

One of the first questions accident victims often ask an attorney is “How much is my case worth?” There’s no magic truck accident settlement calculator to get an instant answer. Each case is different. There are different types of damages involved. A number of factors go into the calculation of each to determine the overall value of your case. The best way to get answers is by talking to a personal injury attorney about your case. However, there are some common factors that you might want to consider as you go into this process. Why Truck Accidents Matter

We rely on big trucks to transport all kinds of goods to every corner of the country. Without them, you wouldn’t have access to groceries, clothing, or even the US Mail. Trucks transport raw materials to manufacturers to keep them in business. Laws pertaining to truck safety help us balance the necessity of the services they provide while protecting the truck driver and other drivers on the roads. When the truck driver or trucking company doesn’t obey the laws, accidents are more likely to happen. When they do, the damage is going to be a lot more severe. There are more than 15.5 million trucks on the U.S. roads. Of that number, two million are tractor trailers. These trucks carry all kinds of cargo with a legal weight of 80,000 pounds. That’s about sixteen times the weight of the average passenger vehicle. When you consider the high speeds that these trucks travel, it’s easy to see the potential danger. The faster they are traveling, the greater the impact is when they hit another vehicle. An impact between a truck and a passenger vehicle often has severe consequences. It’s difficult to imagine the kind of terror a person experiences when an eighteen-wheeler is coming at them. Even more difficult to understand is the type of pain and loss that they feel after a serious accident. The severity of a truck accident typically causes more time off from work, more expensive medical treatment, and diminished quality of life.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

There’s an old saying that “There’s no such thing as an accident.” While this may not be 100% true in all cases, it’s reasonably close. Most accidents could have been prevented if someone had taken a different action than they did. When trucking accidents happen, it’s usually the fault of the driver. These are some of the most common reasons that truck accidents occur:
  • Driving While Tired – Truckers have deadlines, sometimes because of carrying perishable items. Sometimes they risk not getting paid if they don’t arrive with their load on-schedule. In the past, truck drivers were known for taking products like No-Doz and other stimulants to help keep them awake. Today, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) places Hours-of-Service rules to prevent the problem of driving while tired. This includes the maximum number of hours the driver can drive. It also enforces time off and rest breaks. Still, some drivers keep inaccurate logbooks and fail to abide by these rules.
  • Cell Phone Use While Driving – The entire country seems to be obsessed with their cell phones. Truck drivers are no exception. While the FMCSA strictly forbids texting while driving, many drivers use their phones to stay in contact with friends and family. Using their cell phone to talk is permitted if they use a hands-free device. There are limitations here as well. The driver is required to stay in a seat-belted position and can’t push more than one button to answer, call, or hang up the phone. Too often, the driver’s confidence in his/her skills overrides common sense and the law. Distracted driving remains one of the leading causes of big-rig accidents.
  • Reckless Driving– The risk of accidents gives truck drivers an even greater responsibility to watch out for the other guy. Reckless driving includes taking unnecessary risks, turning too quickly, or failing to check for traffic before switching lanes. These are just some of the careless mistakes that lead to accidents.
  • Driving Under the Influence– The idea of a truck driver being intoxicated while on the road is frightening enough. Today, a large number of truck drivers are using mind-altering drugs. Many cite poor working conditions as the reason. Some skip the No-Doz to help them stay awake and use amphetamines or cocaine instead. These drugs can change the driver’s perceptions and their reactions times. They also cause vertigo, mood swings, and even hallucinations. Perhaps most frightening of all is the use of opioids while driving. Opioid use, in general, has grown to serious proportions. It’s also hitting the trucking industry. The Department of Transportation (DOT) tests for these other drugs, but opioids have long been overlooked. As of January of this year, that is no longer the case. Testing is expected to deter opioid use. Even so, the issue of drivers who have valid prescriptions will still be a debate for the courts. Don’t take any chances if you suspect the driver who hit you was under the influence. It’s important to have a good personal injury attorney to prove it.
  • Speeding – Speeding is one of the factors that an attorney may put into the truck accident settlement calculator. Speeding reduces the amount of control the driver has over the rig. When driving on wet or icy roads, speeding is an even greater safety risk. It also requires more time for him to stop.
  • Overloaded Trucks– This is another factor that reduces the control the driver has over the truck. There are weight limitations on every truck. The specific limit depends on its braking system, frame, quality of suspension, and more. Failing to follow these limitations increases the chance of getting into an accident.

Sometimes the trucking company is equally to blame. The employer might hire a driver who has an unsafe driving record and/or a long history of previous accidents. They may have poorly maintained tractor-trailers or practice policies that result in unsafe driving practices. Some go even further and manipulate their logbooks to cover up hours of service violations. A truck accident attorney needs to prove both the driver’s and the trucking company’s fault in your accident case. Most insurance policies have an upper limit of one million dollars. Because of the severity of many truck accidents, the damages and injuries often exceed this amount. The truck driver probably can’t afford to pay a judgment that goes above the limit. The majority of large corporations have cash and assets to cover the entire judgment amount. Factors That Go into the Truck Accident Settlement Calculator - Cost of Medical Treatment – This number starts with your trip to the emergency room immediately after the accident. If you were taken by ambulance or airlifted, these costs are included. In addition, any diagnostic procedures, emergency medical treatment, hospital stay, surgeries, or care by specialists are considered part of your medical treatment expenses. - Future Medical Expenses – Sometimes it is difficult to predict how much your medical expenses will be in the future. You may learn early on that you require medication, physical therapy, or that you will require additional surgeries down the road.

There’s also the potential for your injury to get worse instead of better. You could develop a secondary condition or injury that stems from the original one. The cost of any future medical treatment needs to be figured into the cost too. Your attorney will help you make an estimate based on your current situation and the potential for ongoing treatment. - Loss of Income – All of the income you lost due to your truck accident injuries go into the truck accident settlement calculator. You and your attorney can determine the right amount based on your pay stubs. Determine your rate of pay and multiply it by the time you had to be away. This includes sick days or vacation days you took off to heal. If you have serious injuries, you may not be able to return to work. You could also be ‘partially disabled’ and have to take a position that pays less. Any income that you won’t be able to earn in the future because of your injuries is considered as damages. - Property Damage – When you look at a vehicle that’s been struck by an 18-wheeler, it isn’t hard to see the degree of damage they do. Property damage includes your vehicle and any property on you or in your vehicle that was damaged or lost. If the amount of damage to your car costs more to replace than to repair, it is considered ‘totaled.’ If you don’t know your vehicle’s value, check a guide like Kelley Blue Book to get an accurate figure. -Pain and Suffering – Determining a fair value for the person’s pain and suffering is more challenging than other factors. Unlike the value of property damages, it is hard to decide on a number that is based on the individual traits of the person. People react differently to an accident and to the injuries they receive. Some manage their physical injuries and move forward without additional complications. Others may develop physical complications like infections that also require medical treatment.

There’s also the emotional impact an accident can cause. Some accident victims develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and relive the accident. They may have difficulty driving or even riding in a vehicle with another driver. Others may have depression because of their injuries. More serious injuries might prevent them from doing things they enjoyed before the accident. These experiences and others are part of the pain and suffering that your attorney will figure into the value of your case. Some attorneys use a formula that assigns your injury a number between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of your pain. This number is then multiplied times the sum of your economic damages.

When a Loved One’s Accident Results in Death

When a loved one’s injuries are so severe that they result in death, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Dealing with the loss of your loved one can be devastating. You shouldn't be left worrying about your finances and caring for your family. When an accident occurs, someone is at fault. If that accident results in a wrongful death, the at-fault party is liable for all the losses that result. You can’t put a price on the loss of someone important in your life. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get the compensation you need to take some of the financial burden off of your shoulders.

Why You Need an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney

There’s no simple way to calculate your losses from a truck accident. It takes an experienced truck accident attorney who has gone through the same process many times before. Depending on his ability to prove the value of your case, the value could be six figures or higher. It depends on the total cost of your damages combined. It doesn’t cost anything to talk with an attorney for an evaluation of your case. An initial consultation is your chance to learn more about the laws and your rights. Your attorney will help you understand the potential value of your case. He will also advise you on whether you have enough evidence to go forward. If you decide to pursue your case, your attorney will begin to collect evidence. You never have to worry that your legal fees will only add to your financial problems. Your truck accident attorney won’t charge any fees unless you win. He will only pursue those cases that he feels he has a good chance of winning. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in the Fort Worth area, contact Attorney Bill Berenson to schedule an evaluation. He has nearly forty years of experience helping injured victims and he only handles motor vehicle accident cases. He can explain to you the damages that will go into your truck accident settlement calculator and the possible value of your case. Let Berenson Injury Law help you get compensation for your truck accident injuries.

On Friday the Dallas County Medical Examiner released its autopsy report that revealed that the truck driver who caused this crash was high on meth. The Mt. Pleasant High track team was headed home after a meet recently when a tractor-trailer crossed the center line and headed straight for their bus. The track coach fortunately swerved out of the way, narrowly avoiding a head-on collision. However the assistant coach following the bus in this car was struck head on and tragically died. The school bus toppled over and skidded across the road, resulting in injuries to 18 students and the coach driving the bus. The 18-wheeler driver also died.  

When Will These Safe Trucks Hit Texas Roadways?

Five people died and 12 people were injured in Fort Worth a week ago when a tractor-trailer slammed into a group of good Samaritans assisting the victim of an earlier crash. Skid marks indicated that the truck driver attempted to stop, but was unable to do so in time to avoid the semi collision

This tragic scenario occurs commonly on Texas roadways. A driver falls asleep, becomes distracted or is confronted with an unexpected obstacle and and drivers and occupants of other vehicles don't stand a chance. But what if instead of relying on the driver to act, the truck itself could identify the danger and respond quickly? 

The Collision Warning/Early Braking system being developed by Volvo Trucks Global makes this possible. The system allows a truck to sense an obstacle and to respond appropriately. The truck brakes on a dime without skidding or making the sorts of erratic moves that a human might make during an emergency. The truck is programed to react correctly, taking human error out of the equation.

Earlier this week, a semi-truck dumped its load on the highway after jack-knifing and toppling over when an equipment failure caused the truck's bed to raise. According to a report by, the truck was carrying a full load of aluminum scrap when, unexpectedly, the trucks bed began to raise. With a raised bed, the top of the truck struck an overpass, sending the truck's cargo all over the highway. In addition, the semi-truck tipped over and slid down the highway for nearly a quarter mile. The driver of the truck was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. State workers hurried to clean up the totaled truck and the aluminum scarp which blocked three southbound lanes of traffic for several hours. Equipment Malfunctions Can Cause Serious Injuries When any vehicle on the highway experiences an equipment failure, it can be dangerous. This is even more so the case when that vehicle is a semi-truck. If a truck driver's load is improperly secured, or ends up on the highway due to the negligence of the driver in securing the load, the driver is responsible to those injured by accidents caused by the debris.

This law firm has aggressively represented many people over the past 33 years who have been injured in tractor-trailer collisions. They can be catastrophic. I hope that you have not been injured in a crash with an 18 wheeler, but if, God forbid, you have been hurt in one it is essential that you hire the best local lawyer to fight for you immediately. Why?

I just took a key deposition in an 18 wheeler crash case in which my team rushed out to obtain damning evidence against the trucking company and I wanted to stress just how important it is for an innocent victim to hire the best attorney. How do you know who to hire? Here are a few tips. STEP 1: Meet with several lawyers. See if you like them. Ask them these questions:

Truck driver fatigue is a factor in a shocking number of truck accidents. The risk of an 18 wheeler driver crashing dramatically increases as he drives longer hours. The driver is more likely to nod off and rear end another vehicle or drift into the next lane or across the centerline. But his company wants to increase its profits, and he wants to up his take home pay, so he keeps on trucking. In an attempt to improve highway safety, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced that new federal regulations that will further crack down on driver fatigue.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has just announced that 3,757 of fatalities from motor vehicle collisions were the result of crashes with tractor trailers and other commercial trucks in 2011. Even though they only comprise 3% of the vehicles on the road, these giant trucks caused a disproportionate 12% of the deaths. And worse, 72% of the people killed were in the smaller vehicle. Consider these facts as you drive next to a tractor-trailer: * They can weigh as much as 40 tons fully loaded. * They require up to 40% more distance to come to a stop. * Their drivers can drive up to 11 hours in a day and 77 hours in a week. Here are some safety tips to avoid being hit an 18 wheeler: keep your distance by leaving enough room for braking and maneuvering, stay out of their blind spots, be careful when passing, and get out of their way if they are tailgating you. If you have been involved in a collision with a large commercial truck, call the Texas Trucking Accident Lawyers at Berenson Law Offices at 817-885-8000 or 1-888-801-8585. We have handled tractor-trailer and commercial vehicle cases in Texas and in other states for over 33 years and are here to answer any questions that you might have.
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