Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

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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18-wheeler-crash-west-of-Fort-Worth-300x169

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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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:

A crash with a tractor-trailer or other commercially owned truck can often cause a person to suffer from a catastrophic injury and even death. Victims can sustain debilitating injuries that require a lifetime of medical care and physical therapy. Here is a photo from a I-35 crash where I have filed a lawsuit to collect my client’s damages.

The key to recovering compensation in a Texas trucking accident is proving negligence. You need to know who was at fault for causing your injuries. There are different people and companies who may be liable.

1. The truck driver 

In most big-rig accidents, the truck driver is at fault. Depending on their cargo, tractor trailers weigh tens of thousands of pounds. As a result, drivers need to be properly trained and supervised, alert, and alcohol and drug-free.

These are their most common violations of federal and state law that I see: 

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Garbage and recycling trucks are extremely dangerous to drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. The combination of their giant construction, improper maintenance, and poor drivers can make them accidents waiting to happen.

These behemoths have caused many deaths and serious injuries in our area. Just a few months ago, another person died in a Fort Worth collision with one.

These vehicles are inherently dangerous for many reasons, especially their massive size. The average truck weighs over 60,000 pounds versus the average car’s weight of 3,000 pounds.

Garbage truck drivers must have a commercial drivers licenses and are held to a higher standard of care under transportation statutes. Unfortunately some fail to live up to the more vigorous rules.

Waste management is an enormous $100 billion a year industry and clearly has the resources to insure that safe trucks and drivers are on the roads.

Our law firm has handled all types of commercial truck collision cases in Dallas – Fort Worth for the past 37 years and understands their complexities. We are fighting for our clients in a substantial garbage truck case now and have successfully handled others in the past.

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Trucking companies are subject to strict rules regarding the inspection, maintenance, and repair of their vehicles. These laws serve the primary purpose of keeping dangerous trucks off the road. That’s good for the rest of us drivers — as long as those rules are enforced.

When a tractor trailer causes a crash, its inspection records serve a valuable role in proving negligence, which is the key to a successful truck accident settlement or trial.

To best use this evidence here, a Fort Worth injury attorney studies safety regulations and knows where to locate inspection reports, past violations, and the truck’s and company’s crash history.

Truck companies have a duty to maintain safe vehicles

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has the authority to pass and enforce maintenance and inspection regulations concerning commercial vehicles. These trucking regulations apply to motor vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 lbs. or more and to trucks that carry hazardous materials.

Any company, whether a one-man operation or a large multinational corporation, is responsible for inspecting and maintaining its vehicles and repairing problems before putting its trucks back on the road. The company is also required to keep its records for one year and make them available to inspectors. Failure to do so is a violation of the FMCSA regulations.

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