dreamstime_xs_57802432-300x200Our country is experiencing a historic shakeup as a new administration takes over. With so many high profile changes, one that hasn’t received any attention, but is a top priority for me as a personal injury lawyer, is highway safety.

Just last month, lawmakers blocked important sleep rules for commercial drivers. That’s just the start of it.

In an interview, a former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board predicted that there will be ”an open season on safety in this coming Congress.” His comment appears to be right on the mark. The American Trucking Association has vowed to fight states that pass roadway safety measures for their residents and federal regulations that limit drive time and truck weight and length. Continue reading

Screen-Shot-2016-12-06-at-11.44.23-AM-300x175Picture the scene  in a small West Texas town after its small high school’s football team had just won a big playoff game. The mood was celebratory — until the worst tragedy imaginable happened. An 18-wheeler crashed head-on into a bus bringing the school’s cheerleaders home. The sponsor was killed and another adult and seven students sustained severe injuries. It was a Friday Night Lights nightmare.

The heartbreak and injuries from a truck or auto accident can be devastating. Then there are vexing questions for the injured persons, including who is at fault and who will pay for their medical bills, lost wages and damages. And how can we stop this from happening again so others are not injured or killed?

Here, could a median barrier have prevented the head-on collision, not to mention countless others?

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B8885RhIQAAXjwUA tractor-trailer crash on I-30 east of Dallas tragically took the life of two women, one from Fort Worth and another from Dallas several weeks ago. An 18-wheeler driver behind them rear-ended a line of vehicles and set off the horrific collision pictured here.

However this barely got an inch or two in our local DFW newspapers. That’s probably because it was just the latest in a long line of fatal big-rig crashes that seem routine.

In 2015 commercial vehicles were involved in more than 34,000 accidents in Texas. The results were devastating: 601 people died and 17,000 were injured.

That crash was very similar to a case I am involved in where an 18-wheeler crashed into my client’s SUV and caused a massive chain reaction on Interstate 35 in Fort Worth last year. My client was seriously injured and her boyfriend died in front of her. A photo from that scene appears below.

You might assume that these are easy cases to win in court, but this is not always true. Here’s why. Continue reading

BLOGTractor-trailer carriers are rated by the federal government and their safety records are important evidence for personal injury lawyers when their big rigs crash into other vehicles and cause personal injuries and sometimes deaths.

However a new FMCSA rule changes what evidence will be available to prosecute tractor-trailer companies. Giant companies like J.B. Hunt and Federal Express can now ask the FMCSA to remove crashes from their histories to improve their safety reputation at trial. Continue reading


After an 18 wheeler crash, damages for medical bills, lost wages, disfigurement, pain, and other items can be enormous. Who pays for that? How much is available? What happens if there is not enough insurance to pay all injured people?

Minimum insurance levels required

Federal law has mandated that commercial vehicles which drive from state to state have insurance since the trucking industry began back in 1935.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enforces the law that if the vehicle that drives interstate has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds, it is required to have $750,000 available. Further, if the truck is carrying hazardous materials, up to five million dollars is required.

Buses and other vehicles that carry 15 passengers or less must have at least one million dollars in coverage; those that carry more than 16 people have to have at least five million dollars in coverage available.

Often companies have multiple policies or higher limits. Many have high deductibles and self-retention amounts.

Note that the required minimum limit of $750,000 has not been increased since the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 was enacted, while medical bills that cost that amount 36 years ago now cost $4.2 million adjusted for inflation. Clearly the minimum figures are inadequate to protect the public.

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IMG_0604I spent several days in Nashville last week learning the latest laws and procedures regarding 18 wheel and other commercial truck crash cases.

The first annual symposium of the Academy of Truck Accident Attorney featured some of the top injury attorneys in the country. Some of the topics were

  • Accident investigation and reconstruction

2015-12-30 Pics- Caldwell

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has just released a report that shows the dangers of distraction and sleepiness on our roads.

More than one fourth of all 18-wheeler accidents are caused by driver inattention or fatigue. This is just what’s reported. Based on what I’ve seen as a personal injury lawyer, I believe the number is much higher.

I am filing suit on behalf of a woman who was seriously injured when a distracted tractor trailer driver shown here crashed into her vehicle and killed her boyfriend as they were at a complete stop on Interstate 35 in Fort Worth.

Several years ago, I represented the family of a young tow truck operator who was tragically killed when an 18 wheeler driver fell asleep at the wheel and veered off of I-35 north of Dallas-Fort Worth and crashed into another tractor trailer he was underneath.

In June, three people were killed on I-30 in Royse City in East Texas when a tractor-trailer veered into the path of another tractor-trailer. The eastbound travelling rig dragged a small car with it as it jumped the center median into oncoming traffic. The driver fell asleep at the wheel.

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TT MaysTrucker Gets 20 Years for Hitting School Bus While Naked Wife in Cab

I am constantly surprised by what some truck drivers do while operating a 40-ton tractor-trailer. As a personal injury lawyer, I have handled many truck crash cases in which the trucker was texting, surfing the net, chatting on the phone, eating lunch, reaching down for a soft drink, and/or not watching the road in front of him.

Yesterday I wrote about a Fort Worth collision I’m filing suit over where the 18 wheeler driver was distracted and slammed into my client’s stopped SUV at 68 MPH.

But a Florida truck driver took distraction to a whole new level.

The 37 year-old truck driver plowed his log-hauling rig into an elementary school bus that had slowed to drop off kids. The driver was so distracted he failed to notice the bright flashing lights and the “stop” arm jutting from the side of the bus. No wonder!

After listening to the heartbreaking testimony of the seven severely injured school children on Wednesday, the judge showed the distracted truck driver no mercy. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the 2014 crash. Continue reading

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 3.35.19 PMTruck crash cases are difficult high-stakes litigation that involve complicated liability issues and massive damage. Finding out what happened and who is responsible is the first step in filing a claim. Meticulously gathering evidence and presenting it in a way that jurors can understand are key to winning a tractor-trailer claim.

Since I’ve handled car and commercial truck crash cases for the past 36 years, This is a photo in a case I am about to file suit on where my client was seriously injured and her boyfriend was tragically killed.

I have refined investigative techniques and trial preparation to help my clients win the compensation they deserve. Here are a few things I do.

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CltCDBaUgAEx7PHPotential disaster averted

In a harrowing close call, an intoxicated truck driver was arrested early Saturday morning when witnesses spotted his tractor-trailer speeding down C.F. Hahn Highway in the eastbound lanes — going west.

The driver was pulled over at Buckner Boulevard where Dallas Sheriff deputies administered a field sobriety test.

Due to the quick action of the deputies — and luck —  nobody was hurt before the intoxicated driver was stopped.

Which company hired this man and allowed him to be driving a 80,000 pound vehicle drunk at 3:00 a.m.?

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