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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.

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

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.

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. Trucking safety regulations are important to every driver on the road. We share the roadways with all types of commercial trucks every day. While the FMCSA determines the regulations for all types of CMVs, it is up to the employers and the drivers to enforce them. A personal injury lawyer often finds that businesses and employers have failed to abide by federal trucking safety rules and are also at fault.

Which Vehicles Are Covered?

The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and the number of passengers a vehicle determines if a driver must have a commercial drivers license. CDL licenses ensure that drivers have increased training to handle a variety of conditions. Laws pertaining to the application and licensing process differ somewhat among the states. One consistency is that any vehicle with a weight of more than 26,001 pounds requires CDL licensure. Businesses that operate CMVs that alone (or combined with a trailer) weigh more than 10,001 pounds are required to register the vehicles and abide by the FMCSA trucking safety regulations. Some states have increased this weight limit to include trucks anywhere from 12,000 to 26,000 pounds, which coincides with the CDL requirements. Although a vehicle doesn’t require a CDL driver, many companies require the drivers to follow the same trucking safety regulations imparted by FMCSA. The key is understanding the different classes of CDL and weights that apply to different types of vehicles: Class A – Single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, or a combination of vehicles with the towed vehicle having a GVWR over 10,000 pounds. Class B – Single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,000 pounds or more, or is towing a vehicle with a GVWR of no more than 10,000 pounds, or a farm trailer with a GVWR of no more than 20,000 pounds. Class C – A single or combination vehicle not included in Classes A or B. Single vehicles with a GVWR less than 26,001 pounds or towing a farm trailer with a GVWR of no more than 20,000 pounds. A vehicle designed to transport 23 or fewer passengers including the driver. An autocycle. Some of the most important regulations that apply to CDL drivers are the prohibitions against using alcohol, drugs, texting, hand-held phones, and driving while fatigued. These are some of the leading causes of truck crashes. Both CDL and non-CDL must follow these regulations and others, including using their seat belts and use of extreme caution during hazardous weather. If you have been injured in an accident involving any commercial vehicle, contact Berenson Injury Law. If the driver and/or the employer were negligent, you may have the right to collect compensation.

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.

Why transportation companies don't undertake pre-trip inspections and conduct hands-on training for their employees is a mystery. If they had prepared their trucks and employees for such situations, the young man might still be alive.

Dump Truck Crashes into Train, Killing Two and Injuring 11

An Arlington-area crash left a dump truck driver and a passenger dead after it maneuvered around the crossing arms, risking both lives to save a few seconds, Dallas News reports. Police report that the passenger train was traveling well under its speed limit when the crash occurred. Unfortunately with a lot of 18-wheeler and other commercial vehicle crashes, this is not uncommon. The haste to get from one job to another under employer or customer pressure causes far too many of these "accidents."

Slow Down

Like the blowout, this one was avoidable. Customers and employers who demand unsafe speed from their drivers at the risk of public safety need to reassess their priorities.

Reduce Speed-Induced Truck Crashes with Mandatory Safety Protocols

Our law firm only handles car, truck, 18-wheeler, and motorcycle crash cases and we have represented many people and their families after serious injuries or loss of life from speed-caused crashes. Pizza companies have dropped their requirement for drivers to prioritize speed over safety. Unfortunately, it took a lawsuit to get there. Companies who use large vehicles to deliver goods and services have an even larger obligation to ensure that their drivers prioritize safety rather than time limits. After all, their vehicles can cause even greater damage due to their size.

Reduce Road Hazard Accidents with Better Training

Road Hazards

Lack of preparation for road hazards on their employers’ part has spurred experienced truckers themselves to post training videos and articles for their colleagues, hoping that their advice will help save lives.

In the trucking industry journal CDLLife.com, trucker Jennifer Black Cordero, having recently survived a blowout herself, provided these tips:
  • Keep a cool head—don’t panic
  • Make sure you get cruise control turned off
  • Don’t hit the brakes
  • Step into the accelerator
  • Play “what if”
Truckers who have had the proper training to fight their instincts to hit the brakes and stay off the fuel pedal have a shot to survive in such a situation. Even without formal training, articles like this one can make up for the lack of hands-on training. Her “what if” scenario is especially important. Drivers can use these mental exercises to go over in their minds what they would do in case a car cuts them off or spins out, if a deer or other animal runs across the road, in case they lose traction on ice or on a rainy day, or if their tire blows. Truckers can take this one step further in their spare time by combining these mental exercises with muscle memory by imitating the motions they will need to go through to compensate during these emergencies.

We Can Help You

As a law firm who only represents the victims in crashes like these, it frustrates us to see the companies making the same mistakes over and over again, despite numerous losses of life and serious injuries. Our firm will hold companies’ feet to the fire for these completely preventable tragedies. If you have suffered an injury in a truck accident, please contact us at Berenson Law.

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: --- Jeff Kolkman was a 38-year-old father of four and, what his peers considered a “very safe driver.” Kolkman made safety a top priority – until the day that everything went wrong. While he was driving a 2016 Volvo semi down the interstate at 70 mph, he took the time to look down at the black tablet in his right hand. A dash-cam recording in the truck captured Kolkman’s actions until he slammed into the rear of a 2014 Toyota Camry, waiting in traffic outside of West Terre Haute, Indiana. Witnesses say that Kolkman never braked and only slowed down slightly. The dash-cam went black as the truck slammed into the Camry, bringing four lives to a fiery end. ---Former Kansas City TV station executive, Pam Biddle knows the heartache fatal truck crashes cause. Pam, her 23-year-old-son, Aaron Lee, and her ex-husband, Brian Lee, along with Brian Lee’s girlfriend, Stephani Swaim, were passengers in the Camry struck by Jeff Kolkman’s truck. When the crash occurred, the Camry was shoved under a 53-foot flatbed trailer loaded with steel bars. Pam was the only survivor of the crash. The others died instantly. The crash was so hot, the victims could only be identified from the ID in their wallets. It took nearly an hour to scrape the melted soles of Pam’s son’s shoes from the floorboard. --- Demi Arvanitakis was in the rear of a line of traffic, on her way to get a better view of the total solar eclipse. She, and three of her friends, all 19-year-old sophomores at Creighton University, were in her Prius, on their way to Lincoln. The brain injury Arvanitakis received erased her memory from when the semi roared up behind her, crashing into her car. Her friend in the back, Joan Ocampo-Yambing, was a casualty of the crash. Not only does Arvanitakis have to live with her own injuries and the loss of her friend; but also the fear of realizing the passenger sitting just behind her didn’t survive the crash. --- A Toyota Sequoia packed full with eleven people began having engine problems while traveling along I-70. The vehicle had slowed to about 40 mph when a semi traveling 75 mph struck the car from behind. Six of the eleven inside were killed. Although the National Transportation Safety Board said the accident might have been prevented if the trucking company installed the optional collision avoidance system, the organization also blamed the driver of the Toyota for traveling without his hazard lights and having an overloaded vehicle. ---It happened in January of 2012 but the crash still serves as a wake-up call for anyone who believes fatal truck crashes only happen to other people. The story appeared on a recent episode of Dateline. Kelli Groves and her two daughters, Sage, aged 10 years and Mylo, aged 10 months were involved in the crash. A computer demonstration showed how the BMW car the Groves were in was overtaken by a semi as they crossed a bridge in Buellton, California. The semi crumpled the car, dragged it up onto the side of the bridge, and then went over the side, crashing into a fiery mass below. Kelli and her girls were trapped in the crumpled mess. Kelly was in the front of the vehicle, where she was unable to see whether her children were dead or alive. Rescuers spent about two hours trying to get the Groves out of the wrecked car. The position over the bridge with the burning truck below made rescue attempts even more dangerous. All three victims escaped the ordeal. Kelli had a broken pelvis, Mylo only a scrape on her head. Sage had to undergo three surgeries in the hospital followed by therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. Her body was cut by glass, requiring more than 100 stitches. Sage also had to spend six weeks in a wheelchair and returned to the hospital for another surgery in 2013 to remove fragments of glass from her ankle. The truck driver who struck the BMW was 48-year-old Charles Allison. He was killed on impact when the truck crashed below the bridge. It was later discovered that Allison was under the influence of both amphetamines and methamphetamine at the time of the crash. The Groves filed a lawsuit against the trucking company that Allison worked for and his estate. Kelli, Sage, and Mylo received a million dollar settlement in 2014 to be divided among the three according to court records. While drug use is one reason truck drivers crash, it isn’t the primary cause.

Most Common Causes of Fatal Truck Crashes

Big trucks are a necessary evil, transporting all kinds of goods across our country. In spite of recent legislation designed to address common contributing factors, the percentage of fatal truck crashes isn’t going in the right direction. Before anyone can find a solution, they first have to look at what causes these accidents in the first place.

Leading causes of fatal truck crashes are:

  1. Speeding

Speeding is a serious issue with big trucks due to their size and weight. The faster they are going when they crash into another vehicle, the greater the impact. It also takes trucks longer to stop because of their heavy weight. Drivers are much more likely to lose control of their truck when they travel at high speeds.
  1. Distracted Driving
When Jeff Kolkman took his eyes off the road to look at his tablet, he was guilty of distracted driving. Most often, we think of distracted driving as texting or talking on a cell phone. But anything that takes your attention off the road, even for a couple of seconds, is enough to cause a fatal crash.
  1. Impaired Driving

Impaired driving means being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Commercial truck drivers are held to a higher standard than other drivers when it comes to impaired driving. The accident caused by Charles Allison Jr is one example of how impaired driving puts the truck drivers and the public at risk. Both illicit drugs and prescriptions that affect the person’s ability to drive are prohibited. Some truck companies randomly screen drivers for amphetamines, marijuana, cocaine, opiates, and other dangerous drugs. Tests for alcohol are often limited to drivers what have been involved in an accident. Truck companies who hire drivers with previous DUI arrests or who don’t use regular screening methods for their drivers may be liable when their employee causes a crash.
  1. Fatigue
Today’s Hours-of-Service rules have made it less likely that truck drivers will be behind the wheel when too fatigued to stay awake. Trucking companies are no longer permitted to give them hectic routes that don’t allow time for breaks or sleep. Trucking companies that ignore the rules or keep inaccurate log books prevent the rules from eliminating the problem of fatigued drivers altogether. However, this is no longer the leading cause of fatal truck crashes.
  1. Overloaded Trucks
Semi-trucks are held to weight limitations, limiting the amount of freight they can carry. Trucking companies that exceed those limits put the truck at a greater risk of causing a crash. Too much weight throws the truck out of balance and reduces the control the driver has over it.

What Is the Solution to Reduce Truck Crashes?

It might seem impossible to come up with a solution that could have a serious impact on the number of fatalities caused by truck crashes. But there is technology available that would do just that.

So What’s the Hold-Up?

That’s the question that a lot of people and organizations are asking. Not only is the technology available; it has been around for some time. The reason that it hasn’t been implemented comes down to Congress and federal regulatory agencies including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

All they have to do is make new technology mandatory that would prevent rear-end collisions. The NHTSA won’t push it through and they won’t say why. On ten or more occasions, the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that the NHTSA require forward crash avoidance and mitigation systems (automatic emergency braking) on all heavy trucks. After two decades, the NHTSA has still failed to act. If they had responded when the technology was first available, many of the crashes never would have happened. Some trucking companies have taken the leap and shelled out the additional cost of installing the optional equipment on their trucks. Others are more concerned about adding an additional cost of about $2,000 to the already high $150,000 price tag for new trucks. Democrats in Congress believe the surge in fatal truck accidents proves that now is the time to pick up the pace. But as long as Republicans object and retain majority control, adoption of a mandate isn’t likely. One representative of the NHTSA stated that they were currently studying the next-generation of automatic emergency braking technology. They expect the research to conclude in 18 to 24 months. At that time, they can use the information to decide on what steps to take next. But experts know that the technology is already available, and this is just a stalling technique. It’s the same technology used in passenger vehicles today. Also, it will be standard on all new passenger vehicles in the US by 2022. Some experts suggest that mandating the collision avoidance systems would prevent more than 7 of 10 rear-end truck collisions. In addition, it would lessen the severity of injuries in those crashes that still occurred. Right now, the only things stopping the technology from saving lives are the legislation to make it mandatory and the lack of action by Congress and the NHTSA. Some trucking companies don’t want to pay a couple of thousand extra dollars for their trucks. Without a law that makes it mandatory, they aren’t willing to invest any more than they have to. Considering the liability they incur when one of their trucks does cause an accident, the investment, in reality, is one they almost can’t afford to neglect. In comparison to the $1 million settlement received by Kelli Groves and her two daughters, some cases have resulted in much higher payouts. Although the truck driver was the only person killed in the crash, the Groves underwent extensive medical treatment and trauma from the event. In most cases, the trucking companies who own the trucks that cause fatal truck crashes are held partially or totally at-fault. Even when the truck driver causes the crash through distracted driving, drug use, or driver error, it is their employer’s responsibility to hire and train qualified drivers. Trucking companies are also expected to perform routine drug tests, inspect their vehicles, and perform maintenance as needed. When they are liable for lost lives and property, the price tag is going to far exceed a couple of thousand dollars. If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a fatal truck crash, contact Berenson Injury Law. Bill Berenson has recovered millions of dollars for his clients and has thousands of happy clients. He is an experienced car and truck crash attorney who represents accident victims in Texas. Whether your case ends in a settlement or goes to trial, you can count on him to get the best outcome from your case. He will work tenaciously to pursue the maximum amount of compensation you need from all available sources. For more articles on this topic: Who Pays Your Damages After 18-Wheeler Crash? https://www.texastruckaccidentlawyerblog.com/who-pays-your-damages-after-18-wheeler-crash/ Dallas-Fort Worth Garbage Truck Accidents https://www.texastruckaccidentlawyerblog.com/dallas-fort-worth-garbage-truck-accidents/ 18-Wheeler Drivers Taking Dangerous Opioid Drugs? DOT To Finally Test https://www.texastruckaccidentlawyerblog.com/18-wheeler-drivers-taking-dangerous-opioid-drugs-dot-finally-test/ Four Defense Tactics Trucking Companies Use to Avoid Liability https://www.texastruckaccidentlawyerblog.com/four-defense-tactics-trucking-companies-use-avoid-liability/

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.

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: 

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.

You hear about our drug epidemic all the time. The U.S. had an estimated 64,000 deaths due to drug overdoses just in 2016. These are government statistics so you know the numbers are higher. It's crazy that as more and more people are popping these highly addictive drugs -- sometimes before or while they drive --most commercial truck companies were not even being tested. The Department of Transportation has long required testing of other drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, and the illegal opioid heroin, and of course alcohol. Finally the DOT has caught up with the times. Semi-synthetic opioids were added to the mandatory panel starting January 1. Finally. Employers at 18-wheeler companies must now test their drivers for four popular prescription medications: hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone. How many truckers take opioid drugs? Because testing was not required, there is no way to know. Often truck drivers were only tested after they crashed their tractor trailers and hurt others. But, 11.5 million people abused opioids in 2016 and as the DOT announcement noted "transportation industries are not immune to this trend and the safety issues it raises.”
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