Semi-truck Crashes and Personal Injury Claims

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Truck crashes can be devastating for victims and their families. See how attorneys at McMinn Law Firm use their experience to advocate for the rights of semi-truck accident victims.

Austin woman survives horrific gravel truck crash caught on video

For a few days in February 2016 a horrific video circulated social media. A dash cam showed a gravel truck crush several vehicles as it flew across an entire intersection on 2222. Watching the video it’s hard to believe anyone survived.

“Anybody that watches that video, their first reaction is oh my gosh, how many people died in the accident? Fortunately here nobody did die,” said Justin McMinn.

Concordia student Delaney Nelson’s vehicle was struck from behind. She endured an incredibly severe impact because the truck lost control of the brakes.

“The truck never should have been on the road, and that driver should never have been behind the wheel,” said Justin McMinn.

Truck drivers and trucking companies are held to higher standards by law. The simple reason is because the damage they cause can be so severe. Unfortunately here the basic safety standards were not met.

Commercial trucks are subject to more frequent inspection. Defective or malfunctioning truck parts could pose a serious danger for those that encounter it out on the road. Imagine not being able to see an oncoming truck because it’s lights are out, or being unable to anticipate a truck’s lane change.

In the 2222 gravel truck crash, it was found that malfunctioning brakes likely caused the crash. In 2015, there were more than 400,000 brake related vehicle violations in roadside inspections. 61,538 of those violations were recorded as “Inoperative/Defective Brakes”

Even with higher scrutiny on large vehicles, violations still occur and put Texans at risk for injury.

Truck Accident Lawyer’s View

Safety is the highest priority of laws surrounding the trucking industry. The Texas economy relies on the ability of products and goods to be transferred from producer to shopper. However that should not come at the cost of injuries when sleep deprived truck drivers cause crashes in Texas.

In 2013 the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administraction (FMCSA) announced new federal regulations that are estimated to save 19 lives and prevent 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries each year.

It’s the responsibility of trucking companies to maintain the highest standard of safety when operating large commercial vehicles on community roads.

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Read more: Austin Gravel Truck Wreck Victim Retains McMinn Law Firm
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Jason McMinn Wins Truck Accident Case

A client needed help after a tragic trucking collision in 2014. McMinn Law Firm joined forces with Loewy Law Firm to help Ms. Montgomery get the justice she deserves.

From Left: Jason McMinn, Terry Montgomery, Adam Loewy

From Left: Jason McMinn, Terry Montgomery, Adam Loewy

Infographic: Dangers of truck crashes in the United States

 

Scroll down to view the full infographic!

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Semi-truck and Tractor Trailer Accident Statistics in the U.S.

We see them on the road every day, but rarely stop to think about them. There’s a reason why semi and bus drivers need increased regulation and laws: their size makes them dangerous. This visual shows just some of the stats behind 18-wheeler injuries and wrongful deaths.

Huge truths about Semi trucks:

  • 70 percent: Percentage of goods in the U.S. delivered by a semi truck. Semi trucks carry 15 million tons of goods each year.
  • $112 Million: Amount spent each year on truck crash injury and loss of life in the U.S.
  • 4,161: Total number of people who died in crashes that involved a truck.
  • 1,441: Number of people who died in crash involving a car and truck in 2014.
  • 369 people who were walking or on a bicycle died in truck crashes in 2014
  • The average car weighs 2 tons, while the average truck weighs 40 tons

Where do most truck accidents happen?

  • Most dangerous states included: Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota.
  • In Texas, a fatal truck crash occurs every 400 – 500 million miles traveled by trucks.
  • A third of all operating semi-trucks in the U.S. are registered in California, Florida, and Texas.
  • Semi trucks make up about 15 percent of commercial trucks but travel 42 percent of all miles driven by commercial trucks.
  • 140 billion: Average number of miles semi trucks travel each year in the U.S.

What causes truck crashes?

  • Speeding of any kind is the number one cause of truck crash fatalities.
  • 9% of truck drivers who died were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident
  • Drunk driving truck accident: “Impairment (Fatigue, Alcohol, Illness, etc.)” was the second most common cause of fatal crashes for passenger vehicle drivers (such as a bus.)
  • Antilock brakes have been required on tractor trailers since 1997. Since then, the number of jack-knife crashes has been reduced.
  • Currently, the most dangerous tractor trailer and semi crashes are rollover crashes.
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Click to view larger infographic

Tractor-trailor Accident Compensation in Texas

Every crash involves unique circumstances. There is no set of rules for determining the value of a tractor-trailer case. Types of injuries sustained by the crash victim can be one factor in evaluating the amount of settlement in a case.

Trucks typically weigh 80 tons. To put that in perspective, that’s about the size of 10 large adult elephants. With their size, it’s no wonder that large trucks can cause damage. In 2014, large truck crashes caused 82,000 injuries. There were 1,648,000 total injury crashes that year.

The number of large trucks registered in the United States has doubled since 1975. However through sensible regulation and safety improvements to vehicles, the rate of fatal semi truck crashes has declined since 1975. Trends in truck-car crashes show that when truck companies comply with safety regulations, fewer injuries happen.

  • In 1975, 4.58 fatal crashes occurred for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT).
  • By 2014, the rate of fatality per 100 million VMT has been reduced to 1.23.

Wrongful Death Truck Crash Attorney

Due to the extreme consequences of truck crashes, some crashes result in the ultimate tragedy. Learn more about who can sue for wrongful death in Texas.

Fatal truck crashes have largely declined since 2015 – proponents of increased safety measures have marked this as a success of their initiatives.

  • In 2014, large truck crashes caused 3,424 traffic fatalities in the United States. In total, there were 29,989 collision fatalities in 2014.
  • Semi crashes made up 11 percent of total crash deaths.
  • The percentage of fatal crashes involving large trucks has declined since 1975.

Ask the Attorneys: Answers to your Truck Accident Case Questions

In personal injury claims, a settlement’s value can be calculated by adding up the value of the medical bills, lost wages, and other money spent on recovery. Then, “pain and suffering” claims may be added. These are typically calculated from a multiplier of general damages.

Don’t forget that your settlement will depend upon your liability in the crash, your history, and the history of the truck driver. Investigations of the crash may be a factor including toxicology reports, driving history, and dangerous driving risks.

Every case is different. The best way to determine the value of your case is to contact a personal injury attorney today for a free consultation.

If you believe that your insurance adjuster is looking out for you in settlement proceedings – think again. Don’t forget that your insurance adjuster is employed by the insurance company. Their purpose is to protect the insurance company’s bottom line.

If you have pending medical bills it may be tempting to settle a semi-truck accident claim quickly. But there are a few reasons waiting to settle can save you money in the long run.

  • You may not be fully aware of your injuries.
  • Additional treatments may be needed before the injuries can heal.
  • The victim experienced unexpected pain and anguish in their personal life

You can avoid the risk of accepting a settlement claim that doesn’t fully cover you if you wait. An experienced personal injury attorney will help you to make the right decision on when to settle.

In short, yes. There’s no set “calculation” for determining the value of a semi truck case. Looking at values from other truck cases in the area may not give you realistic expectations.

Even if two people were in similar crashes they won’t have the same outcome in a settlement. Say a middle aged man and a young woman were each rear ended by semis on the same stretch of highway. Though their crashes may seem similar, their recovery time, loss of work, and need for medical care will all be factors in determining the true value of their case.

If you are wondering how much your case is worth, contact an experienced personal injury for a free consultation.

Accidents that cause significant, severe injury may leave a client with broken bones, a need for surgery, permanent disability, or cause death. In cases of extremely severe injury an attorney may request the entire amount of the insurance policy held by the trucking company.

McMinn Law Firm will notify the insurance company for the truck company of our representation. Then we will be able to determine how much money is available for your recovery. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) requires trucking companies to carry much larger minimum policies than individuals. Your truck accident law firm will demand a certified declarations (DEC) sheet from the truck company’s insurance policy. IT’ll outline the specific coverage for under the insurance policy.

Your attorney will be able to tell you how much money is available once they receive the DEC. Talk with your attorney about how much is available. They may be able to reduce the cost of some medical bills as a way of increasing your truck accident settlement amount.

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