Fighting For What You Deserve!
18 WHEELER ACCIDENT
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? This is kind of what it’s like when an 18-wheeler big rig truck crashes into another vehicle. There are about half a million 18-wheeler accidents each year and about 5,000 of them result in death, with the vast majority of fatalities happening to drivers and passengers in the other (smaller) vehicle.
Even a superhero cringes to think about the devastated lives and physical wreckage at stake in any 18-wheeler accident, but once the smoke clears there are also legal ramifications to be dealt with and someone (possibly multiple parties) to be held responsible.
Ryan C. Solis — personal injury attorney of the Law Office of Ryan C. Solis, PLLC, — is the truck accident lawyer in McAllen that victims can trust to get relief for their injuries, medical expenses, and other forms of pain and suffering resulting from an 18-wheeler accident.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in an 18-wheeler accident, Ryan can help. Contact the Law Office of Ryan C. Solis, PLLC, at (956) 686-9600 for your FREE legal consultation today.
18-Wheeler and other Large Truck Accidents
Nationally, 18-wheelers and other big rig trucks cost an astounding $20 billion in accident settlements each year. But this is a small price to pay compared to the pain and suffering caused to victims and their families.
Transportation by truck is essential to the commercial and economic life of a vast country like the United States, with about two-thirds (70 percent) of goods transported by truck and representing some $671 billion to the economy. South Texas is a key regional hub where truck drivers are constantly on the move to deliver freight, and in the age of Amazon and same-day delivery, their importance to the economy is only growing. Unfortunately, this also means that road crashes are more likely to occur and by 2030 will be the country’s fifth-leading cause of death.
Truck accident victims need an attorney they can trust to pursue their case thoroughly and determine who is responsible for the crash, whether due to driver error, truck company negligence, or other factors such as the manufacturer of faulty equipment.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), between 2016 and 2017 the number of large truck accidents increased across all categories: fatal crashes, injury crashes, and property damage only crashes. Here are some other key statistics that Ryan has put together to help see 18-wheeler accidents in perspective:
- In 2017, large truck fatalities rose 9 percent from the previous year. The biggest increase was for 10,000 to 14,000 pound trucks, including dual rear-wheel pickup trucks.
- 64 percent of fatal truck crashes occurred on rural roads, 25 percent on interstate highways, and 84 percent on weekdays.
- The majority of big truck crashes are caused by prescription drug use (26 percent) and speeding (23 percent).
- Nearly half (40 percent) of trucker fatalities were for those not wearing safety belts.
- An 18-wheeler can weigh 40 tons as opposed to 2.5 tons for a regular vehicle, making it the proverbial unstoppable force mentioned above. The FMCSA defines a large truck as having a gross weight of more than 10,000 pounds and includes noncommercial, intrastate-restricted trucks and commercial, interstate-operated trucks.
Injuries from an 18-Wheeler Accident
Given the size disparity between an 18-wheeler and a regular vehicle, the injuries suffered in a large truck accident are almost certainly going to be life-changing and life-threatening, if not fatal. They can be immediate injuries at the scene of the accident, such as an emergency amputation of a limb, short-term injuries such as broken bones, and long-term injuries such as chronic back pain or paralysis.
If you or a loved one has been in an 18-wheeler accident, these are just some major types of injuries that you may be dealing with, keeping in mind that your legal compensation is not limited to current or short-term injuries:
- Neck and back injuries
- Broken ribs
- Head injuries
- Skull fractures
- Lower back trauma
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Abdomen injuries
- Memory loss
- Internal bleeding
- Damaged or swelling muscle tissue
- Injury to membranes in the brain
- Lung and heart injuries
- Misaligned or crushed vertebrae
- Crush bones and loss of limbs
- Damage to heart muscle
- Loss of cognitive abilities such as speech and language
- Colon and stomach damage requiring sectioning or reconstruction for digestion
- Soft tissue damage and permanent scarring
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Some of these injuries may require multiple surgeries just to stabilize the victim’s health, and they may require years of treatment and further surgeries that can never completely restore health and well-being. In some cases such as partial or complete paralysis, the victim may require special nursing care just to live and function properly, putting a strain on both their financial resources and also the time and energy required of their spouses and family.
Ryan has worked with many cases and families involved in large truck accidents and understands the anguish, suffering, and financial burden that continues long after the crash occurs, and he wants to help these families–and you, if you’ve been injured in an 18-wheeler accident–get the money they need to heal.
The Factors & Causes Behind 18-Wheeler Truck Accidents
Like any car accident, nobody gets behind the wheel and expects or foresees a life-changing crash with an 18-wheeler. But there are common factors that cause large truck accidents, and the job of a truck accident attorney is to investigate thoroughly and determine what exactly went wrong and who is at fault.
These are some of the common causes of 18-wheeler truck accidents:
- Driver fatigue or exhaustion — Unfortunately, long hours behind the wheel are part of the job description for a truck driver. Despite both federal and Texas state regulations on driving hour logbooks, timesheets, etc., driver fatigue remains a major danger that could lead to an 18-wheeler crash. Truck drivers are only human, which is why they are regulated to prevent fatigue or exhaustion.
- Hours of service violations — Theoretical regulations don’t mean much if the driver or truck company intentionally violates hours of service limits. One study of truck crash causation found that 10 percent of truck drivers who crash felt under pressure and 7 percent were overly tired — this can be a deadly combination. Because of this, employers may be at fault for the crash if they have encouraged unsafe driving practices or made the truck driver feel like their job was at stake unless they pushed their hours of service beyond the limits of regulation.
- Excessive speed and other truck driver errors — Hours of service violations are not the only way drivers may respond when they feel under pressure. They may also push their speed limits to get to their destination faster and make good time with their employer or customer. In many truck crash cases (19 percent), the driver is unfamiliar with the route and may not see the sharp turn up ahead while trying to figure out where they are. Once they see the curve, it may be too late to slow down their speed.
In other cases, a vehicle in front of the 18-wheeler may stop short or slow down unexpectedly, and because of the size and weight of the truck it takes longer for an 18-wheeler to slow down (about 45 feet further to come to a complete stop than an ordinary vehicle). Speeding can be a direct cause of a crash or a contributing factor along with other truck driver errors.
- Faulty brakes or other mechanical failure — Almost a third (27 percent) of truck crashes involve brake problems, and these sorts of mechanical failures can be the fault of both the truck company (if they have not properly maintained the truck) or even the manufacturer of the brakes and other parts.
Improper braking can cause an 18-wheeler to lose control in what is known as “jackknifing,” when the trailer swings around like the blade of a pocket knife. In poor road conditions (e.g. on an icy bridge), this can cause a serious crash involving multiple vehicles.
Other mechanical failures can include tires, steering wheel, lights, transmission, etc. After the crash, a truck accident law firm can investigate whether the truck company maintained adequate safety inspections on its fleet.
- Unsecured freight or shifting cargo — Unlike regular vehicles, a truck is designed to carry heavy loads across the country. When freight is not properly secured, however, it can upset the balance of the truck or cause it to tip over.
Pick Up the Phone and Call Ryan Now!
Ryan is not just out to help victims get the money they need to recover, but to retrieve true justice that results in real answers to the causes and responsibilities for a crash, from the drivers involved to the trucking, manufacturing, and insurance companies as well.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a large truck accident, it is important to contact Ryan C. Solis to begin the process of collecting evidence and determining what and who is responsible.
Contact the Law Office of Ryan C. Solis, PLLC, at (956) 686-9600 to schedule your FREE legal consultation today.
“Terms and conditions will apply.” We can assist with getting you in a rental car immediately so that you can get on with your life.
Terms and conditions:
Must be 25 years old or older
Must have valid auto insurance
$200 of credit will be given to client to be used towards renting a car. Client assumes all responsibility for any damage caused to the rental car or to a third-party vehicle caused by client or anyone else driving the rental car.