How Texas Laws Protect Victims of Commercial Vehicle Accidents

Truck accident in Texas commercial vehicle accident

Victims of Commercial Vehicle Accidents Deserve Compensation

After a commercial vehicle accident, there’s a lot going on.  The victim, and their family, are dealing with injuries, death, property damage, and psychological turmoil.  Through it all, they’re expected to navigate the difficult insurance world so they can receive the compensation they deserve.  Insurance companies are counting on the victim being overwhelmed, and they expect them to take a settlement that isn’t quite up to what they need.

What they need is an attorney that specializes in commercial vehicle accidents.  The Car Crash Captain has the information on how victims are protected under Texas law.

Proving Liability in a Commercial Vehicle Accident

Unlike many car wrecks, where the at-fault driver is the one that is ultimately liable for the wreck, commercial accidents are a little bit different.  The liable party may not be the driver, or the liability may fall onto multiple different parties.  They include:

  • Maintenance Workers
  • Parts Manufacturers
  • Cargo Loaders
  • Drivers
  • Employers
  • Trucking Company
  • Truck Owner

Some of these may be the same person, or all of them may be different parties.  We’ve written about this in the past; take a look at how to understand liability in a truck accident to learn more about that.

Proving Negligence in a Commercial Vehicle Accident

When you know who is responsible for the wreck, then it’s a matter of determining that the liable party was negligent and they caused the accident.  This is a four-part process.

First, we have to prove that a duty of care was owed to the victim.  This is fairly easy, if you’re sharing the road, you have a duty of care not to injure anyone else that you’re sharing the road with.

Next, we show there was a breach of that duty.  If you’re minding your business and obeying traffic laws, and a commercial vehicle smashes into you, there was a breach of duty.  This could be failure to maintain their lane, running a stop sign or light, or something of the sort.

Third, did that breach directly cause the accident?  It’s easy to prove if a truck runs a red light and T-bones your vehicle.  But what if a truck merges, maybe a little closer than you’re comfortable with, you overreact, lose control, and roll the vehicle?  Is that the trucker’s fault, or yours?

Finally, once the first three are satisfied, were there damages?  These can fall into economic and non-economic damages.  Take a look at attorney Zach Herbert’s post that explains economic and non-economic damages to fully understand these.

Compensation Available to Victims

When the liable party is identified, and negligence is proven, then we can figure out what sorts of compensation are available to victims.

Expenses – Lost wages, medical bills, property damage, and other costs are pretty easy to tally up.

Pain and Suffering – Emotional distress, loss of consortium, and other intangible damages can be a little harder to put a price on.

Punitive Damages – In some cases, the court system may award punitive damages to “encourage” the negligent party to get their act together.  We see a great example in the 1994 case of the McDonald’s hot coffee.  The victim sought compensation to cover medical bills, the court hit the fast-food joint with punitive damages because they didn’t seem to care and didn’t think the problem needed to be remedied.

How Herbert Law Group Helps Victims of Commercial Vehicle Accidents

Considering the fact that if you’re the victim of a wreck like this, you’re likely severely injured – or, you’re dealing with the emotional stress and trauma of planning a funeral for a loved one – will you have the time, awareness, knowledge, and energy to figure out everything we just talked about?

Or will you be so strapped that you just take whatever offer the insurance company gives you?

Most people won’t want to deal with it.  And that’s why Herbert Law Group is here.  We have the experience to deal with it.  We know what to look for, we have previous cases that prove the compensation we seek isn’t out of the ordinary, and we’re ready to help you. Let’s talk about what happened, and determine a plan.  Call our offices at 214-414-3808, or fill out the contact form and we’ll be in touch with you for a free initial consultation.

Secondary Injuries and Complications from a Semi Truck Accident

Secondary injuries after a truck wreck you need a texas truck wreck lawyer

Not All Complications Arise Immediately After a Wreck

Some injuries are easy to see after a wreck.  However, there are many secondary injuries and complications that can arise if you’ve been the victim of a semi-truck accident.  These injuries may show up right away, or they may not show up for years after the wreck occurs.

Let’s see what these injuries and complications look like, and why you need the Car Crash Captain to help you receive compensation that covers injuries now, and any that may come up in the future.

What are Secondary Injuries after a Wreck?

Primary injuries are those that happen during the wreck.  For example, you are rear-ended, and you suffer from whiplash.  The whiplash is a primary injury.

A secondary injury is something that will come up later in life.  It can be a direct result of the wreck, or it can be a result of a previous injury.  Secondary injuries aren’t always physical, but can be mental health issues that come from a prolonged physical recovery.

Some secondary injuries include:

Chronic Pain – Our bodies have the amazing ability to heal themselves.  However, scar tissue and incomplete healing can lead to chronic pain.  Sometimes this pain will last the rest of a victim’s life.

Mental Health – No matter how mentally tough you are, a semi-truck accident will take a toll on your mental health.  PTSD, emotional trauma, trouble sleeping, and more can arise well after the body has healed from physical injuries.

HeadachesTraumatic Brain Injuries rarely heal without ongoing complications.  Headaches, migraines, and other ongoing issues can pop up later in life.

Furthermore, a secondary injury could be one that is caused because of the primary injury.  For example, if the truck wreck caused you to lose a limb, and during the recovery period you fall and break your arm, the broken arm would be considered a secondary injury – if you had both legs, you wouldn’t have fallen.

Examples of Complications that Could Arise

We’ll differentiate the injuries from complications, because the complications aren’t exactly another injury that occurs, but rather issues and difficulties living life as you lived before the wreck.  They include:

Permanent Limp – Once the body has healed, muscles, ligaments, and bones might not be as they once were.  A permanent limp after a truck wreck will cause complications the rest of a victim’s life.

Breathing Issues – Spinal cord injuries can lead to breathing issues.  Struggling to breath may cause hypoxia (not getting enough oxygen) and reduce quality of life.

Difficulty Lifting – Even healed injuries may leave permanent reduced motor skills.  Victims that could once lift heavily without issues, now struggle with small objects.

Why You Need Herbert Law Group

Because secondary injuries and complications often don’t show up for months, or even years, after the wreck, insurance companies will hope you don’t take them into consideration when you’re negotiating a settlement.

This is why you need a semi-truck accident lawyer on your side.  Legal representation from Herbert Law Group means you have a powerful negotiator to help you receive the settlement you deserve – one that will completely cover the losses you have suffered.

Let’s find out what happened, and see how we can help.  Call our offices at 214-414-3808, or fill out our contact form and we’ll reach out to you for your free initial consultation.

The Emotional Toll of Commercial Vehicle Accidents

emotional toll of a texas truck wreck

Finding Closure After a Devastating Accident

After being injured in a commercial vehicle accident, victims are faced with obstacles to overcome.  They must physically heal from their injuries, and at the same time navigate the difficult process of seeking justice from the at-fault driver.  Even long after the physical injuries heal, the emotional toll can last for years to come.

The Car Crash Captain has some insights on what this long-term emotional toll can look like.

What Toll Does a Commercial Vehicle Accident Take

No matter how you look at it, injuries will have a lasting impact.  Even those that appear to be minor physical injuries can compound over the years.

Physical Injury – Scrapes, bruises, and broken bones will heal.  But no matter how well they heal, complications will arise.  For those who suffer from severe injuries, how much emotional toll do you think they go through as they strive to continue a normal life?

In January 2024, a man in Dallas was hit by a drunk driver.  That accident resulted in his leg being severed from his body.  How long do you think it will take 30-year-old Thomas Toledo to “recover” from his injury?  What toll do you think it will take on his mind as he learns to live the rest of his life with only one leg?

Physical injuries can heal, but the emotional damage tends to last a bit longer and take more time to heal.

Emotional Injury – What emotional injuries come from being involved in a commercial vehicle accident?  There are many that we can see easily, such as PTSD after a wreck, but there are other injuries that may not even have names.

Consider a driver who was driving a small passenger vehicle when they wrecked with a semi-truck.  The enormous truck crushed the car – possibly killing a passenger.  The emotional toll that would take on the driver can be intense; even to the point where they don’t feel safe in any vehicle that’s not a large SUV.

Emotional injuries are often hidden.  They’re harder to see, and may not come to the surface for many months or years after the wreck takes place.  If you were to suffer an emotional toll, would you know how to argue for a settlement that included treatment for them?

Family Injury – Wrecks don’t just affect those who were driving or passengers in the vehicle, they extend far beyond to the victim’s families.

Consider the wife who lost her husband in a wreck, how deep will the emotional impacts be when their marriage is suddenly cut short?

What about the grandparents who lose grandkids, what toll will the death have on their ability to enjoy retirement?

Even if the truck wreck wasn’t fatal, the emotional toll of caring for a loved one that was injured can be extreme – in some cases leading to divorce.  A family split up because of the negligence of another driver.

Wrecks are devastating, and have lasting impacts.  The right lawyer, however, knows how to analyze the situation for these rippling effects that go beyond physical injuries, and extend into the families of the victims as well.

Herbert Law Group Helps Victims find Justice

If you, or a loved one, have been involved in a commercial vehicle accident in Texas, you know the emotional toll those things can take.

It’s important that you focus on navigating these difficult times and healing from injuries.  Don’t waste your energy on insurance companies or impending lawsuits – that’s why Herbert Law Group is here.

We’ll handle the legal stuff for you.  But first, we need to get to know you and find out what happened.  Call our offices at 214-414-3808, and let’s see how we can help you.  You can also fill out the contact form on our site and we’ll be in touch shortly.

How Commercial Vehicle Accidents Impact Small Businesses

Commercial vehicle wrecks Texas lawyer

The Ripple Effect of a Truck Wreck Goes into the Community

There are obvious impacts of being involved in a commercial vehicle accident – your vehicle is probably totaled, and you have significant injuries that will take a long time to recover from.

However, these accidents can end up with a ripple effect that extends even further into the community.  Some can eventually lead to a change in the laws surrounding commercial vehicles and their operation.  The Car Crash Captain has the details for us.

Effects of Commercial Vehicle Accidents

If you were involved in the wreck, you were at the very least shaken by what happened.  Due to the nature of commercial vehicle wrecks, injuries or even death are often part of the aftermath.  The toll those take on people can extend for quite some time.

Physical and emotional injuries may take years to heal.  Some of those injuries never do, and the injured party is left permanently disabled.

In the community where the wreck took place, there are emotional scars that extend even beyond the parties involved.  Witnesses deal with the trauma of seeing a terrible wreck happen in front of them.  Business owners nearby have the trauma of emergency and cleanup crews working out in front until the area is safe again.  And many of those effects continue to ripple throughout the community.

Ripple Effects of Commercial Vehicle Accidents

One major wreck can upset a community far beyond the time it takes to clean up the mess left behind.

Effects on Roadways – It’s not uncommon for a road to be shut down for an extended period of time after the wreck.  If there was damage to the road, signage, lighting, or more, that road could be shut down for days.  In many areas of the country the resulting detours can route traffic through neighborhoods putting further strain on citizens.

Effects on Business – If the roadway is shut down in front of a business, they’re going to struggle – especially if they rely on customers driving in every day.  Imagine your favorite coffee shop being blocked in by a wreck and the subsequent construction to rebuild – how long could they last without making a sale?

Effects on Extended Families – If your family member was injured or killed in a wreck, you have to re-learn how to live life without them.  Even if it’s an extended family member, reunions won’t be the same, travel will be different, and holidays a little bleaker.

Effects on Laws – Major wrecks lead to legislative change.  The US has strict laws for those who drive commercial vehicles, many of those laws are the result of lessons learned from wrecks.  A wreck that is caused by negligence could lead to a law that helps minimize that factor.

Herbert Law Group Helps Commercial Vehicle Accident Victims

All of these factors can come into play when negotiating a settlement after a truck wreck.  Most insurance companies will hope they aren’t factors that you’ll ever consider, and they low-ball the settlement offer because of it.

That’s why Herbert Law Group is here.  We’re on your side to ensure you get the compensation that you need to recover from this traumatic experience.

Let’s have a quick phone call to find out what happened, and to determine just how we can help.  Our office number is 214-414-3808.  You can also fill out the contact form on our site and we’ll reach out to you.

Three Mechanical Failures that Lead to Truck Accidents

Truck wrecks texas mechanical failures

Equipment Malfunction may Lead to Truck Accidents

Mechanical failures rank high in the causes for fatal truck accidents around the country.  Not only are these issues preventable, but modern technology should be able to alert the driver, truck owner, and others when a failure is about to happen.

For now, however, these issues continue to lead to wrecks that claim lives.  The Car Crash Captain has some insights on what these major malfunctions are, and what can be done to help prevent future truck wrecks.

Driver Negligence is Still the Primary Cause of Wrecks

Despite the fact that most mechanical failures happen because the truck wasn’t inspected or maintained properly (technically this would fall under negligence), other forms of negligence remain the number one cause of major truck wrecks.

  • Fatigue – Driving while tired is nearly as dangerous as driving intoxicated.
  • Alcohol or Drug Use – Substance abuse remains an issue.
  • Driver Error – Risky maneuvers or otherwise failure to yield.
  • Road Rage – Intentionally driving dangerously.

When the big rig is found to be at fault, it often is one of these issues that has led to the crash.

What Three Mechanical Failures Lead to Truck Accidents?

Aside from negligence while driving, there are three areas of equipment that malfunction or fail and lead to more wrecks than other pieces of equipment malfunctioning or failing; brake defects, steering issues, and tire failures.

  • Brake Defects – Truck brakes have to be tough.  They get red hot while braking and rely on air power to ensure maximum stopping pressure.  When these brakes aren’t maintained properly, they will fail.  That doesn’t necessarily mean they were defective (although defects can lead to early failure), but it does mean that even if the driver was operating safely, the equipment is the “cause” of the wreck.  A study has shown that brake defects were found in 42% of truck accidents investigated.
  • Steering Issues – Steering issues were once a major cause in big rig accidents.  These instances have gone down over the years (possibly due to better equipment or better inspections).  However, the remain a big issue when analyzing the underlying cause of truck accidents.
  • Tire Failures – How many times have you driven on the highway and there were pieces of tires lying on the side of the road?  Sometimes these tires are even in the middle of the driving lanes.  Semi-trucks have 18 tires that are all taking some serious wear and tear.  If they’re not maintained properly, and replaced when they’re worn, they can, and will, blow out.  A blowout doesn’t always lead to a crash, but they do often enough that they are one of the top three mechanical failures that lead to truck accidents.

Herbert Law Group is Here to Help You

If you have been the victim of a truck wreck, due to mechanical failures, driver negligence, or something else, then we are here to help.  You already have enough to deal with when it comes to healing from injuries, hospital visits, and getting your life back in order.  Let us deal with the insurance and legal stuff.

First, we have to get to know you and understand what happened.  That starts with a free phone call.  Just dial 214-414-3808, or fill out the contact form on our site and we’ll reach out to you.

Unsecured Cargo can Lead to Texas Truck Wrecks

Unsecured cargo leads to texas truck accident

Your Wreck May be an Issue with How Cargo was Secured

There are guidelines that truck drivers and trucking companies have to follow in regards to how loads are secured.  Unsecured cargo, and improperly secured cargo, may be in violation of those guidelines.  If you were involved in a wreck where the cargo wasn’t secured properly, then the Car Crash Captain can help you navigate the difficult world of insurance and legal matters.

Who is Responsible for Unsecured Cargo?

As with many wrecks, liability isn’t always straightforward.  For passenger vehicles, it’s often the vehicle owner or operator that takes on the risk.  But if you’re involved in a wreck with a commercial vehicle, however, liability doesn’t always fall solely with the driver.

Driver Responsibility – Most drivers are responsible to inspect, and sometimes maintain, their own trucks.  This means they are the last set of eyes on the truck itself, and the cargo they’re hauling.  Failing to inspect the cargo before departure can mean something is missed and the liability falls to the driver.

Trucking Company Responsibility – The owner of the rig might maintain some liability.  Depending on how the agreement is structured, the trucking company might assume some, or all, of the liability for adequately securing cargo.

Equipment Manufacturer Responsibility – There are times when the truck driver, carrier, owner, company, and everyone else does what is right, and equipment fails.  In these cases, a dive into what happened is necessary, and the equipment manufacturer may be found liable for selling a product that didn’t meet expectations.

Driver and Carrier Responsibility – Often the liability is divided between two or more parties.  Some of the fault can be found with the driver, some with the carrier, some with the owner of the rig, and more.

Because liability isn’t always clear, it’s important to have a truck wreck lawyer backing you up.  This is especially true if you’re trying to recover from injuries, and you simply don’t have the time and energy to handle the legal issues that can arise.

What can I Expect from an Unsecured Cargo Claim?

Some of those issues are demanding.  Some take time to prove and process.  As the victim, you may receive backlash from the insurance company that is supposed to be paying your claim.

Insurance Issues – Inevitably insurance issues will arise.  These companies are in the business of collecting money, not paying out big claims.  They’ll diminish, reduce, and try to get you on record saying something that could show that you caused the wreck.  Regardless of how it all goes down; the initial settlement offer likely won’t be one that fully covers your needs.

Criminal Charges – Depending on what happened, there could end up being criminal charges filed against the driver, the trucking company, or another negligent party.

Negligence Claims – The at fault party might come back and try to place some, or even all, of the blame on you.  Long before this happens, you need to guard your words and make sure that you’re not posting online or admitting anything on a recorded line.

Herbert Law Group has Your Back

Because of the complexity of these cases, it’s best to start off with an accomplished Texas truck wreck lawyer.

Herbert Law Group is on your side.  We’ll handle the hard stuff and ensure that your case goes smoothly.  You handle the difficult process of recovering from your injuries.

When it’s all said and done, we work hard to get you the maximum settlement amount, so you don’t have financial worries due to someone else’s negligence.

Let’s get things started with a phone call so we know what happened.  Call our office at 214-414-3808, or fill out the contact form on our site and we will reach out to you.

Psychological Impact After Surviving a Truck Wreck

psychological impacts of surviving a texas truck wreck

How Your Mental Health Could Decline After a Wreck

The aftermath of a truck wreck is intense.  There’s a whole lot to deal with including property damage, healing from injuries, and trying to figure out how to get life back on track.  Many people don’t realize the psychological impact that comes with surviving a truck wreck.

Let’s see what we need to consider when this does happen.  The Car Crash Captain has some insights for us so we can maximize recovery times.

Understanding the Psychological Impact of a Truck Wreck

When you’re in a wreck there is obviously going to be property damage.  It’s going to take money to replace your vehicle and any personal items inside the vehicle.  Those damages are easy to figure out.

You will also have medical bills.  Those are also easy to figure out and seek compensation for them.

But there’s a whole “hidden” world of mental health that is affected as well.  The psychological impact of this wreck isn’t going to go away any time soon.  And without professional help to work through the emotions that come from this, you may never recover.  Unfortunately, insurance companies often hope you don’t consider these impacts, and they can end up offering a settlement that isn’t nearly what you need.

What if You were in the Wreck and Survived?

If you were driving, or even in the vehicle, and you survived the crash, how would that impact you?  There would obviously be fears, trauma, and emotions to work through.  But it can go much deeper than that.

PTSD isn’t limited to those coming off the battlefield.  Trauma has many different forms, and dealing with PTSD after a devastating truck wreck is a real thing.  There will be fears of driving again, especially around other big rigs.

Survivor guilt is a real issue.  What if you survived, but your passenger did not?  You may feel terrible about “causing” their death – even though the wreck wasn’t your fault.

Depression can set in, especially if you’re unable to heal fully from your injuries.  You may lament that you have to walk with a limp the rest of your life because of someone else’s negligent behavior.

The psychological trauma of surviving a wreck can run deep.  It’s only when you have a competent professional helping you deal with those events can you truly heal and move on.

What if Your Loved One did not Survive?

There’s another issue that comes up after a deadly truck wreck.  What if you survived, but your loved one did not?

If both of you were in the vehicle, and you had to witness the death of someone close to you, how would your mental health handle that?  A truck wreck that results in death is not a peaceful end of life – it’s quite often very gruesome.

Even if you were not in the vehicle, and you got word that the wreck occurred.  Your loved one was going about their daily business, and they were suddenly taken from you.  The psychological impact would be devastating as you’re plagued with “what ifs” surrounding the loss.

It’s never easy to lose someone close to you.  It’s even harder when it could have been prevented had the other driver been more mindful of their actions on the road.

Come to Herbert Law Group for Expert Advice

This mental anguish that comes after a wreck can fall under “Pain and Suffering.”  Even if you attend therapy and those visits are wrapped into the medical part of the claim, this mental anguish can last for years after the loss occurred.

Fighting for your rights is not something you should have to endure during your time of trouble.  Don’t waste your energy on this.  Instead, let Herbert Law Group do the heavy lifting for you.  You focus on your mental health; we’ll focus on getting a settlement that is sufficient to take care of your needs.

It all starts with a free phone call.  Simply get in touch with our office at 214-414-3808, or fill out the contact form on our site, and we’ll see how we can help reduce your burden.

Three Trucking Regulations that Lead to Wrecks

Trucking regulations commercial vehicle attorney in Texas

Commercial Vehicles Must Follow Strict Regulations

We know that commercial truck drivers (and other commercial vehicle drivers as well) have a set of regulations they have to follow.  These aren’t arbitrary; they were designed from years of data by experts that understand how people and heavy equipment work together.

Often, however, some companies see those regulations as cutting into their profits.  Sometimes truck drivers themselves feel they are better drivers and can “fudge” the rules just a bit.  Today, the Car Crash Captain is looking at three regulations that are often violated, and can have a significant impact on your truck accident case.

Driver Rest Periods

Most people know that semi-truck drivers have to take rest periods.  But do you know what those are?  They’re actually quite confusing – something that a driver or trucking company may try to exploit if they are in a wreck.

  • Drivers may only drive for 11 hours at a time… but only after they have been off-duty for 10 hours.
  • They also have to drive those 11 hours within a 14-hour window – then take a break.
  • Every 8 hours of driving, drivers have to take at least a 30-minute break.
  • In a 7-day period, maximum driving hours cap out at 60 hours; in an 8-day period, they cap at 70 hours.

Unless, of course, you’re transporting people.  Then there are different rules.  Check out our previous post on the hours of operation, and see the official trucking regulations on the FMCSA website.

If you’ve been injured in a wreck with a semi-truck, and that driver has violated any of the hours of operations regulations, then your case has to be handled differently.  A Texas truck wreck lawyer will know what to do – but do you know what to do?

Vehicle Maintenance Schedules

Because most commercial vehicles are big and heavy, they can cause a lot of damage, death, or injury if they fail.  To help prevent this, the FMCSA has created a schedule of repairs and maintenance to ensure that rigs on the road are operating safely.

There is, however, quite a bit of leeway.  Things that could be open to interpretation.  Items like inspections of emergency windows, doors, and marking lights on passenger buses have to be every 90 days.  Other maintenance issues come down to “make sure it gets done.”

The legal documents for inspection, repair, and maintenance, say, “Every motor carrier and intermodal equipment provider must systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained, all motor vehicles and intermodal equipment subject to its control.”  That gives a bit of wiggle room – would an inspection have prevented the failure, or was this something completely random?

It’s also important to know that unless you thoroughly understand these laws and how they can be violated, will you be able to argue for your case?  Will you be able to do that if you’re recovering from major injuries, or mourning the death of a loved one?

Cargo and Rig Weight Limits

While weight limits seem like they should be clearer, they really are not.  There are multiple weight categories depending on the vehicle and driver.

Drivers must be certified as A, B, or C weight class commercial groups.  It all depends on if the rig, with combined trailer or vehicle-in-tow is over a certain weight – check out the FMCSA site to see what those groups are.

For the absolute maximum size, though, the FMCSA says that commercial motor vehicles (CMV’s) operating on interstate highways cannot exceed 53 feet in length, and weigh no more than 80,000 pounds.  Unless, of course, they fall into the exceptions categories.

When you’re in a wreck, do you know if the driver is certified to operate that vehicle?  Are they in the right driver weight class?  Is the vehicle properly permitted or have they exceeded their weight limit?

Herbert Law Group Knows Trucking Regulations

Trucking regulations can be confusing.  They’re even more confusing when you’ve gone through a traumatic experience and you’re trying to heal – mentally and physically.

That’s why an experienced truck wreck lawyer in Texas is necessary.  Someone that will help you understand what’s going on, argue for you, and bring you the settlement you need to heal completely.

Let’s talk about what happened, and develop a game plan.  Call the Herbert Law Group offices at 214-414-3808, or fill out the contact form on our site and we’ll reach out to you.

What does a Texas Truck Wreck Lawyer Look At?

Texas truck wreck lawyer

Behind the Scenes, Your Lawyer Does a Lot

On the surface, it can seem like almost all a Texas truck wreck lawyer does is help to argue your case.  It’s all about how many times you want to slam your fist on the table and raise your voice to persuade the insurance company to pony up what they need to so you can heal, right?

The Car Crash Captain takes a look at some of the factors your lawyer considers when fighting for your rights.  It’s often a lot more than what it appears on the surface – especially when a commercial vehicle, like a semi-truck, is involved.

The 5 Behind-the-Scenes Investigations a Texas Truck Wreck Lawyer Performs

Knowing the law is part of it.  Knowing what to look for, where the information is, and how to interpret that data is a whole other level of arguing for your rights as the victim of a wreck.

Understanding Electronic Control Module Data

The electronic control module (ECM), or “black box,” contains information about the truck being operated.  Since 2015 they have been mandated for all commercial trucks, and they record data that can be pulled around the time of the wreck: GPS location, speed, braking, and more).  Read about the black boxes on our previous post.

Your Texas truck wreck lawyer will know how to access this information, and how to use it to help show that you were the victim.

Scouring Maintenance Records and Negligence

Commercial vehicles have to meet strict maintenance requirements.  It’s perfectly legal (though not recommended) for you to drive a personal vehicle with maintenance issues (such as worn brake pads, unchanged oil, bald tires, and the like).  For those owning or driving commercial rigs, maintenance needs to be kept up with.

Failure to keep up with maintenance can help prove that the truck driver was negligent, and you were the victim.  Knowing what to look for in those maintenance records is one of the truck wreck lawyer’s skills.

Liability as an Independent Contractor versus Employee

Owner/operators have to keep up with more than an employee.  An independent contractor, enlisted by a trucking company, has different liability than an employee of that company.  There are a handful of ways that the driver of the truck might be operating, and each one has different rules and liabilities.

If you were injured in a truck wreck, would you know how to pursue justice based on the operational structure of the trucking company and driver?

Knowing the Complex Federal Regulations

Speaking of all those different liabilities, there are a lot of rules that truck drivers have to follow to help ensure they’re as safe as possible while on the road.  Some of them have to do with how many hours they can drive, what sort of driving record they must maintain, training, and more.

If a driver hasn’t kept up with the regulations, or is in violation of them, it is a powerful piece of evidence in your favor – if you know where to find that information.

Comparing with all other Factors of the Wreck

Trucking regulations are one thing, liability is another, and then you still have to factor in all of the other variables that can lead to a wreck.  Traffic patterns, weather, time of day, road hazards, and more need to be accounted for to help show that you were the victim, and you deserve justice.

Enlisting the help of a knowledgeable Texas truck wreck lawyer is the only way to have the peace of mind you deserve if you’re injured.

Herbert Law Group Knows Texas Truck Wrecks

The good news is that Herbert Law Group not only knows the law, but also has an extensive history of helping victims receive compensation that will allow them to heal.

If you have been injured, or a loved one was killed, in a Texas truck wreck, let’s talk about what happened, and see how we can help.  It starts with a free phone call.

Call our offices at 214-414-3808, or fill out the contact form and we will reach out to you.

What Vehicle is Considered a Commercial Vehicle?

Commercial Vehicle Lawyer Texas

Not All Commercial Vehicles are Semi-Trucks

If you’re involved in a wreck here in Texas, do you know if it’s a standard automobile accident, or a commercial vehicle accident?  Certainly, if you’re hit by a semi-truck, then you know it’s going to fall under the commercial vehicle class, but what if you were hit by a 12-passenger van?

There are federal regulations that determine what vehicles are considered to be commercial vehicles, and which may look like commercial vehicles, but are still considered to be private or not-for-commerce.  Let’s see what the Car Crash Captain has to say about commercial vehicle accidents in Texas.

Determining a Commercial Vehicle

Commonly, commercial vehicles are determined by three factors: size and weight, number of passengers, and cargo being hauled.  A general rule of thumb to keep in mind: if the owner or operator of the vehicle is being paid to transport whatever is inside, then it’s likely going to be considered a commercial vehicle.

Size and Weight of a Commercial Vehicle

Most commercial vehicles are heavier.  It doesn’t make sense to transport goods in the back of a pickup truck when a semi will be much more efficient.  The federal guidelines say that a vehicle over 10,001 pounds (and used to transport property or passengers) is a commercial vehicle.  When that truck hits 26,000 pounds, they have even more stringent regulations – most fully loaded semi-trucks are 35,000 to 80,000 pounds.

That weight rating is the combined weight of both the vehicle and the load they are hauling.  And it refers to the actual weight or the weight rating; whichever is greater.

What doesn’t fall into this category?  Privately owned vehicles being used for private purposes.  Such as a big RV being used to transport family on vacation.

Number of Passengers

Depending on how many people are loaded into the rig can bump it into the commercial vehicle category.  This one is broken into two parts.

First, if the vehicle is designed, or used, to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation.  Notice that is says “designed or used.”  If it’s a 12-passenger van, and only 2 people are in it, it’s still “designed” to transport more than 8 people.  If it’s a 6-passenger van, and has 9 people in it, it’s still “used” to transport more than 8 people.

Second, if the vehicle is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver not for compensation.  Again, “designed or used” is clarified here, but the difference is that if it’s not used for compensation.  This would be vehicles such as school busses, airport shuttle busses, or even large church vans.

Cargo Hauled by the Commercial Vehicle

If the vehicle doesn’t meet the other qualifications, it can still be considered commercial depending on what is being hauled.  Normally this only applies to hazardous materials – even if it’s the size of a Honda Civic but it’s hauling some toxic waste, then it’s considered to be a commercial vehicle.

Talk to Herbert Law Group after a Commercial Vehicle Accident in Texas

There is quite a bit more that goes into commercial vehicle wrecks than what it appears on the surface.  A semi-truck wreck is one that involves a commercial vehicle, but there are many other factors to consider.

If you have been injured in a wreck, will you be able to tell if you should be pursuing compensation based on commercial vehicle laws, hazardous material transportation laws, extra-heavy vehicle laws, passenger vehicle laws, or something else completely?  Do government owned vehicles or emergency vehicles fall into the same category?

The commercial vehicle accident lawyers at Herbert Law Group understand all of this.  Let them handle the tricky legal stuff, you handle recovering from your injuries.  It starts with a free phone call.  Dial 214-414-3808, or fill out the contact form on our site, and let’s see how we can help.