18-Wheeler Accident Attorney Austin
We Represent the Rights of People Injured in Serious Commercial Trucking Accidents
Whether you’re an Austin native or just visiting our beautiful city, there's always something fun happening here. Along with all that fun, however, comes plenty of traffic, and traffic invariably leads to accidents, including 18-wheeler accidents. If you’ve been injured in a semi-truck accident, it can be terrifying. You don’t have to face the consequences alone, however. An experienced truck accident attorney can help protect your rights and recover just compensation while you continue on your path toward recovery.
Trucking: Rules and Regulations
Trucks cause some of the deadliest accidents on our roads, and as such, the trucking industry is governed by a wide variety of strict rules and regulations. Truckers are professional drivers held to more stringent standards than those of us who don't drive for a living. Because consumer demand for goods shows no signs of slackening, the trucking industry is booming – and more and more big-rigs crowd our roadways. With the increased demand, the trucking industry and truck drivers are under considerable pressure to work outside of safety standards, resulting in more trucking accidents.Because of the massive size and weight of commercial trucks, trucking accidents are among the most dangerous on our roads. If you’ve been injured in a semi-truck accident, you need experienced legal counsel. The dedicated legal team at The Law Offices of George Salinas in Austin has the experience, knowledge, and compassion to aggressively advocate for the compensation to which you are entitled. Your claim matters, and our skilled personal injury attorneys are here to help.
Truck drivers are faced with extreme schedules that they must meet, despite restrictive regulations on maximum hours of driving. Truckers sometimes make the dangerous choice of eschewing safety restrictions in favor of hitting their deadlines. Truckers who don’t carefully adhere to the rules and regulations in place to help keep our roadways safer endanger everyone with whom they share the road.
When drivers are fatigued, they face several functional impairments:
- They are less alert and may even fall asleep
- Reaction times are longer
- Attention spans are shorter
- Impaired judgment means drivers are more likely to make unsafe decisions
As a result, fatigued truckers are much more likely to cause dangerous accidents.
Because of the extreme dangers associated with distracted driving, it has recently become a hot issue. The meteoric rise of smartphone usage has made distracted driving much more prevalent and dangerous. In fact, the danger is so immense, that the federal government has dedicated a website to the issue, distraction.gov. Distracted driving is defined as any driving in which the driver isn’t focused fully on the primary task at hand, driving safely. Distracted driving is broken down into three classifications:
- Visual Distractions
- Manual Distraction
- Cognitive Distractions
Visual distractions engage the driver’s vision, such as reading a text.
Manual distractions engage the driver’s hands, such as typing a text.
Cognitive distractions engage the driver’s thoughts, such as thinking about what you are texting instead of driving.
Interfacing with a smartphone is the loftiest distraction of all because it manages to meld all these distractions into one simple activity. Texting behind the wheel is exceedingly dangerous, but when truckers engage in the activity, it’s that much more dangerous. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration strictly prohibits truck drivers from texting while behind the wheel.
Smartphone usage, however, is far from the only distraction that truckers face while driving. Other distractions include:
- Calculating distances and times for the trip
- Completing complex tasks, like cleaning the safety mirrors in the cab
- Working on the trucking logbook
- Interacting with a dispatch device
- Reading a map, paperwork, or anything else
- Making work-related or personal phone calls
Even though each of these tasks is elemental to a trucker's job, they should never be carried out while the trucker is driving. But the trucking industry is so increasingly schedule-driven that many truck drivers cut safety corners and try to get these tasks done while driving, making our roads more dangerous in the process.
Your Truck Accident Claim
Truck accident claims are a bit different than car accident claims because it’s more likely that a truck accident will have multiple defendants. The trucking company, the truck driver, the truck manufacturer, and the truck mechanics may all share responsibility for trucking accidents. Those potentially liable for truck accidents include:
The Truck Driver
As mentioned, truckers are professional drivers held to much stricter regulations than other drivers. They take on the immense responsibility of driving massive vehicles safely over our roadways. Further, the trucking company is responsible for hiring truckers with the skill, knowledge, and experience necessary to safely and responsibly operate 18-wheelers. Truckers are often directly responsible for the accidents they’re involved in.
The Trucking Company
The trucking company itself is responsible for maintaining a safe fleet of rigs, for coordinating schedules that allow its truckers to remain within the safety rules and regulations, and to ensure that its drivers have what it takes to do the job safely, including adequate training. When a trucking company fails to keep up with these responsibilities, it shoulders some or all of the liability if an accident ensues.
The Truck Manufacturer
Sometimes trucks are poorly manufactured, have unsafe parts incorporated, or simply don’t perform as they should due to some malfunction, such as brake system failure. The trucking manufacturer can be found liable if faulty design or assembly contributes to a truck accident.
The Truck Mechanics
While the trucking company is responsible for keeping its semi-trucks in safe working order and hiring well-qualified and experienced mechanics, the mechanics themselves also shoulder responsibility for the work they do. If failure to adequately maintain a truck or not performing proper repairs causes an accident, the mechanics can be held responsible for the accident.