Truck Accident Attorney
Rob Ammons Talks To Litigation News Network About Winning The Largest Single Wrongful Death Verdict in Waco, Texas
Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
Truck Accident Injuries
What to do After a Truck Accident
Trucking Accident Investigations
Trucking Accident Claims
Truck Driver Responsibilities
Trucking Company Obligations
Every 16 minutes a person is injured or killed in a U.S. truck accident. Its a fact that a larger number of people die in collisions with trucks than in crashes involving planes, trains, ships and buses combined. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, ninety-eight percent of the individuals killed in collisions involving a large truck and a passenger vehicle are the occupants of the passenger vehicle.
At The Ammons Law Firm , our trucking accident attorneys have experience working these kinds of cases. Most trucking accidents occur when large trailers (10,000+ lbs.) collide with other vehicles or pedestrians. Around 500,000 trucking accidents occur every year in the United States. Out of these accidents, 5,000 trucking collisions result in fatalities. One out of every eight traffic fatalities involves a trucking collision.
In the majority of the cases our trucking accident attorneys handle, most of the deaths and injuries involve the passengers of vehicles while the drivers of the tractor-trailers usually escape truck-vehicle collisions with little or no personal injury . Due to the large size of trucks, an accident can greatly endanger the lives of other smaller vehicles unnecessarily when tractor-trailer operators fail to follow proper accident prevention measures. Despite these startling statistics, some trucking companies do very little to train or monitor their drivers. Often, trucking accident attorneys working a case like this discover because many trucking companies choose to pay their drivers by the mile or by the load, drivers have a financial incentive to exceed the speed limit, drive when they are tired and cut corners on safety.
Past Trucking Accident Case Results:
* Unlicensed Driver
* DUI / DWI
* Truck Rollover
* Disobeying Safety Procedure
* Motor Vehicle Inspection Failure
* Repair & Maintenance Failure
* Failure to Yield The Right of Way
* 18 Wheeler Crash
* Driver Fatigue
* Backing Up/Moving In Reverse
* Vehicle Collisions
* Mechanical or Brake Failure
* Tires Blow Up
* Overloaded Trucks or Trailers
* Transporting Equipment with Trailers
* Loads That Shift Weight
At The Ammons Law Firm, our years of experience representing individuals hurt because of trucking accidents means we know exactly how to properly prepare your case. Our trucking accident attorneys work with our investigators and the latest technology to recreate accident scenerios to prove liability in court. Here is an example of some of our animation recreation.
Commercial vehicle cases are governed by various complex regulations. Our trucking accident lawyers have successfully handled numerous cases against owners and operators of commercial motor vehicles, resulting in multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements for our clients. Each trucking accident attorney at The Ammons Law Firm is committed to helping clients find results that bring relief to their families.
According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), in 2003 large trucks hauled the majority of all freight transported in the U.S. – over nine billion tons. Trucking revenues totaled $610 billion last year and revenues are forecasted to nearly double by 2015.
The growth of the commercial trucking industry is good news for the economy but can be a potentially lethal problem for the cars, vans and SUVs that share the road. Large truck related fatal and injurious crashes are growing due to lax adherence to some of the most basic safety guidelines designed to protect other drivers. In fact, every 16 minutes, a person is killed or sustains injuries in accidents involving 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers or semi-trucks. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently released a report that in crashes involving large trucks and other vehicles, 98% of the fatalities occur to the people in passenger vehicles.
As the commercial truck business competition expands and more emphasis is put on profit over safety our nation’s motorists are increasingly vulnerable to unsafe 18 wheeler drivers.
A recent report released from crash tests showed an 18-wheeler truck traveling at 70 miles per hour has twice as much energy as one traveling at 50 mph. An additional concern is that cars created under industry-standard Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are designed to encounter like size vehicles, not 80,000 pound trucks. Added hazards can include failure to install rear and side bumpers and high front bumpers that punch into automobile passenger compartments in the event of an accident. All of these situations combined account for the high percentage of serious injuries and deaths in trucking and passenger vehicle crashes.
One out of every nine traffic fatalities involves a trucking accident. In fact, every 16 minutes, a person is killed or sustains injuries in accidents involving 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers or semi-trucks.
Its a fact that the largest number of fatal truck accidents occur in rural areas (68 percent) during the daytime (66 percent) and on weekdays (78 percent). About 700 heavy truck drivers and passengers in truck cabs die each year. It is estimated that 3,700 persons in cars and other passenger vehicles die annually in collisions with heavy trucks. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently released the startlig facts that in crashes involving large trucks and other vehicles, 98% of the fatalities occur to the people in passenger vehicles.
If a victim of a truck accident is lucky enough to survive the impact, often the injuries resulting from these accidents can be devastating. Our trucking accident attorneys most commonly see trauma that takes years of medically supervised therapy to recover from. That therapy often means incredibly expensive medical bills.
Some of the most common injuries include but are not limited to:
* Head and neck injuries
* Spinal cord injuries
* Traumatic brain injury
* Loss of limbs
* Eyesight, hearing loss
Many trucking companies and their insurance companies send out early response groups to the scene of a crash on the very day it occurs. This happens so these individuals can collect evidence which often may be used against the truck accident victim later. Our truck accident attorneys are trained from years of experience to identify what trucking company employees are doing as soon as possible in order to help preserve injured people’s rights.
It is critically important to have an experienced trucking accident lawyer on your side, protecting your interests as soon as possible after an accident. We always perform our own investigations independently of law enforcement and NTSB investigators. We work hard to immediately make sure the all evidence is recovered and preserved. Our “by the book” procedures will benefit your case in the future. Our experienced trucking accident attorneys immediately speak with the police officer and determine if the police report could have been influenced by any representative from the truck driver or trucking company.
We begin the investigation of every client’s accident by taking pictures and witness statements chronicling details of every single perspective and angle of the crash. Our experienced truck accident investigative team meticulously chronicle every skid mark, piece of debris, vehicle part and piece and any other evidence at the accident scene.
Our truck accident attorneys employ the newest and most effective technology to evaluate the road conditions, weather patterns and vehicle congestion at the time of the accident. We immediately take the necessary steps to file for temporary restraining orders that prevent trucking companies from destroying or concealing evidence, including truck inspections and driver log books.
Our truck accident attorneys gather every single scrap of documentation from the accident that helps our injured clients. That evidence could include gas station receipts, meal receipts, cell phone records, texting records, and other information to determine the times a driver was at specific locations. These records can often paint a very clear pciture of speed and negligence.
The reason we believe it is important to act so quickly is because the window of opportunity to gather critical evidence is very short after an accident. Crash scene evidence can be compromised by NTSB and law enforcement investigators, receipts can be lost and witness accounts may change over time. Call the truck accident attorneys who can help you and your family get the results that bring relief.
Truck accident investigations are initially conducted by law enforcement investigators and NTSB representatives to help reconstruct the timeline and causes of a traffic accident. Our truck accident attorneys always utilize professional accident investigtators. Some aspects of the investigation can include:
Taking Pictures: It is crucial to take pictures of the accident site and of any and all damaged vehicles. These pictures can also be included in truck accident investigations.
Witness Interviews: A signifigent portion of truck accident investigations is simply the observation of the scene of the accident and interviews with witnesses. Truck accident investigators while conducting an investigation will talk to everyone who may have seen, been involved in, or was nearby at the time of the accident. Investigators often record statements made by witnesses, as well as record pertinent information about the witness which can include names and contact details. Investigators will often speak with police officers and other emergency personnel. Recording these individuals’ statements important to ensure officials aren’t somehow influenced by any party.
Accident Condition Report: A proper recording of the time of the accident, weather conditions, and road conditions at the time of the accident is essential to help determine the cause and liability. The accident investigator will make note of the lighting and visibility at the time and place of the accident, whether the weather was influenced driving conditions, road conditions, and so on. Investigators also can recover records that that prove a driver’s negligence, such as cell phone records that show whether they were on the phone at the time of the accident, texting or engaged in any other activity utilizing a digital device that diverted his attention.
Vehicle Inspection: All vehicles involved in the truck accident should be inspected thoroughly. Investigators look for seat belt conditions, brake condition, steering condition, evidence of recent repairs to the vehicles, and wear of critical engine components that could have influenced driving safety. A thorough inspection of the interior and exterior of the vehicles is also done in truck accident investigations. Invetigators stress it is important not to move the truck or other vehicles after the accident, as this can interfere with the investigations.
Why Are Trucking Accident Investigations Important?
Independent truck accident investigations are absolutely critical. Only a thorough truck accident investigation can help to reveal who the at-fault party was and can provide the proof required to establish the negligence of the at-fault party in the truck accident.
The trucking company involved in the truck accident will be requesting their own investigators perform an investigation as well. This is usually done to prove accident victims were at fault for the truck accident, at least to some degree, so that they will have to pay lesser damages, if any at all.
More people die in collisions with trucks than in crashes involving planes, trains, ships and buses combined. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, ninety-eight percent of the individuals killed in collisions involving a large truck and a passenger vehicle are the occupants of the passenger vehicle.
Despite these startling statistics, some trucking companies do very little to train or monitor their drivers. Due to trucking companies paying their drivers by the mile or by the load, the drivers have a financial incentive to exceed the speed limit, drive when they are tired and cut corners on safety.
Commercial vehicle cases are governed by various complex regulations. The Ammons trucking accident attorneys encourage those involved in a truck accident in any way to examine through the expertise of an experienced truck accident attorney whether or not they could be eligible for compensation. Victims of trucking accidents may have been in a passenger car nearby during a wreck or have lost a family member in a wreck. The driver of a truck may even be a victim of faulty servicing by the trucking company. Other trucking accident victims can include those affected by a toxic spill that resulted from a truck accident. Whatever the situation, if you feel that you have been injured or affected as a result of a truck accident you may be able to make a claim.
It is advisable to seek legal assistance as soon as possible in order to determine whether you have grounds to file a claim for compensation. An experienced truck accident lawyer will be able to determine the viability of your case, and can also discuss the various legal options available to you.
18-wheelers are vital to our economy. We see them on the road every day, and we rely on them for the health of our economy. Our nation’s highways and byways connect us with the world and when operated responsibly, big rigs are a huge asset in every aspect of our daily lives. However, a fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80 thousand pounds, and when improperly maintained or improperly operated- they can become a dangerous weapon very quickly. Are semi trucks more of a danger than we realize?
Lawyer Rob Ammons of The Ammons Law Firm recently represented the family of a young woman killed by the driver of one of these trucks. The case involved a rear end collision in which an 18-wheeler driver ran into the back of a young college girl’s vehicle. The jury returned a verdict of which according to courthouse sources was the largest verdict for a wrongful death case, a single wrongful death, in McClennan County Texas, which is Waco.
The selection of jury members for a case of this kind was critical. The legal team not only wanted to secure justice for the family of the young woman, but also send a message to other trucking companies looking to cut corners on safety.
Rob Ammons remembers the jury selection process, “What we had was a father who was traumatized and who will be traumatized for the rest of his life because of a death out of order involving a daughter that he dearly loved. And we wanted jurors that could appreciate the depth of that loss and the gravity of the harms that occur to a parent who has lost a child. That’s what we were looking for from the jury selection process.”
The evidence presented to the jury was critical as well. As Ammons recalls, the case involved a trucking company not fulfilling its obligations to the public’s safety. “The case an 18-wheeler company that had failed to monitor, or supervise its drivers. They had information about an 18-wheeler driver that indicated he was violating certain safety rules. And that those violations were known by the company. They actually sent him some correspondence about some of them but they did nothing to prevent him from driving, or to prevent others from being exposed to the hazard he presented.”
Driver fatigue emerged as the overwhelming reason for the accident and Ammons believes trucking company pressure on truck drivers to get their load to the destination faster, puts others on the road at great risk for trucking accidents.
“Fatigue can cause one to fail to have proper reaction time. In this case that was certainly an issue,” says Ammons. “There were vehicles stopped in front of this 18 wheeler, which anyone had they been paying attention could have seen. Apparently he did not see those vehicles, did not apply the brakes, did not take proper precautions and as a result killed a young lady.”
Ammons says he hopes this case will serve as a wakeup call for all trucking company owners that it is more expensive to ignore safety procedures designed to protect other drivers than to follow them.
A professional truck driver typically makes their money driving a truck long distances, usually crossing interstate borders. The job involves hauling different types of cargoes from one place to another. Truck drivers spend most of their time on the road, but they don’t stop there, many duties include loading and unloading cargoes. This is of major importance if the payload is made up of special or delicate materials for which the driver may be the only one who has the required certifications to handle loading and unloading procedures.
Truck drivers also have the added responsibility of ensuring the truck’s safety and that of other people and motorists on the road. With that in mind, there are many trucking regulations to help truck drivers maintain road safety. From set routes to the way drivers are isntructed to manuever their trucks, many rules exist and it is part of the driver’s responsibility to follow them. One very important rule to keep in mind, for instance, instructs drivers to maintain logbooks that will record all pertinent events that transpired from loading to unloading of cargoes.
The rules that govern many of the responsibilities of a truck driver are ultimately for the good of the driver and most importantly, the other drivers on the road. The rules are set forth to require truck drivers to take enough breaks from behind the wheel to help them avoid fatigue and regain mental alertness at any point in the hauling trip.
Indeed, the rights and responsibilities of truck drivers depend a lot on the particular industry of the employer or owner of the cargo. A good trucking accident lawyer will ensure that the rights of truck drivers are enforced without necessarily sparing them from their responsibilities.
Of course, fatal auto accidents are the worst-case scenario for a truck-related wreck, which unfortunately no amount of compensation can make up for the tragic loss of life.
Truck drivers should be held responsible for situations involving tractor-trailer jack-knifing. While there are many who would argue that weather conditions themselves make a jack-knife accident less avoidable, it is not unreasonable to expect that all drivers are responsible for operating their vehicles within its physical limits based on weather and road surface conditions, such as snow and ice. If a truck driver is capable and responsible he or she should be able drive their rig at a speed appropriate for conditions and avoid a jack-knifing accident.
There is no doubt that some accidents occur as a result of another person’s negligence, in which case the police investigation is crucial in determining cause and fault. Regardless of how the accident happens, if the truck driver is at fault the victim and his or her family deserve to be compensated for injuries and other losses from that crash — all the more reason to consult a trucking accident attorney to understand your options.
Each year, trucking companies make their living from moving goods, products, and materials from one place to another. Their bread and butter comes from a large fleet of transport vehicles and 18-wheelers and that traveling our nation’s roadways every single day. While these large trucks are essential to our nation’s economy, they are a constant threat to other drivers. Tire defects caused by a lack of owner maintenance can also cause catastrophic accidents.
It is the responsibility of trucking company owners, and all of these employees to ensure good hiring decisions are made, vehicle maintenance is duly performed, inspections are taken and other essential duties are completed in order to avoid devastating accidents on the road. If a trucking company fails to protect others on the road, the business may be held liable for damage caused in an accident.
Trucking companies are responsible for:
· Hiring well-trained drivers and maintenance staff
· Providing adequate training for all staff members
· Following state and federal standards and guidelines for interstate transportation
· Purchasing reliable vehicles
· Ensuring drivers always carry up to date logbooks
· Properly maintaining all vehicles in the company’s fleet
· Making sure cargo is loaded and secured correctly
· Installing extra safety features like braking systems and under-ride protection for everyone on the road
· Disciplining drivers for safety violations
If the driver of a truck or 18-wheeler causes an accident that injures another person, the injured party may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses, pain, suffering, and other damages.