Truck Accident Lawyers in San Antonio
Did you suffer an injury in a truck accident in San Antonio? We can help!
Our experienced San Antonio truck accident lawyers know injury law inside and out. We know the trucking companies, truck drivers, insurers, and courts that will likely be a part of your injury case. We use this knowledge to protect our clients' rights and help them get maximum compensation.
The roadways of San Antonio and west Texas are filled with 18-wheelers and commercial vehicles. These trucks are responsible for numerous accidents throughout the region. When a semi-truck hits another vehicle, it strikes with devastating force. Serious injury or death can happen.
But tragically, many truck accident victims do not receive the medical care and compensation they deserve. Trucking and insurance companies see to that by fighting each and every step of the way. If you or a loved one has been harmed in a truck accident, you need a team of aggressive San Antonio truck accident attorneys on your side. Wyatt Law Firm is on your side and ready to get you results.
Table of Contents
- Our San Antonio Truck Accident Lawyers Are Determined To Win
- The Facts Behind Trucking Accidents in San Antonio
- Don't Let An Insurance Company Take Advantage Of You
- Types of Commercial Vehicle Accidents in San Antonio
- Most Common Causes of San Antonio18-Wheeler and Truck Accidents
- I. Driver Fatigue
- II. Failed Vehicle Maintenance
- III. Air Brakes and Driver Reaction Time
- IV. Tire Blowouts
- V. Drug and Alcohol Addiction
- What Should Be Done Immediately After an Accident With an 18-Wheeler or Commercial Vehicle?
- Negligent Trucking Company Hiring Practices
- San Antonio Truck Accident FAQ
- Get a Free Consultation With a San Antonio Truck Accident Attorney
Our San Antonio Truck Accident Lawyers Are Determined To Win
At Wyatt Law Firm, our San Antonio truck accident lawyers are relentless in our quest for justice. Our lawyers have years of trial experience, a record of success and the resources to take on powerful corporate interests. We will work tenaciously to uncover the truth and obtain maximum compensation for you.
Our firm obtained $3,113,963 in net compensation for the family of a person who died in an 18-wheeler accident.
We aggressively seek results for people throughout San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Austin and Laredo.
The Facts Behind Trucking Accidents in San Antonio
Drivers And Companies Don’t Always Follow The Rules – There are extremely strong regulations in place for truck drivers and trucking companies. Despite these requirements, not every driver or company complies with the directives in place. Those drivers who operate in excess of service hours or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol increase the chances that an accident could happen.
Trucks Are Almost Always On The Roads – There’s no offseason for truckers or trucking companies. Even during the nationwide Covid-19 pandemic, big rigs are still all over the roads. It is an easy way to transport goods throughout the country or state. You can’t avoid sharing the road with trucks. You just have to be prepared and extra cautious when around them on highways or other roadways in your neighborhood.
The Injuries Are More Serious – The size and weight of the trucks makes them impossible to maneuver or stop. Cars can hit trucks in spots that offer little to no protection for the passenger vehicle’s occupants, such as collisions with a truck’s underride guards or side skirts. Accidents that involve sudden lane changes or abrupt stops are very difficult for motorists to avoid. If an accident happens, those in the car can suffer traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries, and in some cases, there may even be the loss of life. These are not just inconvenient fender-benders. These are life-changing crashes.
Don't Let An Insurance Company Take Advantage Of You
After being injured in an accident, you might not know what to expect. When the insurance company calls, expressing seemingly genuine concern about your condition, know that they might not be all that concerned about your condition. They are looking for any information they can use to lessen the amount of compensation they will be responsible for in your case. This is true even of your own insurance company, who is more concerned about their bottom line than your health, even after you have paid your premiums on time over the years.
When a big rig accident happens, trucking companies and their insurers take fast action to protect their interests. They have a team of investigators at the accident scene collecting evidence they can use against you. You need to know how they act, because if you make a mistake, you could end up costing yourself significant compensation that you will need to make ends meet while you are recovering.
Insurance companies are highly experienced in lowballing settlements and shifting liability onto anyone but themselves. Don’t let this happen to you. Before you speak with any insurance company, we strongly recommend that you seek legal counsel in order to protect yourself.
Types of Commercial Vehicle Accidents in San Antonio
Every day, thousands of trucks, delivery vans and other commercial vehicles travel on streets and highways in San Antonio and across the state. While some commercial vehicle drivers are paid by the hour, others are subject to strict performance standards. In the rush to complete their work duties, some drivers may engage in risky driving behavior, such as speeding, sudden lane changes, operating hand-held devices, and sailing through red lights. The result? Serious and deadly trucking accidents in San Antonio.
Wyatt Law Firm represents people in personal injury cases involving all types of commercial vehicles, including:
- Local delivery vehicles
- UPS and FedEx vehicles
- Construction vehicles
- Buses operated by private and public transit companies
- Other types of commercial vehicles
Truck Driver Fatigue Accidents
Though Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued regulations specifying the maximum time commercial drivers can operate their vehicles, some drivers ignore these rules. As everyone knows, a tired driver is a potentially dangerous driver. This is one of the leading causes of truck accidents in San Antonio.
Most Common Causes of San Antonio18-Wheeler and Truck Accidents
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 3,341 fatal traffic accidents and 60,000 injury-causing traffic accidents involve large commercial trucks every year. The Lone Star State leads the nation when it comes to large-truck involvement in fatal crashes. Its rich oil industry and vast network of highways connecting the east and west coasts frequently draw new and inexperienced truck drivers to the state.
Detailed FMCSA regulations govern tractor-trailer to reduce the frequency of fatal and disabling truck accidents. However, driver fatigue, distraction, and negligent truck maintenance continue to injure innocent drivers each year.
Identifying the cause of your San Antonio big rig crash can determine your available financial recovery options. Multiple parties often share liability following San Antonio truck accidents, and the experienced 18-wheeler accident injury attorneys at the Wyatt Law Firm may hold each accountable. Discuss your case with our experienced semi-truck crash lawyers for free by calling (210) 340-5550or connecting with us online. We discuss the most common causes of big truck accidents below.
I. Driver Fatigue
How Does Driver Fatigue Causes Big Rig Accidents in San Antonio?
Everyone has a wake/sleep cycle (“circadian rhythm”) that affects a person’s level of alertness and cognitive abilities. When a person gets inadequate sleep or works unusual hours, natural drowsiness intensifies and adversely affects one’s driving abilities. Studies indicate that drowsy driving slows reaction times, affects decision-making abilities, and reduces driver attention. Trucking accidents caused when drivers fall asleep at the wheel are inexcusable and often fatal. Victims of fatigued driving accidents can potentially hold the truck driver, his trucking company, and the vehicle owner liable for damages.
Drowsy Driving versus Drunk Driving: Which Is More Dangerous?
A recent study found that the effects of driving while sleep-deprived or tired are more severe than the effects of driving while intoxicated. The CDC reports that driving without sleeping for 18 hours is equivalent to driving with a 0.05 percent blood alcohol content (a few drinks), and driving without sleeping for at least 24 hours doubles this number to 0.1 percent (above the legal limit). The hyper-awareness required by large truck drivers likely increases the rate of mental and physical deterioration.
Another study conducted by the AAA Foundation found that drowsy driving is responsible for approximately one out of every six fatal accidents. Stated another way: drowsy driving is a factor in 17 percent of all fatal car crashes. Due to the size and mass of commercial trucks, the outcome of drowsy driving crashes can be disastrous.
II. Failed Vehicle Maintenance
Truck Accidents Involving Improper Maintenance
According to FMCSA:
“Vehicle maintenance (e.g., brakes, lights, other mechanical defects and load securement) is one of the seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) for motor carrier safety measurement. In January 2014, FMCSA published the Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS) Effectiveness Test by BASICs study. This published study showed that motor carriers targeted for interventions due to vehicle maintenance have a 65 percent greater future crash rate than the national average.”
III. Air Brakes and Driver Reaction Time
A semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Most passenger vehicles weigh between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds. Because every action needs an equal and opposite reaction (Newton’s third law of physics), this means it takes substantial power to stop a moving tractor-trailer.
Let’s compare the stopping distance of a typical passenger vehicle to that of a semi. In ideal conditions, a car weighing 4,000 pounds, traveling at a speed of 65 miles per hour will take 316 feet to stop. On the other hand, a fully loaded semi weighing 80,000 pounds traveling at the same speed and in the same conditions will take 525 feet to stop with functioning air brake systems.
When it comes to braking, there is another critical factor: brake lag. Tractor-trailer trucks use air brakes rather than the hydraulic brakes used on regular passenger vehicles. Anyone who’s heard the squeal of decelerating semi-trucks knows that hydraulic brakes work much faster than air brakes. With air brakes, the air pressure must build until it is sufficient to begin the braking process. If a driver miscalculates the distance at which he or she should begin braking, serious accidents can occur. Such accidents typically include rear-end collisions, a common type of passenger vehicle and truck crash.
Getting rear-ended by a 40-ton 18-wheeler, even at slower speeds, sends forceful shock waves through the leading vehicle. The sheer weight differential between the vehicles often results in crushed rear ends, airbag deployment, and damaged fuel tanks. Rear seat passengers may find themselves pinned into burning vehicles and often suffer from severe spinal damage or head trauma.
Common injuries associated with air brake failures include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) & brain stem trauma - Motor vehicle accidents are among the leading causes of TBI among adults. The sudden forward momentum and snapback force associated with being rear-ended by semi-trucks might sever the brain stem, resulting in brain death. Truck accident claimants frequently suffer from serious concussions and frontal lobe damage, resulting in personality changes, memory loss, depression, and trouble focusing.
- Paralysis - Forceful damage to the brain stem and lower neck may result in quadriplegia, while damage to the lower back could cause paraplegia. These life-altering injuries often result in millions in lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering damages. Paralysis frequently occurs after tractor-trailer crushing accidents.
- Full-thickness burns - When rear-end truck crashes resulting from brake failures crush fuel tanks, passengers may find themselves trapped in deadly car fires. Even a few minutes of exposure could result in lung damage and third-degree burns. Many claimants require months of inpatient treatment, amputations, and multiple surgeries to survive this trauma. San Antonio burn victims may demand, in addition to pain and suffering and impairment damages, non-economic compensation for the emotional suffering associated with scarring and the experience of the accident.
- Herniated discs - Your spine bears your body weight and weakens with age. As such, the rear-end crash force of 18-wheelers frequently dislodges the delicate spinal discs between vertebrae. These herniations or bulges often press on delicate nerves causing alternating pain and numbness. Many claimants require substantial rehabilitation and fusion surgery for these conditions and often suffer from lifetime disabilities.
Seeking medical attention is your first priority after devastating truck crashes. Experienced local truck accident lawyers can generally gather evidence and request amended police reports if the claimant was medically disabled.
IV. Tire Blowouts
There’s a reason 18-wheelers require 18 wheels. Not only do these wheels help carry heavy loads, but they also account for anticipated tire blowout and tread damage. Large trucks cannot operate with punctured or damaged tires. Commercial vehicles also cannot utilize retreaded or refurbished tires; although, fleet owners often cut corners by rotating damaged tires and purchasing tires with refurbished treads.
Drivers must periodically check tires during long-haul trips and replace damaged equipment. The FMCSA also regulates the speed trucks can travel depending on weight to reduce overall tire wear and tear. Semi-truck accidents caused by tire blowouts often send damaged treads flying into passenger vehicles and result in loss of control accidents.
V. Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Long-haul truck drivers have stressful jobs. They’re responsible for operating potentially deadly motor vehicles over long distances, which requires constant focus. Time away from family also causes stress, and most drivers do not have access to healthy foods. All these factors lead to increased instances of illegal drug and alcohol addiction among truck drivers. Trucking companies must conduct mandatory drug and alcohol checks when drivers receive their CDLs and begin working, but it’s difficult to test for alcohol addiction thereafter.
Studies also indicate that most long-haul semi-truck drivers do not obtain sufficient sleep. As such, many turn to prescription medications to help with fatigue. Driving while under the influence of prescription drugs, such as when the drugs impact your focus and reaction times, is illegal and often leads to devastating accidents.
If you suspect a truck driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs based on symptoms including:
- Dilated pupils
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty walking
- Erratic driving and behaviors
- Strong odors, including from alcohol or marijuana
Contact an attorney immediately and tell first responders about what you noticed. Police officers often arrive after claimants witnessed these behaviors, and officers can conduct field sobriety tests. Lawyers may also subsequently request the driver’s drug use history, including records of mandatory drug and alcohol testing.
What Should Be Done Immediately After an Accident With an 18-Wheeler or Commercial Vehicle?
Truck accidents are traumatic for both victims and drivers. One serious accident can cost operators their jobs. As such, it’s normal for truck drivers to downplay the seriousness of the crash, overreact, or try to convince claimants not to call the police. Always contact law enforcement following San Antonio truck accidents, even if you’re not in pain.
Insurers may try to automatically deny claims unless police verify the crash scene. Most officers and state troopers are also familiar with basic commercial vehicle regulations. They may immediately request the driver’s hours of service log, inspect tires, and identify the type and likely cause of the accident.
Immediately after a truck accident:
- Do not move your vehicle unless you’re in a dangerous location
- Contact local authorities and seek medical attention for yourself and others
- Do not minimize your pain for first responders, as they will report your statements, and you may be experiencing adrenaline-fueled pain reduction
- If possible, gather the contact information of any available witnesses and begin taking photos and gathering evidence.
- Request a police report and seek professional legal consultation
- Follow attorney instructions regarding insurance company reports and commutations, i.e., do not speak with adjusters without an attorney present
Cell phone videos and photos should include images of the crash scene, including highway and exit signs, license plates, vehicle damage, and debris. Once vehicles move, it’s often difficult to determine the accident’s cause without driver cooperation. Experienced truck accident lawyers can walk claimants through this process, generally without any upfront costs or obligations.
Negligent Trucking Company Hiring Practices
The U.S. relies heavily on the trucking industry for our growing economy. Due to the regular shortage of applications for trucking positions, even responsible trucking companies are forced to lower their hiring standards or overlook red flags on applicants' driving records. In addition, many truck drivers are under-supervised and lack the training and experience to safely perform the duties of the job.
San Antonio Truck Accident FAQ
The hours, days, and weeks following a traumatic truck accident can be chaotic. You are dealing with injuries, watching medical bills start to come in, and you might not be able to work. You likely have numerous questions about your legal rights and how to seek the compensation you deserve.t
Below are some of the common questions that our San Antonio truck accident lawyers hear from injured victims. To discuss specific questions applying to your situation, contact our office directly for a consultation.
What tools help with truck accident investigations?
Commercial trucks are complicated machines, and there are many potential causes of truck accidents. For these reasons, it often requires an extensive investigation to determine the cause of a crash for liability purposes. Our San Antonio truck accident attorneys have many resources to help with such investigations, and we know which tools help to determine who should be responsible for your injuries and losses.
Some things that can help with truck accident investigations include:
- The truck’s event data recorder (the “black box”), which can show the truck’s speed, braking, and other driving aspects just before the crash.
- In-truck cameras, which might face the driver to show what they were doing when they crashed, or that might face the road so we can see the conditions ahead of the driver before the accident.
- Trucking company records, which can show the driver’s history and employment records, delivery times, and more.
- Truck maintenance records to determine truck inspections and repairs (or lack thereof).
- Accident reconstruction experts who can review the scene and help put together what happened.
- Trucking industry experts who can advise whether a company or driver violated industry standards.
While you are dealing with your medical treatment, we can handle this complex investigation process, so you know which insurance claims you need to file.
How do I know how much my San Antonio truck accident claim is worth?
As an accident victim facing economic and non-economic losses, including pain and suffering and impairment, it’s understandable to wonder how much your claim is worth. Unfortunately, every truck crash is different, and it’s impossible to generalize about how much claims are worth. To determine the value of your claims, an attorney will need to evaluate a variety of issues.
Some of the factors that can influence the value of your claim include:
- Your age
- Your occupation
- Your income
- The severity of your injuries
- Whether your injuries will lead to disabilities or other long-term medical problems
- The way your accident occurred
A lawyer familiar with truck accident litigation will be able to review your case and give you an idea of what your case is worth. That said, the insurance company will do its own evaluation of your losses, which will likely be lower than what your case is actually worth.
Not only will the insurance company undervalue your claim, but they will also likely engage in tactics aimed to get you to settle for less or undercut the strength of your case. For example, they may start with an unreasonably low first offer to make subsequent offers look better. They may also pressure you to provide a recorded statement, hoping they can get you to say things that indicate that you were at fault for your accident.
When should I call a San Antonio truck accident lawyer?
If you could call a truck accident lawyer from the scene of the crash, that would be ideal, as you want your attorney to begin gathering information and evidence as soon as possible. However, due to the nature of truck crashes and the resulting injuries, this generally does not happen.
Our state sets out a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. This means that you have two years from the date of your injuries to file a claim in civil court if needed. This does not mean you have two years to spare and you should wait to call an attorney.
A lot needs to happen before you reach the lawsuit stage, including:
- Investigating the cause of the crash to identify liable parties
- Preparing and filing one or more insurance claims
- Going back and forth in negotiations with insurers to see if you can resolve the case directly through an insurance settlement
- Preparing a personal injury petition if you need to file a lawsuit
All of this takes time, and you want to make sure your legal team has sufficient opportunity to go through the insurance process before the lawsuit deadline approaches.
In addition, the longer you wait, the greater chance there is that evidence will disappear. Surveillance videos can get recorded over, trucking companies might “lose” records, and witness memories can fade. The sooner you call an attorney, the sooner we can begin building your case.
Can I afford a San Antonio truck accident attorney?
A truck accident can be expensive. You may be facing thousands of dollars in medical expenses, repair bills, and losing income every day you are unable to work. In these circumstances, the idea of hiring a personal injury lawyer may seem out of the question. Lawyers are known for charging high hourly rates, and when you’re dealing with unexpected expenses, the last thing you want to do is take on expensive legal bills.
Fortunately, you won’t have to. Our San Antonio personal injury attorneys take all of our cases on a contingency basis. When a lawyer works on contingency, it means that he or she only collects legal fees if the attorney wins your case. In addition, those fees will come directly out of your settlement or award, so you will never need to use the money you already have to pay for legal help. Your contingency fee agreement will clearly spell out the percentage that your lawyer will take, so there will be no surprises when it comes to the end of your case. By using a contingency fee structure, our firm ensures that anyone who needs legal help can get it.
Get a Free Consultation With a San Antonio Truck Accident Attorney
Paula Wyatt and her team of dedicated San Antonio truck accident injury lawyers have recovered over half a billion dollars for wrongfully injured and killed clients. We can protect claimants from lowball settlement offers and underhanded risk management attorneys. Call Wyatt Law Firm at (210) 340-5550 or contact us to arrange for your case evaluation and protect your essential financial recovery rights. We serve injured accident victims throughout San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Laredo, and Corpus Christi.
We accept 18-wheeler accident, wrongful death, and other personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. You will not pay any attorney fees unless we win compensation for you.