Houston Intersections Accident Attorney
Accidents involving large trucks and 18-wheelers occur more frequently than most people realize. Sadly, they also tend to be as devastating and catastrophic as they are common. At roadway intersections, it can be difficult to know what rules to follow and who should go first. When truckers drive aggressively due to their vehicle’s large size or strict deadlines, they can significantly endanger the safety of much smaller passenger vehicles and their occupants. Such accidents can cause severe, debilitating injuries, or even death. If you or a loved one have been injured by a large truck at a dangerous intersection, know that receiving justice and due compensation is possible with the help of a capable and experienced Houston truck accident attorney.
Intersections are some of the most common and deadly places for car accidents to occur, but the danger skyrockets when 18-wheelers and other large trucks are involved in the collision. According to a recent study by the Federal Highway Administration, more than 50% of injuries causing injury or death occur at or near intersections. Additionally, while side-impact and rear-end accidents with tractor-trailers do happen, the majority of intersection crashes between large trucks and passenger vehicles are T-bone collisions. These occur when one vehicle is traveling straight through the intersection while the other is attempting to turn. In situations such as these, the passenger vehicle hardly stands a chance.
Each intersection is different and has its own particular dangers, but no matter where such a collision occurs and what injuries it causes, the most likely cause is pure and simple driver negligence. From speeding and ignoring stoplights or signs to failing to yield right of way, there are many possible mistakes. With their wide turns, limited visibility, and tired drivers, large trucks are particularly vulnerable to such common errors. Texas enforces a two-year statute of limitations for filing truck injury claims. However, evidence may disappear, and witness memory may fade much sooner.
If you have been injured by one of these huge and heavily loaded vehicles, it is crucial to contact an experienced truck injury attorney as soon as possible. The lawyers at Williams Hart have decades of experience dealing with trucking companies, navigating tricky safety regulations, securing evidence, and passionately fighting for their clients’ rights.
Causes of Truck Accidents at Intersections
Trucks have much wider turning angles and a longer stopping distance than passenger vehicles. For this reason, truckers are required to undergo specialized training to learn to operate such unwieldy vehicles. Many different factors can contribute to a large truck crash at an intersection, but here a few of the most common causes of such accidents:
- Inattention and Distracted Driving—Large truck drivers must pay particular attention at intersections because large trucks have more difficulty stopping and turning.
- Blocking of Traffic a.k.a. a “Squeeze”—18-wheelers and other large trucks turning right or left tend to obstruct traffic around them. The traffic “squeeze” increases the risk of crashing
- Failure to Yield the Right of Way—Traffic rules determine which vehicle has the right of way at an intersection. Failure to yield can cause unexpected crashes at high speeds.
- Ignoring Traffic Signs, Stoplights, and Signals—Whether caused by recklessness, speeding, or distracted driving, failure to heed traffic lights and stop signs can be deadly.
- Miscalculation of Speed or Gaps between Vehicles—Because large trucks take longer to stop and accelerate, misjudging one’s speed and distance is a common mistake.
- Night-Time Reduced Visibility—A considerable number of these accidents take place at night. Trucks become harder to see, especially when their sidelights are not functional.
The injuries caused by collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles are often severe and debilitating. The majority of the injuries caused by commercial trucks are to the side of the car, which is one of the least protected parts of the vehicle. All of this adds up to especially severe—and often fatal—injuries to drivers and passengers. Some of the most common injuries sustained during these wrecks include, but are not limited to:
- Spine and Back Injuries—A side-facing collision can shatter vertebrates and inflict cervical spine damage. Many of these wounds are permanent and require intense, long-term physical rehabilitation.
- Head Injuries—Traumatic brain injuries, skull fractures, and serious concussions frequently occur in intersection crashes. In collisions involving large trucks, these can occur even at low speeds.
- Broken Bones—Fractures to the arms, legs, ribs, hip, and pelvis may occur when a driver has been struck with great force.
- Cuts, Bruises, and Internal Bleeding—The enormous amount of force involved in collisions with 18-wheelers can result in external and internal contusions. Cuts are especially common when broken glass is involved.
Who can be Held Responsible for My Intersection Crash Injuries?
The answer to this question can get complicated. Unlike crashes with other passenger vehicles, trucking companies are also involved in lawsuits involving commercial truck accidents. If the truck driver violated any traffic laws or safety regulations, they could be held liable for any damages suffered as a result. In some cases, manufacturers of defective automotive products may also bear some of the responsibility.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company and trucking company will both go to great lengths to minimize any compensation or payouts to those injured, and they have many tools at their disposal. Because of the complexity of accidents involving large trucks, multiple lawsuits may need to be filed against more than one party. It is strongly advised to contact an experienced truck injury attorney in your area. A knowledgeable and trial-tested attorney can navigate safety regulations and insurance company tricks to fight for the compensation you deserve aggressively.
What Can I Do Immediately After a Crash to Help My Case?
After a crash, you may be disoriented, in pain, or even require medical attention. However, there are some things you can do to help ensure you receive compensation for damages. As soon as possible, make a note of any relevant license plate numbers, descriptions of the truck, and DOT numbers. If possible, take pictures or videos of the crash or aftermath, get the other driver’s insurance information, and get the contact information of any witnesses who saw the accident happen. Time is of the essence after a crash, and the sooner you call an attorney for legal counsel, the more evidence can be collected that can help you receive payment for damages.
What Kind of Damages Might I be Able to Receive Compensation For?
With the help of the experienced truck injury attorneys at Williams Hart, you can seek financial compensation for all of the ways the crash has negatively impacted your life. This includes not just physical injuries, but also economic losses and psychological/emotional suffering. Here are only a few possibilities:
- Current and future medical bills
- Lost wages and reduced earning ability in the future
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy costs
- Pain and suffering, both emotional and physical pain
- Damage to relationships caused by injuries
Intersection Accident Statistics
A study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined that there were 3,906 fatal crashes involving large trucks and 73,000 large truck crashes that caused injury in 2013. About 18% (621) of the fatal truck accidents occurred at four-way intersections. This makes roadway intersections hazardous places for commercial vehicles and innocent drivers. Drivers without fault should never have to pay for someone else’s carelessness or negligence, though.
A 2010 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed the most common causes of intersection accidents in America. The report found that over half (55.7%) of these accidents involved “recognition error,” a.k.a. distracted driving. Almost a third (29.2%) were caused by “decision error,” meaning aggressive or illegal actions and failures to consider other surrounding vehicles. Less than 2% of intersection accidents were found to have been caused by the environment or the vehicle itself. The same study also found that intersection accidents were 335 times more likely to occur when the driver attempted to turn with an obstructed view. These statistics point out that carelessness and illegal maneuvers are by far the most common causes of crash injuries at intersections. That means that in many of these cases, the driver at fault can be held directly responsible for the damage he or she causes.
If you or a loved one has recently been injured by an 18-wheeler or another large vehicle at an intersection, you may be experiencing feelings of despair or hopelessness. There is hope, however. Although it may be impossible to undo the suffering you have experienced, an experienced attorney can help. Whether facing drivers, trucking companies, or insurance companies, we will make sure we hold those responsible for your injury accountable and win every possible cent of compensation.
Contact Us Today
Here at Williams Hart, our attorneys have been fighting for clients injured by negligent drivers since 1983. We have the resources, knowledge, and hard-earned trial experience to earn you the maximum possible financial compensation. Consultations with our attorneys are provided free of charge, and we pledge not to charge you a dime unless we win your lawsuit. If you have been injured in an intersection accident, contact us as soon as possible.