Austin Truck Accident Lawyer
Accidents involving large commercial trucks are among the most catastrophic we see in our personal injury practice. If you were injured in a truck accident, do not wait to consult with an attorney. You may be entitled to significant compensation for your pain and suffering, as well as the financial impact of the accident. The Austin truck accident lawyers at Shamieh Law are here to help. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with our team.
3800 North Lamar Blvd Suite #200, Austin, Texas 78756
Because of their large size, commercial trucks significantly raise the risk of catastrophic injuries and death when involved in an auto accident. Because the monetary stakes in lawsuits stemming from these accidents are often very high, this also means that truck accident injury victims in Austin are likely to face particularly resistant defendants and insurers eager to diminish the value of their claim.
Notwithstanding, under Texas law, victims injured at little to no fault of their own are legally entitled to recover compensation from at-fault parties when their recklessness or negligence causes accidents. The best way to exercise this right is by working with an experienced Austin personal injury attorney who can help by:
- Gathering evidence
- Investigating the governing law
- Handling settlement negotiations
- Arguing in court when necessary.
The legal team at Shamieh Law is here to guide you through every step of your truck accident case. Our team is here to make sure you do not receive the short end of the stick when negotiating with trucking companies and insurers. Let us handle the legal details while you focus on what matters most: your recovery. We are proud of our professionalism and compassionate service. Contact us today to learn more in a free consultation.
Why Choose Shamieh Law as Your Austin Truck Accident Lawyers?
Shamieh Law was founded by attorney Ramez Shamieh, who has more than a decade of experience defending the rights of injury victims throughout Texas and beyond. Since the firm’s founding, we have built a strong reputation among our clients and in the legal community.
At the heart of our practice, we focus on “Winning With Awareness.” This means we treat every client like family. When you turn to Shamieh Law, you’ll notice this difference from the very beginning.
Our team takes pride in helping injury victims in their hour of need, whether that means getting them medical attention or advocating for a fair settlement. We will take the time to truly understand your challenges so we can best serve your needs. Above all else, we will treat you with the utmost respect, compassion, and dignity.
Delivering Excellent Service to Every Client
At Shamieh Law, we strive to deliver excellent service each and every time. We believe our client testimonials speak for themselves. Here are a few words from just a few of our satisfied clients.
- “I had the privilege of working with Shamieh Law following a devastating personal injury, and I cannot express enough how grateful I am for their exceptional services. From the very first consultation to the resolution of my case, they demonstrated an unparalleled level of professionalism, expertise, and genuine empathy.” – Payam
- “Thank you, Shamieh Law, for representing me! My case manager, Kimberly Clark, did an amazing job! She kept me in the loop of things and always made me feel as if my case was her top priority. Thank you, Kimberly. I really appreciate your help with this. Shamieh Law, you are lucky to have her.” – Tiffany
- “Ramez and the staff at Shamieh Law were incredibly responsive, always available, and on top of everything to solve my case. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Completely trustworthy. Absolutely recommended.” – Carlos
Settlements We’ve Recovered in Truck Accident Lawsuits
The legal team at Shamieh Law has recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients. Below are just a few of the results we have secured in cases that involved commercial vehicles and 18-wheelers.
- $925,000 for a client who suffered disc herniations and a knee injury requiring surgery after a collision with a commercial vehicle.
- $700,000 for a client who was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler and suffered a traumatic brain injury and spinal injuries.
- $500,000 for a client who suffered a traumatic brain injury and rotator cuff injury after colliding with a semi-truck that failed to yield the right of way.
- $460,000 for a client who suffered severe neck and knee injuries after a truck crash.
- $387,500 for a client who was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler, causing a severe spinal injury requiring injections.
- $350,000 for a client in a commercial first-party claim who was injured in an 18-wheeler that flipped over, requiring two epidural steroid injections.
- $250,000 for a client who required a lumbar discectomy after being rear-ended by a semi-truck.
Austin Trucking and Truck Accident Statistics
According to a 2017 Austin Commercial Vehicle Survey conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, there are approximately 32,000 registered trucks in the Austin area. The most common cargo types for these vehicles include:
- Clay, concrete, glass, or stone
- Manufactured goods/equipment
- Printed products
- Food, health, and beauty products
- Miscellaneous shipments
Safety violations are not uncommon among commercial vehicles in Austin. In 2021, the Austin Police Department Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit conducted over 2,500 inspections of commercial vehicles. As a result, “816 vehicles and 164 drivers were put out of service due to serious safety violations.” In other words, nearly a third of the vehicles inspected were non-compliant!
These safety violations likely contribute to the staggering number of commercial vehicle crashes that occur in the Austin area. In 2022, there were 536 crashes involving commercial vehicles in Travis County. These accidents resulted in 17 fatalities and 26 suspected serious injuries.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Your Austin Truck Accident?
Numerous parties play a role in the day-to-day operations of commercial vehicles. As a result, determining liability in a truck accident case can be complex. Depending on the circumstances, any of the following parties could potentially be liable for your Austin truck accident:
- Truck drivers
- Trucking companies
- Cargo loaders
- Truck parts manufacturers and distributors
- Maintenance and repair crews
- Government entities
- Third-party contractors
- Other road users
In many cases, more than one party is responsible, which translates to multiple sources of compensation. Our experienced attorneys will launch a thorough, independent investigation into your accident to identify all liable parties.
What Compensation Is Available Through a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Texas?
If you were injured in a truck accident at little to no fault of your own, you are likely entitled to legal compensation from the at-fault party. In this section, we give a brief overview of the compensation you may receive through a lawsuit.
Personal Injury Compensation
If you were injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for economic and non-economic damages, collectively known as compensatory damages. Altogether, you may receive compensation for things like:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Long-term care and support costs
- Lost wages
- Lowered earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Property damage repair and replacement costs
Wrongful Death Compensation
At Shamieh Law, we understand that no amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one. However, in the unfortunate event of a fatal truck accident, the law provides an avenue for surviving family members to secure a measure of justice and accountability. Through a wrongful death lawsuit, you and your family could recover compensation for things like:
- Expenses associated with the death, such as medical and funeral expenses
- Loss of inheritance
- Mental anguish and loss of support, companionship, society, comfort, care, assistance, protection, and affection
Unlike compensatory damages, which are awarded to put plaintiffs back in a position similar to the one they were in prior to an accident, punitive damages are “awarded as a penalty or by way of punishment but not for compensatory purposes.” In Texas, punitive damages are also known as “exemplary damages.”
This form of damages is only available in cases involving serious misbehavior by defendants, such as fraud, malice, or gross negligence. In general, courts are reluctant to award punitive damages, which are legally capped as follows:
Two times the amount of economic damages plus an amount equal to any non-economic damages found by the jury, not to exceed $750,000; or
Why Are Truck Accidents So Dangerous?
Truck accidents often result in more severe injuries than collisions between smaller vehicles. The primary reason for this danger is the sheer size and weight of these vehicles.
Commercial tractor-trailers, in particular, can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which is many times heavier than the average passenger car. This significant weight difference means that in a collision, the force of impact is much greater, leading to more severe damage to smaller vehicles and the occupants within them.
In addition to their size and weight, trucks have higher inertia, making them less agile and slower to respond to sudden changes in traffic conditions. As a result, collisions with commercial trucks often happen at higher speeds, heightening the force of impact.
Most Common Causes of Austin Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can occur for a variety of reasons. At Shamieh Law, we investigate and handle each accident on a case-by-case basis to ensure optimal results. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents in Austin that we see include:
- Driver fatigue – Fatigue is a prevalent issue among truck drivers, particularly long-haul drivers who may spend extended hours on the road. Pressure from employers to meet tight delivery schedules can lead to driver exhaustion, which impairs their reaction time and decision-making abilities.
- Distracted driving – Truck drivers can become distracted by activities such as using a smartphone, adjusting the radio, or eating while driving. These distractions divert their attention from the road and make an accident more likely.
- Impaired driving – Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol impairs a driver’s judgment and reflexes, increasing the risk of accidents. While there are strict regulations against this behavior, it still occurs.
- Speeding – Driving at excessive speeds, often to meet deadlines, can reduce a truck driver’s ability to stop in time to avoid collisions.
- Inadequate training and experience – Inexperienced or inadequately trained truck drivers may struggle to handle their vehicles safely.
- Improper cargo loading – Improperly loaded or secured cargo can shift during transit, affecting the truck’s balance and stability. This can result in rollovers or accidents.
- Equipment failure – Mechanical failures, such as brake failures, tire blowouts, or steering problems, can lead to accidents. Inadequate maintenance and repairs are often to blame.
- Weather conditions – Adverse weather conditions, including rain, snow, ice, fog, and strong winds, can significantly impact a truck’s handling and braking capabilities, making accidents more likely.
Laws That Truck Drivers and Companies Must Follow in Texas
Texas state laws and federal law strictly regulate the activities of commercial truck drivers and trucking companies. A defendant’s failure to abide by these laws could strengthen your truck accident claim. The following are some basic laws that apply to nearly all commercial drivers and companies in Austin and beyond.
Drivers who operate a commercial motor vehicle in Texas are required to have a commercial driver’s license, also known as a CDL. Texas categorizes CDLs into three classes: A, B, and C. Each CDL class has specific vehicle-weight limits. Commercial truck drivers must possess the right CDL class for the type of vehicle they plan to drive.
Vehicles must be properly loaded and secured, and commercial truck drivers must inspect their cargo before they begin driving. They must perform an inspection again within the first 50 miles of their journey, after driving for three hours or 150 miles, and after every break.
There are strict limits on the amount of time that a commercial truck driver can spend working. These rules are meant to prevent accidents caused by driver fatigue.
Under federal hours-of-service limits, drivers must have eight consecutive off-duty hours before starting a driving shift. Drivers may only be on duty for 15 consecutive hours and drive for 12 hours at a time. On-duty time includes driving as well as maintenance, loading, and other non-driving activities. Additionally, a driver cannot be on duty for more than 70 hours over a seven-day period. This period resets after 34 consecutive off-duty hours.
Driver Alertness Requirements
Drivers must abide by these basic requirements to ensure that they’re in a safe cognitive state for operating a vehicle:
- Drivers may not drive when their ability or alertness is impaired by fatigue, illness, or any other cause that would make it unsafe to drive.
- Drivers may not be on duty and possess, be under the influence of, or use Schedule I drugs.
- Drivers are prohibited from consuming or being under the influence of alcohol within four hours of going on duty, while on duty, or while driving.
Types of Evidence Our Team Will Use to Build Your Claim
To secure compensation through a lawsuit, injured victims must prove the at-fault party’s responsibility by a preponderance of the evidence. Our Austin truck accident attorneys will draw from a variety of sources to paint a clear picture of what happened leading up to the accident. We’ll then use this evidence to demonstrate why the opposing party is liable.
Whether in settlement negotiations or in court, we are ready to present the strongest possible claim on your behalf. In this section, we explore just a few kinds of evidence that may come into play:
Electronic Logging Devices and Black Boxes
Texas law requires all commercial trucks to be equipped with an electronic logging device, also known as a black box. This device records data about the vehicle’s speed, braking actions, and performance leading up to the accident.
Our skilled truck accident attorneys may use black box data to reconstruct the accident, particularly the details surrounding the truck driver’s actions. This can help us determine if the driver was negligent by failing to brake or driving at an excessive speed.
Truck Driver Logs
A truck driver’s logbook can show their hours of service and compliance with state and federal regulations regarding breaks and rest periods. The logs can indicate whether the driver took appropriate rest breaks and whether fatigue might have contributed to the accident.
Bills of Lading
Bills of lading are shipping documents that detail the contents of a truck’s cargo, its weight, and the shipper’s and receiver’s information. They can help verify what cargo the truck was carrying, which is critical if the accident resulted from shifting or improperly loaded cargo.
The weight information can also be critical in determining whether the truck was overloaded. Bills of lading also establish a chain of custody for the cargo, which can help our attorneys identify who was responsible for loading and securing it.
Corporate Representative Depositions
Deposing a corporate representative involves questioning a designated individual from the trucking company under oath. This testimony may help our attorneys understand the company’s policies and procedures related to hiring, training, maintenance, and safety. This can help us establish the extent of the trucking company’s liability.
In some cases, a corporate representative may make statements or admissions that can strengthen your claim. This can include acknowledgments of company negligence or failures in safety protocols.
Truck Driver Depositions
Similar to corporate representative depositions, truck driver depositions can be a critical component in building a truck accident case, as they provide a firsthand account of the driver’s perspective of the events that led to the accident.
Truck Driver Employee Handbooks
Employee handbooks outline company policies, safety procedures, and expectations. These handbooks can establish what the truck driver was trained to do and the safety protocols they were expected to follow. We may use this information to confirm whether the driver was aware of safety procedures and expectations related to various aspects of their job, such as vehicle inspections, loading and unloading, and driving in hazardous conditions.
Our Austin Truck Accident Lawyers Are Here to Help
If you were injured in a truck accident in Austin, do not wait to consult with an experienced attorney. Shamieh Law is here to make sure you know your full legal rights and options. Our team of seasoned truck accident attorneys has the skills and resources needed to conduct a thorough investigation of your accident, gather the necessary evidence to support your claim, negotiate with insurers, and take your case to court if necessary.
We are a phone call away. Call our Austin office at (512) 888-3333 or complete our online form to get started in a free, no-obligation consultation. We are located near the corner of North Lamar Boulevard and 38th Street.