Big Trucks - Big Issues
The law offices of Carabin & Shaw have represented victims in the families of trucking accident victims since 1992. Our law firm has been involved in some of the largest trucking cases recorded over the last 10 years. There is an unfortunate correlation between big trucks and big issues pertaining to the danger a big truck may pose to other drivers. If you require advice or further counsel regarding the repercussions of a trucking accident, or you have any questions at all about your options moving forward after a collision with a commercial truck, contact the attorneys at Carabin & Shaw of San Antonio today.
On highways, large commercial vehicles like 18-wheelers travel at high speeds, and drivers are often careless and negligent. This is true throughout Texas, including the Central Texas and San Antonio area. Thankfully, the lawyers at Carabin & Shaw have the necessary experience for cases pertaining to trucking safety and 18-wheeler accidents.
Due to their increased size and weight, commercial trucks and 18-wheelers proffer distinct issues not necessarily evident in accidents that involve smaller automobiles. These include:
- Greater likelihood of serious injuries or deaths
- Negligent hiring and supervision claims
- Negligent maintenance claims
- Unique insurance coverage issues
- Governmental regulations
- Federal regulations
- State regulations
- Drug testing
- Tractor maintenance
- Trailer maintenance
- Trucking Records and Logs
In an attempt by the state of Texas to limit the inadmissible quantity of fatalities as a result of semi-truck accidents and 18-wheeler accidents on Texas highways, forty years ago the government established the Federal Highway Administration. The government passed legislation in order to prevent drivers who operate these large commercial vehicles from obtaining more than one driver’s license. By the early 1990s, commercial truckers were obligated to fulfill minimum national qualifications before operating a big rig. Once the driver satisfied these basic qualifications, he or she would then be able to acquire a Commercial Driver’s License, or CDL.
Due to the fact that big trucks and big issues often go hand in hand, to assist in decreasing the number of semi-truck mishaps and casualties, every operator of a commercial vehicle is required to have a license in the driver’s state of primary domain. The FHWA decrees that the traffic and driving records of each driver must be maintained in a centralized computer database to facilitate access by each state as needed. Additionally, the new legislation dictates that each state must enforce consistent screening procedures and standards for commercial drivers prior to the granting of a commercial license.
To operate any of the following vehicles, the driver must maintain a CDL:
- Vehicles with a gross combination weight rating of just over 26,000 pounds or more (assuming the total GVWR, or gross vehicle weight rating, of towed cargo weighs less than 10,000 pounds).
- Any automobile, size notwithstanding, constructed to carry 16 or more people, including the driver.
- Any vehicle bound by federal laws and regulations to include a safety placard or notification when there are hazardous or deadly materials on board for the duration of the vehicle’s transport.
- Despite the increased regulation, not all drivers of commercial goods are required to maintain a CDL for their labors. These include:
- Drivers of farm equipment (combines, tractors, etc).
- Vehicles designed to carry farming products, equipment, and supplies.
- Automobiles driven within 150 miles of a contract carrier.
There are five potential CDL endorsements, as well as one restriction, which require testing in order to be granted operating permission:
- Double or triple tractor trailers
- Passenger cars
- Tanker vehicles
- Semi-trucks with hazardous/dangerous materials on board
- Any combination of the above
- Automobiles with air brakes
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act, which is regarded as the major regulatory legislation within the commercial trucking industry, handles all the various possibilities that may be the root cause of related accidents, such as driver qualifications, lack of emergency equipment, safe loading, and alcohol, drug, and substance abuse, among others. Some of the most common causes of trucking and 18 wheeler accidents in the San Antonio area include:
- Lack of training/negligence during the hiring process
- Overloaded/overstuffed trucks
- Brake/mechanical failure/defect
- Poor/dangerous driving conditions
- Driver inexperience
- Driver fatigue
- Speeding/otherwise careless driving
- Failure to yield right of way
- Aggressive driving behavior
- Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
If you have been injured or have suffered loss in a big rig accident in and around San Antonio, do not turn to the defendant’s insurance company for help or deal with them directly. The other involved parties’ insurance companies may attempt to settle your claim as quickly as possible, sometimes even before you have a chance to consult an experienced trucking accident attorney on your own. You should also never sign documents or otherwise agree to a settlement without first consulting an experienced Texas commercial truck accident lawyer from Carabin & Shaw. The connection between big trucks and big issues should not be overlooked. Thankfully, the law firm of Carabin & Shaw will aggressively protect your rights at all costs if you have been injured in a trucking accident.
Our San Antonio lawyers understand all of the unique and practical legal problems associated with commercial trucking and 18-wheeler accidents, and we have experience in dealing with all issues that arise in such cases. Our goals include not only protecting the individual where litigation is necessary, but also providing resources to assist in educating the public when injuries arise from the negligence or carelessness of trucking companies in the hopes of increasing road safety.
Contact one of our San Antonio big truck accident attorney for more information. Our firm offers free initial consultations, as we work on a contingent fee basis. This means that there is no fee unless we successfully resolve your case. Contact us today at 210.222.2288, day or night, or toll free at 1.800.862.1260.