Recently, the federal government confirmed our concerns that fatal commercial truck underride accidents are being underreported in this country. GAO, Improved Data Collection, Inspections, and Research Needed, GAO-19-264 (Washington, D.C.: March 2019). We know some forensic experts recognize underride collisions as the cause of 25% of all truck crash deaths.
Deadly underride accidents happen when the victim’s vehicle slams underneath the commercial truck (big rig, semi, 18-wheeler, and tractor-trailer) with the force of impact causing horrific situations where parts of the truck may invade the passenger compartment of the smaller car, SUV, or pickup with tragic results. Currently, there are no federal regulations for side or front underride guards. Federal laws insisting upon rear guards do not always mandate these guards be of sufficient strength to withstand the impact of a crash.
Trucks driven in Texas today must be considered as deadly, moving underride threats. Few, if any, trucking companies provide any kind of underride protections that they are not forced to implement by law.
Trucking Industry Pushes for Profits
The trucking industry is driven by profits. Trucking companies are known for minimizing maintenance and repair, pushing their drivers past their limits, and neglecting proper training in order to meet delivery deadlines. Truck drivers are paid by the mile, not by the hour. And federal “hours of service” rules designed to force trucking companies to give truckers necessary resting times are challenged by the industry in the courts and ignored or disrespected in the field.
Our roadways have become more dangerous as a result of increased commercial truck traffic. Accidents are caused by fatigued and drowsy drivers, as well as truckers driving distracted, or who are driving over the speed limit because speeding is the only way they can meet their deadline to deliver their load.
Justice for Victims of Truck Accidents
Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair LLP has experience and expertise representing victims of trucking accidents as well as bus crashes. Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair LLP is also well aware that trucking companies and their insurance carriers are well prepared for the event of a serious or fatal truck crash, and often have insurance adjusters or company representatives preparing a defense at the accident scene, within minutes of the crash itself.
It is not uncommon for those working for the trucking defense to be at the scene even before the police arrive, because the trucking industry procedures are well established. They stand at the ready to respond immediately to the news of a serious truck crash involving one of their vehicles. This is because the trucking industry knows the financial exposure can be high in these cases, and they have adopted standard operating procedures based upon past accident experience.
Truck crash accidents can result in large claims because of the loss of life, and because of the possibility that more than one victim has died or been seriously injured. State and federal law can apply to a fatal truck crash or deadly bus accident, allowing for a variety of damages to be awarded to the accident victim and their family. These include:
- reimbursement for medical expenses (doctor bills, physical therapy, prescription drugs, wheelchairs, braces, hospital expenses, long-term care)
- lost wages
- pain and suffering
- mental anguish
- physical impairment
- permanent disfigurement
- wrongful death damages (loss of relationship, funeral expenses, etc.).
Pursuing Justice after a Semi Truck Crash
Once Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair LLP is involved in advocating for the truck crash victim, work begins immediately on investigating the circumstances surrounding the truck accident, because evidence in these situations can be lost or destroyed so easily. Our investigation will delve into things like:
- The driver’s phone records
- The driver’s HOS (hour of service) records
- The driver’s past history (including past accidents and drug testing)
- Log books
- Cargo records
- Eyewitness statements
- Maintenance records for the vehicle.
Accident reconstruction experts may be called upon to help explain what caused the truck crash. Not only the truck driver but the trucking company can be held liable for the crash and its consequences if (1) the driver was within the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident or (2) the company was negligent in the hiring of the driver or in the supervision of that driver on the road and this negligence contributed to the wreck.
Experienced Commercial Truck and Bus Crash Attorneys
Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair LLP has extensive experience fighting for justice after victims have suffered serious injuries or death in a truck crash or bus / motorcoach accident.