Although vehicle crashes have steadily dropped in Texas over the years, a Houston area truck accident lawyer still handles many cases every year. Even as the roads get safer in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio, the Bayou City remains the most dangerous city in the state in terms of traffic safety. In 2012, there were about 26,400 commercial vehicle crashes across Texas, and nearly 4,000 of them were in the Bayou City. That’s an extremely high proportion of crashes, considering how much time commercial vehicles spend driving between cities. And though there hasn’t been much research done on why this is the case, there are a couple of reasons worth considering.
HOW CAN A HOUSTON AREA TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYER HELP A CRASH VICTIM?
A number of factors can cause commercial vehicles accidents, making every claim unique. This can make the legal process extremely complex, and something that an experienced legal professional would be better off handling. This is particularly true in the Bayou City, as many commercial vehicle crashes are caused by cargo vehicles carrying oil or petrochemical products. When one of these vehicles is involved in a crash, it means taking on a powerful corporation, which means more powerful attorneys.
With the prolific number of oil & gas, petrochemical, and construction businesses in the city, commercial vehicles are a common sight on the road. It’s not a surprise, then, why the city leads the state, and much of the nation, in commercial vehicle crashes. There’s also reason to believe that the amount of rain the region gets every year can exacerbate the city’s traffic issues, leading to dangerous road conditions more often than other parts of Texas.
No matter the reason, though, a commercial vehicle crash often involves several parties and more than just the drivers of both automobiles. The company employing or contracting the driver may be liable if they forced the driver into extended hours and fatigue. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes hourly limits on commercial drivers, and violating them is an act of negligence. Of course, if the driver was operating the vehicle dangerously at the time of the crash, such as speeding or tailgating, then the driver may share most of the responsibility. Finally, the commercial vehicle manufacturer may be at least partly responsible if mechanical failure led to a wreck.
A Houston area truck accident lawyer will have a number of tools available to them to strengthen their client’s case. In addition to police and medical reports, an attorney can also use photos of the crash and use an official investigator’s impression of the wreck. In most cases, when a commercial vehicle is involved in a serious wreck, the state will send an expert investigator to the site to determine if mechanical failure was involved. Also, most commercial vehicles are equipped with black box style recording devices that log engine speed, braking, and acceleration. This can also be used to build the victim’s claim.
Anyone who has lived in Houston knows how deadly its roads can be, especially with so many commercial vehicles on the road. But with an attorney’s help, commercial drivers and their employers may be held responsible for their recklessness.