Our Harris County personal injury lawyer knows when negligence impacts our residents, their lives are changed going forward. We want to help.
That starts with identifying why and how 18-wheeler collisions occur. Some are caused by negligent truck drivers who are speeding, intoxicated, or distracted. Others are the fault of the trucking company for pushing drivers to place profits over safety. These are not the only two potentially at-fault parties. Often, mechanical problems cause Semi-Truck crashes without notice.
Here is what our Houston residents need to know about improperly maintained or inspected 18-wheelers, and how they are jeopardizing other motorists.
What are the Most Common Mechanical Failures that Lead to 18-Wheeler Crashes in Texas?
Semi-Trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which requires many moving mechanical parts to ensure they are operating safely. When worn or broken parts are defective or not replaced promptly, people are going to get hurt.
The most common mechanical failures that lead to Texas Semi-Truck accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Tire Failures
There is a good reason Semi-Trucks have 18 wheels. It is so that when one fails, the vehicle does not swerve off the road like a passenger vehicle might when its tire fails. However, underinflated or poorly maintained tires can lead to a blowout on the highway, or worse, lose their grip, causing accidents, injuries, and fatalities without notice.
- Brake Failures
The brakes on an 18-wheeler are an integral part of its operation. Outside of the 80,000 pounds it may be responsible for stopping, trucks require a greater distance to stop, so the brakes must be in top-notch working order to ensure they help the truck driver avoid collisions.
When the truck’s brakes — including the brake lines, hoses, pads, rotors, or fluid leaks — are not repaired or replaced, rear-end collisions, jackknife accidents, and rollovers will occur, and people are going to get hurt or killed.
- Steering System Failures
Controlling an 80,000-pound vehicle begins with steering it properly and keeping the large commercial vehicle out of harm’s way. When any of the moving parts in the steering column are not maintained, the driver can lose control of the vehicle causing significant crashes, injuries, and fatalities.
- Transmission Failures
Steering systems are not the only thing that allows truck drivers to maintain control of a Semi-Truck. A problem with the transmission — including the pump, valve, clutch, or another part — can result in difficulty shifting gears and make the truck harder to handle.
These mechanical failures are no accident. They are often the result of negligence, which may be caused by a combination of parties, including the truck driver, trucking company, maintenance crew, manufacturer, or another third party.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident caused by mechanical failure, our skilled truck accident attorney in Houston can help you understand the next steps to pursue each party — or a combination of parties — for your full financial recovery.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Commercial trucks like 18-wheelers and other delivery trucks pose unique dangers to drivers operating smaller vehicles and their passengers. That means that all drivers, including those operating large trucks, must be aware of the hazards presented by such large, unwieldy vehicles.
It also means that there must be an added level of caution when sharing the road. Even minor traffic errors, like neglecting to signal before turning or passing, can result in a severe injury-causing accident, especially when vehicles are traveling at high speed.
Causes of Truck Accidents with Passenger Vehicles
In many truck accident cases, drivers operating passenger vehicles might be considered liable for traffic accidents involving large trucks. This essentially boils down to safe driving practices and whether or not the passenger vehicle has exercised the appropriate safety precautions.
That’s why it’s important for drivers of cars and other automobiles to practice safe driving when sharing the roadways with large trucks. Some common unsafe acts that can help cause a truck accident include:
- Driving beside and behind a truck where the driver’s visibility is limited
- Maneuvering into the path of a truck making a right turn
- Underestimating an approaching truck’s speed and making a left-hand turn in front of its path
- Failing to properly merge into traffic, causing the truck to brake or maneuver quickly
- Failure to speed up or slow down when a truck is changing lanes or merging
- Attempting to pass a truck before being pushed out of position by cross-wind or air turbulence
Driving between large trucks
- Disabled or abandoned vehicles can also cause dangerous truck accidents if the vehicles are not properly moved off the roadway and onto the shoulder.
- Other Common Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents.
However, the safe operation of passenger vehicles is not the only factor that can contribute to a trucking incident. Although commercial truck drivers are, for the most part, skilled and patient operators, the fact is that these vehicles pose a natural danger due to the sheer size and weight involved.
As a result, the commercial trucking industry is closely regulated, and there are a number of safety standards in place for companies and their drivers.
Despite this, there are a number of characteristics specific to the commercial trucking industry that can contribute to an injury-causing collision, such as:
- Improper training that covers driver technique, safety warnings, and defensive driving
- Compensation models that favor faster vehicle speeds and encourage longer hours of consecutive operation than regulations would advise
- Unrealistic expectations and schedules put forth by trucking companies that pressure drivers to hurry, despite the numerous safety risks
If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim to aid the recovery of compensation and other damages.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Houston
In Houston and the surrounding areas in southeast Texas, the law firm of Charles J. Argento is proud to serve as a legal advocate for personal injury victims. Our legal team is highly experienced when it comes to personal injury litigation and investigation and can help you develop a strong, convincing case that yields the best possible results.
Contact Our Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in Houston, Texas for Help
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a truck collision caused by negligence in Texas, contact our experienced personal injury attorney in Houston at Charles J. Argento today to schedule a free consultation by calling 713-225-5050 or by contacting us online.
Our law firm does not get paid until we obtain a settlement or verdict for your unique case.