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Who pays my bills if a truck’s debris strikes my car injuring me?

Ask any Texas Department of Transportation worker and they’ll likely tell you about a variety of items that they’ve had to remove from the highway. If asked, a Department of Public Safety officer will likely tell you how many of them have caused motor vehicle accidents. If you’ve been injured by flying debris or by something that was left in the roadway after falling off a truck, then you may be wondering who you can hold liable for paying your bills. In a state like Texas where motorists are required to take out Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage when purchasing an automobile insurance policy, you’ll be able to rely on it to cover your medical bills. If you also purchased medical payments coverage, then you can use it to do so as well. These are your best options if you’re injured by debris and you don’t know who left it behind. If you were riding behind a truck in Waco when its tire blew out or when a ladder came loose from a work van, then you can pursue damages by filing a lawsuit against the insurance company. It’s important that anytime a crash as serious as this occurs, you have police dispatched to the scene to create an incident report. This will aid your attorney in proving negligence. If you have a dash camera that captured what happened, that’s even more helpful to your case. When crashes such as this occur, you should consult with a truck accidents attorney as soon as possible so they can preserve evidence and take witness accounts of what they saw happen leading up to the incident. By doing so, you’ll give yourself the best chance of recovering the compensation that you need cover your lost wages and medical bills.

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Be on the watch for distracted commercial truck drivers

As someone who drives a passenger vehicle, you have to share the road with people in vehicles much larger and heavier than your own. But you also must carefully check for the presence of those riding bicycles or motorcycles — especially when merging or turning. It also means treating much larger commercial vehicles with respect and avoiding dangerous situations around them. You probably already know to stay out of a truck’s large blind spots. You may even realize that you need to give them more space for turns at intersections. However, you may have never considered that commercial drivers are as prone as other drivers to engage in questionable behaviors behind the wheel. That can include distracted driving, which increases the risk of a crash. Truck driving is a long and lonely job Whether a trucker drives a local route daily or treks cross-country each week, driving for such long hours is difficult. It’s hard on the body to remain seated. It strains the knees and hips, as well as stressing the hands and arms through the constant need to hold the wheel. Drivers may work for up to 14 hours a day, which is a long time to be on the road. Driving for so long can lead to exhaustion or road hypnosis. In order to stay awake and alert, truckers may do things like listen to loud music or even audiobooks. Others choose to break the law in hopes that texting someone will make them feel connected and alert enough to do their job. Federal rules prohibit texting while driving a commercial truck Many states, including Texas, have bans on manual use of cellphones while driving. That may apply to dialing or holding the phone, as well as texting behind the wheel. Truckers face different laws in every state, but the federal standard impacts them no matter where they drive. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) specifically bans texting while driving a commercial vehicle. In fact, they expanded the definition of texting to restrict many smartphone or mobile device uses. Drivers can not type or read any text-based messages (including SMS, email or instant messages). They also cannot type web addresses, social media status updates, browse websites or push multiple buttons to start or end calls. Drivers who get caught texting while driving semi-trucks or other commercial vehicles face fines of up to $2,750. Repeat offenders could become disqualified for commercial driving for several months. Be on the lookout for truck drivers who text at the wheel, and do everything in your power to avoid them. If a distracted trucker causes a crash, you may have the right to pursue compensation for any injuries or property damage you suffer.

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Inexperienced truck drivers just as dangerous as distracted ones

There are a host of reasons why a truck driver might get into an accident in Waco, Texas. Some of those reasons include impairment, distraction, drowsiness, medication and faulty parts. Another reason is the inexperience of the driver. It’s possible for truck drivers to be inexperienced. Think about it; they have to earn their experience somehow. An inexperienced truck driver can be just as dangerous as a distracted truck driver. Some ways in which a truck driver could be considered inexperienced include the following: A driving record littered with offenses A sketchy employment history with lengthy gaps Failure to graduate from a truck driving school Fails to meet guidelines set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) An inexperienced truck driver can wind up doing a lot of damage if involved in an accident. An inexperienced driver might wind up causing a major pile up on a highway or even a fatal crash if he or she doesn’t know how to maneuver their truck to lessen the impact as much as possible. An inexperienced truck driver can also be a major liability for the trucking company that employs them. Insurance rates can skyrocket, lawsuits might be filed and other experienced employees might wind up seeking jobs elsewhere so as not to be associated with a company that hires inexperienced drivers. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident because of an inexperienced truck driver, you need to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Your rights are important, and you deserve compensation for your injuries in Texas.

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Truck drivers are not immune to distracted driving

Truck drivers are not immune to distracted driving. In fact, no driver is immune to distracted driving. It’s a problem that continues to worsen throughout Texas even as law enforcement officials do their best to curb the situation and educate motorists. Here is some information on distracted driving and truck drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) bans texting while driving for truck drivers. Aside from texting, the FMCSA bans all hand-held mobile phone use while operating a commercial vehicle for interstate commerce. Devices used for dispatching are not banned by the FMCSA so long as they are used within parameters outlined by the company and not for texting. State rules regarding texting and driving apply first to cases, but since most states have yet to address this issue, the FMCSA rules apply to all commercial drivers no matter which state they are driving in across the country. Distracted driving is defined by the FMCSA as no reaching, no holding, no texting, no dialing and no reading. Truck drivers caught doing any of this while driving can face the following fines and penalties: Fines of up to $2,750 Employer of the driver can be fined up to $11,000 if they knowingly allow distracted driving Repeat offenders can be pulled from service, which means removed from the road, for 120 days Violations negatively impact the employer’s Safety Measurement System ratings Distracted driving will always be an issue so long as people continue to make bad decisions. can cause some of the most tragic accidents in Waco. An experienced personal injury attorney can explain your rights and help you recover compensation for injuries suffered. Source: Trucking Truth, “Distracted Driving For Truck Drivers: The Penalties And Risks,” accessed July 14, 2017

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Getting compensation for work-related truck accident injuries

As you may know, workers’ compensation insurance is not a mandatory requirement in the state of Texas. Fortunately for workers, many businesses in the state choose to provide this important coverage for their workforce anyway. In a nutshell, workers’ compensation will step in to cover medical expenses and replace a portion of the employee’s lost wages if an accident occurs and takes the worker away from his or her job. Many of the jobs available in our state involve traveling on Texas roadways. These jobs include truck drivers, delivery drivers, taxi drivers and many others. Because they spend so much time on the road, these workers have an increased risk of experiencing a car or truck accident during the normal course of performing their duties. Injured employees covered by workers’ compensation should have no trouble filing a claim and receiving the benefits they deserve. However, in work-related car or truck accidents in which no workers’ compensation coverage exists, victims may find it difficult to find a satisfactory solution. Regardless of whether you are covered by workers’ compensation, we urge you to get a legal opinion if you are injured in a vehicle accident while working. Doing so can help protect your career while ensuring you get the medical care you need to return to your job as soon as possible. Work-related car and truck accidents are complex by nature. Speaking with an experienced injury lawyer often helps you navigate any legal hurdles that may otherwise prevent you from acquiring the financial benefits you are due. Please visit us online if you need to learn more about workers’ compensation and work-related injuries in Texas.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Truck Accidents

5 tips for avoiding trucking accidents

You’re driving home from work, and you’re cruising on the highway when you notice a higher-than-usual number of trucks on the roads. As you approach to pass, the driver doesn’t see you and merges into your lane. You have nowhere to go, because another vehicle is in the next lane. Someone is behind you and in front of you, so getting out of the way isn’t possible. Your vehicle is hit, and you . This accident should have been avoidable. Here are a number of tips to help you avoid truck accidents. 1. Head to the highway Surprisingly, fatal truck crashes happen more often on rural roads, not on the highways. Another 84 percent of crashes with trucks happen on weekdays. With only 5 percent of accidents taking place on the highway, heading to the highway for your trip home is the safer option. Why? There is less stop-and-go traffic and multiple lanes to choose from. 2. Watch out for driver errors If you notice a truck moving oddly, the drive might be in violation of the law. For example, if he’s swerving, it’s possible he’s fatigued or driving under the influence of alcohol. You should always report drivers who travel unsafely. The vehicle itself may have a number to call, and you can call 911 if the driver is an immediate danger. 3. Make yourself seen It’s a good idea to let the driver know you’re passing. If you’re coming into a blind spot, make sure the driver can see you in his mirrors first. Then, pass quickly out of the blind spot. You should always be able to see the driver’s mirrors, and if you can see him, he can see you. 4. Avoid short stops If you drive in front of a truck and throw on your brakes, chances are, the driver won’t have time to stop. It’s important to give all truck drivers plenty of warning before you put on your brakes. If you want to pass a slow driver, don’t pass too close in front of him, because if you have to put your brakes on, he will have little to no time to slow down or stop for you. 5. Look for signs of danger Whether it’s slowing traffic up ahead or a tire that doesn’t look quite right on the truck ahead of you, it’s important to look for signs of potential hazards while you’re on the road. If you think the driver’s tire is shredding, flash your lights, call the police and stay back far enough to avoid the debris. If you see traffic slowing ahead and you have a truck driver behind you, slow down and stop with plenty of room in front of you. Leaving space helps prevent serious injuries from secondary collisions if you are struck. Of course, in any case where you’re hit by a dangerous driver, your attorney can help you seek out a settlement to cover your expenses and financial needs. Your responsibility is to keep yourself and others safe on the road, and drivers not being responsible should pay for their actions.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Truck Accidents

This Simple Add-On for 18-Wheelers Could Save More Than 200 Lives per Year!

Trucking accidents are some of the most terrifying crashes. Imagine this: A car runs into the side of an 18-wheeler and crashes underneath, where many of its safety features (seatbelts, airbags) are useless. The top of the vehicle could be ripped off; in many cases, the occupants are killed. Many times this happens when a lane change is made at an unsafe time. Government data shows that more than 200 people are killed this way every year – grisly deaths that experts say could be stopped if trucks were required to have side guards to repel cars. Unfortunately, the agency in charge of highway safety requires guards on the back of trucks, but not along the sides. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has been considering whether to mandate “side guards” on all trucks since the 1960s. The guards can help prevent 9 out of 10 injuries from under-ride collisions, in which a car hits the side of an 18-wheeler and crashes underneath it. Nearly all trucks in Europe have the potentially life-saving devices installed. There are many terrible, tragic stories like Lois Durso, whose 26-year-old daughter, Roya Sadigh, was killed in an under-ride crash. A year later, on a visit to Europe, Durso noticed something about all the trucks zooming by. They all had side guards. Durso started investigating the side guards and came to a dreadful conclusion: If the truck her daughter’s car collided with had been armed with them, she would still be alive. “I was very angry – with the trucking manufacturers and also the federal government,” she said. “They’re fully aware people are dying as a result of their trailer design. And yet they do nothing about it.” When Hollywood starlet Jayne Mansfield died on a Louisiana highway nearly 50 years ago it sparked the first calls for rear and side protection. But it wasn’t until 1998 that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) required rear guards – known as Mansfield bars – on trailers. However, side guards are still not required, even though the NTSB, which investigates accidents, determined that they would reduce injuries and deaths on America’s roads. NTSB issued an optional recommendation to the NHTSA in April 2014 that all new trailers have side protection systems. The trucking industry claims that side guards are not cost-effective, could weaken parts of the trailer, and dangerously increase their weight, according to one report. But Joan Claybrook, a consumer advocate who headed NHTSA in the 1970s, said technology isn’t the stumbling block. “It’s very difficult politically, because the trucking industry wants to stop any safety standards that it can, because it increases the price of a truck,” she said. In a statement, the American Trucking Association said “we believe preventing crashes should be the preeminent strategic safety goal, and that the best underride guard is one that never gets used. Rather than focus on lessening the impact of a crash after it occurs, we believe the focus should be on preventing crashes through education, enforcement of speed limits, adoption of distracted and aggressive driving laws, and increased use of technology including automatic emergency braking and collision warning systems that provide safety benefits that are the precursors to what we may see from autonomous vehicles in the future.” Though this sentiment is sincere, it certainly isn’t very fasible. In a perfect world, we would eliminate trucking accidents but as long trucks are still being driven by human drivers, there will be human error. What do you think? Should trucks be required to have side guards? Sources: The Hill “Report: Trucking industry avoids mandatory safety devices” February 7, 2017 NBC News “Side Underride Crashes Kill 200 People a Year. Will Congress Act?” February 7, 2017

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5 factors that can cause big rig accidents

Big rig accidents can turn your life around – and not for the better. These accidents cause chaos in areas where there was none before. Victims of big rig crashes often need to determine the cause of the crash when they are going to seek compensation. This is sometimes easy to do, but other times it is much more difficult. Consider these five reasons of big rig crashes if the cause of your crash isn’t immediately known. Distracted driving Driver distraction is a huge issue. Cellphone usage, eating, changing the radio station and reaching for items are top causes of distracted driving of truckers. The issue of distractions is so prevalent that the federal government has taken specific steps to dissuade truckers from driving while distracted. Using a cellphone or texting while trucking can land a trucker in serious trouble that includes disqualifications and civil fines. Fatigued driving Fatigue is troubling for all drivers, even truckers. Lack of sleep isn’t the only cause of . Medical conditions, environmental factors and driving on familiar roads are also possible causes of fatigued driving that truckers might contend with. Hours of Service regulations are one way the government has tried to prevent fatigued trucking. Equipment failure Components of a semi truck must work properly to ensure the truck operates as intended. A failed component, including ones with defects, can lead to accidents. The brakes are one system that can show the importance of them working properly. A vehicle moving 55 miles per hour travels the length of a football field in under five seconds. Imagine the devastation if the big rig is unable to stop for traffic that’s slowed or stopped. Improper load securement Loads on trucks must have proper securement. When these loads aren’t properly secured, they can shift. This can lead to the load coming off of the truck or it can lead to the truck causing an accident. In either case, devastation can occur. Making sure that the load on the tractor-trailer is properly secured is one of the top things a trucker should check before pulling out. Reckless driving due to deadlines Trucking companies often give truckers tight deadlines. The desire to meet these deadlines can cause truckers to drive unsafely. Speeding or skirting around safety regulations might occur. A trucker who is driving recklessly or negligently puts others on the road in danger. Checking for safety violations might unearth this type of issue.

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6 things to know about distracted truckers

Trucker distraction is one possible cause of serious semi truck crashes. Finding out the cause of the crash is imperative for people who are planning to seek compensation for the accident. Finding out the cause was distraction opens up new questions surrounding the cause of the distraction. Consider these points when you suffer an injury in a . #1: Distractions are plentiful The cab of the semi truck has a lot of things that can distract a trucker. The radio the trucker communicates with dispatch is a crucial element in the truck. However, this is a distraction. Food, paperwork, navigation systems and other items are distracting. Even loose items can turn into distractions if they fall onto the floorboard. #2: Some distractions are illegal Federal regulations forbid truckers from using a phone while driving. Truckers mustn’t text, make phone calls or do anything requiring them to put their hands on the phone. Truckers shouldn’t even reach around to find the phone. Using a phone while trucking can lead to disqualification or fines. #3: Even alternatives to distractions can be dangerous Even alternatives to using a cellphone are hazardous. Hands-free devices that require the trucker to find the phone to answer the call or open the text take the trucker’s attention off the road. When the trucker doesn’t have to touch the phone, distractions still occur because the trucker must focus on the conversation. #4: Short distractions are dangerous A semi truck going 55 miles per hour travels the length of a full-size football field in under five seconds. A trucker who isn’t paying attention to the road because of a distraction won’t look at the road during that entire distance. This can prove dangerous or deadly. #5: Distracted truckers are more likely to have a safety critical event Safety critical events, which include crashes, near crashes and similar events, occur more frequently when something is distracting a trucker. A trucker who is texting is 23.2 times more likely to have a safety critical event than a trucker who is paying full attention to the road. #6: Victims of distracted driving crashes can take action Victims of distracted trucking crashes can opt to seek compensation for their injuries. Determining the cause of the distraction helps the victim to determine who to hold liable for the damages. This might include more parties than only the trucker. These can include the insurer and logistics company.

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Experts: Isolation pushes truck drivers to drug use

Drug use can and does lead to car accidents every day in the United States. Professional drivers, like semi-truck drivers, know the risks well. Even so, many of them do use alcohol and other drugs while they’re behind the wheel. These can lead to devastating accidents when an impaired driver is at the controls of an 80,000-pound vehicle. Why do truck drivers use these substances? One of the main reasons that experts point to is simple isolation. Truck driving often sounds appealing to those who do not do it. They think you just ride in the truck all day, you get to see the country, you get to meet new people in every city and you do not have to deal with customers or co-workers. The reality, though, is that this situation creates a serious sense of isolation. Many truckers put in 70 hours of work in eight days. They have to sleep in the truck, rather than going home to the family like many workers in other occupations. They do not get to spend time with co-workers, just briefly connecting with others during pick-ups and drop-offs. They get bored. Some get depressed. When they’re on the road for long hours, they get tired. All of these issues can cause them to turn to drugs and alcohol to deal with such a difficult, isolated profession. That, in turn, can lead to some of the most serious car accidents in Texas. Have you been hit by a truck driver who was using drugs or alcohol? These cases can get complex when trucking companies get involved, and you must know your legal options.

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