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Truck Accident Attorneys in Austin

What to Do if You Are Injured in a Semi-Truck Collision

Due to their sheer size, semi-trucks cause significant damage when they collide with other vehicles. Many people believe that large truck accidents are rare, but statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reveal that trucks or buses were involved in an estimated 119,000 crashes that resulted in injuries in 2016 alone. Of those accidents, 4,440 were fatal.

If you were injured in a semi-truck accident or your family member was killed in a similar crash, the aftermath can be overwhelming. You are likely facing incredibly steep medical bills for emergency care and ongoing treatment, not to mention lost wages from time taken off work, severe physical pain, and extensive mental distress. At Howry Breen & Herman, we believe you shouldn’t have to face all of these consequences on your own. Our Austin truck accident attorneys can help you fight for a just recovery. With every case we take on, we strive to recover the full and fair compensation our clients are owed. We have decades of litigation experience and are well-equipped to help you navigate the legal process.

Reach out to our award-winning attorneys today for a free consultation; call (512) 430-4844 or fill out a contact form to get started.

Common Types of Truck Accidents

A truck accident refers to a collision or incident involving a truck, which is a large motor vehicle designed for transporting cargo. These accidents can result in damage to property, injuries, or even fatalities. Trucks include various types such as tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, delivery trucks, and dump trucks.

Common types of truck accidents include:

  • Rear-End Collisions: When a truck collides with the vehicle in front of it. This can happen if the truck driver fails to maintain a safe following distance.
  • Jackknife Accidents: This occurs when the trailer of a truck swings out to the side, forming a V or L shape with the cab. It often happens when the truck loses control or the brakes lock up.
  • Underride Accidents: When a smaller vehicle gets trapped underneath the rear or side of a truck, often due to the truck suddenly stopping.
  • Override Accidents: Opposite of underride accidents, where a truck runs over a smaller vehicle.
  • Tire Blowouts: If a truck's tire blows out, it can lead to loss of control and result in an accident.
  • Roll-Over Accidents: Large trucks, especially those carrying heavy loads, can tip over if the driver loses control, leading to a roll-over accident.
  • Wide Turns: Trucks making wide turns can sometimes collide with vehicles in adjacent lanes.
  • Cargo Spills: Accidents involving the spillage of cargo from a truck, which can pose additional hazards to other vehicles on the road.
  • Brake Failure: A malfunction or failure of the truck's braking system can lead to accidents, especially on downhill slopes.
  • Driver Fatigue: Accidents can occur if truck drivers are fatigued, leading to impaired judgment and slower reaction times.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Just as with car and motorcycle accidents, many factors can lead to a truck accident. While truly blameless accidents do occur, many truck crashes are the result of negligence.

Some of the most common causes of semi-truck accidents include:

  • Insufficient truck driver training
  • Negligent hiring of truck drivers
  • Distracted driving, including cell phone use
  • Driving while intoxicated (DUI/DWI)
  • Speeding or reckless driving
  • Drifting into other lanes of traffic
  • Improper supervision
  • Lack of truck maintenance
  • Faulty or defective trucks/truck parts
  • Unsafe road design
  • Dangerous road conditions

Unfortunately, many semi-truck and other commercial vehicle collisions are preventable. When careless, reckless, or negligent actions lead to an accident that leaves you seriously injured, we are here to help. Our Austin truck accident lawyers can thoroughly investigate your case to determine who is liable for your damages. We are not afraid to take on large insurance companies and other at-fault parties in our pursuit of the justice you deserve.

Who Is Liable for Truck Accidents?

While truck driver negligence can and does occur, truck drivers are not always at fault for accidents. In fact, most commercial vehicle drivers are highly skilled. Often, truck companies, manufacturers, and other entities are responsible for a truck accident. This typically makes truck accident claims more complex than other types of motor vehicle accident claims.

Any of the following parties may be at fault for a semi-truck accident:

  • Truck Driver: The truck driver is often the first party to be examined for liability. If the accident was caused by the driver's negligence, such as distracted driving, speeding, or driving under the influence, they may be held responsible.
  • Truck Driver's Supervisor: If the truck driver was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident, their supervisor or employer may share liability. Employers can be held responsible for the actions of their employees during work-related activities.
  • The Company that Owns or Leases the Truck: The company that owns or leases the truck is typically responsible for the maintenance and proper functioning of the vehicle. If an accident occurs due to issues like inadequate maintenance, overloading, or improper loading, the company may be held liable.
  • Truck Manufacturer: If the accident is caused by a defect in the truck itself, such as faulty brakes, steering systems, or other components, the manufacturer may be held liable. This is known as a product liability claim.
  • Designer of a Defective Truck Part: In cases where a specific part of the truck is defective, the designer or manufacturer of that particular part may be held responsible. This is a subset of product liability where the focus is on a specific component rather than the entire vehicle.

Other parties may be involved, and, in any given case, multiple parties may be partially at fault for a truck accident. It is always best to meet with an experienced and highly skilled attorney who can help you understand your unique options.

Motor Carrier Safety Ratings & Corporate Responsibility

The FMCSA keeps safety records and ratings for all motor carriers operating under its authority, i.e., in the United States. Aptly named the FMCSA “Company Safety Records (CSR),” this database shows a comprehensive history for each company, including safety regulation compliance and violations. For example, a trucking company can be cited by the FMCSA for failing to conduct a background check on a reckless truck driver.

Uncovering a trucking company’s CSR is an important step in many truck accident claims because it can establish that the company or corporation is partially liable for the accident, too. Filing against multiple defendants is often beneficial because it involves additional insurance policies, giving you a chance to receive a larger and fairer amount of compensation if just one policy would have hit its cap before it paid for all your damages. Leave the details of investigating a trucking company’s safety records up to our attorneys, and we can see if there is anything in those records that is valuable to your claim.

several trucks on the road

Legal Challenges of Truck Accident Claims in Texas

In Texas, like in many other jurisdictions, pursuing a truck accident claim can involve various legal challenges. Some of the key challenges that individuals may face in truck accident claims in Texas include:

  • Complex Liability Issues: Determining liability in truck accidents can be complex. Multiple parties, such as the truck driver, the trucking company, and even third parties like manufacturers, may share responsibility. Identifying the negligent party or parties is crucial but can be challenging.
  • Regulatory Compliance: The trucking industry is subject to numerous federal and state regulations. Compliance with these regulations is essential for safe operation. Proving violations of these regulations may be necessary to establish negligence, but it requires a deep understanding of the relevant laws.
  • Insurance Company Tactics: Insurance companies representing trucking companies often employ aggressive tactics to minimize payouts. They may try to shift blame, dispute the extent of damages, or offer low settlements. Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging without legal representation.
  • Extent of Damages: Truck accidents can result in severe injuries and extensive property damage. Calculating the full extent of damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses, requires careful consideration and documentation.
  • Evidence Collection: Gathering and preserving evidence is crucial in truck accident claims. This includes obtaining witness statements, collecting accident reports, securing electronic data from the truck's black box (electronic control module), and preserving physical evidence from the accident scene.
  • Statute of Limitations: Texas has a statute of limitations that sets a deadline for filing personal injury claims. Failing to file within this timeframe can result in the loss of the right to seek compensation. Understanding and adhering to these deadlines is critical.
  • Jurisdictional Issues: Truck accidents often involve parties from different jurisdictions. Determining the appropriate jurisdiction for filing a lawsuit and navigating any interstate legal complexities can be challenging.
  • Expert Testimony: Truck accident cases may require expert testimony to establish negligence or causation. Securing qualified experts and presenting their testimony effectively is crucial for building a strong case.
  • Comparative Negligence: Texas follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which means that the plaintiff's recovery may be reduced if they are found partially responsible for the accident. Establishing and defending against claims of comparative negligence can be complex.

Given the complexities involved, individuals pursuing truck accident claims in Texas are often advised to seek the assistance of experienced personal injury attorneys who specialize in handling such cases. Our firm can navigate these challenges, build a strong case, and advocate for fair compensation on your behalf.

Nearly 25 Years of Litigation Experience

At Howry Breen & Herman, we are true trial lawyers. Our team has extensive experience in the courtroom and, while we strive for swift, fair settlements for our clients, this is not always possible. Semi-truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries that require extensive, ongoing medical care. Despite this, many insurance companies will offer a low settlement that doesn’t come close to covering your damages. Because of this, we prepare every case for trial. Our goal is to help each of our clients achieve a favorable outcome and recover the full and fair compensation they are owed for their damages.

Our Austin lawyers have earned recognition from numerous prestigious organizations and publications, including Top 50 US Verdicts (Sean Breen 2017), Texas Verdicts Hall of Fame, (Sean Breen 2011 and 2016), Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum (Sean Breen 2011), National Top 100 Trial Lawyers Civil Plaintiff (Sean Breen since 2009), 7 Figure Litigators®, 8 Figure Litigators® by America’s High-Stakes Litigators®, (Sean Breen since 2019 and Randy Howry since 2020) and America's Top 100 - High Stakes Litigators by America’s Top 100 Attorneys®, (Randy Howry 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021 and Sean Breen since 2019).

Contact us online or by phone at (512) 430-4844 to schedule a free case evaluation. We serve plaintiffs and defendants in Austin, Georgetown, and the nearby areas.

Truck Accidents
  • Best Lawyers Best Law Firms US News 2023
    Howry, Breen & Herman is proud to have been named a Tier 1, 2 and 3 Austin “Best Law Firm” in 9 practice areas by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® (“U.S. News” and BL Rankings, LLC). Law firms are selected for inclusion in this prestigious ranking based on a series of quantitative and qualitative criteria. Our specialty and tiers are listed here:
  • Texas Lawyer Austin Best of 2020: Personal Injury Firm
    Howry Breen & Herman, LLP was selected the Top Personal Injury Law Firm in Austin by Texas Lawyer, “Best of 2020”. The annual special supplement contains the results of Texas Lawyer readers’ poll, wherein readers cast their votes for the best providers of services and goods to the legal profession.
  • Attorney Sean Breen and Attorney Chris Lavorato placed in California’s Top 100 Settlements for 2019, as tracked by The Recorder and VerdictSearch.
  • Our law firm is proud to have been recognized in the Texas Verdicts Hall of Fame. Texas Lawyer in conjunction with VerdictSearch, recognize attorneys and law firms for their verdicts of $10 million or more. In 2011 Sean Breen was a Hall of Fame Award Recipient for the #1 Premises Liability Top Texas Verdict, awarded by Texas Lawyer, for the jury verdict award in the case VanDusen v. Aspen Square Management. In 2016 Sean Breen was inducted into the Texas Verdicts Hall of Fame, awarded by Texas Lawyer, for an outstanding verdict in Nester v. Textron.
  • America's Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys 2021
    Selection to America’s Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys® is by invitation only and is reserved to identity the nation’s most exceptional litigators for high-value personal injury, catastrophic injury, wrongful death, product liability, and medical malpractice matters. HBH is proud that Sean Breen has been selected for this award. Less than one-half percent (0.5%) of active attorneys in the United States will receive this honor — truly the most exclusive and elite level of attorneys in the community. (2017-2022)
  • Best Lawyers Best Law Firms US News 2016
    Howry, Breen & Herman is proud to have been named a Tier 1, 2 and 3 Austin “Best Law Firm” in 7 practice areas by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® (“U.S. News” and BL Rankings, LLC). Law firms are selected for inclusion in this prestigious ranking based on a series of quantitative and qualitative criteria. Our specialty and tiers are listed here:
  • Best Lawyers - Lawyer of the Year | Litigation - Trusts & Estates (by BL Rankings, LLC d/b/a Best Lawyers and Co., LLC)
  • Best Lawyers - Lawyer of the Year | Personal Injury - Plaintiffs (by BL Rankings, LLC d/b/a Best Lawyers and Co., LLC)
  • Lifetime Achievement selection to America’s Top 100 Attorneys® is by invitation only and is reserved to identify the nation’s most exceptional attorneys whose accomplishments and impact on the legal profession merit a Lifetime Achievement award. Selection is not achieved based on a single accomplishment or a single great year of success, but rather on a lifetime of hard work, ethical standards, and community enriching accomplishments that are inspiring among the legal profession. Both Sean Breen (2017) and Randy Howry (2018) are honored to receive this award.
  • America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators® is reserved to identify the nation’s most exceptional trial attorneys in high value, high stakes legal matters. To be considered for selection, an attorney must have litigated (for either plaintiff or defendant) a matter (1) with at least $2,000,000 in alleged damages at stake or (2) with the fate of a business worth at least $2,000,000 at stake. These minimum qualifications are required for initial consideration. Thereafter, candidates are carefully screened through comprehensive Qualitative Comparative Analysis based on a broad array of criteria, including the candidate’s professional experience, litigation experience, significant case results, representative high stakes matters, peer reputation, and community impact in order to rank the candidates throughout the state. HBH is privileged to honor Partners Sean Breen (2017- 2021) and Randy Howry 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021 for selection of this award.
  • Expertise- Best Real Estate Lawyers in Austin 2020
    Expertise - Howry Breen & Herman was recognized and featured in an article by as one of the Best Real Estate Lawyers in Austin. 2020
  • America’s Premier High-Stakes Trial Lawyers®” – 7 Figure Litigators®, 8 Figure Litigators®, is meant to recognize the nation’s most respected and preeminent high-stakes trial lawyers based on their verifiable verdicts and/or settlements. It is a tremendous honor for Sean Breen (2019) and Randy Howry (2020) to be recognized among this elite group.
  • America’s Premier High-Stakes Trial Lawyers®” – 7 Figure Litigators®, 8 Figure Litigators®, is meant to recognize the nation’s most respected and preeminent high-stakes trial lawyers based on their verifiable verdicts and/or settlements. It is a tremendous honor for Sean Breen (2019) and Randy Howry (2020) to be recognized among this elite group.
  • The National Trial Lawyers – Top 100, a highly respected legal organization that limits its members to premier trial attorneys who demonstrate superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature and public profile measured by strict qualification requirements. Sean Breen Top 100 Civil Plaintiff, 2009 – 2020.
  • Top 10 Business Tort Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers. Randy Howry 2012-2013; Sean Breen since 2016.
  • Best Lawyers in America
    The Best Lawyers in America® recognizes the top 5% of the most skilled attorneys in the nation. The robust selection process requires attorneys to nominate and review fellow lawyers based on their ethics, skill, knowledge, and ability to obtain results for their clients. The Best Lawyers in America® list is a way for plaintiffs to identify the leading attorneys in their region, known for their ability to get results with honesty, strength, and skill. Tim Herman, Sean Breen & Randy Howry have been featured by The Best Lawyers in America® (2006-2020) running alongside some of the most qualified firms in the nation. More info here.
  • Texas Monthly Top Attorneys - Sean E. Breen
    Top Attorneys As Published In Texas Monthly
  • Top 50 US Verdicts All Practice Areas Texas 2017
    Sean Breen was honored by for recovering one of the Top 50 Verdicts in Texas in 2017. This is an honorable distinction, reserved for those attorneys that achieve the highest settlements and verdicts in the state.
  • Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
    Sean Breen is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a renowned legal organization whose membership is restricted to trial attorneys who have achieved seven-figured settlements and/or jury verdicts. 2011.
  • Multi Million Dollar Advocates Forum
    We are proud to have Sean Breen who is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. In order to become a member, an attorney must demonstrate that he or she has successfully achieved at least one six-figure settlement or jury verdict. 2011.
  • AV Preeminent
    Martindale-Hubbell® is widely regarded as one of the most renowned peer-review rating organizations in the legal field. Randy Howry (2018), Sean Breen (2001), Tim Herman (1998), Glen Wilkerson (2014) and Chris Lavorato (2014) at Howry, Breen & Herman have achieved the organization’s highest distinction of AV Preeminent®.
  • Super Lawyers
    Each year, Super Lawyers® magazine publishes its list of peer-nominated/evaluated and independently reviewed attorneys. We are proud to have attorneys who have been selected for inclusion in the prestigious Texas Super Lawyers® List, by Thomas Reuters since 2003, running through 2020.
  • Top American Lawyers
    Membership in Top American Lawyers is limited to only 1% of all attorneys in the United States. Randy Howry is proud to be honored with a Lifetime Charter Membership in this exclusive organization (2017).
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