Dallas, Texas Truck Accident Attorney
Attorney Julie Johnson has handled hundreds of truck accident cases since she began practicing law in 1991. This experience gives her an in-depth understanding of the special circumstances involved in these high-stakes accident claims.
Truck crashes differ from passenger vehicle-only accidents not only because of the size of the vehicles involved, but because of the special state and federal regulations and insurance requirements that apply to large commercial vehicles.
Working with a personal injury attorney in Dallas who understands the intricacies of commercial and semi truck accidents can provide the tools necessary to take a stand against large trucking and insurance companies.
The Law Office of Julie Johnson Knows Truck Accident Claims
At the Law Office of Julie Johnson, we’re well-equipped to handle an accident claim or lawsuit stemming from a truck accident in Texas.
Our legal team knows the Department of Transportation (DOT) rules and regulations governing commercial trucks. And, we know the rules and regulations that apply to state highways and roads. We leverage this knowledge to build a strong case for you.
Our truck accident legal team is also:
- prepared to investigate and reconstruct truck accidents – this includes gathering and preserving evidence of the crash and interviewing witnesses;
- experienced with presenting evidence to insurers and jurors;
- willing to connect clients with the appropriate medical care and resources – the firm has relationships with medical providers who serve the uninsured; and
- creating settlement brochures for negotiations and electronic presentations for use in court.
These factors have helped our firm establish a long track record of successful resolutions and satisfied clients. They’ve also resulted in numerous settlements and awards in the five-, six-, and seven-figure range. Read more about what clients have to say about the firm in the client testimonials section
Key Factors in a Truck Accident Case
Our legal team understands the key factors in a potential truck accident case. We focus on identifying every single liable party and providing compelling evidence of their negligence.
Some of the liable parties in a truck accident may include:
- truck driver;
- truck company or transportation company that employs the driver;
- company that owns the truck;
- manufacturer of the truck or any faulty parts;
- party responsible for loading the truck; and
- mechanic in charge of maintaining the vehicle in safe working order.
Numerous federal and state laws govern transportation companies’ operations and hold companies to strict requirements.
Julie Johnson and her team may fully investigate your case to determine if any of the abovementioned parties violated laws regarding:
- vehicle maintenance;
- driver training;
- screening of drivers’ driving and criminal histories; and
- driving safety and care requirements.
Requirements to Keep a Trucker Logbook and Overview of Hours of Service Rules
Driver fatigue is one of the major causes of trucking accidents. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study, commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), found that 13 percent of drivers involved in crashes were fatigued at the time of the accident. Every commercial truck driver is required by federal regulations to complete duty status reports for every 24-hour period.
Duty status reports include entries for time spent:
- off duty;
- in the sleeper berth;
- driving; and
- on duty but not driving.
The logbook also records the:
- total miles driven each day;
- truck/trailer number;
- carrier name;
- carrier address;
- total hours; and
- driver’s signature.
Truckers are only allowed to be on duty for a total of 14 hours straight before they must take a mandatory 10 hours of rest. During those 14 hours, they can only drive for 11 hours, although the driving can be done continuously. In any seven-day period, the driver can only have been on-duty for a total of 60 hours, and in an eight-day period, the limit is 70 hours.
Truck Accident Evidence That Can Be Used against a Dallas Truck Driver
There are certain types of standard proof that can be used in any type of accident. One of the most common is a crash report. This can be obtained by contacting the Texas Department of Transportation (DOT). Keep in mind that this report costs $6 for a regular copy and $8 for a certified copy.
Additionally, the person requesting a copy must be able to provide at least two of the following:
- date of the accident;
- name of any individual involved; and
- location of the accident.
Crashes that are investigated by law enforcement require those involved to fill out a Texas Peace Officer’s crash report. These are completed when police respond to the crash and it’s obvious at least $1,000 worth of damage has occurred and/or there has been an injury or death.
Another common standard of proof is eyewitness testimony. Sometimes witnesses of a truck accident will provide a statement to police, who make note of it in the crash report.
But if the victim or someone else was able to get names and phone numbers from those who witnessed what happened (or those who can provide any type of relevant information), they can be contacted later on. In a serious accident, it’s best to have an attorney make contact.
Pictures are yet another standard of proof that can be helpful in any type of accident case. It could be that the victim was able to take photographs. If someone else (such as a bystander) got some pictures and had provided his/her contact information, those pictures could be requested later on. Again, it’s a good idea to have an attorney handling these details when the injuries from the accident were severe.
Electronic Onboard Recording Devices
Some types of truck accident evidence are unique to truck accident cases. One example is an electronic onboard recording device, located on most semis. This device records information that could help establish fault. For instance, it may indicate the speed of the truck at the time of the crash.
But most often, it keeps track of the amount of driving time. This could reveal the driver exceeded the number of driving hours allowed or a failed to take a 30-minute mandatory break after a certain amount of time behind the wheel. An attorney can help in getting this truck accident evidence.
There are numerous other types of records that can be obtained. The driver’s personnel file and inspection/maintenance reports on the truck itself are some examples. Again, these are usually obtained by an attorney.
Three Tips for Safe Driving Around Trucks at Night
In 2011 the Texas Department of Transportation reported that 122,777 of the 416,870 reported crashes that year took place in dark conditions. Nighttime driving is different from daylight driving and drivers should take extra caution when driving around large trucks at night.
If you find yourself driving around large trucks at night, remember these three important driving safety tips for:
- Use your lights and signals. Headlights improve the visibility of your surroundings and they also help truck drivers to see your vehicle better. Don’t forget to use your turn signals and fog lights when necessary.
- Keep a safe distance. Truck drivers have a much bigger vehicle to account for when making turns, changing lanes, and stopping. They need a lot more room to maneuver, so give it to them.
- Stay alert. Low light conditions decrease your ability to react to nearby hazards, making your reaction time slower. Avoid driving while tired or impaired and avoid distractions like cell phone use or eating while driving to improve your ability to react if a large truck makes a sudden movement.
Remember that any reckless driving behaviors during the day can be even more dangerous at night. While you may be a cautious driver, not all truck drivers give the same attention to the road as you might. Therefore, it’s best to keep a safe distance and drive defensively no matter what the light conditions.
Protecting Rights to Fair Compensation after a Truck Accident
The Law Office of Julie Johnson is prepared to help fight for fair compensation to address medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. To schedule a free consultation with a Dallas truck accident attorney, call 214-290-8001, or use the online contact form.