Getting in an accident with a large truck can lead to serious injuries that change the way you experience life. These injuries can cause substantial physical pain, emotional distress, lost earnings and medical bills. At The Doan Law Firm, our truck accident lawyers in Houston are committed to helping clients rebuild their lives after devastating collisions. If you were recently injured or a loved one was killed in a commercial truck accident, contact us for legal assistance. We will arrange a free consultation so that you can speak to an attorney at no cost about a potential case.
Houston Truck Accident Resources
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We are a powerful law firm with offices throughout Texas. Our founding attorney, Jimmy Doan, has spent most of his life in Houston.
Our services are offered on a contingency fee basis. This means your Houston truck accident attorney won’t charge any attorney’s fees unless you receive financial compensation for your case.
Harris County Is a Busy Commercial Trucking Hub
With no less than 12 Interstate LTL (“Less than Truckload”) and 14 Interstate TL (“Truckload”) trucking terminals, the Houston/Harris County to Galveston/Galveston County area is “home” to a significant portion of the daily commercial trucking traffic on Interstate Highways 10 & 45 as well as on US Highways 59, 90, and 290.
When you consider that this same area is also spanned by connector routes such as I-610 and Texas 8, it should be obvious that much of Southeast Texas’ personal and recreational transportation shares the roadways with trucks that range in size from pizza delivery subcompacts to tractor-trailer combinations that may exceed 60 feet in length and weigh more than 75,000 pounds.
Metro Houston’s Highways Are Among the Most Congested in the Nation
According to the American Transportation Research Institute’s 2018 Top 100 Truck Bottleneck List, 11 of the worst bottlenecks in the nation are to be found in Texas. Of those 11, 7 are found in the Houston area and are presented in the table below.
Major Commercial Trucking Traffic Bottlenecks / Houston Metro Highways
Peak Avg Speed
Non-Peak Avg Speed
I-10 @ I-45
I-45 @ US-59
I-10 @ US-59
I-45 @ I-610(N)
I-10 @ 1-610(W)
I-610 @ US-290
I-610 @ US-59(W)
As is the case nationwide, commercial trucking in Texas is actually surprisingly safe. This means that, on average and per 100 million miles driven, commercial trucks are involved in fewer accidents with injuries than are privately-operated vehicles such as cars and light trucks. Unfortunately, in accidents involving a commercial truck and a private vehicle, the smaller vehicle (and, of course, its occupants) almost always suffer more damage.
Houston Roads Are Among the Most Dangerous
Unfortunately, reliable data on the number of commercial trucking accidents that result in a fatality or serious injury is difficult to locate. The more accurate information is usually uncovered by the news media, as illustrated below.
An average week on Houston roads means 11 fatality accidents and 12 deaths.
When averaged over a 16-year period, 640 people a year died on Houston-area roads, and 2,850 more were seriously injured.
The Houston region ranks second for fatal wrecks that involve speeding.
Houston trails only Dallas in crashes caused by someone slamming into stopped traffic on the freeway.
The nine-county Houston metro area leads the nation for fatal crashes involving drugs and alcohol.
To put these numbers in perspective, in full-year 2017 there were “only” 302 murders in Houston. Clearly, something is very wrong with Houston’s drivers.
Common Reasons Behind Truck Accidents in Houston
Despite federal laws that are in place to ensure the safety of the commercial trucking industry – such as fleet maintenance and driver training requirements – thousands of these accidents take place each year. According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in 2019, large trucks were involved in 5,005 fatal accidents. Our attorneys realize that most truck accidents are preventable. They take place when a truck driver or another party is negligent or careless. The most common causes of truck accidents in Houston include:
Truck driver mistakes. This can mean speeding, following other vehicles too closely, using the wrong braking techniques, driving while tired, driving distracted and drunk driving.
Trucking company negligence. Examples are failing to properly train new truck drivers, ignoring truck maintenance requirements and breaking federal safety laws.
Truck part malfunctions. If a truck experiences brake failure, a tire blowout or another issue due to poor maintenance or a defective part, this can cause a devastating truck accident.
Unsafe cargo loading. Truck cargo in a bed or trailer should be properly loaded and secured for safe transport. Otherwise, lost cargo loads may occur.
Environmental factors. Some truck accidents are caused by issues with the road or weather, such as potholes and rainstorms.
The Doan Law Firm can provide a comprehensive investigation of your truck accident to determine causation. Then, we can help you file the required paperwork against one or more parties for causing your crash. This could be the truck driver, owner/operator, trucking company, car company, government, part manufacturer or a combination of parties. Our lawyers are passionate about holding wrongdoers accountable for their part in causing devastating truck accidents and can take over your search for justice. A distracted truck driver accident attorney in Houston is ready to take on your case today.
Were You Injured in a Truck Accident in Houston?
The injuries most commonly connected to truck accidents are serious to catastrophic, meaning they will have a future foreseeable impact on the victim. Catastrophic injuries in Houston often lead to the loss of an important bodily function, such as the ability to walk or communicate. At The Doan Law Firm, we represent clients with many different types of injuries from truck accidents in Houston, including:
Back and neck injuries
Head and brain injuries
Rib and torso injuries
Scarring and disfigurement
Losses of limbs
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Our lawyers offer personalized legal services tailored to each client’s unique needs and injuries. We can connect you to top physicians in Houston that can help you recover and restore your health as much as possible. Then, we can go up against any defendant, big or small, in pursuit of maximum financial compensation for your injuries. We know what each case needs to succeed.
Why You Need a Truck Accident Attorney
Accidents involving larger commercial trucks often become very complicated insurance claims and lawsuits. That is because truck companies typically have deep pockets they can draw from, as do their insurance carriers. This means you will be going up against well-funded insurance carriers and their legal teams.
When you have a skilled lawyer by your side, you will have an advocate that will not be intimidated by these other parties. Here attorney will match their resources in order to conduct a complete investigation into your claim. Your attorney will make sure that you are evaluated by trusted medical and economic professionals who can adequately calculate your expected losses.
Importantly, your lawyer will be responsible for all communication with the other parties involved, including the negotiations, to ensure you receive a fair settlement. If necessary, your lawyer will be the one to prepare your case for a trial by jury.
Fighting Back Against Careless Commercial Trucking Companies in Houston
Regardless of what you may have been told before, the typical commercial trucking company is concerned with one thing and one thing only: making a profit on every “run!”
Commercial trucking is an expensive business. Take a look at a conservative estimate of what it costs to keep a truck on the road:
The nationwide average price per gallon of diesel fuel is about $3 per gallon and the typical over-the-road semi gets about 7 miles per gallon of fuel. The cost of fuel for a 2500-mile coast-to-coast will be about $1,000.
An experienced driver will earn around 35 cents per mile driven. On the same 2500-mile run, about $875.
Anticipated costs of allowances for routine maintenance, inspections, etc: 10 cents per mile, about $250.
Estimated cost just to stay on the road: about $2,200 per week.
So, how do you think a trucking company stays in business? You guessed it: cut costs!
Proving Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident
Some of the most important pieces of evidence that we can use in a truck accident claim are the truck driver’s personal logbook and driving record, as well as the truck’s “black box.” The logbook can reveal if the trucker has skipped any necessary breaks to rest, and the trucker’s driving record can show us if they have a history of dangerous driving behaviors. Certain models of trucks have “black box” recorders, like an airplane, which uses GPS data to track the truck’s speed at the time of a collision.
Blaming a truck accident only on a truck driver might be only partially correct, though. The trucking company that hired or contracted the trucker can be liable for the accident due to encouraging or requiring the truck driver to violate Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. For example, it is common for trucking companies to schedule truck drivers for shifts that exceed the FMCSA maximum of 14 hours with at least 3 hours on break. Trucking companies can also be held vicariously liable for the mistakes of their drivers, depending on the circumstances.
In some cases, a third party is named as a defendant. A third party is someone who wasn’t at the crash site but who still contributed to the accident, such as the manufacturer of a defective truck part or the city in charge of road maintenance. Proving liability for your truck accident will require preserving and collecting key evidence of negligence or fault. A Houston personal injury attorney from The Doan Law Firm can be invaluable in collecting evidence to support your truck accident lawsuit. We can work with investigators and experts to strengthen your case and challenge inaccurate testimony.
What if I’m Partly at Fault for the Truck Accident?
One of the main tactics that insurance carriers and trucking companies will use is to try and shift some or all of the blame for the incident on to you, the injury victim.
Why would they do this?
If the other party can successfully shift liability for the incident, this could reduce how much compensation they pay. However, that does not necessarily mean a truck crash victim received no compensation. Texas operates under what is called a “modified comparative negligence” system. This means that individuals can receive compensation even if they are partially at fault for causing their own injuries, up to a certain point. If a person is 51% or more responsible for their own injuries, they will be unable to recover compensation.
If an individual is less than 51% responsible for causing their own injuries, then they can still receive compensation, but it will be reduced depending on their percentage of fault. For example, if you sustain $100,000 worth of medical bills and lost wages after a truck crash occurs but are found to be 20% responsible for the incident by a jury, you would receive $80,000 instead of the full $100,000 to account for the 20% of fault.
How Can Negligent Truck Maintenance Contribute to Accidents?
When we examine information available from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), we can see that “Every motor carrier shall systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained, all motor vehicles subject to its control.”
This can seem like a confusing definition, perhaps even repetitive. But what this means is that the motor carrier must themselves maintain each vehicle or rely on a trusted third party to do the inspection and maintenance on their behalf.
In the event trucking carriers fail to regularly inspect and maintain their vehicles, they could be held responsible for a crash if the failure to maintain the vehicle is what caused the incident. The FMCSA is very clear that commercial motor vehicles are not to be operated in a condition that is likely to cause an accident or breakdown of the vehicle.
There may be various parties who could be held liable for it a truck crash caused by negligent maintenance. This could include the truck carrier (or truck owner operator if that is how the vehicle is operated) as well as any third-party maintenance company responsible for the vehicle. There will need to be an extensive investigation into which party or parties played a role in the inspection and maintenance of a particular truck involved in a collision. A skilled Houston truck accident lawyer will understand the steps needed to take to figure out which parties to investigate and how to obtain the evidence needed to prove what happened.
How Much Is Your Case Worth?
Filing a truck accident claim against one or more parties could result in payment for several of your losses. The value of your case will depend on the severity of the accident and your injuries. If you suffered a catastrophic injury or a loved one died, for example, this will increase the value of your case. The law in Texas allows for the recovery of both economic and noneconomic damages. You may be entitled to financial compensation for both tangible and intangible losses connected to the crash. Common types of damages include:
Present and future medical expenses, including treatments and medications
Disability costs and accommodations
Vehicle damage repair or vehicle replacement
Rental car bills and other out-of-pocket costs
Lost wages and future earning capacity due to a disability
Physical pain and emotional suffering
Psychological trauma (such as PTSD)
Attorney’s fees and legal costs
Diminished enjoyment of life
Loss of consortium, or loss of a loved one’s care and attention
Wrongful death damages, if applicable
Punitive damages to punish a defendant for gross negligence
The value of your case is something that you should discuss with an attorney before you accept an insurance settlement. Your lawyer will want to maximize your settlement or verdict as your legal advocate. This means you can count on an accurate evaluation of how much your case is worth from a lawyer, regardless of an initial settlement offer you’ve received from an insurance carrier.
How Long Does it Take to Settle a Texas Truck Accident Claim?
There is no set amount of time it takes for a truck accident claim to settle in Texas. However, we do need to caution you that these cases typically take longer than a traditional vehicle accident claim. In the best-case scenario, the insurance carrier will approve full compensation and send the money within a month or so after the incident occurs. However, insurance carriers can be notoriously difficult to deal with, particularly when they are backed by a well-funded trucking company and legal team.
If there is any dispute about fault for the incident or if the insurance carrier disagrees with how much compensation to pay, this could drag negotiations out for months or even more than a year. If it becomes necessary to file a civil personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver, company, or maintenance team, this puts the case into the civil court system in Texas. This means that it will take longer for the claim to be resolved. If a jury trial becomes necessary, it could take several years for a case to resolve. Please understand that most cases do not go all the way to a jury.
At The Doan Law Firm, our team is fully prepared to take your case as far as necessary to ensure that you recover the compensation needed.
There Is Never a Fee Unless YOU Win
If you have been involved in a commercial trucking accident, you already know that trucking outfits and their insurance companies have what seems to be an abundant supply of “investigators,” claims adjusters and lawyers. Regardless of what they might tell you, these people are not on your side, and they could care less about your injuries and other losses. Their job is to “cut costs” by finding every possible way to deny you your right to be compensated for your injuries and other losses.
And how do you stand up to those who want to deny you what is rightfully yours? By hiring an experienced commercial truck accident lawyer.
By now, everyone has read the newspaper ads and/or seen those late-night television commercials where a “paid non-attorney spokesperson” is making promises like “No fee unless WE win!” At our firm, we say that those other paid actors (and the occasional real lawyers) get it backward. What they should be promising is what we always promise: If YOU don’t win, WE don’t win.
When you hire our commercial trucking accident lawyer, he will bring years of experience successfully pursuing commercial truck accident lawsuits to make sure that YOU receive a full and fair settlement after YOU were hurt because of an overworked or fatigued driver’s mistakes.
At The Doan Law Firm, we understand that after you have been involved in a commercial trucking accident you will probably be facing more than your share of problems such as loss of your personal vehicle, lost income, medical expenses, and possibly legal expenses that are all due to your accident and injuries. Rather than have you endure even more hardships while you fight for justice, we are always willing to advance you any funds that are necessary for us to prepare your case for trial. In the legal world, this is called a contingency fee agreement and is explained in greater detail elsewhere on our website.
What Should You Do After a Houston Truck Accident?
There are various steps that you can take following a Houston truck accident to help ensure that you recover maximum compensation.
Check for injuries. Right after an accident occurs, you need to check yourselves and any passengers for injuries. Dial 911 and let the dispatcher know where the incident occurred so they can move the appropriate resources in your direction.
Seek medical treatment. You must seek medical treatment after an accident with a larger commercial truck, even if you do not feel much pain right away. Not only does this ensure your well-being, but it establishes a strong link between the commercial truck crash and your injuries. Additionally, you need to continue all medical care until you are cleared by your doctor.
Gather evidence. You should gather as much evidence as possible at the scene of the incident as well as in the days and weeks that follow. This includes taking photographs at the scene of the incident, getting the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses, getting the police report, and more. You should also keep track of any expenses you incur as a result of the crash, including medical bills, lost wages, property damage estimates, etc.
Contact an attorney. A skilled Houston truck accident lawyer can get involved in your case very quickly and begin gathering the evidence needed to prove liability. The sooner an attorney gets involved, the more likely your claim is to be successful.
Contact a Houston Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you have been injured in a commercial trucking accident, we invite you to contact the truck accident lawyer at The Doan Law Firm to arrange a free review of your potential commercial truck accident injury lawsuit and a review of the legal options that may be available to you and your family members. As always, your case review is always free and does not require you to hire us to represent you in court. If you decide that we should act as your advocate, our truck and car accident lawyers in Houston are always willing to represent you in exchange for a previously-negotiated percentage of the settlement that we will win for you.