Houston Distracted Driving Truck Accident Lawyers
Every single driver on Houston’s road has to pay attention to the task at hand. Professional drivers, like truckers, have an even greater responsibility to do so. When they fail to pay attention and give in to distractions like their phones, stereo system, or meal, they can cause catastrophic and even fatal injuries.
Were you the victim of a Houston truck accident caused by a distracted driver? If so, you might be entitled to financial compensation from the truck driver or their employer for their careless actions.
The Houston personal injury attorneys from Gibson Hill Personal Injury have experience holding the trucking industry accountable when their decisions lead to injuries and fatalities. When you choose our firm, we’ll take care of your case and fight hard for your right to just compensation.
Begin your case with a free, no-obligation consultation where you can find out more about our legal services and how we can help you. Call Gibson Hill Personal Injury at (713) 659-4000 to speak with one of our Houston distracted driving truck accident lawyers.
What Is Distracted Driving?
When motors take their eyes, hands, or attention off the task of driving, they’re driving distracted. Three types of distractions often lead to dangerous driving and injury-causing accidents: manual, visual, and cognitive distractions.
Manual distractions can be anything that requires one or both hands, preventing the driver from safely controlling their vehicle. Common examples of this type of distraction include:
- Changing the radio station
- Dialing a phone call
Visual distractions can be anything that takes a motorist’s eyes off the road to look at something else. Some examples of visual distraction include:
- Reading a text or email
- Checking appearance in the mirror
- Looking at a GPS or map
- Directing attention to a passenger
- Watching a video on a cell phone or another electronic device
Cognitive distractions take the driver’s mind off the task at hand. They distract a person physically, visually, and mentally at the same time. Common cognitive distractions include:
- Focusing on a situation unrelated to driving
- Disciplining a child in the backseat
- Engaging in phone conversation talking to another person in the vehicle
Texas Distracted Driving Laws
Texas state laws regulate distracted driving in the state. Some restrict all motorists from operating a handheld mobile device while behind the wheel of a car. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates truck drivers and also sets cell phone rules.
According to their regulations, truck drivers aren’t allowed to engage in the following behaviors while operating their commercial vehicle:
- Dialing a cell phone by manually pressing more than one button
- Holding a mobile device to make an outgoing call
- Typing, sending, or reading a text message
- Sending or reading any type of electronic messages, such as emails
- Reaching for a cell phone, causing their body to tilt and shift
Commercial truck drivers are allowed to use nearby hands-free devices. That includes talking and texting through voice-activated commands or speech to text applications.
How to Prove Negligence in a Distracted Driving Case
The FMCSA enforces truck regulations to keep all motorists safe. If a trucking company fails to use adequate hiring practices, they might hire an employee who isn’t qualified to operate a commercial truck. If that driver doesn’t know the rules they have to follow while driving a truck and becomes distracted by their cell phone or something else, both the driver and their employer may be liable for a crash they cause.
Any driver error or negligence while behind the wheel can lead to a severe truck accident. Standards the trucking industry must follow include:
- Adhering to weight and size limits of loaded cargo
- Drivers holding a valid commercial driver’s license
- Refraining from operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Limiting the gross weight of the truck to 80,000 pounds or less
- Providing ongoing training and education for drivers
- Instituting routine maintenance and inspections on the fleet of vehicles
- Keeping logs to track driver hours, maintenance checks, vehicle damage or defects, repairs, and other information
Distracted driving is usually the fault of the truck driver. In some distracted driving crashes, other parties could be held liable if other factors contributed.
It’s possible to pursue compensation from the following parties if their actions led to an injury and damages:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Vehicle parts manufacturer
- Cargo loading company
- Third-party responsible for maintenance and repairs
In any motor vehicle crash, the injured victim and their lawyer must use one of several legal theories as a basis for pursuing financial compensation. The most common is negligence.
There are five elements your attorney will have to prove to base your truck accident case on negligence:
- Duty: The truck driver owed you a legal duty of care to behave in a way that would prevent you from harm;
- Breach of duty: They breached their duty by becoming distracted behind the wheel;
- Cause in fact: If it wasn’t for their distracted driving, you wouldn’t have suffered an injury;
- Proximate cause: Their actions were the direct cause of your injury; and
- Damages: You incurred damages from the truck accident.
What You Should Do After a Truck Accident
If you get hurt in a truck crash that you believe a distracted truck driver caused, there are steps you can take to protect your right to compensation. These include:
- Calling 911. Truck crashes often cause serious injuries, so it’s crucial to notify emergency responders. They’ll investigate the crash site and write a traffic crash report. You or your lawyer can request a copy of it when it becomes available.
- If you’re able to move around, take pictures of the accident scene, damage to all vehicles involved, debris, skid marks, and other visual evidence related to the crash.
- Some commercial trucks contain hazardous materials that could explode or catch fire. Move to a safe place as soon as possible while you’re waiting for an ambulance or other emergency responders.
- Talk to anyone who saw the accident happen and write down their names and phone numbers. They may be able to provide witness statements for an insurance claim or during a trial.
- Get the truck driver’s name, contact information, and liability insurance details. Don’t forget to write down their employer’s name and contact information too.
- Get a complete evaluation of your injuries by a medical professional. If they refer you for additional treatment, listen to their orders, and continue treatment until your doctors release you from care.
- Keep records of anything associated with the truck accident, including medical records, prescriptions, insurance company letters, and anything else you receive.
- Hire a Houston distracted driving truck accident lawyer, like ours at Gibson Hill Personal Injury.
You Might Be Eligible for the Maximum Settlement in a Claim
If you choose to file an insurance claim with the truck driver’s liability insurance, you could potentially recover the maximum amount available. Your best chance at getting it is with the help of an experienced lawyer.
There’s a fault system in Texas that applies to financial responsibility after a car or truck crash. If there’s sufficient evidence that the truck driver was distracted and caused the crash, they’ll automatically be liable for any resulting injuries and expenses.
Typically, your lawyer won’t go after the truck driver directly. Instead, they’ll file a claim with their auto insurance company for payment. All motorists, especially those in the trucking industry, must carry auto insurance with minimum liability limits. Those limits are used to compensate injured victims for their damages.
Damages are losses resulting from an accident or injury. Depending on the coverage listed on the truck driver’s insurance policy, your settlement or judgment could cover all your damages. They fall under two separate categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are expenses associated with the collision, such as:
- Past and future medical costs
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Car repair or replacement
Non-economic damages are losses associated with the injury’s impact on daily life and are difficult to quantify, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement or disability
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium
There’s a third kind known as punitive damages. They’re available in a lawsuit under special circumstances. If your attorney can prove that the truck driver exhibited actions that were grossly negligent, malicious, reckless, or egregious when they became distracted behind the wheel, you might be able to recover punitive damages.
Instead of compensating your economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages punish the at-fault party for their behavior and attempt to deter them from doing the same thing in the future. Although they’re rarely awarded, your lawyer may recommend that you seek this type of damage if you choose to sue the truck driver.
Speak With an Experienced Lawyer Today
Our Houston distracted driving truck accident lawyers at Gibson Hill Personal Injury are ready to demand the just compensation you’re owed from the negligent truck driver that hurt you. We know how traumatic truck accidents can be. They cause debilitating injuries that require months of medical treatment.
Don’t wait to get the help you need. At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, our Houston personal injury lawyers have the experience, resources, and skills to ensure our clients receive fair treatment from insurance companies and the maximum financial compensation possible for their case.
If a distracted truck driver caused your accident and you suffered injuries, you deserve a chance to hold them accountable. Call Gibson Hill Personal Injury at (713) 659-4000 to get started in a free consultation. We’ll help you get on the road to recovery.