Houston Speeding Truck Accident Lawyers
Speed limits are there for a reason. They help keep you safe. Every car on the road has to follow the law, or they’ll get a ticket. The same goes for large trucks. Unfortunately, sometimes irresponsible truckers put their deadlines above public safety and speed. When they do and cause a crash, they can be held liable for the cost of the damage they cause.
Houston speeding truck accidents cause severe damage. The injuries can be catastrophic or even fatal. Occupants of smaller vehicles suffer more harm than those in commercial trucks because they’re vulnerable to the truck’s size and weight. That’s why truck safety standards must be followed.
If you were the victim of a truck accident caused by a speeding driver and need help recovering compensation for your expenses, call a Houston personal injury attorney from Gibson Hill Personal Injury at (713) 659-4000. We’ll schedule your free consultation with one of our Houston truck accident lawyers to discuss the crash and advise you of your right to demand fair compensation.
The Dangers of Speeding
Everyone knows that driving at excessive speeds is dangerous. It’s especially risky if there are adverse weather conditions, defective roadways, or construction.
Despite the harm it causes, truck drivers do it anyway. Transporting goods in Texas and across state lines is exhausting and time-consuming. They spend hours on the road and have to stay on schedule.
Unfortunately, the resulting damage from a speeding accident can be devastating. When a truck causes the damage, the occupants of smaller vehicles suffer the most. Commercial vehicles can crumple passenger cars into little more than balls of metal.
Various factors combined with speeding increase the severity of truck accidents, including:
- Cargo load: Cargo can shift, making it difficult for a speeding driver to control their truck. At high speeds, it’s difficult to maneuver the vehicle’s two moving parts. It’s especially challenging if the weather is bad or the road conditions are unfavorable.
- Blind spots: Commercial vehicles have large blind spots, making it tough to spot small cars. If the truck driver is speeding, they might not notice someone in their blind spot and could sideswipe them while attempting to change lanes.
- Stopping distance: The faster a vehicle travels, the more distance it requires to come to a complete stop. Large and heavy commercial trucks moving at high speeds take longer to stop. If the truck driver encounters an emergency, they might not be able to stop in time to avoid colliding with the rear of another vehicle or hazard in the road.
- Curves: If a truck operates above the speed limit, curves become dangerous obstacles. Any vehicle with a high center of gravity, like a truck, could easily roll over.
Any of the situations above can cause injuries and fatalities. The impact of a speeding truck with a small car can lead to irreparable property damage and debilitating physical harm.
The most common injuries speeding truck accident victims suffer include:
- Crush injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Concussion or traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries or paralysis
- Internal organ damage and bleeding
Injuries like these can become permanent disabilities. If you’re physically impaired, you may require ongoing medical treatment, such as physical therapy or pain management. You shouldn’t be responsible for paying for those necessities. You have a right to recover compensation from the at-fault truck driver.
Holding the Truck Driver Liable for Speeding
Within the trucking industry, there are regulations drivers and their employers must comply with to ensure everyone’s safety. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets these guidelines to ensure the commercial vehicles are in good working condition, trucking companies hire qualified drivers, and the drivers handle their duties on the road responsibly.
FMCSA regulations everyone in the trucking industry must follow include:
- Obeying the posted speed limit in the jurisdiction where the vehicle is operating
- Traveling no more than 11 consecutive hours after spending 10 hours off duty
- Carrying a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Loading all cargo within weight and size limits, and ensuring it doesn’t hang over the ends of the trailer
- Never using handheld mobile devices while behind the wheel of the truck
- Performing thorough background checks on new drivers
- Never exceeding a gross weight of 80,000 pounds
- Providing education and training for employees
- Remaining drug and alcohol-free before and during driving shifts
If you’re injured by a truck driver that was speeding, you can hold them or their employer liable. Despite the truck driver exhibiting dangerous behavior, the trucking company could also be at fault for negligent hiring practices or failing to perform an adequate background check on the driver.
Either way, the legal theory most people use in their speeding truck accident case is negligence. Negligence occurs when one party fails to take reasonable care to prevent someone else from harm.
There are five elements your lawyer must prove existed in order to base your case on this legal theory:
- Duty: The at-fault party owed you a duty of care to act or not act in a certain way;
- Breach of duty: They breached their duty;
- Cause in fact: If it wasn’t for their action or inaction, you wouldn’t have gotten hurt;
- Proximate cause: Your injury was the direct result of their breach; and
- Damages: You sustained injuries and resulting damages.
Should I File an Insurance Claim or Lawsuit?
If you sustained injuries in a speeding truck accident case, you might think a lawsuit is the best way to go. Actually, many times lawyers will recommend you start with an insurance claim. Even though speeding is completely reckless and the truck driver deserves to pay for their actions, your best chance at getting maximum compensation may be through the insurance fault system.
In Texas, there’s a fault system associated with liability for motor vehicle accidents. That means the injured victim of a crash can hold the at-fault driver financially responsible through an auto insurance claim. While regular motorists must carry auto insurance with minimum liability limits of $30,000, truck drivers hold a legal requirement for higher coverage.
Since commercial vehicles tend to cause more damage than passenger cars, those in the trucking industry must adhere to higher minimum liability coverage regulated by the FMCSA:
- $300,000 for trucks weighing less than 10,000 pounds and transporting non-hazardous material
- $750,000 for vehicles more than 10,000 pounds and transporting non-hazardous material
- $1,000,000 for trucks carrying oil or specific kinds of hazardous waste
- $5,000,000 for trucks with other types of hazardous substances
The limits listed on the truck driver’s insurance policy will determine the maximum settlement you could receive for your damages. Your attorney will have to prove to the insurance company that the driver exhibited negligent actions by speeding, and that’s what led to the crash. If they’re unable to prove fault, the insurance company may deny your claim.
Insurance companies try to save as much money as possible when they’re dealing with accident victims. They’ll look for any reason to deny your claim or offer a much lower settlement than what you deserve. If that happens, your lawyer can help you file a lawsuit against them and the at-fault truck driver to demand fair compensation.
Lawsuits are more complex than insurance claims. In order to sue someone for a truck crash, you must follow a statute of limitations. It’s a strict deadline. The statute of limitations in Texas is two years. That means you have two years from the accident date to sue the speeding truck driver.
Compensation for Your Total Damages
When you pursue financial compensation after a truck accident, the goal is to get money to compensate for your damages. Damages are the losses associated with an accident. There are two types you could pursue in an insurance claim or lawsuit: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are expenses resulting from an injury, while non-economic damages are the emotional and physical suffering endured after an accident.
They include the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost capacity to earn
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Lost quality of life
The insurance adjuster will review the contributing factors of your case to decide how much money they think you deserve for your damages. They’ll consider the following details:
- The severity of the injury sustained
- Duration of medically necessary treatment
- Length of time missed from work
- Impact of the injury on quality of life
- Total expenses incurred
- Availability of sufficient evidence of negligence
- Truck driver’s limits of liability coverage
- If a permanent impairment or disability resulted from the crash
It’s best to hire a Houston speeding truck accident lawyer to maximize your case’s value. We’ll aggressively pursue the maximum compensation available. We’ll work hard to hold the truck driver liable for their actions and demand the settlement or judgment you need.
Choose Gibson Hill Personal Injury
At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, our Houston personal injury lawyers fight hard to seek just compensation for our clients. When you hire us, you can depend on our legal team to provide excellent customer service. We’re available 24/7, so you can reach us whenever you need us.
We understand that your truck crash was a traumatic experience, and you want to recover in peace. We’ll work efficiently to resolve your case so you can move forward with your life.
Our Houston truck accident lawyers are ready to speak with you about your legal options. If you were the victim of a truck accident caused by a speeding driver, call us at (713) 659-4000 to schedule a free consultation today.