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What are the Common Causes of Commercial Vehicle Accidents?

Commercial motor vehicles, or company vehicles, come in many different forms: 18-wheelers, box trucks, van, cars, and garbage trucks. Any vehicle that is owned and operated by a company and is used by employees or agents of the company are considered commercial vehicles. Some commercial vehicles, like semi-trucks, require drivers to hold commercial driver’s licenses.

Commercial vehicle accidents are oftentimes caused by:

  • Following too closely
  • Improper lane changes and other traffic violations
  • Driver fatigue
  • Failure to maintain vehicle
  • Improper loading

Commercial truck operators are required to abide by hours of service regulations, which ensure that a driver is well rested and has a proper amount of sleep before getting behind the wheel. A fatigued driver can cause catastrophic injuries in a crash by falling asleep at the wheel.

When you are injured in a crash involving a commercial vehicle, who can be held accountable?

Who is Liable for Your Injuries in a Commercial Vehicle Wreck?

Commercial vehicle and truck accident cases can be complex because there are multiple parties that could be held liable for your injuries, including the vehicle’s driver, the company that owns or operates the commercial motor vehicle, or the vehicle’s manufacturer.

Companies are generally responsible for the actions of their employees. Unqualified management of a commercial vehicle fleet could lead to unqualified drivers. Employers may be liable for:

  • Failure to properly train drivers
  • Failure to maintain vehicle
  • Negligent hiring practices
  • Failure to verify proper driver licensing or certification
  • Negligent supervision

Deciding who to sue (and where to sue) largely depends on the facts surrounding your case and how the accident was caused. An attorney with experience handling commercial vehicle accidents understands how to determine who the negligent party is.

Thomas J. Henry has helped victims in commercial motor vehicle accidents stand up against large companies and corporations and get them the compensation they deserve. When up against a law firm with extensive legal and financial resources and a proven record of winning big cases, companies are more apt to offer an appropriate settlement amount.

What Kind of Injuries Result from Commercial Vehicle Accidents?

Depending on the size of the commercial motor vehicle and the severity of the wreck, injuries can widely vary. For example, a crash involving an 80,000 lb. semi-truck and a passenger vehicle could result in catastrophic injuries or death. Common commercial vehicle accident injuries include:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Internal organ injuries
  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Soft tissue injuries (such as whiplash)
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Psychological and mental injuries

Contact an Experienced Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured in a crash involving a commercial motor vehicle, contact Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys. Our lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim and provide you with a free case consultation. Choosing an attorney with experience handling complex commercial motor vehicle accident cases is critical, and our firm has a record of achieving real results for injured clients.

Do I Have to Give a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company After a Car Crash?

If you have been involved in an auto accident that was not your fault, you will likely get a call from the at-fault driver’s insurance requesting a recorded statement. While the insurance representative may try to convince you that providing a recorded statement is in your best interest, this is simply not true.

Like any for profit business, insurance companies are run with the goal of making money. One way of securing profits is to limit payouts to injured victims. A recorded statement is the first move of many that an insurance company will take to erode your claim and limit their driver’s liability.

Why Do Insurance Companies Request a Recorded Statement?

Under Texas law, a recorded statement submitted to an insurance company is admissible in court. So, even though the claims you made in your recorded statement were not made under oath, they still carry considerable weight when brought before a judge or jury.

Here what all of this means for you:

  • Potential for unintentional inconsistencies – Car crashes can be confusing and disorienting. Further, as time goes on, your recollection of the accident may fade. When an insurance company goes back to compare all the statements you made over a period of weeks or months, they will claim that any inconsistencies were attempts by you to mislead the company and label them as lies before a judge or a jury.
  • Exposure to trick questions – The representative on the other end may ask leading questions or word their inquiries in a way meant to trick or trap you. You may even be pressured into agreeing to facts that are not completely accurate just to get the representative off your back. Even an aggravated response of “I don’t know, maybe” or “I guess” can come back to haunt you later.
  • Failure to report undiagnosed injuries – Most doctors agree that the full extent of any injuries suffered in a car accident may not be evident until several days after an accident has occurred. If a claims adjuster contacts you within 24 hours of a crash and asks about your injuries, chances are you will not be able to provide a complete list of injuries. This will not stop the insurance company from questioning and attempting to dismiss any injuries that became symptomatic after that initial recorded statement was made.
  • You are providing fuel for cross-examination – By the time deposition or trial occurs, chances are the defense counsel will have reviewed your recorded statements dozens of times. They will craft questions for cross-examination with the understanding that you likely don’t remember everything you said or agreed to in that recorded statement. And when you misremember or contradict yourself in a moment of confusion, they will try to claim your misstatement proves your testimony is not credible.

How Will an Attorney Help Me Provide a More Accurate Recorded Statement?

Personal injury attorneys are familiar with the tactics used by insurance adjusted to dismantle the credibility of injured victims. An experienced attorney will help you outline a statement that accurately details the facts of an accident.

The attorney will also help identify questions that are meant to erode you claim and coach you on how to provide your statement in a concise way that leaves no room for interpretation.

Your attorney may also recommend that you:

  • Request the statement not be recorded
  • Avoid volunteering information
  • Avoid personal information
  • Avoid long explanations
  • Provide a firm “I don’t know” when you don’t know something, as opposed “maybe” or “I guess that’s possible”
  • Not answer questions unless you are absolutely sure what is being asked
  • Avoid admitting fault
  • Do not respond to any potentially leading statements or questions, even if they seem polite or innocent on the surface (i.e. How are you feeling?, I hope your back is feeling at least a little better, or Wow, it’s a miracle you weren’t more seriously injured).
  • Provide a statement that preempts contributory negligence (i.e. I was traveling within the posted speed limit free of distraction and had the right-of-way when the crash occurred).

Finally, if your attorney determines that providing a recorded statement is not in you best interest, they may advise that you forgo submitting a statement all together.

What Kind of Injuries Should I Report?

Do not limit yourself to only reporting confirmed, diagnosed injuries. When asked about injuries, report any pain and discomfort as it may be a symptom of a more significant injury. Common injuries associated with auto accidents include:

  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Strained ligaments
  • Back muscle sprains
  • Scrapes and Cuts
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Chest injuries
    • Bruising
    • Contusions
    • Broken ribs
    • Internal injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Jaw injuries
  • Loss of teeth
  • Neck injuries
    • Crushed larynx
    • Crushed trachea
    • Broken neck
  • Pelvic injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Penetration injuries

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Injured in a Car Crash?

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car crash, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our experienced auto accident attorneys have experience handling a multitude of injury accidents, no matter how severe the crash or injury. You may be entitled to compensation for your damages if another driver acted negligently. Our firm has the experienced lawyers and financial resources that you need to achieve the real results you deserve. Our team of injury attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends. If you cannot make it to our office, we can visit you at your home, in the hospital, or at work.

Are Employers Responsible for Car Accidents Caused by Their Employees?

When an employee causes a wreck while on the job, the employer is generally responsible. However, there are also situations in which an employer can be held responsible for an employee’s crash even if the employee is not on the clock at the time of the collision.

What is Considered a Company Vehicle?

Commercial and company vehicles are cars, vans, trucks, and buses that are owned and operated by a company to be used by employees or agents of that company. Typical uses of company vehicles are to carry work equipment, to haul goods, to transport non-employee passengers, and to provide employees with work-related transportation.

A few examples of company vehicles are:

  • 18-wheeler
  • Agricultural truck
  • Box or straight truck
  • Car carrier
  • Cargo van
  • Catering truck
  • Cement mixer
  • Construction vehicles
  • Corporate automobiles
  • Delivery truck
  • Delivery van
  • Dump truck
  • Fifth wheel truck
  • Flatbed truck
  • Fleet vehicle
  • Front loader
  • Garbage truck
  • Hearse
  • Ice cream truck
  • Limousine
  • Minivan
  • Motor home
  • Passenger bus
  • Passenger car or van
  • Pickup truck
  • Pump truck
  • Refrigerated truck
  • Repair company vans
  • Ridesharing service vehicles (Uber, Lyft)
  • School bus
  • Semi-truck
  • Sport utility vehicle
  • Step van
  • Tank truck
  • Taxicab or shuttle
  • Tow truck
  • Tractor-trailer
  • Trunk tractor
  • Utility company truck
  • Wheelchair bus
  • Wheelchair van

What Happens When a Crash Occurs While an Employee is On the Clock?

When an employee is on the clock, they are acting as an agent for the company that employees them. As such, companies are generally responsible for the actions of the employee. This relationship-based liability is known as respondeat superior which literally means “let the master answer.”

So, when an accident occurs while an employee is on the job, the employer may be expected answer for the employee’s actions and is subject to liability for the employee’s tort.

What Happens In a Company Vehicle Crash that Occurs While the Employee is Off the Clock?

If an employee is off the clock when a company vehicle accident occurs, the employer may still be liable for the crash in certain situations.

For example, companies and employers are responsible for ensuring any and all company vehicles are properly maintained and are free of dangerous defects. So, if a company vehicle crash involved a vehicle that was improperly maintained, had defective equipments, or was previously subjected to an unaddressed safety recall, the company or employer that owns the vehicle can be held legally liable for any damages.

Even if the vehicle is not defective and the crash was entirely the fault of the off-the-clock employee, Texas law says that companies and employers can be held responsible for providing the employee with a vehicle if the employee’s actions demonstrate that he or she was a reckless, careless, or incompetent driver.

When Should I Contact a Company Vehicle Accident Attorney?

If you were injured in a auto accident that involved a company or commercial vehicle, contact Thomas J. Henry right away. Many large companies employee teams of lawyers whose sole job is to challenge auto accident claims and limit the company’s liability for such claims. Contacting an experienced attorney as soon as an accident occurs will help ensure that all relevant evidence is preserved and secured and that the company is not able to avoid their legal responsibility.

Thomas J. Henry has handled a multitude of company vehicle accidents over the past two decades and continues to handle many of the largest 18-wheeler accident cases throughout the United States. Whether the company is small or large, our success is not an accident; it is because we understand how companies operate. We represent clients/victims all over the country.

Thomas J. Henry injury attorneys are available to respond to company vehicle accidents at any hour, day or night. Our lawyers understand that the immediate acquisition of evidence is paramount to understanding how the accident occurred. Remember, your choice does matter. Contact our offices – we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

 

 

10 Injured After Taxi Crashes into Pedestrians at Boston Airport

At least 10 people were hospitalized Monday after a taxi crashed into a group of pedestrians standing near the taxi pool at Boston’s Logan International Airport.

Police Believe Driver Hit Gas Instead of Brake

According to Reuters, police are conducting a preliminary investigation and believe the crash was unintentional. Media citing unnamed sources said it is believed that the taxi driver hit the gas instead of the brake pedal.

Emergency crews responded to the scene where at least 10 people were transported to the hospital.

An image from the scene showed the taxi resting next to a building with its front hood buckled.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics

The following information was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • 4,735 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in the Unites States in 2013. This averages to one death every 2 hours.
  • An additional 150,000 people were injured in traffic accidents in 2013.
  • The majority of pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas at non-intersection locations at night.
  • On average, pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to be killed each trip than occupants of passenger vehicles.

 

Patient Killed in Georgia Ambulance Crash

A patient being transported from a nursing home to an emergency room was killed Friday morning when the ambulance he was in crashed in Rome, Georgia.

Details of the Fatal Ambulance Crash

News Channel 9 reports that the Puckett EMS ambulance was traveling southbound on Martha Berry Parkway (Highway 28) when it left the road way and struck two trees before overturning.

55-year-old Tony Patterson was fatally injured in the crash.

The driver of the ambulance and a medic in the back were transported to the hospital in stable condition.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the accident.

National Traffic Accident Statistics

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded 35,092 traffic-related deaths in 2015.
  • This marked a 7.2-percent increase from 2014, the largest percentage increase recorded in nearly 50 years.
  • Of those killed in 2015:
    • 22,441 were occupants of passenger vehicles
    • 5,376 were pedestrians
    • 4,976 were motorcyclists
    • 818 were pedalcyclists
    • 667 were occupants of large trucks
    • 227 were listed as other or as unknown
  • An additional 2,443,000 people were injured in automobile accidents in the U.S. in 2015.

Three Killed in Indiana Dump Truck Crash

Three people are dead and at least one person is injured following a head-on collision involving a dump truck in Boone Township, Indiana.

Details of the Boone Township Dump Truck Accident

According to the Chicago Tribune, the fatal crash occurred at 319 W. Indiana 8 around 4:14 pm Tuesday.

Police say the accident occurred when a 2002 Mercury Mountaineer tried to avoid rear-ending a vehicle stopped for traffic in the eastbound lanes and veered into the westbound lane. The SUV was struck by an oncoming dump truck.

Amber Fitzgerald, 45, Bonnie Sowles, 68, and Hannah Cullen, 7, were all pronounced dead the scene. All were occupants of the Mountaineer. A fourth passenger, a 15-year-old girl, transported to Franciscan Health Crown Point before being airlifted to Loyola University Medical Center.

The accident remains under investigation.

Trucking Accident Statistics

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded 438,000 trucking accidents in the U.S. in 2014.
  • These accidents result in 3,903 deaths and 111,000 injuries.
  • Of those killed in trucking accidents:
    • 17 percent were occupants of large trucks
    • 73 percent were occupants of other vehicles
    • 10 percent were listed as nonoccupants, including bicyclists and pedestrians
  • Texas led the nation in trucking accident fatalities with 553 trucking-related deaths reported. California followed Texas with 300 recorded deaths.

 

15 Injured in Multi-Vehicle Accident Involving Sanitation Truck and MTA Bus

At least 15 people were injured in Brooklyn Thursday morning as a result of a multi-vehicle a car, a sanitation truck, and a MTA bus.

Details of the Brooklyn Bus Crash

According to PIX 11, the crash occurred at the intersection of Avenue D and East 40th in East Flatbush.

FDNY reported 15 injuries, including at least two serious injuries.

It is unclear how the accident occurred, and the crash remains under investigation.

National Bus Accident Statistics

The following information is provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):

  • 3,978 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal accidents in 2014.
  • Transit buses accounted for 33 percent of all bus accident recorded between 2004 and 2014. Inner city buses account for 13 percent of bus accidents.
  • From 2009 to 2014, the number of injury related crashes involving buses and large trucks increased by 55 percent.

13 Killed, 2 Injured in Concan, Texas Church Bus Crash

Officials have confirmed 13 deaths and two injuries resulting from a head-on collision between a church bus and a pickup truck that occurred in Concan, Texas Wednesday afternoon.

Details of the Fatal Concan Bus Crash

According to FOX News, the crash occurred around 12:30 pm on U.S. 83 near Garner State Park in northern Uvalde County.

There were 14 senior adults on the bus when the collision occurred, 12 of whom were pronounced dead at the scene. Another bus passenger died at a San Antonio hospital late Wednesday while the lone surviving bus passenger remains in critical condition. The driver of the pickup was listed in stable condition.

All the victims killed in the tragic accident, including the bus driver, were senior adults who attended the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels.

Authorities have not commented on the cause of the accident and the collision remains under investigation.

Bus Crash Statistics

The following information is provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):

  • 3,978 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal accidents in 2014.
  • Transit buses accounted for 33 percent of all bus accident recorded between 2004 and 2014. Inner city buses account for 13 percent of bus accidents.
  • From 2009 to 2014, the number of injury related crashes involving buses and large trucks increased by 55 percent.

 

Pedestrian Fatally Struck by Dump Truck in Tampa Hit-and-Run

Tampa authorities arrested the owner of a area trucking company Monday following a fatal pedestrian hit-and-run accident and a short police chase.

Details of the Fatal Hit-and-Run

According to the Tampa Bay Times, David Yribar-Hernandez, 46, was driving a company dump truck on E Columbus Drive around 5:40 am when he struck and killed Stephen J. Waters, 39.

Yribar-Hernandez fled the scene but was pulled over by a sheriff’s deputy around 8 am after witnesses provided authorities with descriptions of Yribar-Hernandez’s truck. He initially drove away when the deputy approached his dump truck; however, he was quickly stopped and detained by police.

Yribar-Hernandez was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a crash with death and fleeing and attempting to elude a police officer.

Trucking Accident Statistics

The following information was provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • 438,000 large trucks were involved in police-reported collisions in 2014, resulting in 3,903 deaths.
  • An additional 111,000 people were injured in trucking accidents in 2014.
  • Of those killed in trucking accidents in 2014:
    • 17 percent were occupants of large trucks
    • 73 percent were occupants of other vehicles
    • 10 percent were nonoccupants including pedestrians and bicyclists

Pedestrian, 58, Struck and Killed by Limousine in Hit-and-Run Collision

pedestrian crosswalk signal

According to The Times-Picayune, a pedestrian was fatally injured in a crash involving a limousine driver that fled the scene following the accident in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Saturday night.

About the Limousine Crash

A 58-year-old pedestrian was walking along South Galvez Street near the intersection of Earhart Boulevard when the fatal accident happened. The male was attempting to cross Earhart Boulevard when he was struck by a vehicle driving southbound.

The Times-Picayune reports that the man was found seriously injured in the middle of the road by responding officers. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver who struck the man did not stop to render aid and drove from the scene following the pedestrian accident.

Police were called to the A-Confidential Transportation Services company after employees noticed a suspiciously damaged limousine. Officials identified the limo as the one involved in the fatal pedestrian hit-and-run. As officials investigated the vehicle, one of the employees came forward as the driver in the deadly crash.

Bruce LeBant Jr., 38, a maintenance technician for the limo company, was arrested on Sunday evening and charged with manslaughter, reports The Times-Picayune.

Information on Company Vehicle Accidents

Companies are generally responsible for the actions of their employees when their employees are acting as agents for the company. This means that when a company vehicle is involved in an accident, the driver and/or company may be liable for damages. The driver may be responsible if negligence played a role in the accident.

Additionally, employers may be liable for:

  • Negligent Supervision
  • Failure to Verify Proper Licensing/Certification
  • Negligent Hiring Practices
  • Failure to Properly Train Drivers
  • Failure to Maintain Vehicle