As Texas roads become littered with more and more trucks traveling across state lines, Texas residents are at greater risk of catastrophic heavy truck accidents. If you have been a victim of a heavy trucking accident in Texas or the greater southwest region, then time is running against you and it is imperative that you contact a Texas personal injury attorney who can guide you through the maze of discovery and help your case obtain critical time sensitive evidence.
Today, all major tractor trailer and heavy truck drivers in Texas and the companies that employ them are governed by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Standards . The standards and regulations of this government agency are designed to reduce Texas crashes and injuries caused by trucks and buses.
The most significant aspect of these regulations is that in the course of an investigation a Texas personal injury attorney can discover specific violations of the Federal Safety standards. Any violation automatically creates the presumption of negligence per se, a legal term used to reflect negligence as a matter of law. In negligence per se situation, the issue of whether the truck driver committed negligence has already been answered and the question never goes to the jury. With negligence per se, a personal injury victim is eligible to receive punitive damages, which are intended to punish reckless conduct and are awarded in addition to actual damages.
A Texas strong heavy trucking accident attorney will take important steps such as the subpoena of the driver’s trip expenses and compare those expenses with the driver log. Oftentimes, there will be discrepancies between the expense record and the log. For example, the trip expenses may show the driver was operating the vehicle while a log shows the driver was sleeping. Under federal regulations, drivers can only operate their vehicle for so many hours within a given period.
Other steps include a thorough mechanical survey of the truck’s brakes and other potential mechanical issues to determine whether improper maintenance caused the accident. Again, improper maintenance would be considered negligence per se.
A Texas personal injury attorney will employ a heavy trucking expert to discuss discrepancies in the driver’s log and poor maintenance to influence a jury as to who truly was at fault.