Articles Tagged with Trucking Accidents

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Mesquite6352Guest and Gray Law Firm has helped countless injured Mesquite residents receive compensation for the injuries they sustained in automobile, motorcycle and trucking accidents. We are committed to serving Mesquite and the surrounding Garland and Balch Springs area residents who have been injured through no fault of their own.

Mesquite is crisscrossed by highways and interstates, with 635 and I-30 being the most well known, but I-20 and several smaller highways cross through the city. 635 is by far the busiest as it is a thoroughfare for Mesquite and surrounding areas to Dallas and beyond. It is also the connection to highway 175 and I-20 going East. Constantly, 635 is plagued by major accidents and delays. Hundreds of thousands of people travel on 635 through Mesquite every single day. As a result, the 635 and I-30 corridors have major accidents on what seems like a daily basis.

Mesquite is also a major commercial trucking route. Mesquite is a highly commercially developed city with retail shopping, eating and other commerce throughout the entire city. This means that big 18-wheelers with tractor trailers are constantly flooding the highways and through streets to get to those areas. In addition to that, commercial vehicles use the highways to get in and out of Dallas and the surrounding areas. As a result, Mesquite has seen a major uptick in commercial traffic accidents over the last several years, thanks in large part to the cities renewal program and North Texas booming economy.

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personalinjury3-300x201Guest and Gray Law Firm is committed to serving Kaufman county and its residents who have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence.

We get it. Lawyers, in general, get a bad rap. We are portrayed on TV as money hungry people who will do anything to get ahead. We readily admit that there are those in this industry that are that way, especially in personal injury. But, let me ask you this: are there people like that in your industry? I bet there are. There is probably a lot of them, and I would not for one second automatically think that is what you were simply because you work in the same industry as those people. At Guest and Gray, we work hard for our clients.

At Guest and Gray, our goal is to serve the people of our local community and protect them from being taken advantage of by insurance companies, hospitals and medical providers. That is our number one priority. After you have been injured in an accident, a lot of things happen: you are hurt. You need treatment, so you go to the hospital and then probably follow up treatments, etc.. That is expensive. Emergency hospital care can cost upwards of $100,000 depending on the types of treatments performed. On top of that, your car is messed up and either needs to be fixed or replaced. Your own health insurance company will pay for a lot of the medical bills, but they will want a cut out of any personal injury settlement you get. So, they will be hounding you about settling. The at-fault insurer will give you LOTS of run around about how much they are actually going to cover and what amounts they will not. You may be missing time from work.

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Truckaccidents-300x132When you or a loved one is injured in a trucking accident and you hire Guest and Gray Law Firm, P.C.,  our experienced team of personal injury lawyers begin working on your case immediately. We look at every possible avenue to prove that the trucking company and their driver negligently caused the accident and your injuries. One of those ways is to look into the FMCSA BASIC scores of the at-fault trucking company to determine whether or not they have a history of negligent behavior.

WHAT IS THE FMCSA BASIC PROGRAM?

FMCSA-BasicsThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, and Accountability program continuously gathers and updates data regarding seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories, or BASICs. For each category listed, the trucking company receives a score that ranks them against other carriers in the industry. Each of these scores can then be used by trucking companies, law enforcement agencies to determine the overall safety compliance of an individual trucking company.

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As Rockwall and Kaufman counties continue to see record growth and our roads become increasing clogged with traffic, we are seeing more and more accidents that involve catastrophic injuries resulting in the death of a loved one. When these types of accidents occur, the family is often left wondering what to do now. Most people have heard the term “wrongful death” and maybe some have some familiarity with what a “survivor” action is, but they are often confused about the difference between the two types of claims. We understand that the differences can be a little convoluted and that is why we aim to better inform you of the different types of claims if you or a loved one is killed in an accident.

It is really important to understand that wrongful death and survival actions are two separate causes of action when a loved one has been killed in a Texas auto or truck accident. The family may have the ability to file both types of actions in Texas, but they have a similar effect, which is where the confusion typically lies. The purpose of this article is to provide you with a better understanding of the types of claims that may be made and how the claims may be brought and administered by the family and their representatives. Here are the basics:

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

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gavel1-300x169Rockwall and Kaufman counties are major trucking routes with highways such as Interstate 30, Interstate 20 and Highways 80 and 175 passing through those counties respectively, along with other major highways intersecting them. Commercial trucking accidents are some of the most severe and potentially fatal types of accidents imaginable. An 18-Wheeler truck loaded with thousands of pounds of cargo can weigh upwards of 40,000 tons, or 80,000 pounds. That is a massive amount of destructive force which is why trucking accidents often result in debilitating, life-altering injuries and even death.

Truck Accidents Can Be Fatal

Data from the US Department of Transportation shows 2,485 passenger vehicle occupants died in “large truck accidents” in 2014. The most deaths happened in 1979, when 4,226 people in passenger vehicles died in large truck accidents. That’s a 41.1% drop from 1979, which represents good progress, however, the number of deaths per accident has risen. This is true despite increased federal regulations on trucking companies and truck drivers, respectively. Quite often the cause of trucking accidents is due to a trucking company forcing drivers to violate federal regulations and drive for longer periods of time without sleep than allowed by law, truckers going against their own companies rules and regulations to meet strict delivery deadlines, and driver fatigue or equipment failure.

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Three people were killed early Monday when the driver of a sedan slammed into the back of a stopped tractor-trailer.

Dallas police said three adult males were headed northbound on Harry Hines at about 3 a.m. when they crashed into the back of a semi stopped at a traffic light at Lombardy Lane.

The two males riding in the front of the vehicle were killed instantly, officials said. The passenger in the back of the car was in critical condition when he was transported to a nearby hospital. The man later died.

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Crash-on-80-300x129Truck accidents have become what seems like an every day occurrence here in the Eastern Dallas-Fort Worth area. Rockwall and areas to the east along interstate 30, such as Royse City, are growing at a rapid pace. Along the highway 80 and I-20 corridors respectively in Kaufman county is developing from Forney to Terrell with new businesses springing up in the area on a weekly basis. On top of that, Rockwall, Forney and Terrell are also seeing a housing boom. Especially Forney. That brings construction traffic with cement trucks, work trucks, delivery trucks and everything else.

Growth is one thing, but the fact that the Texas’ economy and the National economy are both doing well means that shipping of products to market is also increasing to meet the demands of consumers. That compounds the issues here in Rockwall and Kaufman counties. Not only are we seeing massive growth, but our two counties fall within major trucking corridors. We have interstate-30 heading northeast through to Arkansas, highway 80 heading east Texas and Louisiana, and highway 20 which stretches straight through to Florida and is the single largest trucking corridor in Kaufman county. Kaufman county also has highway 175 to the southeast towards east Texas and Cedar Creek Lake and beyond. All told, hundreds of thousands of vehicles pass through Kaufman county highways each day and much of that traffic is big rigs carrying all sorts of products and equipment to their destinations here in Rockwall and Kaufman counties and all throughout the country.

That being said, here is a quick primer on the 4 things you need to know about trucking accidents:

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pain-and-suffering-1-300x227Here at Guest and Gray, that is a common question when talking to new and potential clients. Pain and suffering is a real thing. It can be the pain from recovering from a broken arm, but also the suffering you feel as your body tries to heal. So, if you have been injured in a motor vehicle or motorcycle accident, and it was not your fault, you are likely going to be able to recover for not only your injuries sustained in the accident but also for the pain and suffering associated with those injuries. David HagEstad and Scott Gray, our Dallas, Forney and Rockwall county personal injury attorneys are well versed in the area of pain and suffering and have successfully obtained favorable settlements for our clients over the years and have put together this short guide to help you understand the process of recovering monetarily for your pain and suffering.

How Much is My Pain and Suffering Worth?

The funny thing about Texas law is that there is no set method for calculating pain and suffering in any given case. It is determined on a case by case basis. Some firms may try to get you to click their website because of a calculator they supposedly have to determine how much you should get for you injuries. Those are likely not going to be accurate because no attorney can ever guarantee how much you should get in any given case. This is especially true early on when the full extent of your injuries, and the overall time period of your recovery, are still unknown. However, as experienced personal injury attorneys, we can tell you that the two main indicators of pain and suffering that you should be aware of are the extent of your injuries and the amount of your medical bills. These key indicators will help guide us in determining a fair dollar figure for your pain and suffering, i.e. calculating your pain and suffering.

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Personal-Injury-Law-300x149Between Soap Operas and the Price is Right, the other consistent day-time TV you see are personal injury attorney’s yelling at you about they will “get them the compensation they deserve” for their injuries in between scenes of car crashes and people looking strangely well groomed to be in a hospital bed after the aforementioned accident. I love those commercials. The acting is about as good as the Soap Opera episode it runs in between.

All jokes aside, the biggest hiccup that occurs between clients and attorneys is the concept of compensation. Many clients expect that since the accident was clearly not their fault, they should just get the money. Although that is quite often how it works, you have to “prove up” your damages, either during the claims process with the insurance company or by introducing admissible evidence of damages in court once a case has been filed.

Once a case has been filed, a party seeking recovery of past medical expenses must pay very close attention to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code (TCPRC) §41.0105 that says, “in addition to any other limitation under law, recovery of medical or health care expenses incurred is limited to the amount actually paid or incurred by or on behalf of the claimant.” Easy enough, right? Actually paid and incurred means expenses that have been or will be paid and excludes the difference between such amount and charges the service provider bills but has no right to be paid, e.g., amounts that have been written off. Ahmed v. Sosa, 514 S.W.3d 894, 895-896 (Tex. Ct. App.–Fort Worth, 2017).

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I find that  potential clients here in North Texas are quick to use phrases like “negligent” and “gross negligence” because they’re terms used quite often in TV shows to portray the negligent acts of another person. However, knowing how to use the word correctly in a sentence and knowing what the term means according to the law are two different things. The point of this article is to shed light on the legal meaning of the term “gross negligence”. Adding the modifier “gross” to the legal term “negligence” denotes a greater level of negligence than your standard negligence claim. When you say someone was “grossly negligent”, the hearer assumes that the other person acted absurdly under the circumstances. The hearer is right and the law would support their conclusion, as long as you can prove the behavior was absurd at the time of the accident. This is the key distinction between the common meaning of a word and its legal meaning. To the hearer, it means what it means according to its commonly understood definition. However, in this case, the legal meaning given to gross negligence shows how you go about proving the behavior was absurd. As we will see, gross negligence is defined by the Texas Practice and Remedies Code (TPRC) and provides a blue print for proving a gross negligence claim.

Under the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, “gross negligence” means an act or omission (1) which when viewed objectively from the standpoint of the actor at the time of its occurrence involves an extreme degree of risk, considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm to others; and (2) of which the actor has actual, subjective awareness of the risk involved but nevertheless proceeds with conscious indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare of others.

The first prong of the gross negligence test focuses on the objective nature of the defendant’s conduct. A plaintiff may objectively prove gross negligence by proving that under the circumstances of the accident, a reasonable person would have realized that his or her conduct has created an extreme degree of risk to the safety of others. “Extreme risk” required for a finding of gross negligence turns upon the likelihood of serious injury to the plaintiff. This extreme degree of risk threshold is significantly higher than the objective reasonable-person test for negligence. Essentially, we must show that the person had some level of understanding that their actions were risky and involved danger not only to himself but to the public at the time of the accident.