In recent years, commercial trucking (18 wheeler) accidents have become more prevalent in the San Antonio area for several reasons:
- There has been an increase in the population of commercial motor vehicles because of the Eagle-Ford shale activity
- A shortage of experienced drivers
- Road conditions that have been unable to keep up with the amount of traffic that is required to get the oil field work done.
Federal Motor Carrier Administration
The Federal Motor Carrier Administration governs the conduct of companies and drivers that operate commercial motor vehicles. The guidelines for the operation of these vehicles is strict and the failure to adhere to these guidelines are often related to overworked and fatigued drivers, inexperienced drivers, poor maintenance of the commercial vehicles and general disregard for the safety and welfare of the average person in a non-commercial vehicle.
The Federal Motor Carrier Regulations are in place because the rules of the road for commercial vehicles are truly different than those of the average non-commercial vehicle driver. Because of the size, weight, length and content of the load of these commercial vehicles, these standards are in place because an accident involving this type of vehicle usually leads to serious injury or death. After all, who ever heard of a “fender bender” with an 18 wheeler?
Because these types of accidents are so severe, it follows the injuries that are sustained are often catastrophic and permanent. These injuries often leave families with insurmountable medical bills and the inability to earn income for a period of time if not for good.
How does this impact you as a citizen of San Antonio and the surrounding area?
When there is a catastrophic injury that results from an 18 wheeler accident, often the commercial trucking company, the insurance company, and their attorneys are the first ones on the scene, taking statements, video, and collecting data while the victim is often incapacitated and unable to speak for him/herself. The insurance company for the commercial trucking company sends an accident reconstruction expert out along with their risk manager who arrives even before the victim is taken away by ambulance. The 18 wheeler driver is usually sequestered from any interrogation except for the investigating officer. The drivers, usually through a company representative or their lawyer, give a one sided statement to the officer which can lead to an investigation that is not objective but skewed toward the benefit of the company.
All significant electronic and computer data from the 18 wheeler is immediately downloaded and taken from the scene by the trucking company or insurance company for the trucking company before the victim is even able to know what was available to him or her that could assist in finding the cause of the accident.
All of these factors present an unleveled playing field for the average person who may just be on vacation, or returning from a business trip or even a casual dinner with their family when their lives are instantly changed forever because of the carelessness of a truck driver or a negligent trucking company.
Profits Before Safety
Commercial trucking is a multi-billion dollar industry and when a company does not train their drivers, allows them to drive fatigued, encourages or allows the driver to “cook” their logs to reflect acceptable driving hours, fails in their maintenance of their trucks, the trucking company is putting profits before the safety of your family and children.
How We Can Help
At Ketterman, Rowland and Westlund we will leave no stone unturned in getting your family the answers they need to find out why your loved one was injured or killed because of the negligence of a trucking company and their driver. Trucking companies are required by Federal law to carry a minimum of one million in insurance coverage before they can operate on the U.S. highways. There is a reason that that minimum is that high. Where you and I only have to carry $30,000.00, the Government has seen fit to require a minimum amount of insurance to be one million for trucking companies because the Government recognizes that when there is a crash with an 18 wheeler, the damages are usually going to be at least that much.