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Texas Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer

Texas Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer

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Texas Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney

Commercial Vehicle Rule Violations

Every motorist is obligated to drive safely and make a reasonable effort to avoid causing accidents, and this is especially true for those who drive for a living. The commercial vehicles you see on I-44, I-45, I-49, I-69 and other Texas roadways are subject to federal, state, and sometimes even local regulations that govern how and when they operate. Our Texas commercial vehicle accident lawyer team is intimately familiar with these regulations and the common violations that lead to catastrophic accidents.

Commercial vehicle regulations exist to address known hazards in an effort to keep other drivers safe. When commercial drivers violate or ignore these regulations, it can result in serious car accidents. If you have been injured in a commercial vehicle accident, evidence of these violations are a powerful resource in support of your claim. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a commercial vehicle, a Texas commercial vehicle accident lawyer at the Merritt & Merritt Law Firm can help you get fair compensation.

What is Considered a Commercial Vehicle in the State of Texas?

When we talk about commercial vehicles, most people automatically think of large tractor-trailers or buses. However, it is important to understand that commercial vehicles fall into a much broader category that includes a motor vehicle:

  • With a gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more including a towed unit;
  • Designed or used to transport 8 passengers or more (including the driver) for compensation;
  • Designed or used to transport 15 passengers or more (including the driver) and is not used for compensation; and,
  • Used to transport hazardous materials so as to require hazardous material placards.

Texas has adopted the Federal regulations applying to commercial vehicles so it is important to note that this is state law as well. However, Texas has adopted the following additional regulations:

  • For-hire carriers of passengers or property such as non-emergency medical transporters, limousines, or courier vehicles;
  • Any vehicle with a gross combination weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less that transports any hazardous materials regardless of whether placards would be required.

An experienced Texas commercial vehicle accident lawyer can identify whether these regulations apply to the vehicle that caused your accident and structure the development of your case based on those facts.

What is a Texas Serious Commercial Disqualification?

Under Texas law, any person’s commercial driver’s license can be suspended for one year or more for committing a major traffic violation. The violation can occur while driving a commercial vehicle or a noncommercial vehicle and includes a conviction for the following offenses:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Hit and run or failing to report striking a fixed object
  • A felony involving the use of a motor vehicle
  • Driving a commercial vehicle on a suspended license
  • Homicide by vehicle
  • Racing on streets or highways
  • Speeding to evade law enforcement
  • Fraudulently obtaining a license
  • Refusal to submit to a chemical sobriety test
  • Theft involving a commercial vehicle or its cargo

A suspension of the driver’s commercial driver’s license is often referred to as a “serious commercial disqualification.” Unfortunately, commercial vehicle operators don’t always check the status of their driver’s licenses or their backgrounds. If the driver who caused your accident was under a commercial disqualification, you may be able to hold their employer liable for your injuries and other losses. A personal injury attorney at the Merritt & Merritt Law Firm can work with you to ensure all appropriate parties are held accountable for your accident.

Common Commercial Vehicle Regulations That May Have Been Broken in Your Accident

When commercial vehicle operators fail to comply with state and federal regulations they can be held liable for the accidents they cause.

Negligent training, supervision, or hiring

Trucking companies and other commercial vehicle operators are obligated to ensure that their drivers have sufficient training and supervision. This is to ensure they are able to operate their vehicles safely and that they comply with all regulations and rules of the road. Furthermore, companies are required to review applicants’ backgrounds and conduct drug tests to ensure that the drivers they hire won’t pose a hazard to other drivers on the road.

Negligent maintenance

Federal and state regulations have detailed maintenance requirements, including the obligation to conduct a series of daily checks to ensure the vehicle is in good working order. Failure to comply with these regulations could lead to a mechanical failure that results in a serious accident.

Failures to abide by hours of service limitations

Commercial vehicle drivers are limited as to how many hours per day and per week they can spend behind the wheel. Unfortunately, trucking companies and other commercial vehicle operators will encourage or even force their drivers to ignore these limitations in order to make deliveries on time or simply generate higher profits. Driving while fatigued is a serious hazard that impairs the driver’s reflexes and judgment and can also result in the driver falling asleep at the wheel.

Inaccurate or falsified logbooks

Regulations require commercial drivers to maintain current log books that detail their hours of service, maintenance records, and other pertinent information. While inaccurate or falsified log books are not per se dangerous, they often suggest other negligent practices that may have contributed to or even caused your accident.

The above is not an exhaustive list, but it is important to note that any failure to comply with commercial vehicle regulations is evidence of negligence. It is our job as your Texas commercial accident lawyer to ask questions and gather evidence that will bring any rule violation to light.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Texas Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer at the Merritt & Merritt Law Firm Today

If you have been injured in a commercial vehicle accident, the Merritt & Merritt Law Firm can help you get the compensation you need to rebuild your life. Our experienced team can come to you within 24 hours or you can meet with us at one of our offices in Texas or Georgia. Contact us today at 1-800-738-WE-WIN to schedule a free consultation and learn about your legal options.

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