What We Do.
Areas of Expertise.
The East Texas 18-Wheeler Wreck Lawyers At Matthew Hill Law, PLLC Work For You.
Big trucks cause big injuries. These large vehicles go by a variety of names: tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, big rigs, or semis.
Every year nearly 500,000 large trucks are involved in traffic accidents in the United States. The size and weight of a commercial truck significantly exceed that of a passenger vehicle. A fully-loaded rig can weigh up to 80,000 pounds — easily 20 times heavier than a typical passenger vehicle. Due to that fact, the smaller car in an accident is typically destroyed, crushed, or mangled as a result of the impact, and 5,000 of those accidents result in fatalities. Not surprisingly, most of the deaths involve the passengers of the vehicles struck by tractor-trailers while truck drivers typically escape unscathed.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a large truck, you know firsthand just how scary and devastating these crashes can be.
The East Texas 18-Wheeler Accident Attorneys At Matthew Hill Law, PLLC Are Client-Focused.
We care about you. You are not just another case for us. We recognize that you are a unique person; a husband, father, wife, mother, son, daughter, a provider, and a victim of someone else's negligence. We want to help you and your loved ones through a challenging time, and we want you to be satisfied so you will tell others about your positive experience.
The East Texas 18-Wheeler Accident Attorneys At Matthew Hill Law, PLLC Are Results-Oriented.
We thrive on being successful at maximizing compensation for families after a serious accident and finding justice after the injury or death of a loved one. Our clients deserve fair compensation, and serving them to that end is an honor that we take very seriously.
We serve clients throughout Texas
in Longview, Tyler, Marshall, Henderson, Gilmer, Pittsburg, Mt. Vernon, and more.
You've been involved in an 18-wheeler wreck
What Should you Do?
1. Don't wait to get help, Call Now.
It is critical for you to understand that to protect your rights and maximize your recovery, you should take immediate action after an 18-wheeler crash. The East Texas semi-truck accident attorneys at Matthew Hill Law, PLLC can send one or more of the investigators that we regularly work with to the accident scene right away to document and preserve crucial evidence before it is lost or destroyed.
Experience tells us that within minutes the 18-wheeler company is working with its army of truck accident attorneys to prove they are not responsible. Moreover, they will have their investigators on scene within hours of the crash, and essential pieces of evidence such as the tractor-trailer’s black box, GPS data, driver’s logs, and even the tractor-trailer itself can sometimes have a way of changing or even disappearing. This evidence may be needed to win your 18-wheeler accident case. We want to make sure we have access to all the information regarding the wreck before it has been tampered with or altered by the trucking company. We want to prevent crucial evidence from being lost or destroyed by the trucking company. Don’t let the 18-wheeler company get a head start. Call the East Texas 18-wheeler accident lawyers at Matthew Hill Law, PLLC immediately, and let us get to work for you.
2. We investigate your crash and prosecute your claim.
We have experience in 18-wheeler wrecks and know how to determine how a tractor-trailer accident took place and who should be held responsible. As part of that process we can gather and analyze relevant evidence like:
- Accident Scene Evidence – This includes evidence on the ground at the scene and photos
- Eyewitness Statements
- Damage Assessments on All Vehicles Involved
- Electronic Data – This may include downloading a vehicle’s data recorder (“black box”) or acquiring data uploaded from a vehicle to offsite data storage locations
- Cell Phone Records
- Driver Toxicology Results
- Law Enforcement Accident Reports
- Logbooks or Other Company Records
- The 18-Wheeler Driver’s Criminal and Traffic Records Background
- The Trucking Company’s History of Violating Safety Rules
3. We work with experts and use their expertise for your benefit.
Matthew Hill Law, PLLC’s 18-Wheeler accident attorneys also routinely worked with and consult with various experts. We have easy access to highly qualified experts who can help us determine the cause of the crash and the extent of the harm that you have suffered. Our list of potential experts include the following:
- Accident Reconstruction Experts
- Rules Compliance / Safety Experts
- Driver Training (Trucking School) Experts
- Mechanics and Engineers
- Toxicology Experts
- Medical Experts (Orthopedic Experts, Brain Injury Experts, Pain Management Specialists, Back / Spine Experts, Pediatric Experts)
- Economists and Life Care Planners
If the 18-Wheeler accident attorneys at Matthew Hill Law, PLLC take your case we will immediately send a ‘notice letter’ to the trucking company and all other parties involved in your wreck and case. We will instruct them to preserve all evidence, which would include electronic data, video, toxicology results, cell phone records, etc. If necessary, we can seek court intervention and work to force a trucking company to provide any evidence that they may be trying to keep hidden.
4. We work hard to resolve your case in a timely manner.
Matthew Hill Law, PLLC’s personal injury attorneys negotiate aggressively to maximize your recovery. We work to present a solid case supported by the evidence to the trucking company and their insurance company involved with your case. We demand full and fair compensation, including compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, etc.
5. If necessary, we will file suit and take your case to court.
The 18-wheeler wreck lawyers at Matthew Hill Law, PLLC always prepare and work on your case like it will be going to court. So, if and when it becomes necessary, we will be prepared to go to the courthouse and present your case in the most powerful and persuasive way possible to the jury. We have the legal skills and knowledge and utilize state-of-art exhibits and technology to maximize the effectiveness of our arguments.
6. We do not charge you anything unless we are successful in getting you compensated.
When it comes to personal injury cases, including 18-wheeler wreck cases, we work on a contingency fee basis. That means you pay no case expenses or attorneys’ fees unless you receive money. We will only be paid a percentage from the final recovery once it comes in and then be reimbursed any documented case expenses.
Do's & Don'ts.
Don't Speak to Anyone Involved with the Trucking Company.
DO NOT speak to or allow yourself to be interviewed by the trucking company, its insurance company, or its lawyers. Trucking companies and those companies that insure and represent them move fast after a crash. To be clear, they don't do this for your benefit. Trucking companies want to protect their own interests.
DO NOT speak to them.
DO NOT let your family members speak to them.
DO NOT let your friends or co-workers speak to them.
Any statement you make or that your family and friends make can and most likely will be used against you. Even a few simple words can be taken out of context and used as a means to deny your truck accident claim. Hire the personal injury lawyers at Matthew Hill Law, PLLC as quickly as possible, and then if anyone contacts you, refer them to us so we can protect your interests.
What are the Causes of a Large Commercial Truck Accident?
Given the severity of many 18-wheeler accidents and the lifelong impact on the victims, many people find themselves asking why did this happen. Rest assured that the personal injury attorneys at Matthew Hill Law, PLLC have the experience necessary to try and find out the answer.
Hiring Unfit Drivers
Companies may employ drivers who lack the required commercial driver’s license (CDL). Additionally, a history of traffic violations, drunk driving or driving while under the influence of drugs is a red flag that a driver should not be hired and put behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound semi-truck.
Failing to Train and Supervise
Many companies fail to provide the training and monitoring that is needed to ensure drivers follow state and federal regulations and operate these large trucks safely.
Improperly Loading Cargo
A tractor-trailer should never be loaded heavier than is required for safe driving and/or packed in a way that its cargo can shift unexpectedly and cause the truck to lose control.
The Negligence of the Trucking Company
The trucking injury attorneys at Matthew Hill Law, PLLC can also seek to hold the trucking company responsible for its own negligent practices and policies if they caused or played a part in your crash.
Failing To Inspect And Maintain Vehicles
Companies regularly skip routine 18-wheeler inspection and maintenance to cut costs and increase profits, leading to dangerous trucks being on the road.
Given that experience, we have seen many reasons why wrecks involving large commercial vehicles and much smaller passenger vehicles occur. Unfortunately, one of the most common answers is driver error. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has reported that 2,554 of 7.368 deadly truck crashes that happened in the United States during a recent two-year period involved driver error.
The leading driver errors were:
|Speeding||609 Crashes / 8.3%|
|Distraction / Inattention||474 Crashes / 6.4%|
|Failure to Yield the Right of Way||320 Crashes / 4.3%|
|Impairment (Alcohol, Fatigue, Illness)||299 Crashes / 4.1%|
|Failure to Keep in Proper Lane||248 Crashes / 3.4%|
|Careless Driving||198 Crashes / 2.7$|
Allowing Or Encouraging Excessive Driving Hours
Too many truck drivers in Texas and across the U.S. are force to work excessive hours in violation of federal regulations. As a result, drivers may cause crashes due to falling asleep at the wheel or using drugs in a poor attempt to stay awake.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Findings And Other Informing Statistics And Information
Below are some key NHTSA findings, as well as other statistics and information that shed light on crashes involving large trucks.
- In 2016, there were 4.317 people killed in crashes involving large trucks, a 5.4 percent increase from 2015.
- In 2016, 72 percent of people killed in large-truck crashes were occupants of the other vehicles.
- Seventy-nine percent of the fatal crashes involving large trucks in 2016 occurred on weekdays (6 a.m. Monday to 5:59 p.m. Friday).
- Two percent of the large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2016 had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .08 g/dl or higher, much lower than drivers of other vehicles types (21% for passenger cars, 20% for light trucks, and 25% motorcycles).
- In 2016, drivers of large trucks in fatal crashes were less likely to have previous license suspensions or revocations than were passenger car drivers.
- Large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2016 had the highest percentage (20.3%) of previously recorded crashes compared to drivers of other vehicle types (21% for motorcycles, 17.9% for passenger cars, and 16.3% for light trucks.)
- A large truck, as defined in this fact sheet, is any medium or heavy truck, excluding buses and motor homes, with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds. In 2016, 80 percent of the large trucks involved in fatal traffic crashes were large heavy trucks (GVWR > 26,000 LBS)
- From 2015 to 2016, there was a 4-percent increase in the number of occupants of other vehicles killed and a 13-percent increase in the number of nonoccupants killed. This is the highest number of other occupants killed since 3.151 died in 2008 and is the highest number of nonoccupants killed in the last ten years.
- Most deaths in large truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupants. The main problem is the vulnerability of people traveling in smaller vehicles. Trucks often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars and are taller with higher ground clearance, which can result in smaller vehicles under riding trucks in crashes.
- Truck braking capability can be a factor in truck crashes. Loaded tractor-trailers take 20-40 percent farther than cars to stop, and the discrepancy is more significant on wet and slippery roads or with poorly maintained brakes.
- Truck driver fatigue also is a known crash risk. Drivers of large trucks are allowed by federal hours-of-service regulations to drive up to 11 hours at a stretch. Surveys indicate that many drivers violate the regulations and work longer than permitted.
- Ninety-seven percent of vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck in 2016 were occupants of the passenger vehicles.
- Among vehicles occupants killed in large truck crashes, both the rate of passenger vehicle occupant deaths per truck mile traveled and the rate of large truck occupant deaths per truck mile traveled have declined substantially since 1975.
- Sixty percent of deaths in large truck crashes in 2016 occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways, 32 percent occurred on interstates and freeways, and seven percent occurred on minor roads.
- Forty-eight percent of large truck crash deaths in 2016 occurred from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., compared with 30 percent of crash deaths not involving large trucks.
- Sixteen percent of large truck crash deaths in 2016 occurred on Saturday and Sunday, compared with 34 percent of crash deaths not involving large trucks.
- Fifty-five percent of large truck occupant deaths in 2016 occurred in crashes in which their vehicles rolled over. This was slightly higher than the percentage of SUV occupant deaths and pickup occupant deaths that occurred in rollover crashes and much higher than the percentage of occupant deaths in car (22 percent) involving rollovers.
- Sixty-two percent of large truck occupant deaths in 2016 occurred in single-vehicle crashes, compared with 48 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths.
- Nineteen percent of large trucks in fatal crashes in 2016 were involved in single-vehicle crashes; in contrast, 38 percent of passenger vehicles in fatal crashes were involved in single-vehicle crashes.
- Forty-four percent of fatally injured large truck drivers in 2016 were using safety belts, compared with 48 percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers. Belt use was unknown for 21 percent of fatally injured large truck drivers, compared with 8 percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers.
- Thirty-one percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes with a large truck in 2016 were in head-on crashes with the truck. Twenty percent involved the front of the passenger vehicle striking the rear of the large truck.
- Large truck drivers killed in fatal crashes rarely have high blood alcohol concentrations (BACs). Truck drivers are subject to strict government regulations concerning drinking and driving. Three percent of fatally injured large truck drivers in 2016 had BACs at or above 0.08 percent, down from 17 percent in 1982. For comparison, 29 percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers in 2016 had BACs at or above 0.08 percent, down from 51 percent in 1982.