Top 5 causes of 18-wheeler crashes

Most people don’t want to share the road with large trucks and 18-wheelers. Over the years, we’ve conducted surveys about why nobody wants to be driving next to an 18-wheeler, and the number one response is that they are afraid of getting hit. The good news is that the number of fatal truck crashes has been decreasing steadily for over a decade. The bad news is that there were still 4,317 fatal truck crashes in the United States in 2016.

That’s why we’re going through the top 5 causes of 18-wheeler wrecks for you. You need to know what to watch out for when you’re sharing the road with a big truck or 18-wheeler:

1. Speeding is the leading cause of truck wrecks.

67% of large truck crashes occur because they are “traveling too fast.” Not only is this statistic staggering,   more than 22% of all large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2016 had at least one prior speeding conviction. Truck drivers are required by federal law to follow all speed limits. So when you realize the truck next to you or in front of you is speeding, it is a sign they have already made the decision to break one federal safety law. You don’t want to know what other laws they’d be willing to break next.

Also, fully-loaded trucks require 20-40% more distance to stop than a regular car. Depending on how fast they were going, the road conditions, and the weight of their load, these trucks can travel nearly 200 feet between the time they apply the brakes and when they come to a full stop.

2. When trucks are poorly maintained, they are more likely to cause a crash.

If it takes 200 feet for a truck with good brakes to come to a full stop, imagine what happens if the truck has bad breaks, a broken axle, or another problem that causes something catastrophic to happen. Some companies put safety first and make sure that their trucks are in perfect condition before every trip. Other companies cut corners and try to save money by not maintaining their trucks.

Even though truck drivers inspect their trucks before every trip and point out issues, their companies may flat-out deny maintenance requests because of the cost. We’ve helped injured truck drivers as well as truck wreck survivors hold their companies accountable for putting profits over the safety of their employees and the public. We have the experience to prove that these companies knew the trucks were unsafe and put them on the road anyway.

3. Distracted drivers and tired drivers cause crashes.

AAA published a study about distracted driving that concluded that any cell phone use roughly quadruples the risk of getting into a wreck. This goes for truck drivers as well. Although federal law prevents truck drivers from using their cell phones while driving, companies don’t always enforce the law. On top of that, cell phones aren’t the only thing that can cause a truck driver to be distracted.

Anything from opening a bottle of water to a bag of chips can be distracting. Anything that takes your eyes and attention away from the road and your hands from the steering wheel can distract you. We helped the family of a local realtor hold a truck driver and company accountable because the truck driver took his eyes off the road to get a can of soda from a cooler and rear-ended the realtor at high speed, killing him.

Tired drivers also cause wrecks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration allows 18-wheeler drivers to be on the road for 11 hours per day. Demand for truck drivers has stressed some companies to push their drivers past this time limit. Studies show that 13% of truck drivers were fatigued at the time of their crash.

4. Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol causes truck wrecks.

Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol seems like an obvious violation of truck safety laws, but it happens more than you think. Some trucking companies will look the other way when hiring drivers and ignore past drug and alcohol violations. 34% of all drunk driving crashes in 2016 involved a drunk truck driver. We have helped survivors of crashes caused by a truck driver who was high on cocaine as well as the survivor of a crash caused by a drunk truck driver. These clients turned to us to help make our roads and communities safer.

5. Lack of training and supervision causes 18-wheeler crashes

Trucking companies are required to train and closely supervise truck drivers. This rule helps keep all of us safe. However, when companies put drivers behind the wheel untrained and unsupervised, we pay the price. These companies think they are saving money by not investing in training and safety. The truth is, they usually wind up having to pay much more to the victims and survivors of 18-wheeler crashes. Juries and communities don’t like it when supposedly “professional” drivers have barely any more training than the rest of us.

What to do if you run into any of these safety failures on the road

If you are sharing the road with an 18-wheeler and feel as if something is wrong, it might be. Drive defensively and drive safely. If you think the truck is a clear and present danger to you and others, pull over and call 9-1-1. If you have a passenger who can safely take a photo of the truck’s license plate, that will help you identify the truck.

If you are hit by an 18-wheeler and believe the wreck was caused by one of these factors, consult an attorney immediately. Trucking companies and their lawyers get to work right away as soon as a wreck happens. They do everything possible to make your claim go away. You need the help of a team of experienced trial lawyers who have a track record of success holding trucking companies accountable for their safety failures. To get started now, call us at 877-724-7800.

What makes VB Attorneys different from other law firms

A question you should ask every lawyer you interview is, “What makes you different from all of the other law firms out there?”

At our firm, we believe that what sets us apart from every other law firm is how much we care about our clients. Caring about our clients means we do everything in our power to ensure our clients get the best results possible. From helping you get into the specialists you need to see, to using cutting edge technology to tell your story to the jury. From dedicating the time and resources necessary to win your case, to helping you figure out how to move forward with your life once your lawsuit has settled.

We want you to succeed and move forward with your life after you win your case.

Having a support system in place after an injury or losing a loved one is one of the most important things you need to be able to get better physically, and mentally. When you become a client at our firm, we work with you, your family, your medical providers, and everyone who is helping you get better to make sure your support system is as strong as possible.

Our clients become like family to us. If you want to hire a law firm that treats you like family instead of like a number on a file, this is the firm for you. Call us now at 877-724-7800 to get started. Our attorneys will help you get all of your questions answered, will help you understand your legal rights and options, and will help you decide what your next steps should be.

Coryell Memorial Hospital explosion takes two lives

An explosion shook Coryell Memorial Hospital in Gatesville, Texas, on June 26, 2018. Two people were killed and 14 others suffered injuries in the explosion. Filiberto Morales of Round Rock and Michael Bruggman of Rogers are the two men who lost their lives. The rest of the victims are being treated in San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and Temple hospitals for injuries including severe burns.The hospital is undergoing a massive expansion project, managed by Adolfson and Peterson Construction. This project includes a physical plant to house boilers and chillers for the hospital. This is where the blast originated, according to witnesses. Preliminary reports suggest an electrical generator blew up. Other reports that a natural gas line might have been involved have been disproven by Atmos, the natural gas company that is responsible for the hospital’s gas lines.

Judge issues temporary restraining order to prevent explosion site from being “cleaned up”

Investigators from the state fire marshal’s office, OSHA, and the railroad commission began collecting evidence on June 29, 2018. The hospital’s CEO told reporters at KWTX a portion of the facility had reopened and crews have been “cleaning up the site” as of Monday, July 2. That’s when attorneys representing an electrician injured in the explosion filed a request for a Temporary Restraining Order. The restraining order, granted on Tuesday, July 3, prevents any changes being made to the scene of the explosion to ensure that everyone’s investigations can proceed without losing any evidence.A Temporary Restraining Order helps protect the legal rights of the people hurt and killed in the explosion. It is very important that these orders are filed as soon as possible. Every minute a construction company isn’t working, they’re losing money. Every minute the hospital isn’t operation, the hospital is losing money. So they will do everything possible to get back to work, even if it means “cleaning up” the evidence crucial to your case. If there is no evidence, your team of independent experts can’t determine the cause of the explosion. And if your team can’t conduct a thorough investigation, the state fire marshals and OSHA can’t either.You have a constitutional right to be compensated if you are injured due to a company or person’s negligence. And if anything or anyone prevents you from being able to determine who is responsible for your injuries, you may be able to sue for additional compensation, punitive damages in legal terms. These punitive damages are meant to do just that – punish the person or company responsible for preventing you from seeking justice.Even if you aren’t ready to file an injury or wrongful death lawsuit, we recommend you consult with experienced trial lawyers as soon as possible. A free and confidential consultation will help you determine what course of action will be best for your claim. We will answer all of your questions and analyze your case based on our extensive experience winning cases just like this one.The bottom line is this: the longer you wait to consult an attorney, the more time the companies have had to get rid of evidence. Which means it will get harder and harder to prove your case. To get started today, call us at 877-724-7800 or fill out a contact form.

Arthur Square hit with temporary restraining order after fatal fire

Today we filed a temporary restraining order against Arthur Square LLC after an apartment fire took the lives of three young children. This fire, called the deadliest fire in Port Arthur, Texas, in almost a decade, caught residents by surprise. The temporary restraining order was granted by Judge Floyd in the 172nd District Court in Jefferson County, Texas.

In an interview with KFDM, the mother of the deceased said the apartment had several electrical issues in addition to non-operational smoke detectors. Even though the fire started in another unit, none of the smoke detectors went off and the children did not wake up and were transported to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. They died at the Southeast Texas Medical Center.

Temporary restraining order granted to prevent evidence from being damaged or destroyed after fatal apartment fire

This temporary restraining order will prevent any evidence from being damaged, altered, destroyed, or tampered with in any way. Another reason to file the temporary restraining order is to protect our clients’ legal rights. Investigations have already begun by the city and by the apartment complex’s insurance company. The judge’s signature on this order prevents more than the destruction or tampering of evidence. It prevents investigations from being conducted without independent experts.

We have retained experts to investigate this fire and determine who is responsible for this tragedy. Our past experience handling fire and explosion lawsuits, wrongful death cases, and lawsuits against slumlords puts us in the unique position of knowing not only the best experts for this particular case but how to best fight for justice for our clients.

For more information about this case and this investigation, email Emily@localhost or call 713-224-7800.

job Blog

When I graduated from law school and started looking for a job, I didn’t really know what I was looking for. I had had my sights set on “big law” because that’s what everyone tells you to do in law school. But, having just missed that cut I needed to find a place to work that fit my high expectations.

I started googling random law firms in Houston and trying to decipher which ones I thought would be worthwhile, but that process was long and random. It is hard to tell if a firm is a good firm based on the website because they all kind of look the same and it is even harder to determine what the culture of the firm is like.

After going through hundreds of websites to try to determine where I might be happy I came across a couple core ideas that helped me define my search: I needed a mentor and I needed a friend.

Those are both pretty abstract concepts that are hard to find on a website, but at least I had a direction that I could pursue. I decided that the best path forward for me was to try and find a firm through my network of friends and colleagues. People that I could trust to tell me if the firm was somewhere where I would want to be.

Luckily, I texted Lena Laurenzo. I had known her older brothers from third grade and Lena had taken me under her wing at the very beginning of law school. I was just hoping that she would know someone who was hiring, but when she said that there was a chance that her firm was hiring I was ecstatic. That would nail down one of my two goals right off the bat.

Next, I needed to make sure that I would have a mentor. As much as you learn in law school, you also walk across the stage knowing almost nothing and I had just enough experience to know that to be true.

I started researching the other attorneys at the firm and from what I could tell they seemed to have a good track record, but no one’s profile says “I’m lazy and lose most of my cases.” So, I started to ask around and found that other people that had been practicing for 20 or more years knew and respected both Vuk and Brian (VB Attorneys).

However, it wasn’t until I met them that I was really sold. The mentoring that I was searching for started in my very first interview and it hasn’t stopped.

This blog will keep you updated on the things that I’m doing at work, but since most people I know aren’t lawyers (and even of the lawyers I know almost all of them are in different practice areas) I’ll try to spend more time talking about the more generally applicable lessons that I learn and the mentoring that I receive. Besides, if you’ve made it this far in the blog you are probably someone who actually knows me and cares about me as a person and not just someone you might need to contact if you get injured.

Finally, one of the lessons I have learned already is that everyone will remember that you are a lawyer, but no one will remember what you actually do. I work for a firm that does personal injury claims for plaintiffs.

That means generally if someone is responsible for you getting hurt I can help you (and because you are my friend I will), but more specifically we work with people who have been hurt by a company when that company doesn’t do what they should be doing and that results in a person getting injured.

That differs from a random car accident because the individual who hit you is probably not going to become a significantly better driver if they get sued, but a company that gets sued can (and hopefully will) change their policies so that everyone that works there in the future will be safer. In its own small way, I hope that this does make the world a better place for all of you.

How safe are you at a fireworks show?

Did you feel safe the last time you watched fireworks? You’re supposed to.

Pyrotechnicians are required to submit site plans before the event to the local authorities. These site plans are supposed to include:

  • Dimensions of the discharge site
  • Spectator viewing areas
  • Parking areas
  • Fallout area and associated separation distances.

In other words, the people putting on your fireworks display are required to plan ahead how they are going to keep you safe while you enjoy the show. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) has a manual of codes, diagrams, and formulas for these companies to follow when creating fireworks shows.

Find out how far you need to be from fireworks:

This diagram is a rough guideline for pyrotechnicians to follow when they are creating their plans:

NFPA radius for fireworks

The code goes on to state that no spectators or spectator parking areas shall be located within the display site.

Also, the code discusses the minimum secured diameter of the site based on the size of the fireworks to be used. They provide this table for easy calculation:

Three ways to make sure you’re far enough away from the fireworks:

Having an over-abundance of caution on the spectator’s part is a wise idea. If you think you’re too close to the launch site, you may well be. The site plan may be faulty. Exercise caution when picking your viewing location at the next fireworks show, and sit further away than necessary. A misfired firework can seriously and critically burn you or your loved ones. These three tips will help you stay safe:

  1. Call the organizers of your fireworks show to find out how far from the launch site you need to sit. If you are planning on launching fireworks yourself, use this table to determine how far away you and your friends and family need to be.
  2. If you are watching from your car, make sure your windows are rolled up and your doors are closed. Sparks or misfired fireworks can cause injuries if they get in the car with you.
  3. If you don’t see fire trucks and first responders at a supposedly planned, organized fireworks show, leave immediately. Community events and private fireworks shows that are put on by professionals and have all the necessary permits will have first responders on the scene just in case. If you don’t see any, that may mean the show you’re at is operating unsafely.

Consult our attorneys immediately if you’ve been injured at a fireworks show and think a person or company acted unsafely. You may be able to file an injury lawsuit if they were negligent or a defective products lawsuit if there was a defect with the fireworks. Our attorneys will help you understand your legal rights, tell you their professional opinion about your case based on their experience as trial attorneys, and help you make an informed decision about your next steps. Call now at 877-724-7800 to get started.

When Safety Guardrails Become Dangerous

Recently, guardrail malfunctions have produced catastrophic and deadly consequences and have been the cause of many personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death cases.  Designed to prevent vehicles from leaving the roadway and veering into potentially more dangerous territory these guardrail systems are supposed to protect vehicles and their occupants.

Trinity ET-Plus Guardrail

One particular brand at the center of these cases is the ET-Plus guard rail system, manufactured by Trinity Industries.  Several personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits claim that Trinity Industries made size reductions  without the federal government’s knowledge.  They also claim that they did not conduct important crash tests and chose instead to save money on materials.

In 2015, a federal appeals court overturned a judgment that would have forced Trinity Industries to pay $663 million because of their failure to disclose the product changes before selling.  However, in September of 2017, a federal appeals court in New Orleans overturned this ruling. The ruling does not affect product liability claims against Trinity.

Guardrail accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, loss of limbs, brain injuries and even death.  These horrible occurrences take their toll on both victims and their caregivers emotionally, physically, and financially. Medical expenses can quickly pile up, effecting quality of life.

Do I Have a Guardrail Injury Lawsuit?

VB Attorneys is accepting guardrail induced injury cases. If you or someone you know was injured by a defective highway guardrail contact us immediately for a free case consultation.

Helix Energy Solutions Group faces multiple Jones Act lawsuits

Since we filed a Jones Act lawsuit against the company in April 2018, Helix Energy Solutions Group has been sued twice by Jones Act seamen. The oil and gas services company wrote in their 2017 Annual Report that, “Our corporate vision is based on the belief that all incidents should be preventable.”

Except that’s not reality. Anonymous Glassdoor reviews of the company state:

  • “The office has no regard or compassion for its offshore employees.”
  • “Constant safety shortcuts on rigs when needed.”
  • “HSE & Management a joke.”

Our own history with the company supports these reviews. In addition to currently representing a high voltage electrician injured on Helix’s Q4000, we have helped three other injured seamen hold the company accountable for violating the Jones Act.

Lawsuit alleges Helix failed to provide maintenance and cure

One Jones Act violation we see over and over is the failure to provide maintenance and cure. Under the law, companies must pay for your medical care until you have reached maximum medical improvement and pay you a daily living wage if you are hurt working as a Jones Act seaman. One of the lawsuits filed in the past few months alleges Helix failed to provide a seaman with maintenance and cure.

The lawsuit claims Helix has “willfully, wantonly, arbitrarily, and capriciously failed to live up to their maintenance and cure obligations.” As part of his Jones Act claim, the injured seaman is demanding his maintenance and cure be reinstated. He is also asking to be compensated for the maintenance payments they haven’t paid him. This claim is a common part of Jones Act lawsuits, including previous lawsuits we have filed against Helix and its subsidiary, Cal-Dive International.

Systemic safety failures highlighted by lawsuits

These lawsuits indicate that Helix’s safety failures appear to be systemic. We filed our first lawsuit against a subsidiary of the company in 2009. Nearly a decade later, Jones Act lawsuits are being filed over similar safety failures and Jones Act violations.

Call us at 877-724-7800 for a confidential, free consultation if you’ve been hurt working for Helix or a subsidiary. We are uniquely positioned to help maritime workers just like you. We will walk you through what to expect if you pursue a Jones Act claim. We will also help you make an informed decision about your next steps and answer all your questions. Our extensive experience holding this company accountable gives you an advantage.

The Dangers of Defective Recreational Vehicles

Recreational vehicles (RVs) are a very popular choice for families desiring to travel across the United States. Choosing to use an RV for your vacation is a convenient and economical way to combine lodging and transportation. However, RV accidents are a real risk and it is important to be aware of defects that are resulting in catastrophic injuries and even death.

What is considered a recreational vehicle?

The term recreational vehicle is a broad category of motor vehicles which includes motor homes, truck campers, and sports utility trailers. Custom vans, ambulances, and limousines also fall under the category of recreational vehicles.

Risks posed by recreational vehicle defects

This is where the water gets muddy. Unlike passenger vehicles, there is little to no quality control for aftermarket RV manufacturers. In addition to the lack of quality control, RV manufacturers often operate without product testing. This practice is why there are so many common recreational vehicle defects that often include:

  • Mechanical malfunction
  • Fuel system defects
  • Inherent instability
  • Unsafe tires
  • Incorrect wiring
  • High rollover rates
  • Fire hazards

Common injuries caused by recreational vehicle defects

Owners and operators of recreational vehicles are often seeking relaxation and a chance to go on adventures with their family. Unfortunately for some, faulty RVs have ruined their opportunity and caused very serious and life changing injuries or death.

Injuries due to defective RVs are often very serious and life changing. Common injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Severe burns
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Severed limbs
  • Broken bones
  • Torn ligaments
  • Disfigurements

Seek help for injuries caused by recreational vehicle defects

While no one hopes to or chooses to go through  serious accidents or injuries, there are steps you can take to try and keep yourself and your family safe while in your recreational vehicle.

  1. Stay informed on recalls that may affect your vehicle.
  2. Practice proper maintenance including inspecting hoses, belts, headlights, taillights, and tires.
  3. Inspect propane tanks regularly.
  4. Research your route for clearance heights.
  5. Be sure to inspect your RV for rodent or animal damage if stored for any length of time.

Consult a professional attorney now if you’ve been hurt by a defective recreational vehicle

If you or your loved one has been injured due to a defective recreational vehicle, then you need an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure your rights are protected. Contact us today for your free consultation at (877) 724-7800 or by filling out our free case evaluation. We will answer all of your questions, help you understand your legal rights, and make an informed decision about your future.

Was your Harvey insurance claim denied? We can help

 

If your Harvey insurance claim has been denied, you’re not alone. We’ve had hundreds of clients and friends call us about their insurance companies denying honest claims. Whether it was a wind damage claim, a flood insurance claim, a homeowner’s insurance claim, or another type of claim depending on how your property was damaged, insurance companies are denying these claims left and right.

It doesn’t matter if you filed your claim perfectly with all the documentation – your insurance company doesn’t want to pay Harvey claims. Even if you haven’t filed your insurance claim yet, you are probably worried about your insurance company denying it.

That’s where Shane McClelland and his excellent team at the Law Offices of Shane McClelland come in. They have had a lot of success in these types of insurance claims. And they’re teaming up with another rockstar firm, Weisbrod Matteis & Copley, to make sure you get the best legal representation. I strongly encourage you to call this number to discuss your potential insurance claims: (844) 681-6054. Their goal is to try to get you some funds via these insurance claims.

Also, if you were flooded by the Addicks or Barker reservoirs in the wake of Harvey and had insurance coverage, this would be a short-term way to get some funds while we continue to handle your takings case against the federal government. If you haven’t yet consulted us about your Addicks or Barker reservoir flood claim, fill out the contact form at HurricaneHarveyLawsuitHelp.com. The consultation is 100% free and 100% confidential. We will tell you if you qualify to join these flood lawsuits and answer all of your questions.

How the dram shop law and social host law help crash victims

1,676 lives were lost in Texas in 2016 due to drunk driving. Holding just the drunk drivers accountable for their negligence doesn’t necessarily solve the problem, though. Under Texas law, you can go after the source of the problem and sue who gave them the alcohol. If the drunk driver who hit you or your loved one came from a bar, restaurant, or party, you may be able to hold the bar, restaurant, or party host accountable for overserving the person who hit you. Under Texas law, individuals and businesses can be held liable for drunk driving crashes. These laws, the dram shop law and the social host law, enable you to file a civil lawsuit against the bars, restaurants, or individuals who violated these laws.

Dram shop law explained

Dram shop law cases help you hold the bars and restaurants accountable for serving an obviously intoxicated customer who then injures you. So if a person is overserved at a bar, is allowed to drive, and then crashes into you and injures you, you may be able to hold  the bar accountable. A dram shop is the legal term for any drinking establishment where alcoholic beverages are sold and consumed.

To file a dram shop lawsuit, you must prove that the person who injured you was obviously intoxicated to the extent they were a danger to themselves or others when they were sold alcohol. Texas’ dram shop law includes a provision that allows you to hold a “responsible third party” – the intoxicated person who hurt you – accountable in addition to the bar or restaurant. This allows you to place blame on both the drunk person and the bar or restaurant. While there are some additional legal requirements that must be met to successfully pursue a dram shop lawsuit, if you know the person who caused your injuries had been drinking, consult an attorney right away.

Social host law explained

Texas’ social host law criminalizes serving alcohol to someone you know is under 21 – a known minor – if that minor then goes on to hurt or kill someone. Party hosts are also held responsible for damages and injuries when a host (not the underage drinker’s parent) served or allowed alcoholic beverages to be served to someone known to be underage and who then caused injury or damage. The social host law also holds party hosts accountable if they supply car keys to an intoxicated adult on the host’s property.

How to pursue a dram shop lawsuit or social host lawsuit

If you were hurt by a drunk person or your loved one was killed in a drunk driving wreck and you think you may have a case under the dram shop law or the social host law, consult our attorneys. We will answer all of your questions, walk you through the lawsuit process, and help you make an informed decision about what to do next. As in most cases, evidence disappears over time, so don’t wait to consult us. The longer you wait, the likelihood of winning your case decreases exponentially. Also, your case loses value the longer you wait. Our attorneys are experienced in helping people just like you who have been hurt in car wrecks caused by drunk drivers. We know how to make the civil justice system work for you. From filing temporary restraining orders to protect evidence from being destroyed or altered in any way to taking your case to court, we have a track record of success in these types of cases.

Holding drunk drivers accountable along with the people, bars, and restaurants who served them helps you get justice and helps make the community safer. Your dram shop or social host lawsuit sends a message that endangering the community by overserving people will not be tolerated. That businesses must be responsible for putting profits over the safety of the entire community. Drunk drivers took the lives of 1,676 Texans in 2016. Your lawsuit can save lives and make sure that number is lower next year.

To get started now, call us at 877-724-7800 or contact us. We look forward to helping you.