car wreck

Steve Laird has been defending victims, and families of victims, who were injured or killed in a car wreck or truck crash in Texas, for over 30 years. Find out what his clients have to say about his experience and expertise handling these types of cases.

Driving while professional: Could truckers have helped prevent Thursday’s deadly pileup?

Texas winter snow storms create crashes and pileups throughout the Dallas, Fort Worth metroplex.FORT WORTH, TEXAS February 15, 2021—Driving in the snow and ice can be challenging, even for experienced local drivers. As the tragic 133-car and 18-wheeler pileup in Fort Worth on Thursday morning demonstrated, local motorists may have been unprepared to navigate the icy conditions.

But what about professional truck drivers, who should have known what to expect that day and should have reacted accordingly?

“Unlike other motorists, professional truck drivers are trained to manage hazardous road conditions. They also are equipped with additional resources beyond radio traffic and weather reports,” says Steven C. Laird, a Fort Worth attorney. Laird is one of only 11 Texas lawyers board certified in Truck Accident Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

“Truckers often have electronics that allow them to get detailed weather information from other truck drivers, as well as direct communications from their dispatchers about road conditions.”

“They should use their extensive training and experience in handling and making decisions about driving an 80,000-pound truck into or during such weather-related events,” Laird says.

Preparing for and knowing about dangerous driving conditions can help prevent accidents and injuries if drivers are willing to take the time to better understand what they are up against BEFORE they hit the roads. This is even more true for commercial motor carriers and professional truck drivers, who are specifically required to follow safety regulations for the industry.

Federal Trucking Safety Regulations require 18-wheeler drivers to use ‘extreme caution’ in ‘hazardous conditions,’ including reduced speeds and even parking when conditions are too dangerous to continue,” says Laird. “These safety rules are for the protection of the traveling public, including the truck drivers themselves.”

Being careful is everyone’s obligation, but professional drivers must play by a different set of safety rules. A 4,000-pound car is often no match for an 80,000 truck, especially in hazardous weather conditions, and the additional safety rules take that into account.

“All of us should use caution in icy conditions, but professional truck drivers need to step up and do the right thing. If the rules are broken, lives are often permanently affected,” says Laird.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 17 percent of all vehicle crashes happen during winter conditions. And with more inclement weather forecast for our area in the coming days, drivers should do their best to prepare for the worst.

Laird says that following some simple tips from the American Automobile Association can keep you safe:

  1. Stay home! Do you really need to be out in bad weather?
  2. Slow down! You may not have the road traction you think you do.
  3. Keep your distance! You might need extra time to stop suddenly
  4. Check your brakes! Apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal
  5. Don’t stop on a hill! Inertia works both ways – forward and backward – especially on ice



What You Should Know Before You Speak to an Insurance Adjuster About Your Claim

What to do before speaking to an insurance agent after an accident with a semi truck
Posted by The Law Offices of Steven C. Laird, P.C. – Truck Accidents

If you are injured in an accident with a commercial motor vehicle or a car, you will likely hear from the other driver’s insurance adjuster or lawyer soon after the accident. If this happens, it is essential to know that the adjuster or lawyer represents the parties on the other side, and is usually interested in minimizing their fault and your damages in order to prevent you from receiving a fair settlement.

In Texas, it is crucial that you retain an experienced personal injury attorney to represent your interests as soon as possible after you have been in an accident with an 18 wheeler or some other vehicle. Having an experienced law firm on your side helps to protect you against the insurance company’s efforts to minimize and devalue your claims, and their attacks on your reputation and credibility. They commonly do this in conjunction with the defense lawyers they hire.

Common Tactics used by Insurance Adjusters & Defense Lawyers to Help Minimize the Amount of Your Claim:
  • Calling you immediately after the accident: An adjuster or defense lawyer might call you immediately after the accident to record your statement and ask you questions “while the incident is still fresh in your mind.” These types of calls are likely not intended to “speed up the process”; rather, they are designed to gather the information that can later be used against you by:
    • Tricking you to admit that you were partially at fault;
    • Tricking you to minimize the extent of injuries, or getting you to state that you are doing fine after the accident;
    • Tricking you to recount the accident in hopes of developing information that can later be used against you.
  • Offering a minimal settlement before you fully understand the extent of your injuries. Some adjusters and defense lawyers will attempt to get you, the injured person, to settle before you have finished treatment and rehabilitation, and before you have had the chance to contact an experienced lawyer who can provide you with an understanding of what you are entitled to recover for all of your claims.
  • Denying your claim in hopes that you will simply give up. Reasons can include claiming that you were responsible for the accident, blaming another third-party for the accident, or attempting to convince you that your injuries are not consistent with your accounting of the accident and so forth.
  • Probing into your confidential past medical history in hopes of a preexisting condition that the adjuster or defense lawyer can use as an excuse for your current problems.
Bad Faith Tactics & Additional Liabilities

In addition to these common tactics, some insurance companies or defense lawyers employ bad faith tactics that may leave them open to additional liabilities. Our team of experienced Fort Worth truck accident attorneys, personal injury, and wrongful death lawyers, has handled many of these types of cases.

We understand the complexities of Texas commercial trucking laws and car wreck laws. We will always try to ensure that you are protected from bad faith tactics, and we will always be there to help you to recover the just and fair compensation that you deserve.


TxDOT stats show spike in deadly truck wrecks

During one of the busiest travel seasons of the year, we’re learning that Texas’ roads are becoming increasingly deadly for those involved in truck accidents.

The Texas Department of Transportation reports that 460 truck accidents in 2012 involved fatalities – the highest number of fatal truck accidents since at least 2008, when the state saw 429 fatal truck crashes.

Top contributing factors to these accidents include disregarding warning signs in construction zones, failure to control speed, failing to yield while turning, and the failure of drivers to stay in a single lane, according to TxDOT data.


These statistics reinforce what we’ve been saying at the Law Offices of Steven C. Laird, P.C.: that increasing truck traffic due to an improved economy, especially in the energy sector, and increasing speed limits on Texas roads, among other factors, are creating a more unsafe driving environment.

If you’re traveling this holiday season, remember to exercise extra caution. In some cases, you need to pay attention not only to your own driving but to those around you.

Driving Perils Lurk Behind Texas’ Energy Boom

According to the federal government, the State of Texas generated more than $1.4 trillion in gross domestic product last year – the state’s highest GDP since at least 1996. That staggering number is due largely to the state’s booming energy industry, according to media reports.

However, as illustrated by two recent truck-crash settlements negotiated by the Law Offices of Steven C. Laird, the boom has come at the cost of many state residents being forced to navigate unsafe highways.

Both truck wreck settlements, which were agreed upon in June, involved big rigs hauling water used for hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Both drivers of the heavy trucks disregarded federal laws and caused serious injuries to other motorists who couldn’t avoid hitting the vehicles. The crash victims earned substantial financial settlements.

“My clients suffered terrible injuries because these companies didn’t comply with federal regulations and failed to make safety a priority,” says Steven C. Laird, who negotiated the settlements along with fellow firm attorney Wade A. Barrow. “The growing energy industry has brought incredible revenue to Texas, but our roads are becoming more and more dangerous every day as a result.”

The first accident occurred on June 22, 2011, when a semitrailer blocked the right of way on a state highway near Carthage, Texas. Mike Allen, Mr. Laird’s client, crashed into a heavy truck owned by Coraopolis, Pa.-based Heckmann Water Resources. The truck was stopped on the road without turn signals or flashing lights.

Mr. Allen is no longer able to financially support his wife and young daughter because of injuries sustained in the wreck. On June 20, 2013, the court approved a settlement in which Heckmann agreed to pay Mr. Allen and his family what is believed to be the largest lawsuit settlement in Panola County history.

The second settlement stemmed from a Sept. 11, 2011, truck crash near Weatherford, Texas, that resulted in Mr. Laird’s client suffering brain damage. Arron Gomas, 32, broadsided a tractor-trailer owned by Weatherford-based Bob Phillips Trucking (also called Phillips Water Hauling) as the truck’s driver attempted to make an illegal U-turn shortly before midnight. Mr. Laird settled the case on behalf of Mr. Gomas and his family on June 13, 2013, for the maximum payout available from the trucking firm’s insurance carrier.

“While Texans welcome the energy boom that has benefited Texas’ economy, the companies involved in oil and gas production must do better to prevent similar disasters from befalling Texas families,” Mr. Laird says.

Recent bus accidents make bus safety a top political issue

Good article in the Houston Chronicle today about how the recent bus wreck tragedies in Texas, Nevada and Mississippi have brought bus safety to the forefront of the politicians in D.C. and Austin. Among other things, there are bills being floated that will require buses to have seatbelts for passengers. That sounds reasonable and somewhat of a no-brainer. I would also suggest that bus carriers be required to carry vast amounts of liability insurance, something on the order of $25 million or thereabouts. Because when a tragedy occurs like the one we just saw in Sherman, dozens of lives are affected and I’ll bet there will be little – if any – insurance to help compensate victims.

One striking statistic in the Chronicle article is that in the past six years, 52 people have died in passenger bus accidents in Texas. That is appalling.

As an aside, Chronicle writer Clay Robison has had some great articles in the past exposing the plights of injured consumers. Tip of the hat to Clay.

Seinfeld unhurt after rollover car wreck

EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. – Jerry Seinfeld was in a harrowing rollover car wreck but was unhurt after the brakes on one of his vintage cars failed.

Seinfeld was driving alone when the brakes on his 1967 Fiat BTM stopped working Saturday evening, East Hampton Town Police Chief Todd Sarris told the New York Post. Seinfeld tried the emergency brake, to no avail, and then swerved to keep the car from careening into an intersection, Sarris said.

The two-door sedan flipped over and came to a stop just yards from the highway, Sarris said, adding that the comic maneuver probably avoided a very serious accident.

The comedian took the crash in stride. Because I know there are kids out there, I want to make sure they all know that driving without braking is not something I recommend, unless you have professional clown training or a comedy background, as I do, Seinfeld said. It is not something I plan to make a habit of.

(I didn’t know Seinfeld was 53…)