The demand for commercial goods, food, and products in Texas is increasing as the population expands. To bring these into the state, big trucks are required.
More drivers and cars are on the road as the trucking sector expands. The economy of Texas and the United States continue to grow, but at a cost. Increased 18-wheelers and huge vehicles on the road means more congestion and traffic, as well as a higher danger of accidents.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 32,562 commercial vehicles were involved in accidents across the state in 2020 – a number that could very well rise in the future.
Truck accidents not only cost money in terms of property damage, but they can also result in fatal or life-altering injuries. Our Texas truck accident lawyers at Flores, Tawney & Acosta, P.C. are dedicated about representing clients who have been injured in a truck collision.
Truck Accidents in Texas: Common Causes
A huge truck accident can be caused by a variety of circumstances, including the driver’s or the company’s irresponsibility. If there is something defective on the truck that led to the accident, another third party may share blame.
The following are some of the most common causes of truck accidents in Texas.
Driving While Distracted
Distracted driving encompasses more than just texting while driving; it encompasses anything that diverts a driver’s attention away from the road. They could be looking at a logbook, using their GPS, retrieving something from the seat, changing the radio station, eating, and so on. A split second of inattention is all it takes to create a catastrophic accident.
There are several safety regulations that apply to trucking businesses and the drivers who work for them. Unfortunately, some businesses flout the laws and allow untrained drivers to operate a large semi-truck.
Because truck drivers are virtually always paid by the load, they are usually in a hurry to make a delivery. As a result, cars may speed, run red lights or stop signs, and so on. Large trucks, in general, are more difficult to control. Driving too quickly for the conditions can lead to disaster.
Fatigue in the Driver
Another advantage of being paid by the load is that drivers are willing to go the extra mile, even if they are weary. That is why truck drivers are limited in the number of hours and days they can work.
Some trucking businesses, predictably, will tell their drivers to disobey the restrictions or force them to work longer than the federal law allows. Accidents are more likely when drivers are tired on the road. Truck drivers who fall asleep behind the wheel endanger the lives of many people, including their own.
Driving While Intoxicated
While this isn’t necessarily a nationwide issue, it only takes one inebriated huge truck driver to get behind the wheel when they shouldn’t. Drinking and driving isn’t the only way to get behind the wheel when inebriated. It includes anyone who is driving while under the influence of prescription, over-the-counter, or illegal substances.
Inspections and maintenance aren’t done as often as they should be
Drivers have a responsibility to ensure that their trucks are in good operating order and that they are safe to drive on the road. If something breaks down when the driver is moving large goods, failure to do so could result in a disastrous accident.
Products with flaws
A semi-truck driver who fails to inspect his or her trucks risks the risk of being on the road when something goes wrong. Defective brakes or tires, for example, could cause a blowout or other malfunction, resulting in a fatal accident.
When a truck driver crashes your car and injures you, you have the right to file a claim for compensation for your losses.
Damages Involved in a Truck Accident Claim
Truck accidents frequently result in life-altering injuries to people in smaller passenger vehicles. Our attorneys are familiar with the types of damages that can be sustained in a truck accident, as well as the severity of those damages. We will work tirelessly to guarantee that you receive complete compensation for your losses. The following are examples of common damages seen in truck accident claims by our attorneys:
Disfigurement and disability
A person’s injuries in a truck collision might be very awful. Amputation injuries, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries are among the most serious injuries. A person may be left with a permanent impairment as well as probable disfigurement as a result of these injuries.
Injuries not only limit one’s skill and future prospects, but they also cost a lot of money to treat. Even if you’ve only had minor injuries, it’s unlikely that your medical bills will be “small.” The expense of healthcare in the United States is in the tens of thousands of dollars. You could be looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills if you stayed in the hospital, had surgery, or needed other procedures and treatments.
Physical and cognitive capacities deteriorate
Some injuries are never completely healed. Residual injuries and discomfort can cause a person’s physical and/or cognitive abilities to deteriorate. This can affect not only one’s day-to-day activities, but it can also prevent one from working and earning money in the future. Our attorneys will fight for your right to reimbursement for all of your lost wages, both past and future.
Loss of pleasure in life
Injuries, particularly those that do not heal completely over time, frequently result in a loss of enjoyment in life. You undoubtedly deserve compensation, despite the fact that it is intangible and hence more difficult to assess.
Expenses for property damage
Finally, if a heavy truck collides with your car, it’s extremely likely that it will be totaled. This means that, in addition to your other losses, you have likely incurred thousands of dollars in property damage charges.
You may also be entitled to punitive damages in certain circumstances. In circumstances of extreme negligence or malice, courts can award punitive damages. These damages are limited to the greater of $200,000 or twice the amount of economic losses plus an equivalent amount of noneconomic damages, up to a total of $750,000 under Texas law.
What to Do After a Semi-Truck Accident in Texas
The actions you take right after an accident can have an impact on your personal injury claim. If you are not seriously harmed and it is safe to do so, attempt to take images of the scene with your phone.
Take photos of the vehicles in their current positions, including any debris or skid marks in the area, as soon as possible after the accident. Is there anything else worth mentioning, such as the weather, traffic dangers, construction, and so on?
Although your vehicle may be totaled as a result of the collision, maintaining it may be critical to your claim. That is one of the reasons why you should contact a Texas semi-truck accident attorney right away. Your lawyer will know what measures to take to get your insurance company to hold off on disposing of the vehicle until an accident reconstructionist can inspect it.
It is critical that you see a doctor as soon as possible if you are not removed from the scene by an ambulance. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your injuries are insignificant. Internal injuries that aren’t visible to the human eye could be present.
Waiting to see a doctor also provides more material for the at-fault party’s insurance company to use against you. They will argue that your injuries were not severe or that something else happened in the interval to cause your injuries if you wait to seek medical attention.
When reporting the accident to the insurance providers, be cautious in your discussions with them. The truck driver’s insurance company will request a recorded statement from you in the hopes that you will say something that will make you liable for the accident.
You should not give a recorded statement unless you have first spoken with a Texas truck accident lawyer. The best method to safeguard your rights in the claims process is to hire an attorney as soon as possible after a serious injury.
In Texas, how does insurance work?
You must file a claim against the proper insurance party in order to recover the full worth of the damages listed above (while it is possible to file a lawsuit directly against the at-fault party, typically, damages are paid by an insurance company; most people cannot afford to pay personal injury claim damages out-of-pocket).
The state of Texas has an at-fault insurance system, which means that those who cause accidents are liable for their costs. You will submit a claim against the trucking company’s insurance if the truck accident was caused by the truck driver’s or the trucking company’s negligence. If a third-party motorist caused the collision, file a claim against that party’s insurance.
Of course, other parties (apart from drivers) are sometimes to blame. A cargo shipper or loader, as well as a vehicle part maker, fall within this category. Our attorneys can evaluate your claim and assist you in determining who should be held accountable.
Damages and Proof of Fault
You must be able to prove that the at-fault party’s carelessness was the proximate cause of your injuries in order to pursue a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance. Our attorneys can assist you in gathering the necessary evidence, including:
- Data from a truck’s “black box”;
- Logbooks of drivers;
- Reports on truck maintenance and inspection;
- Testimonies from eyewitnesses;
- Obtain photographic proof;
- reports from the police; and
- There’s more.
Texas is a state that uses a modified comparative negligence system. Even if you were partially at blame for the accident, you may still be able to recover a portion of your damages. You can’t have a higher percentage of negligence than the truck driver.
If you are 49 percent at fault, for example, you can recover 51 percent of your damages. You would not be entitled to any compensation if a jury found you 51 percent guilty.
Negotiating a Settlement for a Truck Accident
When you submit a claim against the at-fault party’s insurer, the insurer will either deny your claim or make you an offer. Before you accept a settlement offer, keep in mind that first-time offers are typically modest.
It is critical that you initially have a qualified personal injury lawyer analyze the settlement on your behalf. You have the right to reject a settlement offer if it is less than what you believe you deserve. Then you can ask for a greater compensation amount. If a settlement cannot be made, a Texas truck accident lawyer can file a lawsuit and litigate your case.
Limitations on Liability in Truck Accidents
Another incentive to hire an attorney is to gain a better understanding of the law and the many criteria that go along with filing a truck accident claim.
The state’s statute of limitations is an important consideration. This is the maximum amount of time you have to file a claim for damages. You have two years from the date of your truck accident to file a claim under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 16.003; if you wait more than two years, you will lose your right to damages.
Large Truck Accidents in Texas: Frequently Asked Questions
Prospective clients understandably have a lot of questions about huge truck accidents in Texas. Here are some answers to some of our most frequently asked questions to help you prepare for your initial session.
Do I Need a Texas Truck Wreck Attorney?
You are not required by law to employ a lawyer to defend you in a truck accident, but it is strongly advised. These kinds of allegations are frequently complex. There could be several defendants pointing fingers at one another, as well as different causes of action.
These major corporations are represented by experienced attorneys who may try to coerce you into accepting a smaller settlement. Don’t put your settlement amount at danger by processing your claim on your own. Allow an experienced Texas truck lawyer to represent you.
Should I Accept the Settlement Offer from the Insurance Company?
As previously stated, the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster will go to any length to minimize their exposure. You require the assistance of a legal advocate who will assist you in obtaining the greatest compensation feasible. Never sign a release of all claims and an agreement to receive a specific amount without first consulting a Texas truck attorney.
If you sign a release of all claims, you won’t be able to go back to the insurance company and seek for more money if you require more treatment or surgery in the future. When insurance companies believe your case will be worth a lot of money, they may strive to settle it as soon as possible to prevent having to pay for future treatment or a permanent impairment.
What Does it Cost to Hire a Truck Attorney in Texas?
The majority of personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means you will not be charged any hourly fees or expenditures up front. Instead, the lawyer takes a cut of whatever money you collect on their behalf. A normal fee agreement can be 33 percent or 40% of your settlement, for example. They’ll take a third of the money if your lawsuit is settled for $100,000 to cover their expenses and court costs.
Remember that if your attorney does not recover anything in your case, you are usually not responsible for anything, even court expenses. Because attorneys work on a contingency basis, you may rest assured that your lawyer will work tirelessly for you because their fees are proportional to the amount of money you obtain.