The Texas Truck Accident Guide was created by Willumsen Law Firm PC to help residents who have suffered from a truck accident obtain compensation.
Were you seriously injured in a truck accident caused by someone else? Our truck accident lawyers are so sorry for what you are going through. We can’t know the pain you are experiencing, but we can shoulder the stress of pursuing a legal case for you. Our experienced lawyers have helped many people like you get the full and fair compensation they deserve for their truck accident injuries. Call us for your free consultation today and let us get you started down the road to justice.
How to Tell if You Have a Case
As you recover from your accident injuries, you are likely not only recovering physically, but also coming to terms mentally and emotionally with your injuries and with the impact it may have on your future. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed right now, especially with the idea of adding an accident claim to everything else you are dealing with. If you don’t know where to start and aren’t even sure you have a truck accident case, let us help. Call for your free consultation today. Our knowledgeable lawyers know how to sift through the details of your case to give you guidance to make the right decision.
When looking at all the possibilities of accidents involving commercial trucks, one of the biggest causes of accidents between cars and 18-wheelers is error on the part of the truckdriver. These encompass (but aren’t limited to) things like equipment problems, drug use, distracted driving, bald tires, defective brakes, and driver fatigue.
Trucking companies are required to test their drivers for drug and alcohol use to qualify for employment, and random drug tests are required for on-duty drivers. Trucking companies must also test a driver involved in an accident that results in a fatality.
The state’s department of transportation sets the regulations for truckers with regard to everything from inspections to issuing licenses, and state laws dictate speed limits and even sleep requirements for commercial truckers. There are many aspects to a truck accident case, as well as many potential liable parties. Call our truck accident lawyers can give you guidance and clarification on the specific aspects of your case.
The liable party’s insurance company is going to show up with a team of lawyers intent on protecting their interests, which include paying out as little as possible for claims. You need to know that it’s tougher to prove liability after an accident with a truck than it is for a car-to-car collision. Our truck accident lawyers have encountered cases just like yours and want to get you the full compensation you deserve. We are dedicated to protecting your rights and fighting to bring you justice. Call today for your free initial consultation.
What’s the Value of Your Truck Accident Case?
If you’re considering opening a truck accident case, it’s understandable to want to know what the case is worth. The answer will hinge on many factors, including the details of your specific case and the strength of the evidence against the liable party. Our lawyers know how to investigate and record evidence in truck accident cases to build a solid foundation for your case. The sooner they can begin, the stronger your case will be. If you have questions about the value of your truck accident case, contact our Truck accident lawyers today. We’re here to help you get the compensation you deserve.
What Type of Damages Are Available?
When pursuing damages in a truck accident case, two types will be considered. The first is economic. Like it sounds, this type has to do with damage you have incurred to your financial circumstances, by way of medical expenses and lost wages due to inability to work now and in the future. These things can be estimated based on information you already have, such as accident-related medical bills and pre-accident wage information.
Non-economic damages are more subjective, and they things like the emotional impact of the accident, pain and suffering, and loss of the quality of life now and in the future. These things may be more difficult to quantify but are no less important than economic damages.
Your truck accident lawyers know how to pull all of this information together to ensure that you receive as full and fair compensation as possible for your losses. Ask our truck accident lawyers if you have questions about the types of damages available for your case, including whether the circumstances make punitive damages an option. These are intended to punish the liable party if they acted in bad faith, for example, if they were blatantly reckless, dishonest, or intended to harm.
Is There a Limit on Damages for My Case?
Some states place a limit, or cap, on certain types of compensation. In some States, the limit on the time period allowed to file a truck accident claim is two years from the date of the accident. Some States have shorter time limits; therefore, you should hire a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
If the case is being brought against a government entity or employee, the window is even smaller and you may have only six months to file a claim. In addition, the claim cannot be filed against the state government as a whole, but must be filed against the specific government department or entity involved in the accident. If you have questions about filing a case against a party or department that is affiliated with the government, contact our truck accident lawyers as soon as possible for your free consultation.
Who Are the Liable Parties in a Trucking Accident?
The many potential liable parties involved in a trucking accident make truck accident cases more challenging than a collision that is between two cars. Here are some of the potentially liable parties:
- The owner of the truck/trailer
- A local government or contractor that works in highway maintenance or design
- The cargo loader
- The truck manufacturer/parts manufacturer
- The truckdriver.
Even though the truck driver works for a trucking company, the driver can be sued if the accident was caused by speeding, distracted driving, or fatigued driving— behaviors which are considered negligent. The driver can also be considered at least partly negligent if the accident involved a maintenance issue or cargo that shifted, unbalancing the load. Both the correct loading of cargo and the inspection of the trucks are often responsibilities of the driver. Even if this is the case, your lawyer will likely consider including the trucking company in the claim or another liable parties, as the driver’s insurance may not be sufficient to provide adequate compensation.
Do I have a Case if the Driver Owns the Truck?
The short answer is Yes. The court will determine who is liable after assessing the relationship between driver and trucking company. Even if the driver is determined to be an independent contractor, this won’t necessarily excuse the trucking company from liability.
A few of the questions that factor in to deciding whether or not the trucking company is liable in addition to the driver are:
- Is the arrangement between driver and trucking company exclusive, or can the driver have contracts with other trucking companies?
- Can the driver refuse to haul a particular load, or must they accept all assignments?
- Is the driver’s schedule set by the trucking company with regard to routes and hours?
- How much control does the company exercise over the driver?
- How is the driver paid by the trucking company?
- Does the trucking company hide behind the driver’s status as an independent contractor to protect it from liability even despite the driver fulfilling all the same duties that would be performed by an employee?
Federal law states that the company that owns the trucking permit is responsible for the accidents of trucks that display the company name, sign, or DOT number. This is true whether the driver is an independent contractor or employee.
If you have questions about who the liable parties are in a trucking accident that you were injured by, contact our truck accident lawyers for a free consultation.
Making a Case for Success
While there are many elements of a trucking accident injury that make these cases unique, there are things that are important to remember whether your accident is with a commercial truck or a car. Keep these common mistakes in mind to help ensure you have the strongest truck accident case possible.
Don’t Skip the Medical Check
Right after an accident with a truck, some people don’t realize they are injured, and they put off going to the emergency room or skip it entirely. This is a mistake, both for safeguarding your health as well as for the strength of your case.
The stress and trauma of an accident can leave you somewhat desensitized because of the stress hormones flooding your body. While these were meant to give you a burst of energy in the days when running from a saber-toothed cat was a very real necessity, it can also make you less sensitive to pain right after an accident. If you skip the hospital as a result, the health risks can be significant. You are the primary concern immediately following an accident, so don’t talk yourself out of getting checked out by medical professionals right away.
Going to the hospital has the additional benefit of establishing a timeline and record of the accident. Believe it or not, the insurance company will probably capitalize on your failure to seek medical attention after an accident, using it as evidence that you weren’t injured to the degree you claim. If you wait too long, they may even get away with saying you weren’t injured on the day of the accident. Any injuries you do exhibit could have happened in the days or weeks following the accident, they might claim.
Don’t give the insurance company the wiggle room to get away with sliding out of paying you the compensation you deserve. Another way to prevent them from doing this is to avoid the mistake of giving them a recorded statement after the accident. They will almost certainly attempt to speak to you. The insurance company is not being friendly— they are working to gather information they can use to reduce the value of your claim or shut it down entirely. Even if a recorded statement you provide doesn’t necessarily reduce the value of your claim, they can use what you’ve said to make you think it will, and try to get you to commit a third mistake, accepting a lowball settlement.
When you are still trying to get your life back to normal after a traumatic accident with a commercial truck, you can count on feeling vulnerable. You will likely be healing emotionally as well as physically. The overwhelmed, vulnerable place you are in is not a place from which to deal with the insurance company. Your best bet is to not even speak to them. Our truck accident lawyers are experienced in anticipating and dealing with insurance company tactics. Call us today and let us communicate with them for you. We want to protect your rights and get you the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Frequently Asked Truck Accident Questions
How do I select the best truck accident attorney?
If you are searching for a truck accident lawyer, that sadly means that you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident or perhaps have even suffered a wrongful death. One of the most common questions that people in your situation ask is, “How do I choose the best trucking accident lawyer for my particular situation?”
Choosing a lawyer is one of the most important decisions that you will make. We suggest that you interview at least two personal injury truck accident lawyers, just like you would get a second opinion if your doctor told you that you needed to have surgery. When you interview these truck accident lawyers, consider asking the following:
1. “Are you a board-certified personal injury trial lawyer?”
2. “What actual experience do you have trying cases to a jury?”
3. “Will you give me your personal cell phone number so we can stay in close communication throughout the case?”
If you choose to contact us for a free consultation, we will be happy to answer those questions and any other questions that you may have.
How long is it going to take to resolve my truck accident injury claim?
One of the most common questions that we get is, “How long is it going to take to resolve my truck accident case?” The correct answer to that question and the only answer is, “It depends.”
There are a variety of variables that come into play when you’re dealing with a truck accident case. These include scene investigation, interviewing witnesses, recovering data from something similar to a black box, doing measurements at the scene, and most importantly, what your injuries are and how long it’s going to take for those injuries to heal.
We also need to consider your medical treatment. What are the costs associated with that treatment? Have you lost wages? Will you require treatment at some point in the future? These are all important questions that we’re not going to know the answer to right away. It takes time to develop these cases, and it takes time to find out what the harm is that has been done to you and your family. If you contact us for a free consultation, we would be happy to discuss this and any other question that you may have.
How do I determine the value of my truck accident claim?
We recently got a phone call from a client in San Antonio who asked, “What is my case worth? What is the value of my case?” This is actually a very common question that we get and, unfortunately, it’s a very difficult question to answer. There are a lot of variables that come into play when you try to determine the value of any particular case. For example, what types of injuries do you have? What is the cost of your medical care, and do you need medical care at some point in the future? Have you lost wages or income? Have you lost time from work? Have you been impaired in some way where you are no longer able to do the things you did before the truck accident, such as play sports or enjoy hobbies that you may have?
All of these things get evaluated when all the evidence has been collected. At that point, the lawyer can give you a reasonable estimate of what the value of your case is, but not before that time. If you choose to contact us for a free consultation, we would be happy to discuss these issues as they relate to your particular case and any other questions that you may have.
What are common mistakes people make if they have been injured in a truck accident?
A couple of months ago we got a phone call from a young lady who had been involved in a trucking accident. We asked her when it happened. She said, “Oh, it happened a year ago, maybe a little bit more or a little bit less.” One of the most important questions that people ask is, “What are some of the common mistakes that I should avoid making in order to best prepare and present my truck accident case?” This is one of them.
First and foremost, you should hire an attorney immediately. An attorney can hire experts that can get the information that you need in order to prove your case. An important point to make here is what happened and what you can prove happened are two different things. By hiring an attorney early, you’re able to go out to the scene, look for skid marks, get downloads from the trucks, and even look for video evidence. It’s very important to hire an attorney early to begin the investigation before the evidence and the witnesses disappear.
The second thing is to go and see a doctor if you’re hurt. Be sure to document all of your injuries and be sure to follow the treatment plan that the doctor prepares for you. The final mistake that people make is they give a recorded statement to the insurance company that represents the trucking company. That is something we would never recommend that you do without your lawyer present.
If you have any more questions about that or anything else, contact us for a free consultation. We’ll be happy to discuss those and any other issues that you may have.
Is it a good idea to talk to the insurance company about my truck accident case?
Recently, we got a phone call from a man who had given a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster. After he gave the statement, he never heard from them again. One of our attorneys had a chance to speak to the adjuster, and the adjuster said that the reason they did not agree to pay any further medical expenses or any further lost wages was because the gentleman had said in the statement that he was fine.
We got our hands on that statement. The way the statement started was, “Good afternoon, my name is so-and-so. I’m the adjuster. How are you doing today?” The gentleman answered, “Thank you. I’m fine.” That little statement was used against him and deprived him of proper medical care for a long period of time until he came to see us.
If you have any questions and wish to consult with us in a free consultation, we’ll be happy to discuss this or any other issue with you.
How is a commercial truck accident claim different from an auto accident?
A few weeks ago, we received a phone call from a gentleman in Dallas who had been involved in a trucking accident. He wanted to know what the differences were between a trucking accident, involving a truck or 18-wheeler, and a car accident. There are big differences between the two.
First of all, trucks, 18-wheelers are governed by federal law and federal regulation, and these regulations set out safety rules to make the trucking industry safer. However, if a trucking company does not follow these safety rules, and that results in an accident in which someone gets hurt, then the trucking company and their insurance company are responsible for that injury or that accident.
The other difference is that trucking companies are required to carry insurance. There are states where that’s not required in a car, for example. Since trucking companies are required to have insurance, there is the ability to compensate you for your injuries and the harm that’s been done to you and your family.
If you contact us for a free consultation, we will be happy to discuss the differences between trucking accidents and car accidents with you or any other questions that you may have.
Do you recommend taking the insurance companies initial offer?
Very often, we get phone calls from potential clients saying an insurance company has made a settlement offer on their claim. First of all, you should never, ever accept the first offer that an insurance company makes to you to resolve your claim. The first offer is part of a strategy by the insurance company to try their best to pay you as little as possible. If the question is, “Should I accept the first offer made to me by the insurance company?” the answer is an absolute no.
If you contact us for a free consultation, we will be happy to discuss this issue and any other issue that you may have.
Will my truck accident case go to trial?
We recently got a phone call from a client who wanted to know, “How do I know whether my case will go to trial or whether my case will settle?” Most cases do settle before trial; that requires, however, that the insurance company for the trucking company acts reasonably. They need to be willing to attend a mediation or otherwise negotiate fairly.
As long as the insurance company is reasonable and fair, your case can be resolved without the need for a trial. However, if the insurance company is unreasonable, then there is a chance that your case will be going to trial. Our job, in every case, is to prepare the case as if it has to go to trial.
If you have questions about whether or not your particular case will need to go to trial, the answer will depend in large part on the trucking company and its insurance company how they respond to the demand that we will make on your behalf when the time is right. If you choose to contact me for a free consultation, I’ll be happy to discuss these issues and any other issues that you may have with you.
How much does it cost to hire an attorney for a truck accident?
One of the most common questions we get from potential clients is, “What is it going to cost to hire you to be my truck accident lawyer?” Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee agreement. What that means is that there will be no upfront cost to you to hire an attorney at our firm. We pay all the expenses associated with your case, including the cost of experts and court fees. When your case settles or a jury awards you money, we get reimbursed for those expenses and also receive a percentage of the money that was recovered.
If you contact us for a free consultation, we’ll be happy to discuss the fee arrangements that personal injury truck accident lawyers have with their clients and any other questions that you may have.
What type of compensation could I ask for in a truck accident case?
A new client called recently and asked, “What kind of compensation can I ask for in my trucking accident case?” In a trucking accident case, there are two types of damages or compensation that you can ask for. One is economic losses, including medical expenses that you have incurred as part of your treatment plan, maybe lost wages if you missed time from work, or any other out-of-pocket expense that you’ve had to front because of the trucking accident. That compensation is fairly straightforward to determine because we have the bills, we know how much you were paid at work, and so on.
The other category of compensation that you can recover are what we call non-economic damages. These involve pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, perhaps disfigurement such as in a dog bite case, or compensation for total harm that has befallen you and your family. Those particular categories of compensation require you to explain and articulate your pain, your anguish, and your emotional distress. That is something that we will help you do.
If you contact us for a free consultation, we’ll be happy to discuss the issue of compensation and damages or any other questions that you may have.
If I have a pre-existing condition, will that impact my truck accident case?
A few weeks ago, we received a phone call from an older gentleman who was concerned that a preexisting condition would prevent him from getting compensation after his knee was re-injured or aggravated in a trucking accident. The law allows you to recover compensation if you re-injure or aggravate a preexisting condition, assuming that the medical care and the treatment that you receive is because of the truck accident itself and doesn’t date back to when you first injured your knee.
Yes, if you have a preexisting condition, you’re still eligible to make a claim for compensation if you need treatment as a result of the trucking accident. If you contact us for a free consultation, we’d be happy to further discuss the issue of preexisting conditions with you and any other questions that you may have.
Should I wait to hire a lawyer for my truck accident claim?
We recently received a phone call from a lady wanting to know how long she should wait before she hired a lawyer to help her with her 18-wheeler accident. This is a very common question that people have when they have been involved in a trucking accident. The answer to that question is you should hire an attorney immediately. The reason is that the attorney needs to be able to investigate what happened, and the best time to do that is as soon as possible after the collision itself. That allows the lawyer to go to the scene, investigate the scene, take photographs, look for skid marks or other markings in the road, and maybe even look for witnesses that may have been on the scene.
The other thing is the lawyer will have the ability to take photographs of the vehicles involved before they get repaired or sent off to some unknown location. Also, truck accident cases are unique in that most trucks have data recorders or black boxes. An attorney can hire someone to go and download that information. That data will tell us the speed of the truck, whether it was turning, and a lot of other information that may be very helpful in showing that the truck caused the accident that caused you to be injured. Also, the lawyer can interview witnesses. If you wait three months, a year, those witnesses will not remember what they saw or heard, or at least their memory will not be as strong as a couple of days after the crash.
If you have been involved in a trucking accident, it’s very important that you hire a lawyer immediately to fully investigate the crash on your behalf. If you contact us for a free consultation, we’d be happy to discuss this or any other questions that you may have.
Do I need experts to help prove my trucking case?
We have a client in Corpus Christi who has a lot of good questions. One of those questions was, “Do we need experts to help prove my trucking case?” The answer to that, generally speaking, is yes. When you are involved in a trucking accident, there are a lot of unique issues that come into play, such as hiring an expert to do the download of the black box data that is in the truck. Also, you may have to hire an expert to reconstruct how the entire accident took place, based on the black box data, eyewitness testimony, and of course the client’s point of view, as well as other information that an expert can gather.
Sometimes, you also need to have experts to prove your medical case. For example, your doctor could provide medical testimony connecting the accident to your injuries. Sometimes, we need to hire an economist to calculate the wages that you may lose in the future, if you’re not able to go back to the same job that you had before the truck accident. Of course, if there is alcohol involved, then we have to hire a toxicologist to determine the alcohol level of the truck driver or any other driver involved at the time of the collision.
Yes, most trucking cases, most 18-wheeler cases do require some experts and the number of experts depends on the particular circumstances of your particular situation. If you contact us for a free consultation, we will be happy to discuss the issue of experts with you or any other questions that you may have.
Call Our Texas Truck Accident Lawyers
If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident with a commercial truck due to someone else’s negligence or carelessness, take care of yourself. Get medical attention right away and call our Texas truck accident lawyers as quickly as possible. We know how to sort through the complex details of truck accident cases. We can’t take away your physical pain as you heal, but we can help take the strain of getting justice off of your shoulders. Call us today to get started. We have the knowledge and resources to conduct a solid accident investigation, plan your case strategy, and handle the paperwork. We’ll take on communications with the insurance company on your behalf, and if necessary, we’ll go to trial and fight to protect your rights. Call today.
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