An accident with a large truck can be a terrifying and devastating experience, leaving victims with serious, and perhaps life-threatening, injuries. When you have been injured in a large truck crash in Texas, or if you have suffered the loss of a loved one as a result of a truck accident, you need a skilled and experienced lawyer on your side.
At The Seerden Law Firm, PLLC, our passionate Houston truck accident lawyer can represent you in your claim for damages and help you to understand what you need to know about recovering compensation when a truck accident changes your life.
Regardless of how important large trucks may be, there is no doubt that trucks are also dangerous, too. There were more than 35,500 commercial vehicle-involved crashes in the state of Texas in a single year, as reported by the Texas Department of Transportation.
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Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Truck Crash?
Texas tort liability laws hold that a party who negligently causes injuries to another is liable for damages that result. In a truck accident claim, this means that in order to recover compensation for any damages, the plaintiff must be able to identify the at-fault party and prove that the accident would not have occurred but for the at-fault party’s negligence.
In a truck accident, there are multiple parties whose negligence may have potentially contributed to the crash. Examples of these parties include:
- The truck driver. Many large truck accidents are caused by the negligence of the truck driver. Examples of negligence including driving while fatigued, violating hours of service requirements, driving while intoxicated or impaired, driving aggressively, driving while distracted, speeding or driving too fast for conditions, performing an illegal maneuver, and more.
- A third-party driver. Sometimes, truck accidents occur because of others on the road, not the actions of the truck driver. Many of the same negligent actions listed above can also be committed by drivers of standard passenger vehicles. Drunk driving, driving while distracted, and speeding are especially common and dangerous. A truck accident may also be caused if a passenger vehicle is driving within a large truck’s blind spots, attempting to pass a truck on the right-hand side of the vehicle, or cuts off a truck when changing lanes
- A shipper or loader of cargo. One of the scariest types of truck accidents is one caused by a shift in cargo. Once the cargo begins to shift, there is often nothing that the truck driver can do if the weight shift is significant. When cargo shifts, the truck may sway significantly to one side or another. The truck may jackknife or may even roll over. If the cargo shift was a result of improperly loaded or secured cargo, the shipper or loader of this cargo may be held liable for damages that result from the accident.
- The trucking company. A trucking company may be held liable for two primary reasons. First, if the trucking company committed an act of negligence, it may be held liable. For example, if the trucking company failed to maintain or service its trucks, failed to conduct background checks on drivers or properly train drivers, or did something else outside of the standard of care owed that caused the accident, the trucking company could be held liable. The trucking company may also be held liable for the actions of the truck driver, even if the trucking company did not itself do something negligent. This is based on the theory of respondeat superior, which holds that an employer is responsible for the acts of its employees, so long as the actions were committed during the course of employment.
- A truck part manufacturer. Sometimes, truck accidents are not caused by the actions of any of the drivers involved, but instead as a result of a defective and dangerous vehicle or vehicle part. If a truck accident is the result of a product defect, such as defective brakes, steering defects, defective tires, control system defects, etc., the manufacturer or/and the distributor of the vehicle or vehicle part could be held liable.
- A municipality. Finally, while less common, some truck accidents are caused by road hazards, such as improper or lack of signage, potholes, poorly marked construction zones, a lack of guardrails, and other dangers. When a truck accident would not have occurred but for a municipality’s failure to maintain roads in a safe condition, the municipality may be liable.
Do you think someone else might have been to blame for your truck accident? Call The Seerden Law Firm, PLLC today so we can start investigating your crash.
Why Truck Accident Cases Are More Complicated
Truck accidents are more complicated than traditional passenger car vehicle claims, in large part because of the large number of potentially liable parties. In a passenger vehicle accident, most of the time, there are only two potentially liable parties: each of the drivers.
But it’s not just an issue of liability that makes truck accident claims more complicated. These claims are also more complex because of the severity of truck accidents. The average passenger car weighs about 4,000 pounds A big rig can weigh more than 80,000 pounds – 20 times more than a car. This means that the force involved in a large truck accident is 20 times that of the force involved in a passenger car collision, and damages are much more severe. Cars may be completely destroyed, and any occupants of the smaller vehicle involved may be left with catastrophic injuries that affect them for life.
Evidence in a Houston Truck Accident Claim
The victim of a large truck accident will need to be able to prove the fault of the liable party in order to recover compensation for the damages that they have suffered. In order to do this, evidence will need to be collected.
Our truck accident attorneys can assist you in this process so that you can focus on your recovery. Types of evidence necessary in a Houston truck accident claim may include:
- Police reports. A police report can provide valuable information that can lead to clues about how the accident occurred, such as the position of the vehicles post-collision. Sometimes, a police report will even include a statement about who the officer believes to be at fault for the accident and why. Keep in mind, though, that the police do not have final say on civil liability for a crash.
- Witnesses’ testimonies. One of the most valuable types of evidence in a truck accident claim is that of witness statements. An eyewitness who has no skin in the game is a credible source, and insurance adjusters will likely be eager to hear more about what a witness saw, and whether they can provide any insight as to whose negligence caused the crash.
- Truck “black box” data. A truck’s black box, or event data recorder, can provide details about factors like how fast the truck was going at the time of the collision, when the truck started braking, and more. It can also provide information about the number of hours the truck was driven, which may be evidence to prove that a driver breached the federal hours of service requirement set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
- Driver’s logs. Truck drivers are required to keep logs documenting when they drive, for how long, and for how far. These logs can be used to prove a violation of the FMCSA’s standards and the liability of the truck driver or trucking company.
- Accident reconstruction experts’ opinions. Fault can be difficult to determine in a large truck crash, and sometimes, accident reconstruction experts are called to make sense of truck crash causation. These experts are trained in reconstructing accidents, and their opinions will be very valuable to an insurance adjuster or a jury.
- Vehicle design experts. If there is evidence to show that a truck accident was perhaps caused by a vehicle defect, a vehicle design expert may be called in to determine whether a defect existed, the type of defect (design or manufacturing defect), and whether or not the defective part was the proximate cause of the truck accident.
In addition to the above, things like photographs of the accident, medical bills and hospital records, your doctor’s statement, a personal journal detailing your recovery post-accident, and more may also be valuable forms of evidence that could be used to prove fault and establish the damages you have suffered – another very important element of a truck accident claim.
How Our Houston Truck Accident Attorneys Can Make a Difference for You
It can be virtually impossible to build your truck accident claim by yourself when you are recovering from serious injuries. In fact, you may be confined to a hospital bed for days or weeks on end, and when you are released, you may not possess the mobility or the energy to spend your hours collecting evidence and negotiating with insurance adjusters.
When you call the Houston truck accident lawyers from The Seerden Law Firm, PLLC, you can count on an advocate who will manage all elements of your claim on your behalf. This begins with a free consultation.
Then, our lawyer can hire experts and professionals to work on your case and thoroughly investigate your accident, handle all legal elements of your claim, including filing your claim and demanding damages, calculate the damages you’ve suffered, and negotiate your truck accident settlement amount.
Our lawyer is board-certified in personal injury trial law, and can confidently litigate your truck accident case if necessary.
Compensation After a Truck Accident Injury
You have the right to seek compensation for the full extent of your injuries and related losses from a truck crash. This includes compensation for:
- Economic losses. Economic losses are financial losses suffered, such as property damage costs, medical expenses, costs of any home renovations to accommodate for your injuries, lost wages, and more.
- Noneconomic losses. You also deserve to be compensated for your noneconomic losses, such as the value of your pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, diminished quality of life, loss of relationships, and more.
If you have questions about how much your claim is worth, talk to our lawyer. We can help you calculate the potential value of your claim before you start the process.
How Long Do You Have to File a Truck Accident Claim in Texas?
Per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 16.003, you only have two years from the date of the accident to file your truck accident claim for damages. If you wait longer than two years’ time, you will be permanently barred from recovery.
Tips for Protecting Your Rights After a Truck Crash
By following the tips below, you can protect your right to file a claim and improve your chances of recovering the compensation amount you deserve:
- Report the truck accident to the police.
- File a claim with your insurance company and give them notice of the accident immediately.
- Seek medical care.
- Keep thorough records of all expenses related to the accident.
- Don’t admit fault to the other driver, the insurer, or the police.
- Follow your doctor’s orders.
- Hire a Houston semi truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
If you have more questions about how to protect your rights after a crash, just call our lawyer today.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Houston Truck Accident Lawyer Today
A consultation about your truck accident with Attorney Andrew Seerden of The Seerden Law Firm, PLLC is offered completely free of charge. You can schedule your consultation now by sending our law firm an online message or calling directly now.
Featured Truck Accidents FAQs
Featured Truck Accident FAQs
For Personal Injury Cases: You don’t pay anything unless we recover money for you. In almost every personal injury case, we work for a percentage of the settlement or judgment. Our fee is 33 1/3% if the case settles without litigation or 40% with litigation (once a lawsuit is filed). We pay for court costs and other reasonable and necessary expenses and deduct these amounts from the client’s portion of any recovery. If there is no recovery, you do not owe us any case costs or expenses.
For Business Litigations & Consumer Cases: We are open to different fee structures including pure contingency, flat fee, hourly, and different combinations thereof. We are willing to discuss options to make our services most cost effective to you or your business.
In a personal injury case, you are generally entitled to money damages for past and future medical bills, lost wages, earning capacity, pain and suffering, disfigurement, disability, impairment, loss of quality of life and other damages. This list of damages is a general listing. Some may not apply to your claim and there may be others that do apply which are not listed here.
Because insurance companies and corporations are in business to make a profit and they will likely not offer you a fair settlement without an attorney. You cannot get a fair settlement unless you know how much your claim is really worth. It is not the claims adjuster’s job to tell you how to get the most from him. It’s his/her job to pay you the least you will take so as to save the company money.
- The truck driver.
- A third-party driver.
- A shipper or loader of cargo.
- The trucking company. A trucking company may be held liable for two primary reasons. First, if the trucking company committed an act of negligence, it may be held liable.
- A truck part manufacturer. Sometimes, truck accidents are not caused by the actions of any of the drivers involved, but instead as a result of a defective and dangerous vehicle or vehicle part.
- A municipality. Finally, while less common, some truck accidents are caused by road hazards, such as improper or lack of signage, potholes, poorly marked construction zones, a lack of guardrails, and other dangers.
These claims are also more complex because of the severity of truck accidents. The average passenger car weighs about 4,000 pounds A big rig can weigh more than 80,000 pounds – 20 times more than a car.