Commercial trucks are necessary for the economy in the United States. Big rigs and 18-wheelers must exist on the same roads and highways as smaller passenger vehicles to transport cargo. Unfortunately, this can create hazards for noncommercial drivers. Despite efforts by federal and state governments to ensure the safety of the trucking industry, many companies and individuals breach duties of care and cause collisions.
In addition to Texas rules of the road, the trucking industry is governed by federal and state laws. Trucking companies and employee drivers are required to comply with specific guidelines and restrictions to keep our roads as safe as possible. It is critical to understand all applicable laws and to thoroughly investigate the accident to determine if there were any violations of federal or state commercial vehicle laws.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a truck accident in Austin, you may be eligible for compensation from a negligent or reckless party. Please contact the Villarreal & Begum Law Firm today for a free initial consultation with an Austin personal injury lawyer. Our attorneys know the law, and they know how to handle truck accident cases. We have access to many resources to help prove our truck accident claims. Our attorneys have important contacts, such as medical professionals and accident reconstruction experts that are often enlisted to help with truck accident consultation, evaluation, and testimony.
We have the investigative and resource tools necessary to help determine accident cause, fault, and liable parties. There are many legal complexities involved in truck accident cases. Multiple parties and insurance companies are often responsible for commercial vehicle accidents and the resulting injuries and damages.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a truck accident, an experienced attorney can help you get the compensation that you deserve. To maximize your compensation, your attorney will help evaluate your injuries and determine your total losses suffered. An attorney working in your best interests will take the time and utilize the necessary resources to accurately calculate your claim value before advising you to accept a settlement offer.
An attorney will also help you in settlement negotiations to ensure that you only accept a settlement that provides you with full and fair compensation. Insurance companies typically undervalue claims and make initial offers that are unfair to injured claimants. Agreeing to a low offer can result in unpaid medical bills and other out of pocket expenses for your accident-related injuries and damages.
Defendants and their representatives are not permitted to contact you directly when you have an attorney in your injury claim. Your attorney will take care of negotiations and communications with defendants and their insurance companies. Your attorney will also prepare and file all of your paperwork before applicable deadlines so that you do not lose your right to collect compensation from the defendant.
Texas is a modified comparative fault state. After an 18-wheeler accident, you or your lawyer must identify the at-fault party before you can file an insurance claim. The driver, company or party that is most responsible for causing your trucking accident may owe you compensation for your damages.
Common truck accidents include lost cargo loads, override/underride accidents, jackknifes, rollovers, overweight truck accidents, and drunk driving accidents.
At the Villarreal & Begum Law Firm, we have the resources and personnel to investigate semi-truck accidents in Austin. We can return to where the traffic accident happened to gather evidence. Then we can bring a strong claim against one or more defendants on your behalf. Start with a free consultation where you can tell us your story.
There are significant differences between truck accidents and car accidents, such as the state and federal regulations that govern the trucking industry and are described in more detail below. Another major difference is injuries in truck accidents are often more severe than car accident injuries due to the size and mass of large commercial trucks. Unfortunately, truck accident injuries can be devastating and catastrophic. Many car accidents involve one defendant driver, but as mentioned above, there is usually more than one defendant in truck accident cases.
State and federal trucking regulations are meant to keep our roadways safe. Violations of those regulations can be helpful in proving the defendants’ negligence. Some of the most frequently violated trucking regulations include the following:
Although there are always accident risks when using public roads in Texas, large trucks present unique accident and injury risks. As discussed above, truck accident injuries are often more severe than accidents involving regular sized vehicles. When truck accidents occur, people outside of the truck, such as pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles, typically sustain the most serious injuries.
Unfortunately, truck accident injuries can lead to permanent disability or death. Permanent disabilities often require lifelong medical care and treatments. Your financial award may include compensation for future medical expenses and loss of earning capacity if those injuries limit your ability to work. Family members who have lost loved ones in truck accidents may be entitled to compensation under a Texas wrongful death claim.
Truck accidents can occur in the same manner as any other automobile collision, but some accident circumstances are specific to truck accidents. For example, commercial vehicles usually transport cargo which can be problematic when contents fall or spill from the truck and create hazards for other road users.
Due to the size and design of large trucks, they have a tendency to roll over and jackknife, causing extreme accident conditions. Also, because of their size and mass, large trucks are harder to stop and maneuver, especially when operating at high speeds. Truck trailers sit high above the ground, making underride accidents common in commercial truck accidents. When a smaller vehicle becomes wedged underneath the trailer’s carriage, the injuries are often fatal.
Other common truck accident dangers include accidents caused by the vehicle’s height, such as striking bridges, overpasses, and other lower-lying obstacles. Trucks also have large blind spots, frequent break failures, and tire blowouts.
Colliding with an 18-wheeler can be devastating for the driver and passengers of a smaller vehicle. Injuries resulting from truck accidents can include:
Determining liability after a truck accident is critical to ensure that you are fully and fairly compensated for your losses. As mentioned above, there is often more than one defendant in truck accident cases. Truck drivers can be liable for their general negligence in truck operation and compliance with regulations. Operating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is also a common factor in truck accident cases.
Trucking companies are generally liable for truck accident damages caused by employee truck drivers. These companies are often responsible for their own negligent, reckless, and intentional conduct as well. For example, truck companies often set unreasonable expectations and encourage their drivers to ignore safe driving practices. Trucking operations can also be liable for company violations of applicable regulations and requirements.
Other potential liability includes parties responsible for maintaining the truck, truck owners, truck manufacturers, third parties involved in the accident, and anyone else whose negligent or reckless conduct caused or contributed to the truck accident.
Even if your fault contributed to the accident, under Texas’s comparative fault laws, you may still be entitled to compensation for your losses so long as you were less than 51% at fault. If you were 51% or more at fault for the accident, your injury claim for compensation is barred in Texas.
Assuming you are less than 51% at fault for the accident, compensation for your total injuries and damages would be reduced by your proportionate share of fault. For example, suppose you were 25% at fault for the accident and you sustained $100,000 in damages. Your compensation would be reduced by 25% from $100,000 to $75,000.
There are good reasons to want to settle your claim before trial, but it is important that you only settle your claim for an amount that fairly compensates you. If you settle your claim for an amount that is below the value of your claim, you may be left to pay out of pocket for some of your losses. If your injuries and damages are significant, you should seek legal advice before you accept a settlement offer.
Insurance adjusters for defendants in truck accident cases often contact injured claimants and their families after an accident to discuss the collision and injuries sustained. Adjusters often pressure claimants to settle their claims quickly and for as little as possible. If you have an attorney representing you during settlement negotiations, you are more likely to secure a settlement that fully covers your losses.
The statute of limitations is generally two years in Texas for a personal injury claim. With some exceptions, you are required to file your claim within two years after the date of the accident. If you fail to file your claim within the applicable statute of limitations, you may lose your right to secure compensation for your injuries and damages from the responsible parties. If you have legal representation, your attorney will take care of filing the necessary paperwork to preserve your right to financial recovery.
Upon identifying the cause of your truck accident, we can pursue fair and full damages for you in or out of the courtroom. Our accident lawyers can demand compensation for related losses such as your medical expenses (past and future), vehicle repairs or replacement, lost wages, lost capacity to earn, disability accommodations, legal expenses, and punitive damages. We can also fight for compensation for noneconomic damages such as physical pain, lost quality of life, and emotional distress.
If someone reasonably could have prevented the truck accident that injured you or wrongfully killed a loved one, contact our Austin truck accident lawyers for a free consultation. We can review your recent collision with no obligation to hire our firm. Call (512) 888-7777 to schedule a free truck accident case review today.