Trucks are large, powerful vehicles that are extremely useful when it comes to transporting large amounts of materials from one place to another. However, sharing the road with commercial trucks is inherently dangerous for commercial vehicles, which are likely to bear the brunt of injuries and damages when accidents occur. The sheer size of big rigs puts all other motorists at great risk of injury when involved in a collision with trucks. The variety of ways in which a person can be catastrophically injured in these types of accidents is alarming.
In Texas, truck accidents can be devastating, and you need to secure an attorney you can trust both personally and professionally. At the Villarreal & Begum Law Firm, we work for you until your issues are solved because we are dedicated to your recovery. Contact us today to speak with one of our lawyers in a free consultation.
Truck accident cases in San Antonio can become complex. These cases are not like typical car accident cases where you are dealing with only another driver and an insurance carrier. A truck accident often involves various parties, including the truck driver, the trucking company, insurance carriers, and legal teams. Your San Antonio truck accident attorney will have the resources and experience necessary to:
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for regulating the commercial truck industry in the United States. According to the FMCSA, a fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. During the latest reporting year, the U.S. saw around 148,000 total injuries and 4,761 total fatalities in large truck crashes.
The Texas DOT states that there were several thousand crashes involving large trucks during the latest reporting year. Out of those, there were:
These incidents can cause severe injuries. Our San Antonio truck accident lawyers help accident victims who have sustained the following:
Federal and state driving laws apply to every driver who operates a motor vehicle on public roads. Due to the increased risk of severe injuries in large truck accidents, additional rules and regulations govern the maintenance, service, and operation of commercial transportation vehicles. Semi-trucks are massive vehicles that present unique dangers to everyone else sharing the roads, especially when trucking rules and regulations are violated
Commercial truck laws are designed to keep all road users safe by regulating drivers, trucks, cargo, and trucking companies. After a truck accident, it is important to investigate the circumstances and gather evidence to determine if there were any commercial trucking violations that caused or contributed to the accident. Some of the most frequently violated regulations include the following
Semi-trucks are designed to transport large volumes of cargo from one location to another, but due to their size, weight, and other factors, commercial trucks are uniquely dangerous when they are involved in accidents with other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Commercial trucks cannot stop as quickly as automobiles, and they also cannot make fast, evasive maneuvers to avoid hazardous circumstances.
Semi-trucks are longer and taller than regular automobiles, and as a result, drivers have four major blind spots, also known as no-zones. These vehicles also have the propensity to jackknife and roll over, often resulting in catastrophic injuries to pedestrians and occupants of other nearby automobiles. Other accident dangers include under riding, crushing impacts, and tire blowouts.
Trucks are sophisticated machines that require regular maintenance to ensure that they are working properly. If maintenance does not occur, then a truck may experience engine problems or brake failure. In addition, trailer hitches must be regularly inspected to avoid runaway trailer accidents, and brake lights and side reflectors must all be functioning properly to ensure that motorists who are driving within close proximity to a large truck at night can see the truck and avoid accidents. Failure to see a large truck at night could result in either a rear collision or an under-ride collision, in which a passenger vehicle becomes wedged underneath the truck and is dragged by the truck, sometimes for quite a distance before a tired truck driver can even notice.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Texas regulatory agencies prohibit truck drivers from operating more than 11 hours in a single day. Commercial truck drivers are also prohibited from operating more than 60 hours of driving time in a workweek, or more than 70 hours of driving time over the course of eight consecutive days.
Unfortunately, many truck drivers, in attempts to deliver their loads quicker and take on more delivery jobs for financial incentive, choose to drive longer than the allowed time frame, sometimes utilizing over-the-counter stimulants to keep themselves alert and awake. Factor in sleep deprivation and you have a recipe for disaster where driver negligence can lead to truck accidents of deadly proportion.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking accident, you probably have a lot of questions about the financial recovery process. Our attorneys provide free consultations to potential clients so that we can go over their accidents and injuries and answer their questions about the legal claim process. See below for our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that our attorneys are asked after a truck accident.
After a truck accident, you should take several necessary steps to protect your rights and health. Most importantly, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and it may take some time before you realize the extent of your truck accident injuries. If you seek medical care right away, doctors may be able to discover and diagnose your injuries and begin treatment immediately.
It is also helpful to keep a record of your accident observations, including facts and events leading up to the accident, how the accident occurred, and any statements or expressions made by witnesses after the accident. If possible, make a list of witnesses and collect their contact information. Photos and video of the accident scene can also help to prove how the accident occurred and who was responsible.
It is also critical that you do not make any admissions about the accident or assume liability until you have spoken with a personal injury attorney. Fault is not always clear after an accident, and your attorney’s investigation may turn up facts and evidence that supports your injury claim against another party. The most helpful thing you can do after a truck accident is to only recite facts for the police report and say nothing further until you have spoken with an attorney.
After a truck accident, you may get calls from the defendant’s insurance company offering to settle your claim. As discussed above, truck accident injuries are often catastrophic, and they frequently require long-term medical treatments. Before agreeing to a settlement offer, you need to know the extent of your injuries and the value of your claim to ensure that the settlement will cover your ongoing and future medical expenses and your other losses.
Defendants and their insurance adjusters are not on your side, and their goal is to pay you as little as possible to make your claim go away. Accepting a settlement offer that is too low will leave you paying out of pocket for your accident-related losses. You should speak with a personal injury attorney before agreeing to any settlement offer. Your attorney will protect your right to compensation and advocate for your full and fair financial recovery.
If you suffered injuries and damages as a result of a truck accident caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless conduct, you might be entitled to compensation for your losses. Sometimes injured claimants and defendants can reach a settlement agreement before a personal injury lawsuit is filed. However, if you do not reach a settlement agreement, you may file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your truck accident injuries and damages.
Even if you are participating in settlement negotiations with the defense, you may need to file your injury claim to preserve your rights. Personal injury claims are subject to Texas’s statute of limitations. If you do not file your claim within the applicable timeframe, you may lose your right to collect compensation from the responsible parties. For more information about the statute of limitations in Texas personal injury claims, see the FAQ below on time limits for truck accidents.
After a truck accident, evidence, including different types of documents, will be helpful in proving your injury claim. Your personal injury attorney can help you gather important documents, such as medical records and the truck accident report, that help to establish the extent of your injuries and liability. Other documents that may be particularly beneficial in truck accident cases include the following:
In general, Texas law allows for two years to file a personal injury claim after you were injured in a truck accident. However, there are exceptions to the two-year limitation, and you should speak with an attorney to confirm the applicable statute of limitations in your case. If you fail to file the necessary documents within the statute of limitations, you might be barred from pursuing your claim.
With truck accidents in Bexar County, negligence can be attributed to truck drivers, trucking companies, and/or the owner of the involved truck. If mechanical failure or safety violations caused the accident, then the trucking company can be held liable for damages. If a driver loses control of his truck, possibly because that driver is under the influence of an illicit substance or is driving distracted, then the driver should be held liable for damages. In fact, if dangerous road conditions, such as poorly paved roads or obscured street signs/traffic signals are the cause of the accident, then even the city/governing body of the location in which the accident occurred may be held liable for monetary damages.
Each San Antonio truck accident case is different. The total amount of financial compensation available will differ from case to case and will depend on various factors. These factors include the severity of your truck crash injuries, how much work you miss due to the crash, whether or not you are disabled, and more. Our San Antonio truck accident lawyers regularly help clients recover the following:
Depending on fault and liability, truck drivers have the right to make personal injury claims just like anyone else. If you were injured in a truck accident and another driver or someone else was at fault, you have the right to pursue compensation for your losses. If you were injured while working, you might have a workers’ compensation claim under your employer’s insurance policy.
Work comp claims are different than personal injury claims, and they have separate filing requirements and deadlines. Recoverable compensation is more limited under work comp claims than it is under personal injury claims. However, under most circumstances, work comp coverage is not fault-based, which means that you do not have to prove that someone else caused the accident and your resulting injuries to file a claim.
If your family member suffered fatal injuries in a truck accident, you and other surviving family members might have the right to compensation under a wrongful death claim. In Texas, wrongful death damages relate to the surviving family members’ losses, such as loss of your loved one’s financial support and inheritance.
If your loved one survived for some time after the accident before he or she died, the estate may have a survival action against the responsible party. Survival actions compensate the estate for the losses that the decedent suffered before he or she died, such as pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost income.
In any event, it is important to have someone on your side who can sort through the details of your accident and determine the negligent party at fault. At the Villarreal & Begum Law Firm, our skilled San Antonio personal injury lawyers will help you seek monetary compensation to help cover medical bills, physical therapy costs, and possibly even lost wages in the event that injuries sustained have prevented you from being able to go about your daily routine.
If you were injured an accident with a truck or other commercial vehicle, or if you lost a loved one in such an accident, please call us today for a free consultation. Our knowledgeable Texas truck accident attorneys will examine every aspect of your case to ensure that your rights are upheld in court and negligent parties are rightfully held accountable for their actions.