If you were injured in a wreck with a commercial vehicle, a Houston truck accident lawyer would help you navigate the claims process. With our support, you can focus on recuperating from your injuries rather than on your legal claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Our truck accident law firm represents clients who have suffered physical, emotional, and financial harm due to collisions involving commercial trucks, big rigs, or 18-wheelers. We offer free, no-obligation case reviews to explore your legal options. Texas law limits the time you have to file, so we encourage you to call us today.
The Legal Aftermath of a Commercial Vehicle Accident
Crashes involving company-owned vehicles are more complex than a standard car accident case because they often involve large corporations like trucking companies.
These businesses have experienced lawyers and ample financial resources to draw on. Therefore, we recommend seeking legal representation to protect your rights.
Furthermore, commercial vehicles tend to be heavier and bigger than passenger cars. This means an 18-wheeler collision can cause severe damage and injuries to small vehicle passengers. Trucking accident survivors often face a lengthy and expensive recovery.
Getting injured by a delivery van or truck can be life-changing. Unfortunately, you may have difficulty processing what happened and preparing for long-term consequences. Our experienced personal injury lawyers will guide you through court proceedings and help you win financial compensation. Then you can begin rebuilding your life.
Common Injuries in Traffic Accidents
In a commercial truck accident, your body is subjected to sudden and intense forces that can lead to multiple physical injuries. These forces can cause your body to rapidly accelerate or decelerate inside your vehicle, causing wounds, including:
- Head trauma: Mild head injuries include concussions. These can cause temporary confusion, dizziness, and headaches, while more severe head injuries can result in skull fractures, brain bleeds, and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Neck and back injuries: The truck crash may give victims whiplash or more severe injuries like dislocation, spinal fractures, and herniated discs. These conditions can lead to intense pain and may require long-term medical attention.
- Internal injuries: The blunt-force trauma from a crash can lead to internal bleeding and organ damage. If internal bleeding is not treated promptly, it can cause brain damage or death. Organs commonly affected during a crash include the kidney, liver, spleen, and pancreas.
- External injuries: Survivors can suffer from minor lacerations and cuts or more severe external injuries like burns and crushed limbs. These are painful injuries that may lead to scarring or amputation. For many, disfigurement is a source of intense emotional distress.
What Causes Injury Severity?
Your injury severity will depend on several factors, including the commercial driver’s speed, your body’s position at the time of impact, and the type of collision (i.e., head-on, rear-end, or side-impact collision). Some injuries may entail a lifetime of complications, especially if your brain is affected.
In some cases, even a relatively minor accident can result in catastrophic injuries due to the high forces involved. Therefore, you should always seek medical care as soon as possible after a collision. Doctors can help document your condition and treat your injuries before they worsen.
The Issue of Liability in Accidents Involving Commercial Vehicles
Identifying the liable party is key to accessing compensation for your losses. However, in commercial vehicle cases, this is not always as simple as naming the other driver as the defendant. In these situations, the liability issue grows more complex as there are multiple parties and factors to consider.
When a trucking company or any other firm is involved in a collision case, we will expand our search for the responsible party beyond the motorist.
For example, employers are liable for their employee’s actions during work hours. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released valuable guidelines to help employers avoid crashes.
An experienced truck accident attorney will help you navigate the complex legal web of a commercial vehicle case. From identifying the liable party or parties to building a strong case against them, we will guide you every step of the way.
Who To Blame for Your Crash?
The other driver and their employer could be liable if they disregarded federal or state law regulations, and that violation caused a collision. There are other reasons the vehicle operator, their employer, or a third party could be responsible for your crash.
Here are situations where another party could have liability for your losses:
- Other drivers: The motorist engaged in negligent conduct, like speeding, drunk driving, reckless driving, or distracted driving, and the behavior caused your accident.
- Employer: If the other driver’s employer was negligent in keeping the vehicle safe, they might be held liable. Also, they could be liable if the employer engaged in negligent hiring practices, inadequate training, or insufficiently supervised drivers.
- Trucking company: The company is responsible for ensuring all vehicles are safe and in good condition, drivers are licensed and qualified for the job, and scheduling drivers according to federal guidelines.
- Vehicle or vehicle part manufacturer: The truck or vehicle manufacturer can be liable if the vehicle or a defective part fails and causes a collision. This can include a defect in the design, manufacturing, or labeling of the vehicle or part. The manufacturer may compensate you for your damages and losses in such cases.
- The driver of a different vehicle: In the case of a multi-vehicle collision, another motorist could be responsible if their negligence caused the crash.
- Cargo loaders: If the commercial truck hauled cargo, the company responsible for loading it onto the vehicle could have liability if they failed to balance the load properly or prevent shifting during transit.
Identifying the liable party or parties after a crash may feel overwhelming; however, an experienced attorney can handle this aspect of your case.
We will gather and review evidence, interview witnesses, and review relevant laws and regulations. Furthermore, if your case has multiple liable parties, you can trust us to maintain communications with everyone.
Multiple Parties Can Be Liable
Texas follows comparative negligence rules, meaning multiple parties can be responsible for a collision. Under the law, you may still recover compensation for your losses even if you were partially at fault. However, the degree of your fault will influence how much you receive.
For example, if you were found 20% at fault and the total amount of your damages is valued at $100,000, you can access $80,000. Thus, your award can cover some of your repair costs, medical expenses, and other losses.
Texas comparative negligence laws add another layer of complexity to the issue. The 51% bar rule limits an at-fault party’s access to damages. Thus, you may no longer recover damages if you are more than 50% responsible.
How to Prove Negligence
There is much at stake in establishing and proving negligence for a traffic accident. Our attorneys can help minimize your potential fault in the incident and direct the focus to another liable party.
Negligence is a failure to exercise the level of care a reasonable person would have exercised under similar circumstances. It can occur in many different contexts, but it generally involves failing to meet a prescribed standard of conduct and causing injury or harm.
To prove negligence in your case, we must meet the following elements:
- Duty: Drivers must exercise reasonable care while operating a vehicle. They must obey traffic laws, be aware of their surroundings, and drive in a manner that does not pose a risk to other motorists and pedestrians.
- Breach of duty: When motorists fail to fulfill their legal obligation of exercising reasonable care while driving, it breaches duty. This means that the defendant’s actions or inactions deviated from the standard of care expected of a reasonable and prudent driver.
- Cause in fact: This refers to the actual cause of the victim’s injury and damages. The plaintiff must prove their injuries would not have occurred without the defendant’s breach of duty.
- Proximate cause: The legal cause of the plaintiff’s injury addresses the defendant’s responsibility. To prove proximate cause, the plaintiff must prove that the at-fault driver’s breach of duty was a significant factor in causing injury and that the said injury was foreseeable.
- Damages: This refers to the actual harm suffered by the plaintiff due to the defendant’s breach of duty. The plaintiff must show that they have suffered actual harm and that the defendant’s breach of duty caused it.
A commercial vehicle attorney in Houston will evaluate all aspects of your life and the changes brought by the incident. Then, armed with expert knowledge and experienced legal representation, you’ll have a better chance of proving negligence.
Recoverable Damages in Houston Personal Injury Claims
After a commercial vehicle crash, you may file for compensation to cover your accident-related losses. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may access different types of damages.
In most cases, you can access compensatory damages, which are meant to compensate the victim for their financial losses. They are intended to make the victim whole again by restoring them to the position they would have been in if the harm had not occurred.
These include both economic and non-economic damages. In addition, you may recover additional financial aid, depending on the collision details. For example, there may be punitive damages in cases of extreme negligence.
Collisions with company-owned vehicles often lead to serious injury and financial losses. These economic damages are meant to cover the tangible, quantifiable costs associated with the accident and can include compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses: You may recover costs associated with necessary medical treatment linked to the accident. This can include hospitalization, medication, surgery, and rehabilitation expenses.
- Lost wages: This refers to compensation for the income the victim could not earn due to the collision. Damages can also account for any bonuses or commissions the victim could not earn due to their condition.
- Loss of earning capacity: If the victim cannot return to work in the same capacity as before the accident, they may be eligible for compensation for lost future wages.
- Property damage: This refers to the cost of repairs or replacement of a property damaged during the crash. You may recover for the damage to your vehicle and other personal property inside the car.
A Houston lawyer can help prove economic damages by gathering and presenting evidence to support the victim’s claims for compensation. They will rely on your medical records, repair bills, pay stubs, and other documentation to paint a complete picture of your losses in different areas of your life.
Our attorneys will help you gather and organize the evidence and present it persuasively and convincingly to a judge or jury. Your experienced truck accident lawyer can help you recover the compensation you need to pay your expenses and regain financial stability.
Non-economic damages are meant to compensate the victim for the intangible harm they suffered from the accident. Non-economic losses are often awarded in addition to economic damages to provide a more comprehensive recovery.
- Pain and suffering: Surviving a traumatic crash with a large commercial vehicle can leave a profound psychological impact. You may receive compensation for the physical discomfort and emotional distress caused by the commercial truck crash.
- Emotional distress: The emotional repercussions of a collision are often neglected. However, you may experience anxiety, fear, depression, or other mental health issues impacting the quality of your life.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: If you no longer experience the same joy while engaging in your hobbies and other social activities, you may qualify for further financial assistance.
- Loss of consortium: If you were involved in an auto crash, this could change your entire family’s life. For example, the relationship with your spouse or children may be affected.
- Diminished companionship: This can refer to the decrease in the victim’s relationship with their spouse or other loved ones due to the crash.
- Loss of reputation: If your reputation has been damaged due to the crash, you may be entitled to compensation for this harm.
- Inconvenience: The victim may be entitled to compensation for the inconvenience you have suffered due to the crash, such as having to arrange transportation or attend medical appointments.
The subjective nature of non-economic damages makes these more difficult to prove. However, our truck accident attorneys will explore all available avenues to gather the proof you need.
In such cases, we often rely on our friend’s and family’s testimony. They can attest to how the collision changed you and describe the impact on different areas of your life.
Furthermore, expert witness testimony can add authority and expertise to your case. For example, economists and rehabilitation specialists help us quantify the economic impact of your emotional scars.
Exemplary damages may be awarded in cases where the defendant displayed extreme negligence or harmful actions. This monetary award aims to punish the at-fault party and deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
Unlike compensatory damages, only a few cases qualify for punitive damages. In addition, these damages are not intended to compensate you for your loss but to punish the defendant.
Texas limits exemplary damages to less than twice the amount of economic damages added to non-economic damages. Up to $750,000 or $200,000 leads to a greater amount.
Wrongful Death Damages
Losing a loved one in a fatal commercial vehicle accident can leave you feeling vulnerable. Our team of wrongful death lawyers offers compassionate legal support to the decedent’s surviving loved ones in pursuit of justice.
If you lost a family member in a fatal collision, you might file a wrongful death claim to recover the following damages:
- Loss of financial support
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of companionship and comfort
Surviving family members can pursue these damages through a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. The goal of a wrongful death suit is to provide financial support to the surviving loved ones who suffered an economic loss due to the death.
Steps to Take After a Houston Commercial Vehicle Accident
Surviving a collision can be a confusing and traumatic experience. However, what you do next impacts your case should you pursue a truck accident lawsuit. Your priority should always be to ensure your safety.
Once you are out of harm’s way, call the police to report the crash. If you can, document the accident scene to collect fresh evidence. Always seek medical attention after a crash, as certain injuries are not immediately apparent. Finally, allow your lawyer to handle communication with your insurance company.
Call the Police from the Accident Scene
Under the Texas Transportation Code § 601.004, drivers must report any crash resulting in an injury, death, or property damage above $1,000. However, if you were involved in a commercial vehicle collision, it’s best to contact the police after any collision, even if it resulted in minor damage.
The officers responding at the scene can document the crash details, including the car’s position, skid marks, and other relevant information. This can be important evidence in an insurance claim or a future legal proceeding.
They will also prepare a crash report documenting the details of the incident. The document contains information about the accident date, location, and identifying information for all drivers involved.
Document the Collision
If you can do so safely, try to get photographs and video recordings of the vehicles while still at the accident scene. You can use your phone to document your injuries and any property damage you suffered. Consider also recording road and weather conditions, as these details can shed light on how the collision happened.
Furthermore, get the names and contact information of potential witnesses. Your attorney will contact them for further statements if needed. Witness testimonies can help strengthen your case, especially if multiple stories converge.
By thoroughly documenting the car accident scene, you can help ensure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to for any damages suffered.
Get Medical Care
We hope you have already gotten medical attention for your injuries, but if you haven’t, you should consult a doctor immediately. Your medical records are essential for connecting your injuries to the collision.
We recommended keeping track of any medical treatments received, as well as any related expenses. This information can be used as evidence in case of an insurance claim or a potential legal proceeding.
Let Your Attorney Deal With the Insurance Company
Standing up against a trucking company can feel intimidating. However, you are not alone; our legal team will protect your rights throughout the proceedings.
As soon as you hire a lawyer to handle your claim, the defendant and their insurance carrier are not allowed to contact you directly. However, you can tell them to talk to your lawyer if they call you.
These are a few actions you should take early in the claims process. We will offer more guidance on your post-accident considerations during your free case review.
What to Expect from Your Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer
Our legal team manages claims and lawsuits from beginning to end. We will start your case by investigating the collision. This involves gathering and analyzing evidence, such as traffic camera footage, accident scene photos, and witness testimony. Then, we will determine the fault and liability for your losses.
We aim to secure compensation for the full cost of your injury-related losses. We generally recover damages through negotiations with insurance companies. Still, we’re prepared to file a lawsuit in civil court if negotiations don’t lead to a fair settlement offer.
You Pay Nothing to Secure a Lawyer’s Help
Our focus is to help people who suffered severe injuries or lost loved ones because of someone else’s negligence. We fight for the little guy because large corporations already have the resources to fight their battles.
We handle personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from commercial vehicle accidents on a contingency-fee-basis. With this fee arrangement, you do not pay one penny in upfront legal fees.
After we close your case, we get a percentage of the settlement or jury award as payment. If you do not win, you owe us nothing.
We’ve Recovered Millions for Injured Houston Residents
Collisions involving commercial motor vehicles can be challenging because the defendant usually has “deep pockets.” In other words, they have a lot of money to defend themselves when their negligence hurts people.
Still, we never back down from tough legal battles. When clients come to us with their cases, we do everything possible to secure their needs.
Here are a few examples of settlements we won for our clients in accidents with commercial vehicles:
- $9 million for a brain injury to a child
- $8.75 million for an 18-wheeler accident
- $3 million for a motorcycle collision
- $2.75 million for a crash in which a roadside worker suffered fatal injuries
- $1 million for an accident victim diagnosed with a lumbar fracture
Results vary from one case to another, but what does not vary is how hard we work to get the best possible result for our clients.
Listen to What Former Accident Clients Share About Our Lawyers
We appreciate that many happy clients leave feedback about their experience working with us. For example, some have shared the following:
- “They seek maximum compensation, and I recommend Domingo Garcia’s services. My case was resolved soon and with a just resolution. I do not regret hiring the Law Offices of Domingo Garcia for my car accident case.” – Jose Parra
- “My attorney was very experienced and professional. I recommend this law firm; everyone is very intelligent in how they handle themselves and help us get the best results for our situation.” – Victor Escobar
We invite you to experience our client-oriented service. It is easy to get started. Today, we can review your accident case at no charge.
Domingo Garcia Can Help After a Commercial Vehicle Accident
Being involved in an accident with a company-owned vehicle can lead to devastating damages and severe injuries. Survivors often feel weighed down by their piling bills and discouraged by the seemingly complex recovery process. However, a lawyer from Domingo Garcia can handle your case while you focus on recovering.
Connecting with a Houston commercial vehicle accident attorney from our law firm is easy, so do not hesitate. Contact usfor your free initial consultation. Then, we can set your case in motion today.