Any motor vehicle accident can cause extensive damage and injuries. However, 18 wheeler truck crashes can be particularly detrimental for those involved. Victims often face extensive medical bills from severe injuries and may have to take time off work to recover.
It can be hard to know what to do next and what legal options are available. In some cases, you might recover compensation for your losses. These cases can be challenging to handle on your own. However, a Houston 18-wheeler truck accident lawyer is ready to help you get started on your claim today.
As with other motor vehicle crashes, blame is not always clear in an 18 wheeler accident. Sometimes, more than one person or group could be responsible. Consider the following parties who can bear partial blame for a commercial truck accident.
- The truck driver: Sometimes, the motorist may be directly responsible for the crash. For example, drivers can become distracted or fail to follow traffic laws. In addition, they might be driving impaired because of drugs, alcohol, or sleep deprivation.
- The trucking company: Many truck drivers are employed by trucking companies, although some may be independent contractors. If the trucker is employed, their employer may be responsible for the incident. For example, they may have failed to give the driver proper training or an appropriate workload.
- Those responsible for the truck’s cargo: These big commercial vehicles often carry large cargo. If this cargo is not secured, stored, or handled correctly, it can destabilize the vehicle and increase the accident risk. In these cases, those responsible for the truck’s cargo could be partially at fault for a collision.
- The truck manufacturer: If a truck manufacturer fails to install proper parts, the manufacturer may be at fault if a collision happens. For example, suppose they install faulty brakes. In that case, a truck might not be able to stop correctly and could end up in an accident.
- Those responsible for road conditions: Changes in road conditions can make accidents more likely. Therefore, construction companies need to adequately warn drivers about changes they have made to road conditions. If they fail to do so, they could be responsible for accidents near their work site.
Depending on a group or person’s involvement, you could pursue compensation from more than one entity. Having a Houston highway accident lawyer review who could be responsible for the accident can help give your case a clear direction.
Truck drivers and their companies must follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. For example, truckers are only allowed to drive for a certain number of hours for safety reasons.
Unfortunately, trucking companies might choose to ignore these rules to increase profits. Other times they might fail to hire qualified drivers or ensure their vehicles are inspected and repaired appropriately.
A company’s failure to follow federal regulations can result in harm. They could also face fines and additional penalties depending on the regulations they violate.
Truck Drivers Must Protect Themselves and Other Motorists
While accidents can happen to anyone, drivers must minimize semi-truck crashes however they can. When driving, they should be aware of their surroundings, follow the rules of the road, and avoid distractions. This helps reduce the number of accidents involving semi trucks which can be devastating.
They should never be under the influence of substances when getting behind the wheel. As most know, alcohol can impair the ability to think clearly and respond to sudden changes in road conditions.
Truck drivers can also take steps to drive responsibly. In addition to standard safety steps, this can include receiving proper training and accumulating experience to correctly operate their delivery truck, 18 wheeler, dump truck, or commercial vehicle.
Drivers uncertain about their assignment or workload should always clarify with the commercial trucking company they work for.
If they are familiar with their routes and aware of potential hazards, they can reduce the possibility of big-rig collisions or fatal accidents.
Safety Measures Trucking Companies Should Employ to Protect Motorists
Employers responsible for 18 wheeler truck drivers should take drastic steps to reduce accidents and protect other motorists.
Offering and nurturing a safe working environment and following guidelines set by organizations FMCSA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a good start.
Employers should also ensure their drivers receive proper training and certifications before taking assignments. Then, finally, they could work to hire drivers most qualified for the job rather than settling for whoever applies.
Employers can minimize accident risk and reduce fatal truck accidents by ensuring drivers have the proper skills, knowledge, and experience to operate their vehicles safely.
Truck accidents can cause catastrophic injuries and damage. Your specific losses will depend on the unique circumstances of your collision. However, larger vehicles tend to cause more destruction.
Sometimes, you might only experience minor injuries requiring a short recovery, while other times, you may be left with scars and disfigurement. You may also be unable to work at the same job or in the same capacity as you did before the crash.
Potential injuries in an 18 wheeler crash include the following:
- Fractures: Broken bones require proper medical attention to heal correctly. Some could require surgical correction, and often you cannot use the limb until after it heals.
- Blunt force trauma: This can include crushing or collision injuries causing damage to tissues, bones, and vital organ functions. For example, blunt force trauma to the chest can be life-threatening.
- Spinal cord injuries: These can cause life-long disability. For example, you might lose feeling and your ability to move below the injury level.
- Traumatic brain injuries: These can impact your ability to think and reason. Some traumatic brain injuries can be life-threatening, and others can lead to lifelong disability for victims.
- Soft tissue injuries: Such injuries can include sprains, bruises, or lacerations. While some may be minimal, others could take ample time to heal and cause substantial pain for victims.
Catastrophic injuries might cause you to become permanently disabled. You could also experience psychological trauma from what you survived. It is not uncommon to feel anxiety or depression after a traumatic event.
In even more severe cases, truck accidents can claim lives. You might file a wrongful death lawsuit if your loved one was killed in an accident.
The aftermath of a commercial vehicle accident can be confusing and overwhelming. However, what you do immediately after the collision can impact your chances of recovery.
Your priority should always be to ensure your safety. Next, seek medical care and follow doctors’ recommendations. Finally, report the crash to the authorities and contact a lawyer to protect your rights throughout recovery.
Make Sure You’re Safe
It can be scary to be involved in any accident. However, your safety and health are the most important regardless of your involvement in an 18 wheeler truck crash.
Stay calm and focus on your immediate circumstances. For example, fires or other potential hazards may occur at the crash site. If you can, get a safe distance from the accident site to ensure your safety.
Seek Medical Care
Getting prompt medical treatment is also essential. You may need to call emergency medical personnel at a crash site for yourself or other people involved in the accident. Make sure to follow the directions of medical professionals to get the help you need.
Even if you initially feel fine, it can be helpful to have a doctor or other medical expert examine you. Medical follow-up ensures you did not sustain an injury that remains untreated.
Follow Doctors’ Guidelines
Doctors might have to run diagnostic tests to determine the extent of your injuries before recommending treatment. They may give you strict guidelines after receiving treatment or undergoing surgery.
It is essential to follow these recommendations to help you achieve optimal health and improve your chances of full recovery. In some cases, you may have to follow up with physicians regularly as you recover.
Report the Crash to the Police
Regardless if you were involved in a semi-truck accident or a simple passenger car crash, you must report the incident to the police and other members of local law enforcement.
Make sure to be as accurate and honest as possible about what happened. Accident police reports can also serve as evidence in legal matters later.
Report the Crash to Your Insurance Provider
You will also need to report the incident to the appropriate insurance companies. In addition, exchanging insurance information with the other drivers involved in the accident can be helpful.
Exchanging contact information with other drivers and witnesses of the collision benefits your claim. For example, those who saw what happened can verify specific crash details.
Take Photographs and Collect Data
When an 18 wheeler truck accident occurs, it is important to document the scene as soon as possible.
Take photos and videos of the surrounding area and the sustained damage. Take your photos from multiple angles and distances so that all damage and details are documented.
This will be especially helpful if you pursue legal action against the responsible party. Pictures of the accident scene can help your lawyer determine who is at fault and how much compensation you should receive.
You should also track the treatment you receive and other expenses related to your accident. This includes medical bills, lost wages due to missed work, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Keeping a detailed record of these costs can help strengthen your case against the responsible party. Finally, consulting with an attorney if you are interested in pursuing compensation for damages can be helpful.
In many cases, the greater your damages and injuries, the more compensation you are likely to recover. However, insurance companies sometimes reach out to you shortly after the crash and offer you a low settlement offer that does not cover your expenses. Therefore, you should use caution when considering an insurance company’s initial offer.
The amount you recover in compensation should help you move forward after the accident and cover all your losses. In addition, you may receive compensation for the following and more:
- Lost wages: If you had to take time off from work to recover, compensation could help cover your lost wages. Lost wages can include any income that was missed due to time taken off from work to recover, or if you are unable to return to work due to your injuries.
- Reduced earning capacity: If you become disabled or unable to work at your job like you used to, you might get compensation for what you could have earned if the accident had not happened.
- Medical expenses: You may have medical bills from initial treatment in the emergency room and additional follow-up care. Even with high-quality health insurance, these bills can be extensive.
- Property damage: In addition to physical injuries, your vehicle or other personal property might have been damaged in the accident. For example, if you were hit by an 18 wheeler truck, you might need to get your vehicle repaired or replaced. Property inside your car could also have been damaged.
- Out-of-pocket expenses: These may include additional expenses like towing and rental fees. An experienced truck accident lawyer can determine which of your expenses qualify.
- Pain and suffering: You might have experienced severe physical pain and trauma from the crash. Compensation for pain and suffering can also include the emotional suffering triggered by the traumatic incident.
Often, it is initially challenging to estimate the extent of the costs and losses you experienced. Therefore, having an 18 wheeler accident attorney review the information can help you understand what a reasonable compensation amount would look like in your case.
The exact compensation amount differs in every truck accident case due to the unique circumstances of each collision.
Compensation in a Wrongful Death Case
If your loved one was killed in a truck crash, you might choose to pursue compensation via a wrongful death claim. You might recover compensation for losing your loved one’s support and companionship.
For example, suppose your loved one was supporting you financially. In that case, compensation can help ease the financial strain you may be experiencing.
Wrongful death damages can also help cover funeral and burial expenses. Consult a lawyer about your recovery options if you have additional costs related to your loved one’s death.
The legal process and negotiations can often be complex and confusing. As a result, many people choose to work with qualified personal injury attorneys. Having legal representation can increase your chances of recovering adequate compensation.
An experienced truck accident attorney can help you in several areas with your personal injury claim:
- Go over what happened in the 18 wheeler truck accident, including the actual events and what factors contributed to the accident.
- Answer your questions about potential legal paths you could take.
- Review the likely timeline of how long it may take to resolve your case.
- Evaluate who may be responsible for the damages caused and what compensation you may access.
- Help collect evidence to support your claims, such as reviewing video footage, eyewitness testimony, and medical bills.
- Negotiate with the parties involved in your accident to reach a fair settlement.
- Handle the paperwork related to your 18 wheeler accident case and ensure that everything is filed within the appropriate timeline.
- Advise you about accepting offers from insurance companies.
- Represent you in legal proceedings and present evidence to the court if your case goes to trial.
- Keep you updated about developments in your case and clarify any information they need from you.
Our legal team understands that every case is different. Therefore, your lawyer’s actions will depend on the unique situation of your 18 wheeler truck accident. However, our goal is always to help you get fair compensation from the liable party or parties responsible for your accident.
Your lawyer will work to prove the negligence of other parties in your case. Negligence happens when someone fails to take proper care, and that failure harms you or your family.
For example, the driver and their employer have a duty to maintain safe driving conditions by managing a reasonable workload and taking adequate rest breaks.
A failure to meet this duty of care can result in a fatigued or distracted driver.
If you can prove this negligence directly injured you, the driver and transport company could be held liable for your injuries and any vehicle damage.
Your 18 wheeler accident lawyer will work to prove you are owed compensation for your medical bills and accident-related expenses.
Like most states, Texas has a specific statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. As a result, some trucking accident claims can be settled outside of court. Typically, this involves careful negotiation from a skilled attorney. However, in other cases, you might need to file a lawsuit to recover compensation.
In Texas, you typically have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit per Texas Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003. You also have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Therefore, if your loved one died in an 18 wheeler truck accident, you would have two years to file a wrongful death case against the liable party.
It can feel overwhelming to think about legal components after being in an accident or experiencing the death of a loved one. However, consulting with an attorney soon after the accident can be helpful. Getting early legal help ensures you do not miss the legal deadline for filing an 18 wheeler truck accident lawsuit.
We work with our clients in several specialty areas and fight to get them the compensation they deserve. Consider the following payouts we secured for our clients. All the amounts listed here do not include fees or expenses. You can review more settlement information:
- $9 million settlement in a traumatic brain injury commercial truck wreck
- $8.75 million in a truck accident
- Over $1 million after an 18 wheeler wreck that resulted in multiple injuries
- $1 million after a truck crash that resulted in a foot amputation
Since every case is different, we cannot know how much you may recover in your case. However, after a careful accident investigation, we will work to maximize the amount you recover.
Our clients often have questions about their experience regarding Houston truck accident cases. These include questions about filing a case, the benefits of hiring a lawyer, how an attorney can help their case, what settlement they should expect, and more.
Learning the answers to these questions can help you better understand the process and prepare for a successful outcome in your cases. Our legal team is at your disposal to clarify the legal aftermath of 18 wheeler crashes.
Can You Sue for an 18 Wheeler Accident?
Yes, you can sue after a crash if you have been injured or suffered damages caused by someone’s negligence or reckless actions. You can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party or parties to recover compensation for your losses.
Can You Sue a Trucking Company in Texas?
You could file a lawsuit against a Texas truck company if they were responsible for the crash that caused your injuries and damages. For a successful lawsuit, it is important to prove that the trucking company was at fault for the accident and that that fault directly caused your injuries and damages.
Should I Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer for a Minor Crash?
Whether or not you should hire a truck accident lawyer for a minor crash depends on the specific circumstances of your case. However, many law firms offer a free legal consultation in which you can address your more immediate concerns. You can attend the consult without any further obligation.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help Your Case?
An 18 wheeler accident attorney can provide crucial support and representation to help you navigate the legal system after a truck accident. They know the complex laws and regulations governing the trucking industry and can help ensure that these laws are properly applied in your case.
What Is the Average Settlement for an 18 Wheeler Accident in Texas?
An attorney can help determine an estimate for your Texas truck crash case. The compensation depends on the details for each case, including the severity of your injuries, the extent of property damage, and the emotional distress you experienced.
At Domingo Garcia, we want you to understand your available legal options. Therefore, we offer all our potential clients a free consultation, which lets us review your case and allows you to see what our law firm has to offer.
We know this is a difficult time for you, and we aim to make the legal process as straightforward as possible. Discuss your case with a Houston 18 wheeler truck accident lawyer to understand your legal options.
We are here to give you the expert legal advice you need to move forward. Contact us today to begin your free consultation. We are ready to help you in any way we can.