A Domingo García personal injury attorney can help you pursue compensation if you suffered injuries in a large truck collision. Our Odessa 18-wheeler truck accident lawyer can investigate your situation to find the negligent party who caused the crash and help you seek justice for your losses.
Many 18-wheelers are on the road in and around Odessa, Texas, and our economy depends on them to transport the goods we need. When these large vehicles get into accidents, however, they can cause great harm. Because of their massive proportions and weight, 18-wheeler crashes tend to cause devastating injuries and fatalities.
Regulations Limiting the Weight of 18-Wheelers in Texas
Federal law limits the amount of weight for 18-wheelers traveling on interstate highways. Tex. Transportation Code Ann. §621.101 controls the maximum weights for trucks hauling cargo on the non-interstate highways across Texas.
Big rigs cannot weigh more than 20,000 pounds if they have a single axle or 34,000 pounds with tandem axles when they operate on our state highways. The purpose of regulating the weight of these vehicles is to protect the truck drivers and other people on the highways.
The heavier the truck is, the more distance it needs to stop. Also, the more the truck weighs, the more forceful the impact is in a collision. Sometimes, violations of weight restrictions are a factor in causing a truck accident. When this happens, we can work to hold the party accountable, whether that is the truck driver, the transportation company, or the cargo loading company.
Truck Accident Settlements We Have Won for Our Clients
You need a law firm that gets results if you suffered catastrophic injuries in a truck collision. At Domingo García, we are proud of what we achieve for our clients. For example:
- In a fatal truck accident, we got a $1 million settlement, which was the policy limits.
- We achieved a settlement of nearly $1.2 million in a truck accident that caused multiple injuries.
- We got a settlement of $8,750,000 for a collision that involved an 18-wheeler truck.
You can see these and many other settlements we have won for our clients. We handle both personal injury claims and wrongful death claims arising out of truck crashes.
Losses After an Odessa Large Truck Accident
Devastating injuries from a truck accident can impact your life in many ways you might not expect. You might be familiar with money damages for lost wages and medical bills, but there are additional losses you might experience, like:
- Pain and suffering. It is inconvenient to have your life turned upside down and your schedule disrupted by getting sidelined with a severe injury. Inconvenience, physical pain, and emotional suffering are legitimate losses for which you can seek compensation from the at-fault party.
- Chronic pain even after completing your medical treatments. You might have to live with discomfort for the rest of your life. Severe wounds often cause the development of scar tissue and nerve damage. When someone else’s negligence causes a truck collision that subjects you to a lifetime of pain, they should have to pay for that harm.
- Loss of enjoyment of life. Catastrophic injuries can leave lasting side effects from which a person might not heal. For example, if you had spinal cord damage that left you paralyzed and having to use a wheelchair, you might not enjoy your life as much as you did before the collision. Knowing that you can never again perform certain functions that give you happiness is a substantial loss.
- Disfigurement. Significant wounds can leave extensive visible scars after a truck crash. Also, amputation of a hand, foot, leg, or arm can justify money damages for disfigurement.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Severe truck collisions can cause a person to develop PTSD. This disorder can change multiple aspects of a person’s life. A person with PTSD might find it difficult to keep a job or maintain personal relationships. They might struggle to get restful sleep. Also, they might suffer from terrifying flashbacks.
You might experience one or more of these intangible losses, as well as other possible situations that could qualify for compensation. At Domingo Garcia, we will talk with you to find out how your experience in an Odessa 18-wheeler truck accident has affected your life.
How You Can Easily Afford Our Odessa 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Attorney
If you hired a lawyer in the past for something like a divorce or a traffic ticket, you would have had to pay legal fees upfront to get help from the attorney. You will not have to pay out-of-pocket legal fees to Domingo Garcia to get our help on your injury claim for a truck collision. We have a strict “no fee unless you win” policy.
We handle these cases on a contingency-fee basis, meaning there are no upfront legal fees. At the end of the matter, we get paid a portion of the settlement or court result. You will know what to expect with this legal fee arrangement because we sign a written fee agreement with you at the beginning of the case.
Thanks to contingency fees, you do not have to be rich to get help from Domingo Garcia on your injury claim. We also use this fee arrangement on wrongful death claims if your close relative died in a truck accident.
18-Wheeler Collision Injuries
18-wheeler accidents can cause devastating injuries because of the size of the vehicles involved. Some of the harm these crashes can cause include:
- Broken bones like spinal fractures, broken arms and legs, and rib fractures.
- Burns, when the crash causes a fire or an explosion.
- Ruptured disc and other back injuries.
- Spinal cord damage that can result in temporary or permanent paralysis.
- Broken ribs can puncture a lung.
- The force of the impact can cause damage to internal organs, including hemorrhage.
- Head injuries, like traumatic brain injury (TBI) or concussion.
Sometimes, a person can survive these wounds, but they can lead to death.
Services We Provide for Our Ector County Truck Accident Clients
Our truck accident team provides many services to our clients who suffered wounds in truck collisions. The specific actions we take will depend on the circumstances of the individual case; however, here is an overview of how we handle these personal injury cases:
- The first step is to talk to you and perform a thorough investigation of your claim. We take the time and give your case the attention it deserves. We want to find out how the crash happened, the identity of all the parties involved, and who might be responsible for your losses.
- As we investigate your case, we start gathering evidence to support your injury claim and prove the negligence of the at-fault party.
- We protect you from being bothered or harassed by the insurance company. When you have our 18-wheeler truck accident lawyer working on your claim, the insurance company is not allowed to contact you directly. They have to go through us. Instead of having to constantly respond to demands for information from a claims adjuster, you get to rest and recuperate from your wounds.
- We work directly with the insurance company so you do not have to. We negotiate and try to achieve a fair settlement. If the case settles, we review the settlement documents for accuracy and fairness.
- In cases that do not settle, we can file a lawsuit, if appropriate. In this situation, the court will decide who is responsible for the crash and how much money they must pay. We can still negotiate with the negligent party after the lawsuit gets filed. In fact, the vast majority of personal injury lawsuits settle without having to go to trial.
- In cases that go to litigation, we engage in the discovery process to obtain information and evidence for trial. We prepare for trial and handle the court case.
You have already had a traumatic experience and are dealing with injuries and other losses. You do not have to perform the many tasks of handling a claim or lawsuit on your own. Domingo Garcia can take care of these issues for you.
Hours of Service Regulations
There used to be no limits on the number of hours truck drivers could work without taking rest breaks. When trying to meet deadlines or employer quotas, some drivers would use stimulants to stay awake when driving for 18 or 20 hours or longer without a break. Drowsy driving caused or contributed to horrific crashes involving 18-wheelers.
Public outcry resulted in hours-of-service regulations for truck drivers who transport cargo. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says that some of the common restrictions on driving shifts include:
- Drivers must pull off the road and take a rest break of at least 30 minutes every eight hours.
- Drivers cannot drive longer than 11 hours before taking a full-length off-duty break of at least 10 consecutive hours.
- A driving shift must stop after 14 hours, even if the driver had some off-duty time during that shift unless the break constituted 10 consecutive hours of being off-duty.
There are additional restrictions on how long truck drivers can work without adequate rest breaks. We check the logs of 18-wheeler drivers after crashes to see if they might have violated the hours-of-service regulations. If the driver did not comply with the time limitations, that violation could impose some liability. In some cases, a truck driver’s employer may push them to drive longer than they should to beat deadlines. In accidents involving a violation of hours-of-service regulations, the trucking company is typically liable.
Recoverable Compensation After an 18-Wheeler Crash in Odessa
Every Odessa large truck collision is unique, so the amount of money damages will vary from one case to another. A person who suffers life-changing grievous harm will likely receive more compensation than someone who escapes a truck crash with merely scrapes and bruises. The facts of your situation will determine the types of money damages your Odessa 18-wheeler truck accident lawyer can pursue for you.
Here are some recoverable damages after an Odessa 18-wheeler accident:
- Lost wages. Whether you get paid by wages, salary, self-employment, or some other form of regular income, you can experience a financial loss when you cannot work because of your injuries.
- Lower earning capacity. If you were able to return to work after completing your medical treatment, you might still have a financial loss on an ongoing basis. Many people experience chronic pain, weakness, and loss of function from severe truck crash injuries. You might have to take a lower-paying job or work fewer hours because of these residual problems.
- Disability. Some people cannot return to work because of catastrophic wounds suffered in a motor vehicle accident.
- Medical bills. Usually, someone can recover the money they had to spend on healthcare services to treat their injuries from the collision. In addition to the critical care expenses immediately following the accident, like the ambulance and trauma center, a person might have bills from doctors, hospitals, physical therapy, and other healthcare providers.
- Rehabilitation expenses. A person who suffers catastrophic wounds, like spinal cord damage, might need to spend time getting inpatient or outpatient services through a specialized treatment facility.
- Long-term care. Devastating wounds, like a traumatic brain injury that leaves a person lingering in an altered state of consciousness for months or permanently, can make it necessary for the individual to live in a skilled nursing facility or nursing home.
- Intangible losses, like pain and suffering, disfigurement, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and loss of enjoyment of life can also be a part of an injury claim from an Odessa truck accident.
Depending on your circumstances, you might have additional losses for which your Odessa 18-wheeler truck accident lawyer can pursue compensation on your behalf.
Reducing the Likelihood of Truck Collisions in Odessa
Trucking companies have options for making the roads safe and avoiding accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers suggestions like:
- Developing strict safety protocols against speeding and distracted driving.
- Arranging work schedules to cut down on drowsy driving.
- Buying vehicles with electronic safe driving features, like collision prevention systems and lane departure warning devices.
It could be negligence if a transportation company fails to take reasonable steps to reduce the likelihood of 18-wheeler collisions after experiencing multiple crashes.
Possible Liable Parties in an 18-Wheeler Accident
One of the unique aspects of big rig collisions is there can be more than one party who could be held accountable for a person’s injuries and other losses following a truck accident. If more than one party was careless, we might be able to file an injury claim against multiple people.
Truck drivers are not always at fault when involved in a collision. Here is how we determine whether the operator has liability:
- The truck operator violated their legal duty to obey the laws of transporting cargo. Let’s say the driver did not take their mandated rest breaks, and because they were drowsy, they fell asleep at the wheel.
- The truck veered into oncoming traffic and struck a passenger car, causing catastrophic injuries to the car’s driver.
Because the truck driver’s negligence caused the accident that harmed the plaintiff, the big rig driver will be legally liable for the injured person’s wounds and losses.
The truck driver’s employer could also have liability if they knew the driver broke the law regarding hours-of-service regulations or pressured or encouraged the driver to do so. Also, the employer could be negligent for failing to act if this driver had previous incidents involving violating state or federal trucking laws.
Companies that load cargo onto trucks must follow safety protocols. The weight must be balanced correctly to prevent rollover accidents. Cargo must be secured properly to prevent shifting during transit. When cargo shifts while the truck is moving, the driver could lose control of the rig and jackknife or have another collision.
A truck with a defective design or substandard manufacture could cause a collision. Also, companies that make parts for trucks can be liable if their part fails and is the reason for an accident.
Sometimes, a defect in the truck or one of its parts is not the first causative factor in a crash, but the defect prevents the driver from being able to take evasive action to avoid an accident. Negligence can be the basis for liability if it causes or contributes to a collision.
When a truck mechanic is careless, their action or failure to act can lead to a truck accident. For example, the mechanic hired to replace worn brake pads on a fleet of 18-wheelers cut corners and certified they completed the work even though they did not. If the worn brake pads led to the truck getting into an accident, the mechanic could be liable.
Reckless drivers who drive around trucks without regard for the need for large trucks to have longer stopping distances or other safety considerations could be liable if their risky conduct forces the truck into a collision. Examples of this conduct include slamming on the brakes right in front of a truck or cutting off a large vehicle.
How an Odessa 18-Wheeler Accident Could Affect Your Life
A big rig collision could have significant ripple effects on your life beyond the moment of the accident. For example:
- If your car gets fixed, it will still have an accident history, reducing its future value for sale or trading purposes.
- You could have a deductible on the cost of repairs, setting you back hundreds of dollars.
- If your car got totaled, the payoff amount might not balance your existing car loan, much less put you in a new car.
- Your boss might not pay you much, if anything, when you can’t work while recuperating from your injuries. You might have to rely on your savings to pay ordinary living expenses and rent. Since many people live paycheck to paycheck and do not have any savings, you might face a financial crisis with no paycheck coming in. However, we can fight to get you compensation for lost wages.
- You might have to look for a new job after recuperating as your boss may have replaced you with someone else. You might not have the strength or stamina to perform your previous job. Either way, it might be weeks or months before you draw another paycheck. In addition to helping you obtain lost wages, we could fight for diminished earning capacity compensation, too, if you must take a lower-paying job.
- After suffering severe injuries, there is a likelihood you might experience chronic pain for years, if not permanently. Soft tissue injuries can develop scar tissue that can restrict movement and lead to discomfort. Broken bones can develop arthritis and other lingering problems.
- You might be afraid to get behind the wheel of a car again after experiencing the trauma of a crash with an 18-wheeler. People who are hesitant to drive can find themselves isolated from society and miss out on activities they used to enjoy.
At Domingo Garcia, we understand you have been through a challenging time. Your Odessa 18-wheeler truck accident lawyer will fight tirelessly to hold the at-fault party accountable for the harm you’ve suffered.
Types of 18-Wheeler Collisions in Odessa
18-wheelers can get into the same kinds of wrecks as passenger vehicles, but there are also some unique aspects of truck crashes because of their size and shape.
- A large truck can jackknife, meaning that the trailer and cab slide out of line and form the shape of a V. Sudden driving maneuvers like hitting the brakes or sharply turning the steering wheel are two of the many actions that can cause a jackknife accident.
- “Slide under” accidents can happen when a car strikes the truck on the side or rear of the truck and slides underneath the trailer, often resulting in fatal injuries to the occupants of the car.
- Improperly balanced cargo or uneven pavement can cause a big rig to flip over on its side.
Call Now for Your Free Consultation
An Odessa 18-wheeler accident lawyer at Domingo Garcia can help you and your family pursue damages from the negligent party. Call today for a free consultation. There is no obligation, and you do not owe us legal fees unless you win.