Each year, road users risk getting into accidents with large trucks due to common causal factors, such as high traffic areas, road conditions, and driver error. However, large trucks can inflict serious to catastrophic injuries on occupants of smaller cars, such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or paralysis from spinal cord injuries.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury in an accident with a semi-truck in Texas, our team wants to hear your case. A Texas 18-wheeler accident lawyer from our firm can fight for the compensation you need for you. The first consultation is free when you call.
Truck Accident Victims Can File Injury Claims to Hold Parties Accountable
Accident victims who suffered severe injuries may qualify to file personal injury cases against the appropriate parties to pursue compensation.
Common injury examples that qualify people to file truck accident lawsuits include:
- Head trauma, such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs)
- Internal organ damage
- Burn scarring from vehicle fires
- Nerve damage
- Injuries that cause vision or hearing loss
- Bone fractures, such as in the legs or hips
- Facial scarring
If you sustained another type of catastrophic injury that significantly altered your way of life before the accident, our team is still interested in listening to your case. We help accident victims of all kinds hold negligent truck drivers, their employers, and other related parties accountable. We aim to negotiate the compensation you need so that you may be able to recover from your injuries and enjoy life again.
Key Elements of Every Truck Accident Case Your Lawyer Must Prove
With each truck accident case, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant’s negligence caused their injuries through actions or inactions. Negligence involves four elements, so most lawyers can frame their client’s case argument around these points to prove why the defendant should be liable for damages.
In short, the four elements of negligence are the duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. To showcase how a lawyer might draft your case argument, let’s say a drunk truck driver hit your vehicle after running a red light. In the accident, you suffered a spinal cord injury, which caused you to be paralyzed below the waist. Your lawyer might frame your argument as:
- Duty of care: This point argues that the defendant had a duty of care toward the defendant. In this example, the truck driver had a duty of care not to operate the truck while under the influence of alcohol. Per Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) standards, commercial vehicle drivers are prohibited from driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.04 percent or higher.
- Breach of duty: This point argues that the defendant breached their duty of care through their actions or inactions. The truck driver, in this example, breached their duty of care by getting intoxicated. Being under the influence while operating an 18-wheeler made them a hazard on the road, as their motor skills, vision, and judgment decreased in accuracy.
- Causation: This point argues that there is a direct correlation between the defendant’s breach and the cause of the accident. Because the truck driver decided to consume alcohol before operating the truck, they did not have the proper capabilities to drive safely on the road. Alcohol consumption reduced their cognitive abilities, which led them to run a red light, ultimately hitting your vehicle in the intersection.
- Damages: This point argues that the plaintiff suffered injuries and related damages in the accident. You suffered a spinal cord injury in the T-bone accident with the truck, which caused you to develop paraplegia. You now face steep medical expenses, having to live with a permanent disability, and accepting that you can no longer work at your job, among other significant life changes. For these injuries, you demand compensation.
Other factors might make your case more complex than establishing four points. However, our legal team at Domingo Garcia is diligent at considering all possible factors so that your case remains strong and comprehensive.
More Than One Party May Owe You Compensation for the Truck Accident
In some truck accident cases, the truck driver may not be the only liable party involved in the accident. The driver’s employer or a separate company may be held vicariously liable for the accident due to its negligence. For example, the following parties may share fault in truck accident cases:
- The trucking company: Trucking companies may be held vicariously liable for their employees’ actions during working hours. They must also ensure that their drivers abide by FMCSA standards, such as the hours-of-service regulations. If the company pressures its employees to forgo federal regulations or routine truck inspections, the company may be held liable for its negligence.
- The truck manufacturer or a parts manufacturer: If a faulty part or an error in the truck’s design or manufacturing contributed to the cause of the accident, the manufacturer may be held liable for damages. It may be necessary to retrieve the black box information from the truck to identify the actual cause of the accident, as manufacturing errors can first appear as a lack of proper maintenance.
- The maintenance company that last worked on the truck: If there are no errors in the truck’s build, but a vehicle error still occurred, the maintenance company that last worked on the truck may be at fault. If the maintenance company was supposed to perform repairs or inspection on the truck but did not do so, this can also mark the company liable.
- The loading company that last loaded the truck: Commercial trucks transport goods, but truck drivers generally are not in charge of loading them. The loading company can be the store/manufacturer delivering goods or a third-party company hired to load the truck with precious goods.
- A third-party driver: In some cases, a third-party driver unrelated to the truck driver can serve as one of the causal factors of the accident. This is common in multi-vehicle pileup accidents. For example, a driver got distracted and accidentally cut off a truck. To avoid colliding with the car, the truck driver swerved out of the way but ended up hitting your vehicle. Despite the truck hitting you, the other driver may be considered at fault.
- A municipality: If your case involves more than one potentially liable party, our team can discuss whether it may be worth filing additional civil actions against those parties.
We Can Pursue Damages for Your 18-Wheeler Truck Accident on Your Behalf
You may have suffered several damages beyond your physical injuries as a truck accident victim. As we build your case, our team can take the time to go over your experience and determine which damages you may qualify to claim in your demands for compensation.
Compensatory damages are generally divided into two categories: economic losses and non-economic losses. Both require different methods to calculate, but in doing so, we can estimate how much compensation we need to pursue to cover your damages and any other expenses you might face in the future. The following goes over common types of compensatory damages.
Economic losses include all financial-related damages, such as:
- Medical treatment costs, including future medical expenses you might have to pay if you expect to receive treatment long-term
- Loss of income, including future lost wages if you are unable to return to your position or career field in general
- Reduced earning potential, which factors in the difference in the income you now make with your disability
- Property damage costs, which can cover repair expenses or help you replace your vehicle if you are no longer able to drive the vehicle due to your injuries
These types of damages are tangible and, therefore, require financial documents as proof. Evidence may include medical invoices, salary information on previous tax returns, and paystubs from your former employer.
Non-economic losses encompass all other non-financial losses. These damages may include:
- Pain and suffering, which includes both physical and emotional pain
- Emotional distress, which involves mental consequences of the trauma of the accident, such as developing depression, anxiety, or insomnia
- Permanent disability, which includes vision or hearing loss
- Physical disfigurement, which includes amputation or burn scarring
- Diminished quality of life if your life has changed so significantly that you can no longer enjoy former hobbies and activities and/or your relationships have altered since you started taking medicine.
Can the Surviving Family File for Compensation if the Accident Victim Dies?
Yes. Suppose a truck accident victim does not survive their injuries. In that case, a personal representative of the decedent (the deceased individual) or one of their surviving family members may file a wrongful death action on their behalf to pursue compensation. This type of civil action lawsuit can help surviving families recover the funds to pay for their current and future damages, reducing some of the burden left by their loved one’s passing.
Per the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.004, the following people qualify to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the decedent:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse
- The decedent’s surviving child(ren)
- The decedent’s surviving parent(s)
- A personal representative of the decedent, sometimes referred to as the “executor” or an administrator of their estate
If you are unsure whether you fit in these roles, our legal team can look over your case and identify who qualifies to file for compensation on behalf of your loved one.
Wrongful Death Actions Have Additional Damages You May Pursue
Wrongful death actions allow plaintiffs to pursue similar damages claimed in personal injury cases. However, plaintiffs may also seek damages related to their loved one’s passing and its consequences, such as:
- Funeral expenses, including costs for burial or cremation services
- Loss of financial support, including benefits and pensions attached to the decedent’s income
- Loss of parental guidance for surviving children
- Loss of consortium or companionship for surviving spouses
- Loss of inheritance if the surviving family had to use a life insurance policy or other assets to pay off the debts left behind by the decedent
You may qualify for other types of damages not listed here. Our team wants to be respectful of your situation, as grief is difficult to process, let alone juggle with a legal case. Our team’s Texas 18-wheeler accident lawyer can manage your case, allowing you the space you need to get through this time.
Our Legal Team Can Handle Communications to Protect Your Case
One of the significant benefits of having one of our truck accident lawyers in Texas represent you is that they can handle all communications for you. This allows our team to protect your case because any statements you make to the insurance adjuster, defendant, or any other involved party can be used against you as a method to reduce your right to compensation.
Below are some benefits of having a lawyer lead your case and make statements on your behalf.
We Know Common Tactics Insurance Adjusters Use
An insurance adjuster can likely call you immediately after an accident to get your account of the collision. This is a prime example of how it can be more beneficial to forward the insurance adjuster to your lawyer to provide a statement. Adjusters listen for any room for doubt or error on your part, meaning they may be listening to whether:
- You committed any driving errors, such as forgetting to signal or giving the right of way to another driver
- Your statements contradict the facts shown in the accident scene (e.g., you said the car was blue, but it was actually black).
- You claim that you didn’t feel “too bad” after the collision, which downplays the severity of your injuries
By having a lawyer provide an official statement about your case, they can avoid giving any advantage to the defendant so that they have no admission on your part about being partially negligent or undeserving of the compensation you demand.
We Can Review Settlement Offers You Receive to See if They’re Valid
Once we enter the negotiation stage with the insurance company, we can review any settlement offers they give you and compare these offers to the calculations we made about your damages.
If the offers are lower than what you’re demanding, we can provide insight on whether there’s a chance we can negotiate higher. If necessary, we can also advise you on whether it’s worth pursuing a personal injury lawsuit if the defendant refuses to meet any of your demands.
We Can Update You as Your Case Goes Through Litigation Procedures
Our team can also update you as new developments for your case occur, such as:
- Notices from the court about your case being approved and court hearing dates
- Updates on whether the defendant agreed to certain terms, such as paying for property damage or medical expenses
- Instructions on what other evidence you need to provide or legal paperwork you need to sign
- Confirmation on whether the defendant agreed to a settlement
You Must Submit Your Truck Accident Lawsuit by Texas’s Statutory Deadline
Per the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003, all plaintiffs must submit their personal injury cases within two years of the incident that caused their injuries. If you were in a truck accident, one of the first pieces of evidence our team may request or seek out is the official crash report on your accident. This report can have a record of the specific date your accident occurred and can serve as our guideline on when your case is due.
What Happens if You Don’t Submit Your Case on Time?
You may be barred from pursuing compensation through litigation if you do not file your truck accident lawsuit by its deadline. A reviewing judge may dismiss it upon submission or per the request of the defendant should they find out you submitted your case late.
Once you are barred from fighting for compensation in the trial, you can lose any leverage against the insurance company or defendant since they can be legally absolved of having to pay you damages.
When Should You Consider Filing a Lawsuit?
Rather than risk missing your opportunity to recover your damages, it would be best to consider filing a lawsuit immediately to show the insurance company that you’re serious about your case. In many cases, plaintiffs do not have to go to trial, though our team is prepared to do so if necessary.
Filing a lawsuit can also be a method to keep the insurance company or defendant cooperative during settlement negotiations. If they keep stalling or refuse to respond to messages, sending a notice about your intention to sue would require them to respond to your case and go through litigation steps.
Our Legal Team Has Won Multimillion-Dollar Verdicts for Truck Accident Victims
At Domingo Garcia, we have earned various successful verdicts and settlements for our clients. We work hard to represent our clients accurately and fairly so that their stories are heard by a jury of their peers. When you decide to work with a Texas 18-wheeler accident attorney from our law firm, we aim to be transparent about our legal process and fight for a compensation total that is fair for you.
You can read about some of our highest verdicts and settlements on our case results page. Some of our winnings for truck accident cases include:
- $8,500,000 settlement for a family that lost a loved one when an 18 wheeler struck and killed them while they were on the shoulder changing a tire.
- $1 million for a client who suffered a lumbar fracture in a commercial vehicle accident
- $9,000,000 for a child that suffered a traumatic brain injury due to a negligent driver of a commercial truck
A Truck Accident Attorney from Our Team Can Handle Complex Cases for You
Truck accident cases can become more complex than standard passenger vehicle accident cases. Our team is prepared to tackle any challenge your case might involve, such as:
- Cases involving other commercial vehicle drivers: When multiple commercial vehicles are involved, it may require multiple actions to pursue compensation. Our team can review whether it may be worth tackling each party or pursuing a case against one party that has the most evidence against it.
- Cases involving uninsured or underinsured drivers: Our team can discuss alternative options to pursuing compensation if the defendant does not have an insurance policy or their policy cannot cover the extent of your damages. These options may include seeking compensation from a different insurance policy, such as home insurance, or through a lawsuit.
- Cases involving municipalities: Cases against municipalities require faster notice and may require more evidence to hold the municipality responsible for your injuries. Our team may consult expert witnesses to support your claims and investigate further to ensure the city’s negligence is recognized.
Get a Free Consultation About Your Case When You Call Domingo Garcia
If you were injured in an accident involving an 18-wheeler truck in Texas, call Domingo Garcia to tell us about your case. Your first consultation is free when you call, and you’ll be able to discuss your situation with one of our team members. Once we gauge how severe your case is, we can discuss your legal options to pursue compensation and how a Texas 18-wheeler accident lawyer from our firm can represent you.
Call today to get a free case review. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t pay any attorney’s fees unless we win your case.