Eighteen-wheeler truck accidents are among the most devastating due to the vehicles’ massive size and weight. As a result, crash survivors often experience severe injuries and emotional trauma. Fortunately, legal remedies are available to secure compensation for losses resulting from these catastrophic accidents.
When you retain a Dallas 18-wheeler truck accident lawyer from our law firm, we will investigate the crash to identify your losses and build an evidence-based case. While we work to secure your compensation, you can concentrate on your recovery and rebuild your life.
In This Article:
- How Are 18-Wheeler Accidents Different From Passenger Vehicle Crashes?
- Common Injuries Experienced by 18-Wheeler Accident Victims
- Why Hire an 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Attorney in Dallas?
- Pursuable Damages in an 18-Wheeler Truck Collision
- Who Can Be Held Liable for an 18-Wheeler Truck Accident?
- Common Types of Truck Accidents in Dallas
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Consult an 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Attorney in Dallas
For a free legal consultation with a 18-wheeler truck accidents lawyer serving Dallas, call (214) 941-8300
How Are 18-Wheeler Accidents Different from Passenger Vehicle Crashes?
There are several differences between large commercial truck crashes and standard car-to-car collisions.
If an 18-wheeler driver loses control due to errors, fatigue, improper cargo loading, mechanical failure, or bad weather conditions, the result can be disastrous.
Moreover, when a truck of this magnitude is out of control, it can roll over, jackknife, or collide head-on with smaller vehicles, quickly demolishing them under the impact’s force.
Truck accidents may also be different than collisions types because:
- More than one liable party may be involved, including drivers, trucking companies, and maintenance shops.
- They are more likely to cause severe, traumatic, and fatal injuries due to immense weight and height differences between 18-wheelers and passenger vehicles.
- Unsecured or unbalanced cargo shifts in the trailer can lead to crashes.
- Trucks with heavy loads traveling at high speeds are more difficult to handle and bring to a stop.
- Cases are immediately addressed by the trucking company’s legal team, who will investigate and seek ways to help them avoid being held financially liable.
- Cases might include special evidence, such as black box data and driver logging records, that can help describe the events before the accident.
Your Legal Team Must Understand Federal and Texas State Trucking Regulations
The differences above illustrate why having an 18-wheeler accident attorney with decades of experience handling the complex tasks needed in these cases can be beneficial. Furthermore, they should have a deep understanding of state and federal regulations.
For example, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for federal laws to which interstate truckers must adhere. These include hours-of-service driving limitations and how they must be tracked and logged.
Also, intrastate truck drivers and the companies they work for must comply with federal regulations and laws enacted by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). For example, there are state regulations regarding driver licensing, weight, and load restrictions, required safety equipment, and more.
Suppose you can legally demonstrate the truck driver or company failed to obey a federal or state trucking regulation, and this omission led to an accident. In that case, this may strongly support a negligence claim.
Dallas 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Lawyer Near Me (214) 941-8300
Common Injuries Experienced by 18-Wheeler Accident Victims
As noted, injuries sustained by survivors of large commercial truck accidents can be severe, catastrophic, and life-threatening.
As a result, medical bills can be steep and ongoing for an extended period. Fortunately, most, if not all, injury-related financial and personal losses can be compensated through a truck accident lawsuit.
Common injuries caused by truck crashes include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck and spinal cord injuries
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Severe scarring and disfigurement
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage and failure
- Crushed or broken bones
- Severe cuts and lacerations
- Severe burns
Life-altering injuries can result in enduring and permanent physical impairments, loss of bodily function, and deformity. The more debilitating, long-lasting, and expensive to treat your injuries are, the higher the compensation you can pursue and secure in a lawsuit.
18-wheeler truck accident survivors are often traumatized due to the destructive nature of a collision, devastating injuries, and possibly witnessing fatalities. Psychological conditions you may experience include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Emotional anguish
- Severe depression
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Grief due to personal losses or a loved one’s death
- Phobic disorders, such as fear of traveling
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Why Hire an 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Attorney in Dallas?
The legal process following an 18-wheeler truck accident can be nerve-racking. To recover compensation, you will need to investigate the collision, build a solid claim, negotiate a fair settlement, and possibly file a lawsuit.
When you retain an accident attorney, you will have access to a legal professional who understands how to navigate the process of securing compensation.
Tasks personal injury lawyers can handle for you include the following:
Investigate Your Accident and Gather Crucial Evidence
Before filing an 18-wheeler truck accident claim, your attorney must thoroughly investigate the collision and gather evidence to identify all liable parties.
Likewise, they will catalog the accident scene and collect documentary evidence. Vital evidence your lawyer can gather for you may include the following:
- Photos and videos after the crash
- Cell phone, dashcam, or CCTV video of the accident
- Medical records and bills
- Crash reports and traffic citations
- Trucking industry regulation documents
- Vehicle documentation
- Cell phone calls or text records
- Photos of your injuries
- Income statements or pay stubs
- Statements and affidavits from eyewitnesses
- Statements from expert witnesses like doctors, nurses, therapists, psychologists, police officers, coroners, and accident reconstructionists
Determine Who Is Liable for Compensation
To recover compensation from the party you believe is responsible for your injuries, you will have to prove they are liable. Proving liability requires you and your attorney to establish the following:
- Duty of care: This is a fundamental duty all drivers owe those who share the road to act cautiously to avoid causing them injury. The driver, trucking company, cargo loading company, maintenance company, or manufacturer all owed you a duty of care. Your lawyer will refer to Texas statutes to determine whether or not an involved party is subject to this duty.
- Breach of duty: You and your attorney must also prove the other party willfully violated their duty of care through negligence. This is often accompanied by a traffic violation or crime, such as speeding, driving while tired, or drunk driving.
- Causation: Next, you and your attorney must show the other party’s breach of duty proximately caused your injuries. In other words, you must prove you would not have been injured if not for the other party’s negligent actions.
- Damages: Finally, you and your attorney must demonstrate your injuries resulted in quantifiable damages. These may be both economic and non-economic and must be supported by evidence.
Calculate Damages You Have Incurred
A personal injury claim is meant to give you the means to recoup your expenses due to an injury that was not your fault. Still, the party is only responsible for damages you can prove. For this reason, you will have to identify all your losses and reasonably estimate their financial value.
Having a personal injury attorney assist with this can significantly simplify the entire process and increase the value of your settlement.
File an Insurance Claim and Negotiate a Settlement
Once you have determined the value of your damages, the next step is to submit your claim to the liable party’s insurer. Unfortunately, the insurance company may pressure you out of pursuing compensation.
Therefore, you are urged to avoid speaking to the insurer. Instead, an attorney can do this on your behalf to protect your best interests.
Insurance companies are profit-driven and may attempt to minimize your settlement. In doing so, they might employ certain tactics to reduce your claim’s value, including the following:
- The insurer will record everything you say and may twist it and use it against you later to discredit your claim. To circumvent this tactic, have your attorney speak with the insurer.
- The insurer might claim you were already injured before the accident. Likewise, they could say you are exaggerating the severity of your injuries. However, an attorney will know how to disprove counterclaims such as these.
- The insurer could repeatedly deny your claims. However, when you have an attorney representing you, the insurance adjuster will be compelled to take your claim seriously.
- If they do not initially deny your claim, their first settlement offer will likely be below the amount you deserve. Again, your attorney can help calculate all your damages and prove why the insurer owes you what you claim.
Represent You in Court
If negotiations sour, you should strongly consider filing a truck accident lawsuit and suing the insurer for compensation. Insurance companies have their legal teams, so a compassionate attorney by your side is often indispensable during a lawsuit.
For example, an experienced truck accident attorney will help you take legal action and fight for you in court to ensure you are compensated fairly.
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Pursuable Damages in an 18-Wheeler Truck Collision
Truck accidents can be devastating and lead to life-altering injuries resulting in a lifetime of financial losses. In addition, some personal losses (such as permanent disfigurement) warrant compensation, although they often require legal formulas to calculate.
An experienced truck accident lawyer in Dallas can help you accurately total all your past, present, and future accident-related damages.
Damages truck accident victims can claim in a personal injury case include the following:
Commercial vehicle accidents can have a devastating economic impact on those involved. However, victims may receive compensation for tangible losses, like:
- Medical bills, such as ambulance fees, emergency care, hospital stays, rehab, doctor appointments, therapy, medications, medical devices and equipment, long-term care, home nursing, and more
- Property damage, such as the replacement or repair of your vehicle and anything else damaged in the accident
- Lost earnings from missed work due to your injury
- Diminished future earning capacity due to permanent disability or a catastrophic injury
If you were involved in a collision, you would likely experience a strong psychological impact. Surviving a traumatic event can lead to emotional and mental wounds, not just physical ones. Depending on your case, you may recover the following intangible losses:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Permanent disability
- Emotional damage due to scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of companionship
Wrongful Death Damages
If your loved one was injured in a fatal crash, you might be entitled to file a wrongful death claim against the liable party, according to Texas Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 71.002. An attorney can pursue justice for your family member and help recover the following wrongful death damages:
- Funeral, cremation, or burial costs
- The deceased’s remaining medical bills
- Lost benefits owed to you as a beneficiary, like a health insurance through your loved one’s job
- Lost wages from taking time off work
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
In Texas, you have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit, starting from the date of the decedent’s passing. Our law office is dedicated to helping families whose loved ones were injured in a fatal crash pursue fair compensation for their losses.
Trucking Accident Settlements
Throughout our practice, we helped many clients secure seven-figure settlements. For example, our legal team recovered $8.75 million for a victim injured when a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel. This 18-wheeler accident case was settled after we selected a jury in Dallas County.
With years of experience in handling similar cases, our legal team understands what it takes to build a strong claim and negotiation strategy for obtaining a favorable recovery.
Who Can Be Held Liable for an 18-Wheeler Truck Accident?
The trucking company and insurers are often liable for compensating victims of truck accidents. This is true even if the fault lies with the commercial driver, but not always. Other responsible parties can include the loading company, maintenance providers, vehicle or vehicle parts manufacturers, or a third-party driver.
Furthermore, cities, municipalities, counties, or state agencies are responsible for designing or maintaining roadways. Therefore, a governmental entity may be liable for an injured person’s losses if an 18-wheeler truck accident occurred due to poor road conditions.
The Truck Driver
Like everyday accidents, most truck collisions result from driver error or negligence. Truck drivers are typically better trained than the average driver but are also capable of making mistakes. Unfortunately, 18-wheeler crashes can be catastrophic.
For example, truck drivers can become fatigued and nod off at the wheel when working long hours. Furthermore, they might speed, fail to yield, practice distracted driving, or break other traffic laws to meet deadlines.
Drivers distracted by their cell phones, radio, or passengers can easily cause an accident. However, they may not be personally liable unless they engage in acts provable as gross negligence, such as extremely reckless driving.
The Trucking Company
If an error or omission on the truck company’s behalf contributed to an accident, they could be held liable for the survivor’s losses. Examples of negligence include the following:
- Failing to repair or replace defective truck parts, components, or systems
- Inadequate fleet maintenance
- Failing to secure cargo properly or overloading
- Violating truck driving state or federal safety regulations
Under certain circumstances, a trucking company could be indirectly at-fault for truck driver errors or omissions, such as if the company:
- Pressured the driver to violate Hours of Service Regulations, resulting in fatigue and inattention
- Allowed a driver to work despite a lack of proper training
- Failed to conduct a driver background check
- Failure to subject the driver to drug testing
The Truck Owner
If the company does not own the truck, the actual owner might be liable if an accident occurs. This is because they are responsible for the general upkeep of the vehicle, such as brake repair, tire replacement, and system functionality.
As federal regulations govern truck inspection and maintenance, the owner may be liable for damages for not following them.
Loading and shipping companies are responsible for ensuring a truck’s cargo is balanced and secure.
If the load shifts and becomes unstable, the truck could tip over, become challenging to maneuver, and cause an accident.
Truck and Truck Parts Manufacturers
Truck makers or those who manufacture electrical and mechanical parts and systems may be liable if an accident occurs due to a defect or failure of one of their products.
For example, if faulty brakes go out, the driver may be unable to stop the truck in time to avoid an accident.
Trucking companies might hire outside maintenance shops to repair their vehicles and ensure they satisfy truck safety regulations.
However, the failure of a shop or crew to repair or replace faulty parts or components could lead to liability if an accident occurs.
Common Types of Truck Accidents in Dallas
Due to a nearly unlimited number of factors, there are many ways an 18-wheeler accident can occur in Dallas. Some of the most common include the following:
18-wheelers have a higher center of gravity than other vehicles. Therefore, if a commercial truck driver makes a sharp turn or drives too fast for existing conditions, the trailer may tip, and the entire truck can roll over onto its side.
Other causes include the truck colliding with other objects on the road, steep inclines, or declines.
When an 18-wheeler rear-ends a passenger car or truck, the size and weight difference between the two can result in the smaller vehicle being crushed on impact.
In addition, these large commercial motor vehicles require much more distance and time to reduce speed, avoid hazards, or safely stop behind other cars.
When a driver is inattentive or loses control of their truck, they could drift into another lane and the flow of oncoming traffic.
These collisions can also occur at red lights or stop signs when a driver fails to yield the right-of-way. In extreme cases, the driver of the colliding vehicles could be driving the wrong way. Again, this could lead to an accident, especially since 18-wheelers are challenging to stop.
Jackknife accidents can occur when an 18-wheeler truck driver makes an improper turn or braking maneuver.
The resultant force causes the trailer to swing sideways around its pivot point at an angle, resembling a folding jackknife.
T-bone accidents often occur at intersections. For instance, suppose an 18-wheel truck traveling through an intersection runs a red light or ignores a stop sign.
They could collide with the side of another vehicle crossing in front of them.
Sideswipe accidents occur when two vehicles traveling next to each other in the same direction collide, like a truck’s passenger side swiping the driver’s side of another car.
Many of these accidents are caused by a truck driver’s failure to check a blind spot before merging or changing lanes.
Wide turn accidents can occur if a vehicle enters an 18-wheeler driver’s blind spot. When the driver attempts to make a tight right turn, they may leave too much space between the truck and the curb, allowing a vehicle to drive between them.
While in this position, the car can be struck, squeezed, or shoved under the truck’s trailer.
Underride accidents can occur when a smaller vehicle gets trapped underneath an 18-wheeler truck’s trailer. This may be caused when a truck driver hits the brakes too hard or too fast, and the driver of a standard-sized vehicle behind them is unprepared.
Sometimes these are unavoidable when a pile-up occurs in front of the truck, and the driver is forced to slam the brakes or smash into the car in front of them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Knowing the answers to the most common questions about truck crashes can help you better understand your experience.
Here our lawyers discuss a few of our clients’ most frequently asked questions in past cases:
Can You Sue for an 18-Wheeler Accident in Dallas?
If the negligent actions of a truck driver caused you serious damages to injuries, you could pursue civil litigation. In addition, an experienced attorney can help you file a personal injury lawsuit to secure financial compensation.
How Can a Dallas Truck Accident Lawyer Help Your Case?
A truck accident lawyer can play a critical role in helping you get the compensation you deserve after a truck accident. They can help you navigate the complex legal process, gather and analyze evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary.
How Much Time Do You Have to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Dallas?
In Texas, you have two years from your truck accident to file a personal injury lawsuit per Texas Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003. Unfortunately, missing this deadline may bar you from collecting damages. Therefore, we encourage you to consult an experienced attorney and promptly take action.
Consult an 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Attorney in Dallas
A Dallas 18-wheeler truck accident lawyer from Domingo Garcia is committed to helping you recover maximum compensation for your injuries and losses resulting from the collision.
Do not hesitate to contact us today for a free initial consultation to learn more about your legal rights and how we will aggressively fight for your best interests.
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