El Paso Truck Accident Lawyer
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Accidents involving 18-wheelers are among some of the most complicated cases that personal injury lawyers process. That is because the accident does not just involve the driver of the 18-wheeler and the other vehicle. There are often multiple insurance companies involved as well as the company that manufactured the big rig. These types of accidents often result in more fatalities and more serious injuries than other types of motor vehicle crashes. Compared to the average car, 18-wheelers are bigger and more difficult to safely maneuver, leading to a disproportionate number of crashes. That’s why it’s important to know an El Paso truck accident lawyer you can trust in the event of an accident.
What to Do After A Truck Accident?
1. Seek Medical Attention if Injured
It is crucial to immediately seek medical attention if you have been involved in a truck accident. Even if no injury is apparent, you may still be injured and should seek medical care as soon as possible. By immediately seeking diagnosis and treatment of your injuries from a qualified medical professional, you not only secure necessary medical help, but you are able to also ensure documentation of your injuries and their subsequent treatment.
2. Report the Accident
Once you have sought medical attention, you should report the accident to the proper authorities. Depending on where the accident occurs, this may be local police, sheriff, or highway patrol. They will respond to the accident, offer assistance where needed, take statements from any present witnesses, as well as complete an accident report that documents the details of the accident.
3. Document the Accident
After a truck accident, you should document as much evidence surrounding the accident as possible. If possible, take photos of the injuries you have received. You should also take photos of any damage done to your vehicle, as well as of the entire accident scene. You should get the contact information of any witnesses that may have witnessed the accident.
4. Contact an El Paso Truck Accident Attorney
After a truck accident, you should contact an experienced El Paso semi-truck accident attorney as soon as possible. By consulting an 18-wheeler accident attorney quickly, your attorney will be able to begin investigating the accident right away, while the evidence is still fresh and readily available. Your attorney will work to discover who was liable and if negligence may have been involved in the accident.
Truck Accident Statistics
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were over 24,000 accidents in Texas involving large trucks in 2017, and over 1,000 of these accidents were fatal or caused serious injuries. In and around El Paso, there were 989 accidents involving commercial motor vehicles, which includes most large trucks. These accidents resulted in eight deaths, as well as over 300 estimated injuries, 16 of these being serious, incapacitating injuries.
Types of Truck Accident Claims
Large trucks making a right turn will often swing left to do so, sometimes resulting in a vehicle to the right of the truck being caught between the truck and the curb.
Brake Failure Accidents
If a truck’s brakes are not properly installed, maintained, or replaced as needed, they can fail, causing the truck to be unable to slow down or come to a stop.
When a truck driver is speeding and suddenly brakes, it can result in the driver losing control of the truck, with the trailer dangerously turning at a 90-degree angle in relation with the cab of the truck.
The size and weight of large trucks means a tire blowout can be much more difficult to manage by the driver and may result in the loss of control of the truck by the driver.
Rollover accidents can occur when a truck is climbing or descending a steep incline at a high speed, causing the truck and/or trailer to roll over.
When a truck’s cargo is loaded improperly, it can shift during travel, and such a shift in weight can lead to the truck driver losing control while driving.
An area of a vehicle in which the driver does not have visual access is a blind spot. Due to the size of semi-trucks and 18 wheelers, these blind spots are much larger.
Under-ride collisions occur when an automobile collides with the rear of a truck in which the trailer’s underside is higher than the car, causing the car to go under the trailer.
T-Bone collisions occur when a truck impacts the side of a passenger vehicle, and often occur at intersections, especially if the truck driver has ran a stop sign or red light.
Rear-end collisions are often caused by drivers failing to accurately judge the distance required to stop or adequately reduce speed in order to avoid colliding with the vehicle in front of them. With the heavy loads they carry, trucks require more time and distance to safely slow down or stop.
Head-on collisions occur when a truck collides with the front of a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. These collisions can occur when a truck drives the wrong way down a highway or drifts into the wrong lane, into oncoming traffic.
The difference in size between small motorcycles and large trucks can make it difficult for truck drivers to see and account for motorcyclists on the road, which can lead to an accident if a truck driver fails to notice the presence of a motorcyclist in its vicinity.
Many of the truck accidents in the El Paso area occur on busy commercial routes such as U.S. Route 54, Interstate 25, and Interstate 10 and may be caused by:
Speeding and Reckless Driving
This includes speeding, not slowing down in work zones or in dangerous road conditions, such as rain or fog, as well as reckless behavior such as weaving in and out of traffic, passing where it is unsafe or unlawful to so, or even drifting across lanes haphazardly.
Truck drivers are expected to travel great distances to deliver their cargo as quickly as possible, leading to some drivers going too long without rest and failing to pay proper attention to the road and the vehicles around them.
Along with alcohol and illegal drugs, legally prescribed drugs and medications can also interfere with a truck driver’s ability to drive safely, even if taken as prescribed.
Using mobile devices, eating while driving, looking for items within the truck, and interacting with passengers are all dangerous distractions that can cause a driver to lose focus and cause an accident.
Worn or Punctured Tires
A truck’s tires must be properly monitored for wear and replaced as needed. Worn tires can lead to a decrease in traction, especially on wet or icy roads. Worn tires, as well as tires that have been punctured, if not repaired or replaced, can also cause a blowout while the truck is moving.
Malfunctioning or Non-functional Lighting
Drivers at night have drastically-limited vision, and if a truck has rear or sidelights that are not working properly, the truck can be more difficult to see at night or in other low visibility environments, such as fog. Other drivers can also have difficulty accurately determining a truck driver’s intentions if brake lights or turn signals are not functioning properly.
How To File A Truck Accident Lawsuit
1. Call A Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents can cause serious injuries, resulting in costly medical bills and severe damage to other vehicles. To ensure you can seek the compensation you may be entitled to, it is critical that you call and consult with an El Paso truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after you are involved in a truck accident. An experienced semi-truck accident lawyer will be able to immediately begin investigating the accident and gathering evidence surrounding the accident.
Once you have secured the services of an 18-wheeler accident attorney, they will begin investigating the accident, seeking to determine the facts and gather evidence to determine who is liable and if negligence may have been a factor in the accident. They will collect police reports, photos, and witness statements if available, as well as documentation of your injuries and property damage.
3. Case Settlement
With the facts and information gathered during the investigation, your attorney will be able to begin negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. Your lawyer will present your claim to the insurer, along with any evidence that may help to prove liability or negligence. This negotiation will usually go back and forth between your attorney and the insurer until a settlement can be agreed upon by both parties. If no settlement can be reached, the case may go to trial.
Who Is Liable?
The driver of the truck involved in the accident may be liable if they exhibited negligent behavior that led to the accident, such as driving while under the influence, distracted driving, or fatigued driving.
Trucking, Shipping, or Cargo Company
In some cases, the company which owns the truck may be liable. If the company was negligent in their maintenance of the truck or its equipment, the truck was improperly loaded, the company places unsafe expectations on the driver that causes driver fatigue, or if the company has failed to insure only properly trained drivers were employed, they may be responsible for the accident.
If the accident was caused by poor road conditions due to the condition of the roadway, whether through poor maintenance, poor construction, or poor design, the government entity responsible for that roadway may be liable.
Proving Truck Driver Negligence
To prove negligence by the truck driver, your semi-truck accident attorney must prove four elements:
Duty of Care
In a truck accident case, the truck driver generally has a duty of care to others on the road to operate the truck safely and lawfully.
Breach of Duty
Your attorney must prove the driver negligently breached this duty of care, such as by driving fatigued or under the influence, or by failing to properly maintain the truck and its equipment.
The victim of the accident must be able to prove that they actually suffered damages including physical and emotional damages as well as property damages.
Finally, you must prove your damages were caused by the driver’s breach of duty.
Many factors will be considered when calculating compensation in truck driving accidents, including:
Medical damages include costs of diagnosis and treatment of any injuries you suffered as a result of the truck accident including the cost of hospital visits, specialist consultations, surgeries and other treatments, and medications. Future medical costs for may also be awarded in some cases if your required for your recovery.
Compensation for property damage covers the cost to repair or replace property damaged in the accident. If your vehicle is damaged beyond repair, you may be compensated based on the fair market value of your vehicle.
You may be able to receive compensation for lost wages if you missed work due to injuries you suffered as a result of a truck accident preventing you from performing your normal duties.
Loss of Earning Potential
If you are unable to return to your job as a result of a truck accident, you may be able to claim damages for loss of earning potential.
Pain and Suffering
You may be able to receive compensation for the physical and psychological pain you may have experienced as a result of your injuries from a truck accident.
If you have lost a loved one due to a truck accident, you may be able to file for wrongful death damages, such as loss of consortium or loss of earning potential.
Texas Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases is a time limit on how long you have to make your claim for compensation after your accident. In Texas it is two years from the date of the accident.
In cases involving minors, those under the age of 18, the time limit imposed by the statute of limitations is tolled and may not begin until the minor has turned 18 and becomes a legal adult.
In wrongful death cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of death.
It is important to consult an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you are able to file your claim before this time limit expires, as most cases presented after the statute of limitations has expired will not be successful.
FIND AN EL PASO TRUCKING ACCIDENT LAWYER
With the help of a lawyer, the injured party can receive compensation for damages such as medical bills, future care, lost wages, property damage, or pain and suffering. If a loss of life has occurred, an attorney can also file a wrongful death suit against the trucking company. Our El Paso truck injury lawyers can help you determine what damages you may be entitled to receive under the law.
Any questions that you may have concerning a truck accident in can be answered by one of our injury attorneys. Don’t wait to see if their insurance carrier is going to “make things right”; protect yourself and consult with an El Paso truck accident lawyer today.
At Zinda Law Group, our El Paso accident lawyers can help you determine if you have a case and what the best course of action is for moving forward.
Call 888-345-9407 for a free consultation with one of our Texas trucking accident attorneys. As our client, you will pay nothing unless we win your 18-wheeler accident case.
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