CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A FORT WORTH TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYER FOR FREE
Despite efforts to improve vehicle safety and road designs, and despite the enactment of tougher laws penalizing distracted and impaired driving, traffic accidents remain a risk to motorists across Texas. When automobiles collide with large 18-wheelers there is an increased potential for massive destruction. A fully loaded tractor-trailer combination can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, which is almost 30 times the weight of the average passenger vehicle. Trucking companies and over-the-road truck drivers are strictly regulated by both state and federal laws. These accidents often result in individuals incurring large costs ranging from property damage, medical expenses, lost productivity, as well as the psychological pain and suffering associated with an injury or death.
If the negligence of another driver caused your accident or if you are dealing with an insurance company after being injured in a wreck, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with our experienced Forth Worth truck accident lawyers.
What To Do If You’ve Just Been In a Truck Accident?
1. Seek Safety and Medical Attention
Immediately following a trucking accident, your primary concern is to assess the safety of all parties. If there are injuries or a fatality, notify emergency medical services right away. If you’re hurt, don’t try to “tough it out.” This tactic could not only hinder your physical recovery, but it could also inhibit your ability to recover financial compensation from the insurance company later.
If your vehicle is still in the roadway, and you can safely move it, you should attempt to maneuver it out of traffic to the shoulder of the road and illuminate the hazard lights.
2. Report the Accident
Once you have reached relative safety, call 911 to provide them the location of the accident. Under Texas law, if anyone involved in the accident was injured or if there was damage to one or more vehicles exceeding $1000, you are required to report the accident to police.
Regardless of whether the accident is a minor fender bender or a major collision, getting an accident report is necessary and extremely helpful in furthering your future claim for financial compensation.
3. Gather Information and Document the Accident
As you wait for the police and emergency services to arrive, you should assess the scene of the accident and the extent of damage to your respective vehicles. You should try to gather as much evidence as possible in the moments immediately following the accident while the scene is still fresh, as it is likely to change over time. Video and photographic evidence are particularly helpful in preserving the details of an accident scene.
You should also document any injuries to yourself or your passengers as soon as possible. If possible, you will want to gather information from the other vehicle(s) involved, including but not limited to:
- The truck driver’s name and contact information
- The truck driver’s company or employer’s name
- The truck driver’s license number
- The truck driver’s insurance provider and policy numbers
- The truck’s model
- The truck’s USDOT (United States Department of Transportation) number decal
- The truck’s license plate number
You will also want to note the names of any passengers or third-party witnesses who saw the accident occur. Finally, when the police arrive, identify the officers, record their badge numbers, and request a copy of the accident report.
Following the accident, you will want to write down everything you can remember about the accident. Be sure to include as many details as you can remember, including:
- Time of day
- Weather conditions
- Your actions immediately preceding the accident
- The truck driver’s actions immediately preceding the accident
This written account may help preserve your memories of the incident and could be useful at trial.
4. Contact an Attorney
Once you're ready, contact an experienced personal injury attorney, who specializes in car accident and trucking accident cases. Speaking with a personal injury attorney can help you coordinate with your insurance provider, determine the statute of limitations for your claim, understand the process for filing such claims in your state, and assess your potential for compensation.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
What Causes Trucking Accidents?
Although there are fewer accidents involving 18-wheelers than solely passenger vehicles, accidents involving a multi-ton truck have a greater potential to cause catastrophic injury and death. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2019 there were 26,150 accidents involving truck-tractors/semi-trailers in Texas, and of those accidents, 452 resulted in fatalities and 844 resulted in serious injuries.
In 2007, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Administration (FMVSA), the leading federal government agency responsible for regulating and providing safety oversight to commercial vehicles, conducted a study which spanned two years and assessed the underlying causes of 963 commercial vehicle crashes. The study found that 80% of accidents involving 18-wheelers and semi-trailer trucks occurred as a result of three main events:
- The truck ran out of the travel lane, and the driver either merged into another lane or ran off the road (32%).
- The truck driver lost control, either due to traveling too fast for the weather conditions, the cargo shifting, the truck experienced a systems failure, poor road conditions, or other reasons (29%).
- The truck collided into the rear end of another vehicle in the truck's own travel lane (22%).
Regardless of how the accidents occurred, the FMVSA determined that 87% of these trucking accidents were the result of driver errors. The study breaks down these driver errors as follows:
- 38% were the result of decision-based errors (e.g. the driver was driving too fast for the conditions, misjudged the speed of other vehicles, or was following too closely).
- 28% were the result of recognition-based errors (e.g. the driver was not paying attention, was distracted while driving, or otherwise failed to sufficiently observe the roadway).
- 12% were the result of non-performance-based errors (e.g. the driver fell asleep at the wheel, experienced a medical emergency, or had some other physical impairment which prevented them from acting).
- 9% were the result of performance-based errors (e.g. the driver panicked, overcompensated, or exercised poor control of the vehicle).
How Long Does a Person Have To File Their Claim?
The answer to this question depends on the claim’s particular statute of limitations. The “statute of limitation” refers to a state law that places a strict time limit on the plaintiff’s right to file suit in civil court. Under Texas law, a person must bring suit for personal injury no later than two years after the date of the accident.
Therefore, while it may be reasonable to take a few days to recover after a truck accident, you do not want to wait too long before seeking an attorney to file your claim. The legal clock starts ticking the day that the accident occurred; thus, it’s always a good idea to begin the process early. This will give you more time for settlement negotiations, but it will also provide your attorney with ample time to gather evidence and file your claim.
How Much Could Your Claim Be Worth?
The value of truck accident cases varies depending on the extent of the injuries and the amount of property damage incurred as a result of the crash. Generally, there are two categories of damages available to plaintiffs: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to the losses that can be easily documented and quantified. This type of damages includes costs like lost income or wages, property damage, medical expenses, and any therapies necessary for physical recovery.
Non-economic damages refer to the losses that are more difficult to quantify monetarily. This type of damages typically includes pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, or even disfigurement. The challenge with non-economic damages is deciding how to place a value on the intangible losses and then to justify this value to an insurance company, judge, or jury.
Get Help from Our Fort Worth Truck Accident Lawyers Today
At Zinda Law Group, our Fort Worth attorneys have helped many accident survivors get their lives back on track after suffering injuries and financial losses. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you seek maximum compensation for any associated medical bills, lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, and all the other costs your accident has incurred.
Our firm believes that a truck accident victim should not have to worry about their ability to afford high-quality legal representation. This is why we offer 100% free consultations. Zinda Law Group operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your personal injury claim. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.