CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH HOUSTON TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYERS FOR FREE
Any vehicle accident may inflict serious injuries or even be fatal. However, large semi trucks have a considerable size and weight difference compared to passenger vehicles, which often exponentially increases the risk of catastrophic injuries or death.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident involving a semi truck in Houston, you should consult the Houston 18-wheeler injury lawyers at Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation. If we are unable to win your case, you will not owe us anything.
18-WHEELER ACCIDENT STATISTICS
In 2019, there were over 450 fatal accidents involving large trucks in Texas. Nationwide, 96% of fatalities occurring in accidents involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck were suffered by occupants of the passenger vehicle in 2018. In addition to fatal crashes, there were over 500 vehicles involved in trucking accidents with serious injuries.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN A TRUCK ACCIDENT
1. Seek Medical Attention
The first thing you should do if you have been involved in a truck accident is to immediately seek medical attention to diagnose and treat any injuries you may have sustained. You should seek medical attention even if you do not appear to be injured. Some injuries may not immediately present physical symptoms, even ones that are serious or even potentially fatal, such as internal bleeding. A thorough examination by a physician immediately after an accident not only helps to ensure you are healthy, but also provides evidence of any injuries you may have sustained as a result of the accident.
2. Report the Accident
After having sought medical attention, report the accident to the appropriate authorities, such as local law enforcement or the Texas Highway Patrol. Once the accident has been reported, law enforcement may respond to the accident, and may complete an accident report. This report generally documents details of the accident, including vehicles involved, drivers and passengers involved, where the collision occurred, and the nature of the collision. This report may be able to provide important legal documentation of the accident, which may help your Houston truck accident attorney prove your claim.
3. Document Evidence
Collecting and documenting evidence of the accident may help you successfully seek any compensation you may be entitled to. If possible, you should take photos of any injuries and property damage. You should also take photos of the vehicles and the area around them. Be sure to collect the contact information of any witnesses who may have seen the accident occur and maintain thorough documentation of any medical records relating to medical visits or treatment for the injuries you sustained in the accident.
4. Consult an Attorney
Finally, if you have been involved in a vehicle accident involving an 18-wheeler, you should contact a Houston truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your personal injury lawyer may begin the process of investigating and pursuing your claim quickly, as evidence and witness recollection may deteriorate over time, and certain legal time limits must be met. If you wish to pursue a settlement for your Houston 18-wheeler injury, an experienced personal injury attorney near you may be able to help you even the playing field. Insurers and trucking companies hire teams of lawyers to find a way to pay accident victims as little as possible.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
WHO IS LIABLE AFTER A TRUCKING ACCIDENT?
Truck drivers may be liable if they caused an accident through negligence, such as driving while distracted, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or without proper rest. However, in some cases, other parties may be liable for the accident in addition to, or instead of, the negligent truck driver.
Generally, employers are liable for the negligent actions of their employees when the employee was acting in the scope of their employment. Trucking companies may also place unreasonable expectations on their drivers to deliver goods as quickly as possible. This may lead to drivers being pressured to drive farther and longer without rest than they are safely able to. Trucking companies may also be liable if the accident was caused by a failure to properly maintain the truck, such as failing to change worn tires or brakes. Other cases where a trucking company may be liable include improper loading of the truck, which may lead to cargo shifting which in turn may cause the truck to overturn.
If the accident was caused by an equipment malfunction or faulty parts, the manufacturer of the parts may be liable for the accident. Further, if defective parts caused the accident, the distributor or retailer who sold the parts may also be liable.
To prove liability in a trucking accident case, four elements must generally be proven:
Duty of Care
It must first be proven that the at-fault driver owed a duty of care towards the victim. A duty of care means the driver must take certain precautions to prevent an accident, such as not driving while distracted or intoxicated, ensuring a truck’s braking system is well maintained, or not pressuring drivers to ignore safety regulations and required rest periods.
Breach of Duty
Next, your 18-wheeler accident lawyer in Houston generally must prove the other party breached this duty of care, such as by failing to take proper precautions to avoid an accident, by driving recklessly, or by running a red light.
It must then be proven that the breach of duty caused your accident. For example, when a trucking company fails to maintain the truck’s braking system, you must show that the truck’s inability to brake then caused the accident.
Finally, it must be proven that the victim suffered actual injuries or damages. These damages may include physical injuries, time off work, property damage to your vehicle, or non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. In wrongful death cases, damages are generally presumed to exist, as the victim has died as a result of the accident.
HOW A HOUSTON TRUCK ACCIDENT ATTORNEY CAN HELP YOU
Once you have hired a semi truck lawyer, your attorney may then begin the process of investigating your accident. This investigation may involve:
- Witness interviews
- Examining the scene of the accident
- Reviewing records, such as the accident report, medical documentation, and bills
This information may help your attorney determine how much compensation you may be entitled to and who may be liable, whether it’s the truck driver alone or another party, such as the trucking company, mechanic, or parts manufacturer.
Once your attorney has concluded the investigation, they may then present your claim to the insurer along with a settlement offer. The insurer may choose to accept or reject this initial offer. The insurer often rejects the initial offer before proposing a counteroffer, which may dispute the extent of your injuries or their insured’s liability. Insurers often initially offer amounts that are far lower than what your claim may be worth, but an attorney may be able to help you negotiate for the compensation you may be entitled to.
If your attorney and the insurer agree on terms, you may reach a settlement. After withholding their contingency fee, your attorney may then distribute the compensation to you.
If a settlement cannot be reached, your case may instead go to trial. Here, your attorney may represent you and present evidence proving the other party’s liability for your injuries.
You may seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damages caused by truck accidents in Texas. It should be noted that Texas is a comparative fault state. This means you can only seek compensation if you are less than fifty percent responsible for the accident. Any fault that is allocated to you will impact the amount of compensation you may be entitled to. For example, if you are found to be 15% at fault for an accident, the amount of damages you may seek will be reduced by 15%. Compensation you may be entitled to may include:
- Medical expenses for hospital visits, treatment, medication, physical therapy, or the cost of future treatment
- Property damage, including the cost to repair or replace your vehicle.
- Lost wages for any missed work due to the accident
- Loss of potential income if your injuries prevent you from returning to work or prevent you from performing the same type of work or otherwise earning the same level of income
- Pain and suffering damages for the physical and emotional anguish caused by your injuries and their impact on your quality of life
- Wrongful death damages if your loved one was killed in the accident
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
The statute of limitations is the time limit on when you may file a claim, and after this time has expired, any claim filed may be dismissed. In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim, including trucking accidents, is two years from the date of the accident.
GET A CASE EVALUATION FROM ZINDA LAW GROUP
At Zinda Law Group, our experienced Houston truck lawyers may help you with your claim. We assist our clients in pursuing the maximum compensation they may be entitled to after they or their loved one has been injured in a crash involving a semi truck.
Call (800) 863-5312 today for a free consultation with one of our Houston 18-wheeler accident lawyers. As one of our clients, you will not pay anything unless we can win your trucking accident claim. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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