Killeen 18-Wheeler Accident Attorneys
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Accidents involving tractor-trailers, otherwise known as “18-wheelers” or “big rigs,” occur frequently and often lead to serious, life-changing injuries. Because these accidents have the potential to carry serious consequences, it is important to understand what can be done following an accident.
If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, call the Killeen 18-wheeler accident lawyers at Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case.
COMMON TRUCKING ACCIDENT INJURIES
Accidents involving 18-wheelers can result in various injuries differing in both form and severity. Some accidents may result in no or minor physical harm. However, the majority of trucking accidents do result in injury. Listed below are several common injuries that may occur as a result of a trucking accident.
Head, Neck, and Brain Injuries
Head, neck, and brain injuries are some of the most prevalent forms of trucking accident injuries. For example, the victim of a trucking accident may sustain whiplash, a type of neck injury which occurs when a person’s head is quickly and suddenly forced backward. If the impact is forceful enough, brain injuries such as concussions may occur.
Spinal Injuries and Paralysis
Spinal cord injuries are closely related to head and neck injuries. These types of injuries are also common in trucking accident cases. Because trucking accidents are often high-speed collisions, the forceful impact of the wreck may be sufficient to injure the spine.
Cuts, Scarring, and Permanent Disfigurement
Many trucking accidents end up with one or more passengers sustaining some form of laceration or bruise. For instance, a person may sustain scarring to the chest or neck area as a result of a seatbelt-related injury. In extreme cases, particularly those in which seatbelts are not worn, a collision may lead to a passenger being ejected from their vehicle, which may cause permanent disfigurement or death.
Given the high-speed, high-impact nature of trucking accidents, a fair number of these cases unfortunately result in death. This is especially the case for accidents involving elderly persons, small children, or passengers who are not wearing a seatbelt.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A TRUCKING ACCIDENT
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
The first and most important step to take following a trucking accident is to seek immediate medical attention. Many trucking accidents result in serious and devastating injuries that may require a visit to the emergency room or trauma center. However, many accidents result in delayed-onset injuries which can take hours or days to manifest. For instance, if a victim is rear-ended by a tractor-trailer, the victim may have sustained a back injury without immediately realizing it. Although the victim may not experience the physical effects of this injury at the scene of the accident, the victim may begin to feel intense pain later that night or the next morning.
Therefore, you should seek medical treatment as quickly as possible following an accident with a tractor-trailer. Receiving prompt medical attention will not only increase your chances of recovering from the injuries sustained in the accident, but it may also prevent future related injuries from occurring.
Document as Much as Possible
A common mistake made by people who have been hit by a tractor-trailer is failing to keep an organized record of the accident. Failure to keep such a record can make it difficult to prove the extent of your injuries and damages, thereby hurting your chances of receiving fair compensation for your losses.
Thus, one of the most important steps you should take following an accident with a tractor-trailer is to “document” the accident by creating a thorough record, including:
- Copies of any police reports or accident reports
- Photographs of the vehicles and resulting damage
- Photographs of your injuries
- Photographs of the scene of the accident
- Witness statements, if any
- Medical bills
- Pharmacy bills
- Rehabilitation bills
- Car repair estimates
By keeping a running record of these documents from the time of the accident until settlement or trial, you may improve your chances of strengthening the value of your claim.
Exchange Information with the Truck Driver
After an accident with a tractor-trailer, it is not only important, but also legally required, to exchange information with the other driver. If a driver fails or refuses to exchange information with you, you should call the police.
When exchanging information with the driver of a tractor-trailer, be sure to collect the following critical pieces of information:
- Name of the driver
- Driver’s driving license number
- Driver’s phone number
- Driver’s address
- Name of driver’s employer
- Employer’s phone number
- Employer’s address
- License plate of the vehicle
- Insurance company and policy number(s)
Although you may file a personal injury claim even if you fail to collect this information, gathering this information can make the claim filing and settlement process much less of a hassle.
Do Not Admit Fault or Make Any Statement About the Accident
Another common mistake made by people who were hit by a tractor-trailer is to admit fault for all or a portion of the accident. Because these admissions may be used against you during the settlement process, falling victim to this mistake can mean diminishing or destroying the value of your claim.
With this in mind, you should never admit fault or make any statement regarding the accident. Even if you believe that you contributed to the accident, you should refrain from admitting or accepting any type of fault.
It is also critical that you understand that it is within your rights to refuse to speak with the other insurance company until you have consulted with an attorney. Truck companies’ insurers will often contact the victim after the accident. During these communications, the insurance company may encourage the victim to make a statement regarding the accident. The insurance company may then use this statement against the victim to reduce the value of the victim’s claim. You can protect yourself from this tactic by refusing to speak with insurance companies until after you have discussed your case with a truck accident attorney.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney
Finally, you should consider consulting with an experienced Killeen trucking accident lawyer for several reasons. For instance, a trucking accident attorney may gather the facts of your case and provide valuable legal advice moving forward. An attorney may also act as an intermediary between you and insurance companies, ensuring that your rights are fully protected after an accident. Finally, should the case go to trial, a trucking accident lawyer may advocate on your behalf in front of a judge and jury.
WHO CAN I SUE?
One party that may be liable following a trucking accident is the truck driver himself. For instance, if the truck driver was driving while intoxicated or texting while driving, a trucking accident victim may be able to pursue legal action against the truck driver.
The Trucking Company
Another party that may be sued is the trucking company. Unlike individual truck drivers, trucking companies are more likely to have sufficient funds to compensate trucking accident victims following an accident. Employers may be liable for their employees’ actions if the employee was acting within the scope of their job. If a trucking company was negligent in its hiring, supervision, or retention of one of its employees, the trucking company may be held liable for a victim’s injuries.
A Third Party
Third parties such as car part manufacturers may also be held liable under certain circumstances. For instance, if a tire manufacturer supplied a trucking company with a defective wheel, and the accident and injuries were caused by a blowout, the manufacturer who made or sold the defective wheel may be subject to liability.
Read More: Killeen Car Accident Attorneys
UNDERSTANDING YOUR COMPENSATION
Knowing how to calculate the value of your case is an important part of filing and settling your claim. Understanding this information may help facilitate the settlement and negotiation process.
Generally, the trucking company or insurance carrier will be liable to the victim for the harm suffered. The damages that may be awarded to a victim of a trucking accident are separated into three general categories: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are damages that can be accounted for and calculated. The primary components of economic damages involved in tractor-trailer accidents include:
- Medical bills
- Lost income (present and future)
- Property damage
Medical bills may include costs paid by the victim for services such as hospital visits, doctors’ appointments, pharmaceuticals, rehabilitation services, and physical therapy. Lost income reflects the time missed from work due to injuries sustained as a result of the accident. If the injury prevents or impairs the victim’s ability to work beyond the date of the accident, lost income may also include the victim’s loss in earning capacity. Property damage refers to the damage to the victim’s vehicle and personal belongings.
Non-economic damages are intangible losses that are subjectively evaluated by the jury in a lawsuit. Types of non-economic damages involved in a trucking accident case may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
Punitive damages are a separate type of damages that may also be awarded, depending on the jurisdiction. Punitive damages are not awarded to compensate the victim for losses incurred. Rather, punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party. Although punitive damages are rare, they may be awarded in cases where the at-fault party’s conduct was found to be especially reckless or intentional. Punitive damages may also be awarded if the accident resulted in wrongful death. In such cases, punitive damages may be awarded to the victim’s surviving spouse or family members if the at-fault party’s conduct was found to be reckless, egregious, or intentional.
OUR KILLEEN ATTORNEYS ARE READY TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS
At Zinda Law Group, our Killeen 18-wheeler accident attorneys have plenty of experience handling and settling trucking accident cases. Our team has the resources necessary to help build the strongest claim following a wreck. Our experienced and dedicated attorneys have helped victims of trucking accidents secure fair compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Our firm also believes that an injury victim should never have to worry about being able to afford legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are by appointment only.