Truck Accident Lawyers in Midland, Texas
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Getting into any sort of accident on the road is stressful enough, but adding in a tractor-trailer can introduce a whole new layer of anxiety. When trucks are involved in an accident, the risk of severe injury or even death drastically increases due to their large size. In addition, Texas’ size and interstate connectivity mean that there are, unfortunately, many opportunities for accidents involving trucks.
If you have been involved in a truck accident, the experienced attorneys at the Zinda Law Group can guide you through the legal process and help you seek the compensation you may be entitled to. Call today at 512-246-2224 for a free consultation with an attorney.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
After you have been in a truck accident, it is important that you follow a few key steps in order to keep yourself safe and preserve any potential claim that you may have.
1. Seek Medical Attention
Immediately following the accident, move yourself, and your vehicle if possible, to a safe location out of the flow of traffic to prevent any further injury or damage. Next, determine if medical attention is necessary, and if it is, do not delay in calling.
2. Report the Accident
When the police arrive on the scene of the accident, give a thorough report to them while the details of what happened are fresh on your mind. It is important to recount any and all details that you can think of, as it is difficult to know what may later become important.
3. Document the Accident
After you have talked to the police, document the accident as thoroughly as possible.
Truck Accident Statistics
Unfortunately, given the high volume of trucks that are on the road, they are often involved in accidents, and those accidents often have serious consequences. Some of the statistics involving truck accidents in Texas include:
- According to information provided by the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2018, there were over 37,000 accidents involving a commercial motor vehicle in the state of Texas.
- Of those 37,000 accidents, 565 of them occurred in Midland County.
- In 2018, truck accidents resulted in 611 fatalities Texas-wide.
Types of Truck Accident Claims
No two truck accidents are ever the same. However, there are some types of accidents that tend to occur more than others, a few of which include:
Given the massive size and length of commercial trucks, they have large blind spots. This means that it is relatively easy for a truck driver who isn’t paying close attention to fail to see another vehicle before they merge lanes or make a turn.
With the massive loads that trucks are often carrying, it takes a tremendous amount of force to slow them down. They also can require a longer distance than normal passenger vehicles to come to a complete stop. This can result in rear-end collisions if the truck driver is not extremely cautious.
In order to make the most money, truck companies try to load their trucks up to the gills. This means that if a truck is overloaded, or if a driver drives too fast or too recklessly, cargo can end up spilling out and causing hazardous road conditions which can, in turn, lead to accidents and injuries.
Truck accidents can be the result of a variety of different factors, and usually, involve some combination of causes. A few of the more common causes include
Truck drivers have strict driving hours limits placed on them by federal law. However, truck drivers often surpass these hours and drive while drowsy or unalert. This can become extremely dangerous in an area like Midland, with long, straight stretches of the I-20 passing through it that makes it easy for a truck driver to lose focus, especially if they are tired.
Even if a driver is driving within the driving time regulations, they may make mistakes. 18-wheelers are difficult to manage, and if a driver panics or makes the wrong decision in a stressful situation, they can cause an accident. The consequences of these accidents are often magnified, given the massive size and weight of the trucks.
Improperly Loaded Cargo
Trucking companies must adhere to specific safety regulations when loading their cargo onto their trucks. However, even correctly loaded cargo can come undone in rare situations. Anytime cargo is released from the truck, it can create a hazardous situation for other drivers on the road.
How to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit
While every accident will be different, filing a claim generally follows the same few steps. These include:
1. Call a Truck Accident Attorney
This is the first, and most important step. An experienced attorney will be able to guide you through the rest of the process and help you seek the compensation you may be entitled to.
Once you have hired an attorney, they can get to work on investigating the particular circumstances surrounding your accident. This includes things like analyzing any video or photo evidence that may be available, gathering employment data from the trucking company, and conducting witness interviews.
3. Case Settlement
After they have a handle on the facts of the case, your attorney can enter into negotiations with the other parties in the cases. An experienced attorney will know what similar cases have settled for, and how to argue your case in order to attempt to maximize your settlement.
Who is Liable?
A critical part of any lawsuit is determining who to file against. In order to receive anything in a potential settlement, that party must be liable to a certain extent. A few of the parties that often at least share in liability in truck accidents include:
Just like with any other automobile accident, the driver of the truck will likely share in the liability. If the driver was not abiding by driving time regulations or just generally driving irresponsibly, then they will likely share in the fault.
The Trucking Company
Truck accidents are unique from other automobile accidents in that truck drivers are “on the clock” when they occur. This means that the trucking company itself, unless the driver was an independent contractor, will often be implicated in the accident.
In rare circumstances, a component on the truck will fail, which can lead to a crash. If it can be proven that a manufacturing flaw was a cause for this failure, then the truck manufacturer itself may share in the liability.
Proving Truck Driver Negligence
Like any other personal injury case, proving negligence is a critical component in truck accidents. In order for another party to be liable, you must prove that some other party acted negligently and that this negligence is actually what caused your injuries. Proving truck driver negligence can be done in a variety of ways, such as violation of traffic laws, violation of driving time regulations, or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Next, you must be able to link this negligence to the accident. If the truck driver was driving negligently, but there was an entirely independent cause to your accident, then it will be more difficult to seek compensation.
Read More: How to Prevent Truck Accidents
Once you have decided to pursue legal action, one of the most pressing questions you have is likely, “How much is my case worth?” There are a lot of factors that will go into how much money ends up in your pocket at the end of the day, if any, but generally speaking, it will in part be determined by the severity of your damages, which can be broken up into two categories.
Economic damages are things that can be readily calculated and proven. They include things like medical bills, repairs to damage on your vehicle, and lost wages from not being able to work.
Damages in this category often refer to the pain and suffering caused by accident. This pain and suffering can be physical or even mental anguish. While it is obviously difficult to put a dollar figure on pain and suffering, these damages are certainly compensable in a severe truck accident.
Statute of Limitations in Texas
For every personal injury claim, there is what is known as a “statute of limitations.” This is the legal term for how long you have to file a lawsuit. For truck accidents in Texas, the statute of limitations is two years. That means that you have two years from the date of the accident to bring a claim. Any claim that is brought outside of this two-year window will likely be dismissed. In order to avoid running into problems with the statute of limitations, it is advisable to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
However, there are exceptions to the normal statute of limitations rule. If your family member died as a result of the accident, or if the victim in the case was a minor, then there are different rules that may apply. An attorney will be able to analyze your specific situation and advise you on the time limits that apply to your case.
TRUCKING ACCIDENTS CAN BE COSTLY
A semi-truck accident can leave you in a financial bind. Your injury could leave you unable to work and result in lost wages. Medical bills or rehabilitation costs can add up. If the accident results in the death of a passenger, psychological distress can be devastating. The stress of dealing with all of these problems can take a toll.
Our Midland truck injury lawyers can investigate your accident and determine if it was due to disregard of regulations, truck driver error, or if the trucking company is at fault. If you were harmed due to some else’s negligence, we will fight aggressively to seek the compensation you may be entitled to.
If you have been hurt in an 18-wheeler accident in Texas, consult with a truck injury attorney at Zinda Law Group today. Our team of experienced lawyers can advise and handle the legal work for you so you can focus on what is most important: your recovery. Call (888) 234-7042 or chat us today to set up your free attorney consultation.
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