Trucks are useful as they help transport food items and life necessities from one US state to another. But as vital as they are, they also pose dangers on the roadway as most truck drivers behave negligently. When a truck driver fails to maintain the necessary level of care while driving, an accident could occur.
Truck accidents often lead to bodily injuries or the death of a smaller car driver. When any of the two happens, the truck operator would be liable for damages to the victim. However, there are instances where truckers are not to blame for the accident. In such an instance, the liability might be on the trucking company.
This makes it imperative for crash victims to know who to blame after an accident. Working with a truck accident lawyer from Calhoun, Meredith, & Sims would make the process easier. But before discussing how we can help you, let's look at who you can sue following a truck accident in Texas.
Texas is no stranger to traffic accidents. In 2017, it ranked high for the number of accident fatalities in the United States. Data from that year released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that every 71 seconds, there's a collision on a roadway in the US. It means that one person dies from crash injuries every 2.5 hours, and another suffers severe wounds every two minutes.
Semi-trucks and other big rig vehicles are among the biggest contributors to road accidents in Texas. According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDOT), out of the number of fatal collisions in 2017,
Injury crashes involved 585 trucks, 879 truck tractors or semi-trailers, and five fire trucks. Also, the Large Truck and Bus Crash Deaths Facts from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) revealed 649 deaths in 2017 involved truck collisions. These numbers show the alarming rate of truck crashes in Texas and the need for trucking companies to educate their drivers on truck safety.
Common commercial truck vehicles prone to accidents include:
If you get into an accident with any of the above and it's not your fault, contact an experienced truck accident attorney for representation. They will quicken the claims process and help you get the maximum compensation.
Several factors can cause truck accidents. While they are mostly from the negligent acts of truckers, at other times, they occur due to factors beyond the driver's control. FMCSA data shows that driver-related truck collisions happen due to the following reasons:
Factors that cause commercial truck accidents that are not driver-related are:
The truck manufacturer, cargo loader, or mechanic would be the liable parties in any of the above instances. Consult a truck injury attorney to help in identifying the right party or parties to sue for compensation.
Unlike other motor vehicle accidents and personal injury cases, trucking accidents are not easy to prove. They often involve several trucking laws, regulations governing the trucking industry, and factors that caused the accident. This is why knowing the right party to sue is essential to the success of your truck accident claim.
Together with your personal injury lawyer, you can sue any of the following parties:
Driver's negligence is the bedrock of most accidents, including crashes involving commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles. Common examples of negligence include driving under the influence, running red lights, and distracted driving. Also, a driver who violates the Federal Hours of Service Regulation would be liable for a truck collision. The regulation restricts the number of hours truckers should be on the road.
A truck driver who is liable for an accident would have to compensate the victim for injuries. They can do it through their auto insurance company if they have an active policy or out-of-pocket if they are uninsured. Besides injuries, the trucker would also pay for any property damage from the occurrence.
Unless the driver is an independent contractor, the trucking company that hires the trucker can share fault following a collision. For this reason, the injured party must be able to determine if the driver is an independent contractor or an employee of the truck company. A trucking accident attorney can help you make this distinction.
One way of establishing if the driver drove a company truck is by checking to see if it has the firm's logo. Once you see the logo or the company's placard, you can include them in your personal injury claim.
The shipping company can also play a role in a trucking accident. If the cargo loader overloaded the truck, it could cause a semi-truck accident. Overloaded trucks are uneven and are susceptible to rolling or flipping on their side.
The latter happens mostly when the driver encounters heavy winds or other types of inclement weather. If the trucker takes turns quickly or travels at high speeds, the truck could also flip from the heavy cargo. For the preceding, the shipping company and the fault truck driver would be the responsible parties and share the liability.
It's common knowledge that semi-trucks log thousands of miles on the road each month. Thus, if it has improper maintenance, it would be prone to accidents. Regular truck inspections are key to avoiding crashes, and a truck mechanic helps ensure it remains in a safe condition.
If the mechanic fails in their duty to properly maintain and inspect a truck, they can be held liable for a collision. Note that since there are different types of trucks, it would be best to hire a mechanic with experience fixing that type. This way, individual drivers and truck companies will not be blamed for hiring an incompetent mechanic.
Vehicle malfunction can be from defective parts. If that happens, the truck designer will be liable for the accident. Other parties in the supply chain would also be liable if a part supplied by them caused the truck collision. Common product defects include brake line failures, tire blowouts, steering system failures, etc.
Depending on the accident facts, you can sue the fault trucker and any of the above for the accident. You could do this if several factors outside the negligence of the careless trucker contributed to the accident. Consult our truck injury attorneys for more detailed information on these lawsuits.
Due to the size of trucks, when they collide with passenger cars, it results in severe injuries. Thankfully, Texas laws allow victims to get compensation following a collision. Being a fault state, the liable driver is expected to compensate you for injuries and any devastating property damage.
The compensation payment is divided into three types of damages: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. The first two types of damage covers:
If the accident ends in death, the compensation would include burial and funeral expenses. Punitive damages are awarded in cases of gross negligence. In either of these instances, the driver's insurance liability coverage would cover the payment.
Many accident victims fail to hire a personal injury attorney immediately after a crash. But securing the services of an injury law firm would quicken the claims process and help you get fair compensation. Keep in mind that insurance adjusters are constantly looking for ways not to pay you what you deserve.
Thus, they will look for ways to cut down the settlement sum. Also, if you're unable to agree with them and choose to file a truck accident claim, you'll need a lawyer. The attorney would ensure you meet all the legal requirements and represent you in court. They will present evidence at the trial and sit in on the discovery of documents.
You don't have to worry about legal fees, as personal injury attorneys charge on a contingency basis. It means they will not demand any upfront payment and will take their fee from the settlement sum. The fee would be a percentage of the settlement and must have been agreed upon at the time of initial consultation.
As a truck accident victim, you can suffer devastating injuries that would take a long time to recover from. While you're recuperating, it would be wise if you commence the claim process before it becomes statute-barred. This is what Calhoun, Meredith, & Sims is here for.
We have a team of experienced truck accident lawyers available to help you get the right settlement from rig drivers or anyone else involved. You can focus on your recovery while we handle the legal issues. Contact us today for a free case review.