Demanding Full Compensation After Your Truck Accident Injuries
Obtaining the compensation you deserve for your truck accident injuries will likely be challenging. Insurance settlements in big rig accident cases are frequently complicated, and insurers work tirelessly to keep payouts low.
One reason many Dallas truck accident claims tend to be more complicated is that collisions involving large trucks, semis, and tractor-trailers can cause significantly more severe injuries and property damage. As such, the average large truck accident insurance claim is particularly expensive. This means insurance adjusters will do everything in their power to deny claims and minimize the value of cases.
Another complicating factor in 18-wheeler accident settlements is the presence of multiple parties that may be held responsible for the accident. A truck driver, his or her employer, the company that owned the truck, the company that manufactured any freight being hauled, or the loading company that packed cargo into the truck could all potentially bear some fault. Each of these parties has an interest in denying responsibility, and all of them have their own insurance providers and attorneys working against you to protect their bottom lines.
If you have medical expenses and other bills piling up, you may be eager to accept a truck accident settlement. Insurance companies know that many 18-wheeler accident victims are desperate. They use this to their advantage, presenting lowball offers in the hopes of ending negotiations quickly.
However, this kind of settlement will rarely account for all of your losses and may leave you with few options if you end up facing long-term consequences. Whether you end up accepting an insurance settlement or taking your case to trial, the help of an experienced Dallas big rig accident lawyer can help you pursue rightful compensation for losses such as:
- Current and future medical bills related to your injuries
- Past and future physical impairment
- Costs of rehabilitation, prescriptions, medical equipment, and in-home services
- Other treatment-related expenses, such as transportation to appointments
- Loss of current income and future earning potential
- Pain and suffering from your injuries
- Mental anguish, PTSD, and emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life or consortium with loved ones
How Our Dallas Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help You
The results-driven attorneys of Tate Law Offices, P.C., are passionate about helping crash victims and making highways in Dallas and across the country safer. That passion drives everything we will do on your behalf. You can count on us to:
- Help you understand all aspects of your case
- Thoroughly investigate the causes of your crash
- Identify all possible sources of compensation
- Consult with experts like accident reconstruction specialists
- Assist you with managing and organizing important documents
- Collect and preserve supporting evidence for your case
- Communicate with other parties on your behalf
- Negotiate aggressively for a full insurance settlement
- Argue for your best interests in court, if a settlement can’t be reached
To learn more about how our personal injury attorneys can help you, contact us today. We provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.
What Makes Truck Accident Claims More Complicated?
It’s impossible to exaggerate the need for a lawyer after a truck accident. The trucking industry is heavily regulated and includes many stakeholders, so truck accident cases are often complex. Here are some of the more complicated aspects of handling a truck accident claim:
Multiple Parties Are Involved
The trucking company consists of many moving parts. When an accident occurs, more than one party may bear responsibility for the resulting damages. Any number of parties may have contributed to the accident, including the:
- Trucking company that hired the driver
- Truck driver
- Owner of the truck
- Company that manufactured any freight being hauled
- Loading company that packed cargo into the truck
- Truck manufacturer that built the truck
- Auto parts manufacturers that built the parts installed in the truck
Dealing with one party is often difficult enough. Dealing with several at the same time can be frustrating and confusing.
Aggressive Defenses Will Be Mounted
Don’t expect any of the insurance companies that cover the parties involved to offer you a quick and fair settlement. All of these parties and their insurance carriers have an interest in denying responsibility to minimize the financial fallout following a truck accident. You can expect the trucking companies to quickly deploy representatives from their insurance company and aggressive attorneys to the scene of the accident and to mount various defenses as to why they shouldn’t have to pay you what’s fair.
Complex Regulations May Be Involved
Even if you think you bear some responsibility for the accident, it is important that you do not say this. Commercial trucks are complex machines that are regulated by even more complex rules on the state and federal level. Commercial trucking companies and their drivers must obey these rules, which include everything from how many hours a trucker can drive in a day to what types of materials must be used to secure cargo.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is responsible for establishing the rules that apply to interstate drivers. These regulations are extensive and include topics such as:
- Driver qualifications
- Truck operations
- Vehicle maintenance requirements
- Insurance coverage requirements
- Accident investigations
- Vehicle repairs\
- Weight distribution
- Drug and alcohol prohibition
Additionally, Title 7 of the Texas Transportation Code regulates the operation of trucks within the state of Texas.
It will often take an in-depth investigation to determine all the factors that contributed to the accident. An experienced attorney can investigate the accident and compel the production of evidence to determine the factors that contributed to it.
How to Prove Liability in a Truck Accident
Proving that the trucking company or other defendant is responsible for the accident is no easy feat. Proving liability in a truck accident case often comes down to two major factors:
An investigation can help reveal the issues that contributed to an accident. However, the trucking company’s own internal investigation is unlikely to result in favorable information for your claim. Afterall, their insurance company is only interested in minimizing the value of your claim. While some trucking accidents are investigated by state or federal authorities, the purpose of these investigations is usually to determine whether a traffic violation was committed, not to properly compensate you for your losses.
For these reasons, it is important that you have someone on your side who is investigating the accident to protect your rights. Also, evidence may be removed from the scene or lost. An experienced attorney will be able to take the necessary steps to preserve evidence but only if you act quickly.
Trucking companies often maintain massive amounts of data that may help explain the factors that contributed to the accident. Your attorney can take steps to obtain this evidence, which may include:
- Inspection and maintenance records
- Employee personnel information
- Complaints or records of violations
- Black box data from the truck
- Trucker’s logbook
- Police accident reports
- Internal accident reports
- Results of drug and alcohol testing
Additionally, your personal injury lawyer can interview witnesses who observed the moments leading up to the accident. In some cases, they may hire expert witnesses to explain how the accident happened or describe the damages you have suffered.
Physical evidence like skid marks, debris on the roadway, or damage to the vehicles can further illuminate the cause of the accident. You may have photos or video of the accident that can also help paint a picture of how the accident happened and how severe it was. Your lawyer can also look if there are any nearby traffic cameras or surveillance cameras that may have captured the accident.
An experienced truck accident attorney will know what evidence to look for and how to best use it to your advantage.
Time Limit for Filing an 18-Wheeler Accident Claim
Each state in the U.S. has legal guidelines outlining how long victims have to file specific types of lawsuits. These guidelines are called statutes of limitations. In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years. This means that if you were injured in a Dallas 18-wheeler accident and cannot reach an appropriate settlement, you have two years from the date of your wreck to file a personal injury claim in court. However, in some situations the time limit can be less than two years so you should consult an attorney immediately to understand the required deadlines.
Two years may sound like a long time at first. But consider how long it will take to recover from your injuries, build a solid case, and go through one or more rounds of insurance settlement negotiations. Also note that you will need to act quickly to ensure that evidence is both available and viable, and that you have access to as many legal options as possible.
A knowledgeable Dallas truck accident lawyer from our firm can begin work on your case immediately. Contact us now to get started with a free case review.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Commercial vehicles can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. If they are not driven in a safe manner, they can cause catastrophic consequences. Far too often, the negligence of truck drivers and trucking companies permanently alters the life of innocent victims.
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents in Texas include:
- Negligent hiring or supervision
- Inadequate training
- Driver fatigue or exhaustion
- Poor maintenance or inadequate inspections
- Following too closely
- Not making turns correctly or safely
- Drug or alcohol impairment
- Not following traffic regulations
- Improperly loaded cargo
Who Is Responsible for Truck Accidents?
Any number of parties whose negligence contributed to a collision involving a commercial vehicle may be legally responsible for the accident. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, one or more of the following parties may be responsible for your accident:
In our experience, there are many reasons collisions can occur between large commercial trucks and passenger vehicles in Dallas. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Truckers who engage in distracted, reckless, or intoxicated driving
- Truckers who violate traffic laws or commercial safety regulations
- Trucking companies that hire unfit or improperly licensed drivers
- Trucking companies that fail to properly train or supervise drivers
- Trucking companies or service shops that improperly maintain or repair trucks
- Cargo manufacturers that neglect to warn of hazardous materials
- Loading companies that pack cargo in a precarious or unsafe manner
- Truck parts manufacturers that sell defective components