What Should You Do After a Truck Accident?
The actions you take soon after a truck accident can have a major impact on your case. Our truck accident attorneys recommend the following:
- Call Tate Law Offices, P.C., immediately. Time is very important after a truck accident. Important pieces of evidence such as the tractor-trailer’s black box, GPS data, driver’s logs and even the tractor-trailer itself have a way of disappearing. This evidence may be needed to win your truck accident case. Mere minutes after an 18-wheeler truck accident, the trucking company is working diligently with its truck accident attorneys to prove they are not responsible. We want to make sure we have access to all the information regarding the wreck before it has been tampered with by the trucking company. We want to prevent crucial evidence from being lost or destroyed by the trucking company.
Case in point: In one of our truck accident cases, we put more than $3.7 million dollars into our clients’ pockets largely because we gained access to the 18-wheeler accident site and witnesses immediately after the wreck. Doing so allowed us to document and uncover evidence that might have otherwise been lost.
- Don’t talk to the trucking company, its insurance company, or its lawyers. Trucking companies and their insurers move fast after a crash. They want to protect their interests. Don’t speak to them. Don’t let your family members speak to them, either. Any statement you make can and most likely will be used against you. Even a few simple words can be taken out of context and used as a means to deny your truck accident claim. If you are contacted by anyone, refer them to your lawyer at Tate Law Offices, P.C., so we can protect your interests.
- Get proper medical treatment and follow your doctor’s orders. Your health should be your top priority. Even if you do not have health insurance, we will work to help you to get the medical care you need.
- Keep a file. So you don’t lose anything, use a file or folder to store your medical bills, accident-related expenses, insurance letters and other important documents. Don’t worry if it is not organized – we will sort it out.
- Take notes and photos if possible. Write down the accident details while they are still fresh in your mind. Save any photographs you have of the accident scene and your injuries.
Why Did Your Truck Accident Occur?
One of the first questions you will have about your truck accident is, “Why did it happen?” Our job is to find that answer for you.
In our experience, there are many reasons why collisions occur in Texas between large commercial trucks and passenger vehicles. Unfortunately, one reason comes up too often: Driver error.
In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that 2,554 of 7,368 deadly truck crashes that happened in the U.S. during a recent two-year period – or roughly one-third – involved driver errors. The leading errors were:
|Failure to yield right of way||320||4.3%|
|Impairment (alcohol, fatigue, illness)||299||4.1%|
|Failure to keep in proper lane||248||3.4%|
If a truck driver causes your crash based on this type of negligent or reckless driving, the trucking company can be held liable – legally responsible – for the physical, emotional and financial harm you and your family have suffered.
However, a trucking company can also be sued based on its own negligent practices and policies that caused your crash. Examples include:
- Hiring unfit drivers. Companies may hire drivers who lack the required commercial driver’s license (CDL). Additionally, a history of traffic violations, drunk driving or driving while under the influence of drugs is a red flag that a driver that should not be hired and put behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound semi-truck.
- Failing to train and supervise. Many companies fail to provide the training and monitoring that is needed to ensure drivers follow state and federal regulations and operate these large trucks safely.
- Failing to inspect and maintain vehicles. Companies regularly skip routine 18-wheeler inspection and maintenance in order to cut costs and increase profits, leading to dangerous trucks being on the road.
- Improperly loading cargo. A tractor-trailer should never be loaded heavier than is required for safe driving and/or packed in a way that its cargo can shift unexpectedly and cause the truck to lose control.
- Allowing or encouraging excessive driving hours. Too many truck drivers in Texas and across the U.S. are forced to work excessive hours in violation of federal regulations. As a result, drivers may cause crashes due to falling asleep at the wheel or using drugs in a poor attempt to stay awake.
Truck drivers and trucking companies are not the only ones who may be liable for a crash. The manufacturer of defective parts such as tires, wheels, couplings, brakes or axles may also be liable. In some cases, a truck accident may be caused by a state agency’s failure to keep roads properly maintained.
How Our Texas Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help You
The results-driven attorneys of Tate Law Offices, P.C., are passionate about helping injured victims and making highways in Texas and across the country safer. That passion will drive everything we do on your behalf. You can count on us to:
Investigate your crash
We know how to determine how a tractor-trailer accident occurred and who should be held responsible. We can compile and analyze evidence such as:
- Accident scene evidence (typically preserved through photos)
- Eyewitness statements
- Damage to all vehicles involved
- Electronic data recorder (“black box”) data
- Cell phone records
- Driver toxicology test results
- Police accident reports
- Logbooks and other company records
- The driver’s criminal and traffic background
- The trucking company’s history of violating safety rules.
Consult with experts
Our lawyers have access to highly qualified experts who can help us to determine the cause of a crash and the extent of harm you have suffered. Our network includes:
- Accident reconstruction experts
- Rules compliance/safety experts
- Driver training (trucking school) experts
- Mechanics and engineers
- Toxicology experts
- Medical experts (including doctors in areas such as orthopedic and brain injuries)
- Economists and life care planners.
We can immediately send a “notice letter” to the trucking company and all other parties involved in your case, telling them to preserve logbooks and other evidence. We can seek court orders to force a trucking company to provide any evidence it is trying to hide.
Seek a timely settlement
We are aggressive negotiators. We can present a solid case to the insurance companies involved in your case and demand full and fair compensation, including compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and more.
Take your case to court if needed
We will be prepared to head into the courtroom and present a powerful case to the jury, using our legal skills and state-of-the-art exhibits and technology. (Even during trial, we can continue settlement negotiations.)
Not charge any legal fee or case costs unless we are successful in collecting compensation for you.
We work on a contingency basis. This means you pay no case costs or attorney fees unless you receive a settlement or verdict in your favor. We will only be paid a percentage from the final recovery and reimbursed the case costs if we win. In most cases, we can add significant value to your truck accident claim.
Contact Our Dallas Truck Accident Attorneys Today
The Dallas truck accident attorneys at Tate Law Offices, P.C., have litigated against many of the national trucking companies such as Swift Transportation, JB Hunt, Knight Transportation and many others. We have also sued many regional truck companies for their negligent actions. We are members of several Texas and national organizations that are dedicated to protecting the public from deadly truck wrecks, including:
- Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America (APITLA)
- American Association for Justice (AAJ)
- Texas Trial Lawyers Association (TTLA)
This gives us access to vast databases with useful information about the trucking industry. It also gives us an advantage as we seek a maximum recovery for you.
Don’t wait to take action. Put Tate Law Offices, P.C., on your case right away. Call or connect with us online and get started on the road to your recovery.
We serve clients in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and throughout the state of Texas. We also handle cases in nearby states, including Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico and Louisiana.