Due to the sheer size and weight of trucks, when they are involved in road collisions, it usually results in serious injuries. Yet victims are often left in incredibly difficult positions because assigning liability is so complex.
More than one party is often responsible such as the truck driver, trucking company, and cargo loader. Determining the degree to which each party is responsible and negotiating with multiple insurance companies is an overwhelming task. That is why it is important to have the help of an attorney who can take over the entire process and fight for just and fair compensation.
At Abraham Watkins, our Austin truck accident lawyers have the experience, knowledge, and dedication necessary to support your case. Our firm has been serving personal injury victims for more than seven decades. We have a stellar reputation for being fierce advocates, and so when you have representation from an attorney at our firm, liable parties will know that you mean business.
We offer a free consultation and work on a no-win no-fee basis, allowing us to offer high-quality legal representation to all victims, regardless of their financial situation.
Speak to an experienced Austin truck accident lawyer today at 713-535-9319.
Texas Comparative Fault Laws
In Texas, more than one party can be found liable for commercial truck accidents. This is because of Texas’s comparative fault laws, which make determining the percentage to which each party is liable for an accident necessary. This will then be used to calculate how much compensation each party is liable to pay.
Due to the severity of truck accident injuries, it is important that all avenues to compensation are explored. Otherwise, you could end up with much less than what you deserve. Therefore, it is important that you have the support of an experienced truck accident attorney who will investigate each potentially liable party.
How A Trucking Company Often Contributes to Commercial Truck Accidents
It is common for trucking companies to be partially at fault for truck accidents. There are many cases where the truck driver themselves is also a victim and is, therefore, able to claim compensation in a personal injury claim. Trucking companies are held to high standards and must adhere to strict state and federal regulations. At Abraham Watkins, our truck accident attorneys understand these laws and how they relate to your case.
Some of the ways that trucking companies can continue to accidents involving commercial trucks include:
It is common for trucking companies to pay their drivers per mile that they drive. This practice can often lead to unfair pay as it does not take into account the time-consuming responsibilities associated with the job, such as waiting in traffic, proper route-planning, loading the vehicle, and re-fueling. As a result, truck drivers may be tempted to corners, speed, and minimize rest periods.
Negligent Hiring Practices
If a trucking company fails to perform necessary background checks on their employees, then they may miss a history of reckless driving, DUIs, or other forms of negligent driving. If they go on to hire someone who should have been considered a risk, then they can be found liable.
Trucking companies have a responsibility to maintain their vehicles to a high standard to help reduce the risk of a truck accident. If they fail to maintain their vehicles and this leads to an accident, then you could have a strong case against them. Not only will this ensure that you are not left in financial difficulty because of the negligent actions of another party, it also places pressure on companies to improve their practices and prevent further harm in the future.
Who Else Could be Liable for a Truck Accident?
The trucking company isn’t always liable for a truck accident, and often more than one party contributed. Other possible liable parties include:
The Truck Driver
The truck driver could be liable for the accident if they behaved negligently in any way. For example, perhaps they were driving while under the influence, speeding, distracted, or behaving recklessly.
Trucking companies often use third-party companies to load their trucks. If a truck is loaded incorrectly, then it can cause the driver to lose control of their vehicle. For example, if the cargo is overloaded, unsecured, or heavier on one side, it can lead to disastrous consequences.
Trucks, like all vehicles, are at risk of defective parts. If a parts manufacturer produces a defective part and this contributes to an accident, then they could be found liable.
If a trucking company takes steps to maintain their vehicles, but the mechanic they use fails to notice a hazard that they reasonably should have, then they could share liability for the accident.
How Our Austin Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help
Due to the severity and complexity of truck accidents, it is recommended that victims seek the help of an attorney. Although you can pursue a claim on your own, doing so will often be incredibly stressful and detrimental to your recovery, and at the end of it, you will likely end up with much less than you deserve.
When you have an experienced Austin truck accident attorney, you can focus on your recovery while they take over the legal process. At Abraham Watkins, we will keep you as informed as you choose to be and will give you options at every stage. Some of the ways we can help include the following:
Investigating Your Case
Your attorney will carry out an in-depth investigation of your accident. They will gather all available evidence, such as medical records, police reports, witness statements, and photos and videos of the scene. They may also draw upon expert testimony, such as accident reconstruction specialists and medical experts, to ensure your case is as strong as possible.
Utilizing the evidence secured, your attorney will identify the liable parties and the degree to which they are at fault. They will then discover which insurance companies are associated with the at-fault parties so that they know who to approach for compensation.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are driven by profit like any other big business. They can maximize their profit by paying personal injury victims as little as possible. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to have the help of an attorney. Not only will insurance companies take your case more seriously, but it will also be much harder for them to use underhanded tactics such as tricking you into admitting fault, delaying your claim, or encouraging you to accept a low offer.
Your attorney will take over all the negotiations so that you don’t even need to talk with insurance companies. If they contact you, you should refuse to talk to them and ask them to speak to your attorney.
Representing You in Court
Most personal injury cases settle outside of court because court cases are costly and time-consuming. However, due to the severity of truck accidents, they are more likely to end in a lawsuit.
If your case does go to court, your attorney will be prepared to advocate on your behalf in front of a Judge. You may be required to attend court, but your attorney will prepare you and help you to feel comfortable.
It is essential that you have the help of an attorney who is prepared to go to court, even if your case settles. Insurance companies know which attorneys are prepared to go to court and which are not, and this can have a big impact on their willingness to offer a fair settlement.
How Long do I Have to File a Truck Accident Claim in Texas?
In Texas, truck accidents are governed by a statute of limitation that places a legal deadline on victims. In Texas, you have two years from the date of the accident to make a claim; after this date, you will be unable to pursue compensation.
The sooner you act, the better, as your attorney will be better able to gather evidence for your case and will have more time to establish liability.
How Much Compensation Can I Claim in a Truck Accident Case?
The amount you may be owed in compensation depends on the severity of your injuries, the value of your damages, how clear liability is, and the quality of your representation.
Your truck accident attorney will calculate your damages to determine a good settlement in your case. They will use this figure to negotiate with insurance companies. Potential damages that may contribute to the value of your settlement include:
If you have suffered serious injuries, then you will be forced to miss work so that you can recover. This may result in lost wages, which, when paired with mounting medical bills, can create a lot of undue hardship. You may be able to claim compensation for all your lost wages, including future loss of earnings, if your injuries are ongoing.
Calculating future loss of earnings can be complex, and your attorney may need to draw upon expert testimony from vocational specialists.
If any of your material possessions were damaged in the truck accident, such as your vehicle or phone, then you should be compensated for this. Factors such as the value of the property before the accident, the cost of replacement or repair, and any other expenses associated with the damage should be accounted for.
Truck accident cases usually involve significant medical expenses. Medical bills, medication costs, physiotherapy, and other expenses can quickly exceed the limits of even the most comprehensive health insurance policies.
In a successful claim, you should be able to claim compensation for all your medical expenses, including the predicted future cost. While future costs are not easily evidenced, an experienced attorney will know how to evidence your future costs so that they can be considered in your truck accident settlement.
Pain and Suffering
Truck accident victims are often subjected to immense trauma and loss of enjoyment in life. Pain and suffering damages may therefore be available in an attempt to financially compensate you for your emotional distress.
Pain and suffering damages are difficult to calculate, but with the help of an experienced lawyer, they could make up the largest part of your settlement. When determining the value, considerations include:
- The impact of the accident on your mental health
- The degree of pain involved in your recovery
- The length of your recovery process
- Loss of enjoyment in life if you are left unable to do things you did before the accident
- Any life-altering impacts such as disfigurement or disabilities
Punitive damages can only be awarded in truck accident claims if they go to court. That is because only a Judge can award punitive damages and may do so in cases involving gross negligence or intent.
Unlike compensatory damages like those listed above, punitive damages are not designed to compensate the victim but rather to punish the perpetrator for their behavior and discourage similar behavior in the future.
The Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code implements a formula for calculating the maximum amount that can be awarded in punitive damages, which is generally $200,000 or two times the value of compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff, plus an amount equal to any noneconomic damages found by the jury, not to exceed $750K.
What Should I do If I Have Lost a Loved One in a Truck Accident?
Unfortunately, due to the severity of truck accidents, deaths are common. If you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, then you may be owed compensation in a wrongful death claim.
Nothing can begin to heal your grief, but just and fair compensation could prevent you from facing financial challenges because of your loss.
A wrongful death claim can be brought against any person or entity whose negligence caused the death of another person. In Texas, the claim can be filed by a spouse, children, or parents of the deceased.
In a successful wrongful death claim, you may be able to claim compensation for funeral expenses, medical expenses, loss of companionship, loss of income to a family household, and more.
Just like other types of personal injury claims, substantial evidence is required to establish the facts of the case and who has liability. A truck accident attorney can take over the process for you, so you can focus on your family at this difficult time.
At Abraham Watkins, we understand the compassion and dedication required to navigate wrongful death claims. We will support you from start to finish and will fight tirelessly to secure just compensation for your family.
Is a Wrongful Death Claim a Criminal Proceeding?
A wrongful death claim is a civil case and is separate from any potential criminal proceedings. While criminal proceedings determine whether the at-fault party should face criminal penalties such as jail time, a civil case is solely to determine whether the victim’s family are owed compensation. Even if a criminal case does not result in a conviction, you may still be owed compensation in a civil case.
In a wrongful death claim, it is necessary to establish that the defendant’s behavior was negligent. However, in criminal proceedings, the burden of proof is higher; their guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. For this reason, a civil case could be successful even if the defendant does not receive criminal charges.
Speak to One of Our Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers Today
If you have been in a trucking accident in Texas, then you should speak to an experienced attorney as quickly as possible. Trucking accidents are highly complex and often involve multiple liable parties. An attorney who has experience navigating these cases can help fight for just and fair compensation and will ensure that you have a strong claim to compensation.
At Abraham Watkins, we have an in-depth knowledge of the state and federal laws surrounding truck accidents. This, paired with a stellar reputation and dedication to personal injury victims spanning over seven decades, gives us a unique advantage when it comes to fighting for just compensation.
We offer a free consultation where we will assess your claim, tell you if we believe you have a valid claim, and offer our services. You are under no obligation to continue, but if you do, we will get to work quickly to investigate your case. We know when to fight for a quick settlement and when to go the distance and take a case to court. We will give you options at every stage alongside solid legal advice. You will also be protected by the attorney-client-relationship and can speak with us openly and confidentially.
We work on a no-win no-fee basis, so you will never be left out of pocket for securing compensation. Before you agree to compensation, we will agree on a percentage with you if your claim is successful. If it isn’t, we will not receive anything.Speak to one of our truck accident lawyers in a free consultation today at 713-535-9319.
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