Commercial truck accidents have the potential to be a lot more severe than accidents involving passenger vehicles. This is because a fully loaded 18-wheeler, for example, could weigh nearly 35 times the weight of a normal car. Because of this, they brake a lot slower and are harder to maneuver. This usually means that the force of impact involved in a truck accident is much higher.
As a result, the injuries suffered in a truck accident are usually more serious too. It is not uncommon for everyone involved in a truck accident to end up with catastrophic injuries and unfortunately, there is also a much larger risk of fatality.
Compared to normal car accidents, truck accidents have the potential to be a lot more complex. This is because there are additional laws and regulations that truck drivers and trucking companies must follow and there are also a larger number of parties that may be liable, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the mechanic, and the manufacturer of the parts used on the truck.
When pursuing compensation from a trucking company, you are going to be fighting against an extremely capable insurance company, one containing skilled attorneys who have the sole task of reducing the liability faced by the trucking company.
We recommend that if you have been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, you hire a San Antonio truck accident lawyer to represent you. They will ensure you receive fair treatment and will ensure that your rights are protected.
San Antonio Truck Accident Lawyers at Abraham Watkins
At Abraham Watkins, we have been fighting on behalf of victims just like you for over seven decades. This means we are uniquely positioned to help, as our vast experience includes several substantial wins against the trucking companies of the state. We have an incredible reputation for being fierce trial lawyers, and with one of our attorneys as your advocate, the 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 San Antonio truck accident lawyer today at 713-535-9319.
Investigating the Trucking Company
Often, the trucking company is partially or fully at fault for a commercial trucking accident. Sometimes, this can even mean that the truck driver is a victim. They may also look to file their own personal injury claim against their employer.
Because of the danger their trucks pose to other users of the roads, there are several laws and regulations that truck companies must follow. They should ensure that their trucks are well maintained, their drivers are fully trained, and that their drivers are following the relevant rules for breaks in between driving.
Some of the most common ways that a trucking company may play a role in a truck accident include:
Poor Hiring Practices
Part of their hiring process should be to perform the necessary checks to make sure their employees are competent and trustworthy. Background checks should always be carried out to ensure the driver does not have any DUIs or reckless driving charges.
If they have hired a driver with a history of DUI or reckless driving, and the driver then causes a crash, the trucking company could be found liable as a reasonable trucking company would not have hired a driver with this history.
Certain trucking companies utilize a pay system where they pay a driver per mile that they drive. This is a poor practice, as it encourages drivers to take shortcuts, work longer hours or drive faster than they should. Drivers should not feel obligated to speed or drive recklessly in traffic in order to be paid correctly.
Failing to Maintain Their Fleet of Trucks
One of the main obligations that the truck company has is to ensure that the trucks they have on the roads are maintained to the highest possible standard. If they fail to do this, and there is an accident, it may be the case that their failure to maintain the truck is the reason the accident happened.
Texas Comparative Fault Laws – What is Comparative Fault?
The state of Texas follows a modified comparative fault doctrine. This means multiple parties can be held responsible for a trucking accident. Each party may be assigned a percentage of fault, including the victim.
This is what makes commercial truck accidents so complicated, as your attorney will need to investigate all the parties that may have played a role in your injuries. Because of the severity of truck accident injuries, it is important that all avenues for compensation are explored.
Who Else Could be Liable for a Truck Accident?
One reason why truck accidents can be difficult to deal with is that there are several parties that could be liable. Compared to a car accident, where the liability likely lies with one negligent driver, you must work with your attorney and investigate who caused the accident.
Other possible liable parties include:
The Truck Driver
If the trucking company has ensured their vehicle is maintained and that their truck drivers are well-trained with a clean record, and the driver causes an accident, the driver may be found liable. This is especially true if they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they were speeding, or they were on their phone while driving.
Loading a truck poorly can also lead to accidents. When there is too much weight on one side, and a truck hits a corner, the weight can cause the truck to roll or the trailer to jackknife. In this situation, it could be the cargo loaders who are responsible.
If a commercial truck’s brakes fail because of a defective brake component manufactured by a third-party supplier, and this causes an accident, the manufacturer of the brake component may be held liable for the damages caused by the accident.
Similarly, if a defective steering component causes a truck driver to lose control of the vehicle, resulting in an accident, the manufacturer of the steering component may be held liable.
To establish liability, it must be shown that the product was defective, that the defect caused an accident, and that the plaintiff suffered harm as a result of the accident. If this is proven, the victim may be entitled to compensation.
If a mechanic fails to properly repair a truck’s brakes, and this causes the brakes to fail while the truck is in operation, resulting in an accident, the mechanic may be held liable for the damages caused by the accident. Similarly, if a mechanic fails to properly maintain the tires on a truck, and this causes a blowout while the truck is in operation, resulting in an accident, the mechanic could be liable.
How a San Antonio Truck Accident Lawyer Will Help Your Case
Historically, commercial truck accidents have resulted in some of the highest payouts of personal injury cases. This is true across many states in America.
To combat this, the insurance companies that are hired by trucking companies are some of the most capable and aggressive around. They have the sole task of reducing the liability of the trucking company and ultimately reducing the amount they have to pay to you, the victim.
By hiring an attorney, you level the playing field. If you choose an attorney with a strong reputation for winning cases similar to yours, the other party may be more willing to work with you instead of against you.
Your attorney will also:
Investigate Your Case
One of the most useful things that your attorney can do for you is spearhead a comprehensive investigation into what happened. Your attorney may have an investigative team composed of experts who can reconstruct the accident and discover evidence, such as CCTV footage. They will also know the right channels to follow to pursue the accident reports filed by the emergency services that attended the scene.
Assigning liability is one of the most important tasks that must be completed in order to file your claim. To do this, your attorney will need to fully understand what happened. This way, they will know exactly who is liable and to what degree. This is a complex task with a truck accident, as there can be multiple parties responsible.
It is often the case that, although the fault lies with truck driver fatigue and negligence, the trucking company should be held partly responsible. This is usually the case when the trucking company places too much pressure on their drivers and actively encourages them to drive past the point they should have stopped and rested.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
The insurance companies that represent truck drivers and truck companies are large corporations. They are driven by profit and that means they do not want to play fair most of the time. Without a San Antonio truck accident attorney, it is likely that you will be treated unfairly.
This is one reason we highly recommend that you get legal representation. By hiring a strong attorney, you can show the insurance company that you mean business. The best attorneys are those that have a reputation for winning cases. These attorneys will have a reputation that precedes them and when insurance companies find out that you are represented by such an attorney, they may be more likely to play fair.
Sometimes, securing representation from a stellar attorney can mean that the other party is more willing to settle outside of court for a sum that is reasonable. This is because they know that if your case goes to trial, your attorney has a high chance of winning.
Once you have secured representation from an attorney, you no longer need to worry about liaising with the insurance company on the other side or with your own insurance company. Part of the service your attorney offers is taking over all the discussions with both insurance companies.
Representing You at Trial
Most cases will not make it to trial. This is because court involvement is a costly and time-consuming process that is in neither party’s best interests.
This does not mean, however, that your case will not go to trial. We recommend that all clients be prepared for this eventuality, in case it is necessary. The best way to do so is to secure representation from an experienced truck accident lawyer that is skilled in litigation and negotiation.
If your case makes it this far, and it becomes necessary that you go to trial, your attorney will prepare you for trial.
How Long Do I Have to File My Truck Accident Claim in San Antonio?
If you have been involved in an accident in San Antonio, or you have lost a loved one in an accident, it is important that you understand the legal time limit that the state places upon victims to make their claims.
This legal time limit is known as the statute of limitations. It is in place to protect individuals and companies from being sued for old cases, where a long time period has passed between the incident and the claim.
In Texas, this time limit is 2 years from the date of the accident for personal injury cases and if you have lost a loved one, you have 2 years from the date of their death.
What Dictates How Much Compensation I Can Claim in a Truck Accident Case?
In every personal injury case, the level of compensation that will be awarded is different. This is because your compensation is usually made up of the damages you need to recover and the level of pain and suffering that you have been subjected to. This will be different in each case.
Your compensation will also rely on the skill and capabilities of your attorney. The better they are at calculating your damages accurately, the more difficult it will be to dispute. This often means that you could secure a higher level of compensation.
Everything begins with the calculation of your damages, which includeeconomic damages, which are the damages you have suffered that cost you a physical sum, and non-economic damages, which are the subjective damages your attorney will have to place a value on.
The most common damages that make up the largest part of most settlements include:
Most accident victims that file personal injury claims have suffered injuries in the accident that are serious enough that they will need to take time off work to recover and receive treatment.
For the majority of workers, there will be a loss of income and earning capacity as a result, and this can be anxiety provoking and stressful. For victims that are the primary source of income in their household, the thought of paying medical bills paired with lost wages can be traumatic.
Because of this, it is important that your attorney accurately calculates what your lost wages equate to. This includes all past losses of earnings and all future losses, too. This means that if you have suffered an injury that means you can no longer work in the same capacity, your attorney should work with financial experts to understand what this lost earning potential is worth.
Because truck accidents have the potential to cause such catastrophic injuries, victims often suffer injuries that will require significant levels of medical treatment. This results in medical bills and expenses that can get extremely high.
For those with strong medical insurance, it can be distressing to find that coverage is quickly exceeded. Even worse, for those without insurance, the growing cost of medical bills and expenses can be terrifying.
If your claim is successful, your attorney should be able to recover most of your medical expenses, past and future. This means that most treatment costs related to the injury and future treatment costs should be accounted for in your recoverable damages.
If you have suffered an injury that is going to require long-term treatment, your attorney should have access to a panel of medical experts who can advise them on how much money you will need to ensure you receive the best possible treatment for as long as you need it.
Pain and Suffering
For successful truck accident claims, the most substantial damages are often the pain and suffering damages. These are non-economic damages, meaning that it will be down to your attorney to figure out what they are worth.
Pain and suffering damages are designed to compensate the victim if they have suffered pain and emotional trauma as a result of their injuries.
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; and
- Any life-altering impacts, such as disfigurement or disabilities.
To receive punitive damages in truck accident claims, litigation is necessary, as only a Judge has the authority to grant such damages. This is typically done in cases involving intentional or grossly negligent behavior.
Punitive damages differ from compensatory damages in that they aim to penalize the offender and deter them from repeating similar behavior, rather than compensate the victim.
In Texas, the maximum amount of punitive damages that can be awarded is determined by a formula outlined in the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. Generally, the amount is capped at $200,000 or twice the value of compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff.
What Should I Do if I Have Lost a Loved One in a Truck Accident?
Truck accidents carry a strong risk of fatality because of their nature and this means that many of our clients come to us on behalf of a deceased loved one. Although no amount of compensation can ease the pain of losing a loved one, receiving just and fair compensation can ease the financial burdens that come with such a loss.
A wrongful death claim can be brought against anyone whose negligence contributed to the death of another individual. In Texas, the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased may file such a claim.
If your wrongful death claim is successful, you may be able to recover compensation for expenses related to the funeral and medical bills, as well as loss of companionship, loss of income for the household, and more.
As with any personal injury claim, it is crucial to establish liability and gather substantial evidence. A skilled truck accident attorney can handle the legal process for you, allowing you to focus on your family during this difficult time.
At Abraham Watkins, we understand the empathy and diligence required to handle wrongful death claims. We will support you throughout the entire process and work tirelessly to secure the compensation your family deserves.
Speak to One of Our Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers Today!
Because of their complexity and severity, truck accident cases require skilled and experienced lawyers. The sooner you get in touch with your representation, the better, as they will need to move quickly if they want to accurately deduce what happened and assign liability.
Choosing a San Antonio attorney from Abraham Watkins ensures that you have the backing of an attorney that has the skill set needed to push your case through to completion. This is necessary when facing some of the strong legal teams the insurance company will use to fight against your claim.
Our attorneys understand the complexities of both the state and federal laws that may apply to your case. This, paired with our exceptional reputation for fierce advocacy, ensures that you have the best possible chance of securing compensation that is a fair representation of your suffering.
With trucking accidents, it is essential that you have your case assessed immediately. Once you get in touch with our team, we can arrange a free initial case evaluation. This gives you the space you need to ask important questions and gives us a chance to evaluate your case.
Our legal team is experienced in determining when to pursue a settlement and when it is best to litigate a case. Throughout the process, we will provide you with expert legal advice and present you with options. You can feel protected by our attorney-client privilege, which allows you to communicate with us candidly and confidentially.
We operate on a no-win, no-fee basis, meaning you will not be required to pay any fees upfront to obtain compensation. Instead, we will agree on a percentage of your compensation if we succeed in your case. If we are unsuccessful, we won’t receive any payment.
Speak to one of our truck accident lawyers in San Antonio, TX to secure a free consultation today at 713-535-9319.
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