Of all types of motor vehicle accidents, those accidents involving large trucks such as 18-wheels and other large commercial vehicles are often the most devastating. Due to the sheer sizes, weights, and volumes of cargo involved in the crash, they are likely to leave accident victims with catastrophic injuries.
Not only this, there are a number of ways that a trucking company will commonly be negligent and increase the likelihood of an accident. There is also the fact to be considered that a truck driver, trucking company, or a number of third parties involved may bear responsibility for the accident. This makes this type of personal injury case more complex.
All of this means you need the best commercial vehicle or 18-wheeler accident lawyer on your side, in order to give you the best chance of achieving the level of compensation you deserve. Here at Abraham Watkins, our team of personal injury lawyers have been practicing for over 70 years. We are happy to offer everyone a confidential free consultation at no obligation.
To find out how we could help with your trucking accident case, call us today at 713-535-9319.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
As mentioned above, cases where passenger vehicles collide with a large truck, semi-truck, 18-wheeler or other large commercial vehicle often inflict significant injuries.
- Severe neck and back injuries;
- Cuts, scrapes, and abrasions;
- Burns and scalds;
- Broken or fractured bones;
- Dislocated, sprained, or even severed limbs;
- Internal bleeding or other internal injuries due to blunt-force trauma;
- Brain injuries and traumatic brain injuries; and
- Whiplash or other spinal injuries.
This is not an exhaustive list. There are many ways an injured person can suffer after a commercial vehicle accident. No matter what level of injury you sustained, you could be entitled to compensation.
What to do Immediately After Being Involved in a Collision with a Truck Driver
The next sections will run through the process that you should follow after you are involved in a truck accident.
If possible, you should try to do all of them in this order. However, if you have severe injuries, some of the steps may not be achievable.
The very first thing you should do after a truck accident is prioritize your safety, and the safety of other drivers or passengers around you. Move away from traffic or other risky areas as soon as possible.
You should also contact emergency responders, usually the police and medical personnel. Not only will they be practically helpful, but a police report or other emergency service accident report will also act as evidence to help your truck accident lawyer maximize your compensation.
Gather Critical Evidence
Once it is safe to do so, you should collect evidence that is only available at the scene of the accident. However, this may only be possible if you have only sustained minor injuries – if you have sustained more significant injuries, prioritize seeking medical attention.
Evidence-wise, you should try to collect:
- Photographs with your cell phone of the accident scene, including the level of damage to all vehicles involved, tire skid marks, environmental damage, registration plates, and photos of your injuries;
- Contact information including the other driver’s name, phone number, driver’s license number, registration number, and insurance information. You should also try to collect contact information from everybody present at the accident scene, to help you seek witness statements later, photos of the tractor trailer and any DOT number listed; and
- Any physical items present where the accident happened that could aid with the accident investigation, such as pieces of broken vehicle. Once you have collected these, ensure you do not touch or disturb them again unnecessarily.
Seek Medical Care
The next thing you should do is to seek prompt medical attention as soon as possible. Some injuries, especially internal injuries, may not seem serious – but can become life-altering quickly if left unaddressed.
Seeking medical treatment will also help demonstrate you took your accident seriously, the doctor’s reports will act as good evidence (especially alongside a police report), and your experienced attorneys can help you seek reimbursement for the cost of your medical bills at a later date.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney
Once you are safe and all the temporarily-available evidence has been collected, it is time to contact a law firm and secure representation by a skilled lawyer.
With a lawyer from a reputable law firm by your side, you will stand the highest chance of receiving fair compensation. They will also be able to guide you through the rest of the personal injury legal process in the correct manner.
Dealing with an Insurance Company
Do not give a recorded statement to an insurance company prior to hiring an attorney. It is important to speak to your lawyer before having any interaction with an insurance company. This is because an insurance company is a for-profit business. It is in their best interest to pay out as little for your insurance claim as possible, and they will use underhanded tricks and experienced insurance adjuster teams to do this.
Insurance companies may try to:
- Trick you into disclosing unnecessary information. Only ever reveal what is absolutely necessary, or it could impact your compensation;
- Get you to sign a document or admit fault in a recorded interview;
- Devalue your injury claims. For example, they may claim your complications are due to an unrelated condition, which would require your medical records to disprove; and
- Get you to give them your social security number. Do not provide your full social security number.
Liability in a Commercial Vehicle Accident
Designating blame is especially complex when it comes to large commercial truck accidents, like a semi-truck collision. This is because, while the truck driver may be at fault, liability often lies with the trucking company itself. We will explain why in the next section.
The following parties may be liable when a large truck or 18-wheeler collides with a passenger vehicle:
- Truck driver
- The trucking company that employs the truck driver
- An other driver, if the accident involved other vehicles
- A third-party company, if one was responsible for loading cargo that contributed to the fact the accident occurred
- A manufacturing company, if a vehicle or equipment defect caused the 18-wheeler to crash
As you can see, assigning liability after an 18-wheeler accident can often be incredibly complex. This is why you need an experienced truck accident attorney on your side to maximize the chances of the case running smoothly and you receiving a fair settlement for your damages.
How Trucking Companies Often Contribute to Accident Likelihood
There are certain factors that mean a truck driver has an increased chance of causing an accident. Many of these factors indicate negligence on the part of the company that employs them, which is why they are often found to be liable instead of the driver themselves.
Companies contribute to accident risk in the following ways:
- Failure to train and supervise the truck drivers;
- By paying their drivers per mile, encouraging speeding, dangerously minimizing break periods, cutting corners on non-driving activities like route planning or cargo loading, and unsafe amounts of consecutive driving in one day;
- Not carrying out the necessary background checks on their drivers, which can lead to people with a history of reckless or intoxicated driving getting jobs as truck drivers;
- Cutting corners on essential practices like equipment repair, fleet maintenance, and other safety protocols; and
- Fatigue of truck drivers can be a cause of catastrophic crash and injury.
The Damages You Could be Entitled to Compensation For
When it comes to your financial recovery from a truck accident, there are many different categories of damages that your compensation could be divided into.
Which of these categories you will be entitled to will depend on the exact circumstances of your case. Generally speaking, the great the level of damage or consequence to your life, the more money each category could be worth.
Common truck accident damages include:
- Reimbursement for the cost of medical treatment needed due to injuries you sustained in the accident;
- The cost of future healthcare which will be necessary because of your injuries;
- Loss of future earning capacity due to the injuries caused by the crash;
- Compensation for lost wages as a result of being forced to take time off from work to recover from your injuries;
- Pain and suffering damages, which look at the length of your recovery process and the pain level involved. These damages also account for long-lasting impacts on your life, such as disabilities or disfigurements;
- Property damage, which is reasonably common in truck accidents as the size of the other vehicle involved is likely to do serious damage to your car;
- Coverage of other out-of-pocket expenses your accident incurred, such as childcare or public transportation costs you would not have had to pay otherwise;
- Compensation for mental anguish, which includes categories like anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), loss of enjoyment of life, and sleep disorders as a result of your accident; and
- Wrongful death, which awards compensation to the family of someone who was gravely injured in an accident that was not their fault.
The best way to find out which of these damages are likely to apply to your accident case is to get in touch with a lawyer from our law firm today using the contact information at the bottom of the page. We will give you a full consultation that includes an estimate of how much your case could be worth, and why.
You Don’t Pay If We Don’t Win
Unfortunately, one of the most common mistakes that injured Americans make is believing that pursuing their legal rights is not worthwhile, as they will not be able to afford a reputable lawyer to make the time worth it.
Here at Abraham Watkins, we are committed to disproving this common thought. We believe that everybody, no matter what their financial status, should be entitled to financial justice when they are injured in a situation that is not their fault.
That is why we operate all our cases on a contingency basis. That means that your whole case will be no-win-no-fee. If you are not successful in your claim, the process will cost you nothing at all.
Even if you are successful, your legal fees will only ever be taken as a percentage of your final settlement amount. There are no hidden fees, no upfront costs, and no nasty surprises.
Speak to an Experienced Texas Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer
If you have been involved in a commercial truck accident in the last two years in Texas, you could be entitled to compensation for the injuries you sustained and the complications you have dealt with as a result.
Our team of practiced truck accident attorneys has over 70 years of experience fighting for clients just like you. We have the skillsets, compassion, and determination to take on your case and maximize your chances of compensation in a stress-free and reassuring manner.
It all starts with a free consultation with one of our attorneys. Our lines are open 24/7 for your convenience. During your consultation, you will get a good idea of your legal process and chances of success, all at no obligation. Your sensitive details will be protected by the confidential attorney-client relationship.
For more information, call us today at 713-535-9319.