Navigating the complex insurance laws surrounding truck crashes can be challenging for many people, especially after sustaining a severe injury. Trucking accidents can also leave victims with several financial and emotional problems. A Houston trucking accident lawyer can use their skill and experience to obtain fair compensation for these damages.
First, let’s talk about the common causes of truck accidents and what a Houston trucking accident lawyer can do for you.
Common Causes of Houston Trucking Accidents
Because we depend on trucks to transport goods across the country, there are many of them on the road. Unfortunately, with such a large number of trucks, accidents are bound to happen.
Let’s discuss the most common causes of truck accidents.
Poor Driver training and experience: Trucks differ from other commercial vehicles and demand special training. If drivers are not adequately trained to handle road conditions and mechanical faults, it is easy to cause an accident. A driver’s inexperience might affect how they handle difficult situations on the road.
Driver fatigue or drowsy driving: Trucking companies expect truck drivers to deliver goods to their destination within a particular time frame. To reach their target, truck drivers spend hours driving without rest. A truck driver can’t go over 11 consecutive hours without rest. Truck drivers also can’t operate their trucks for more than 60 hours a week. The FMCSA has rules and regulations to protect drivers on the road. Unfortunately, tight schedules cause some drivers or trucking companies to overlook these regulations, leading to driver fatigue.
Studies have shown that drowsy driving can have similar effects to drunk driving. So, you can imagine the potential for a serious accident to occur when truck drivers are pushed to drive too long without adequate rest.
Alcohol or drug use: Truck and commercial drivers are prohibited from using alcohol or stimulants during working hours. Driving under the influence is a criminal offense and can have dire consequences for everyone on the road.
Bad weather conditions: Weather can affect the truck driver’s visibility on the road. Snow, rain, ice, wind, and fog make driving challenging to see and maneuver around obstacles. Weather can also cause the road to become slippery, which makes it more challenging to stop a large, heavy truck.
Speeding: Many truck companies have installed speed trackers or speed limiters on their semi-trucks. But not every commercial trucking company uses such devices. The absence of these devices leaves the driver to use his discretion in most cases. Trucks carry heavy goods. This mainly makes speeding dangerous because trucks have a slow reaction time. If there is a problem, it will be harder to stop.
Distracted driving: Like speeding, distracted driving is a leading cause of trucking accidents. Many things can distract a driver. Distractions include using smartphones, adjusting navigation, the radio, eating or drinking, other occupants, or an outside person or object. When a driver gets distracted even for a second, it could lead to accidents that can cause catastrophic injuries or death.
Injuries commonly Caused by Houston Truck Accidents
Accidents involving commercial trucks and passenger cars can be gruesome and can cause the following injuries:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Whiplash (neck injury)
- Internal organ damage
- Fractured bones
- Wrongful death
Reasons to Hire a Houston Trucking Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents can be fatal, and surviving them is no mere feat. You might be faced with PTSD after such a stressful, scary situation. Not to mention the physical pain you may be in from a severe injury.
When you’re hurting, the last thing you want is to tackle the legal issues yourself. There are many things a Houston trucking accident lawyer can help you with in these complicated cases. They can:
Limit your liability in a shared fault accident: Sometimes, both drivers may be liable for the accident. Hiring a trucking accident lawyer can help prove that you were not at fault for the crash. In shared fault crashes, if you are over 50% liable for the trucking accident, you would have to pay for damages and personal injuries from your insurance coverage. This is where it is crucial to consult an experienced Houston truck accident lawyer who deals with such cases regularly.
Protect you from insurance companies who want to deny your claims: This shouldn’t surprise you. Insurance companies are notorious for denying injury claims. They may try to minimize the damage you’ve suffered and pay less than you deserve. A truck accident attorney would ensure you say nothing the insurance company can use against you.
How Houston Trucking Accident Lawyers Can Help
After a semi-truck accident, there are many factors to consider for fair compensation for the injury victims. Your attorney has experience dealing with many similar cases. They know how the legal process works and what types of things you can claim compensation for.
Here are some ways in which a Houston truck accident lawyer can help:
1. Investigating The Truck Crash
To show any recklessness or negligence on the truck driver’s part, an experienced Houston injury lawyer will investigate the events that led to the crash.
The investigation will include reviewing video footage from the dashcam or a surveillance camera. This evidence is valuable in trucking accident claims. In some truck accidents, a surveillance camera or dashcam footage might not be available. Your attorney can consult video or photographs the accident victim might have taken after the collision.
If possible, it is always advisable for the innocent victim to take video or photographs of the accident scene, including the passenger car and the truck involved. These will provide valuable evidence and help strengthen your claim.
2. Identifying The Negligent Parties
Before the insurance company pays the accident claim, they must establish the at-fault party. During your initial consultation session with an experienced Houston trucking accident lawyer, you must show who was at fault. Why is knowing whom to blame for the accident important? In a trucking accident, the list of potentially responsible parties is more extensive than in accidents involving other commercial vehicles.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you may be able to file a claim against the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, or even the company responsible for loading cargo. A competent trucking accident lawyer will examine the facts and determine who to go after.
3. Assessing The Damage Sustained
After the truck accident, the accident victim may sustain injuries and will need to seek medical assistance. Aside from the bodily injuries, the victim may also have property damage. The law categorizes the damages from a truck accident into economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages: economic damages are easy to calculate because it is about the actual dollar amount an accident victim may lose. Economic damages include:
- Medical bills
- Loss of income
- Loss of earning potential
- Property damage
Non-economic damages: non-economic damages don’t have clear monetary value and are determined by the insurance company. Non-economic damages will cover things like:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of quality of life
Non-economic damages have no actual monetary value. Your Houston trucking accident lawyer will help evaluate the true value of the damages and negotiate a fair settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Your lawyer will consider every expense and factor in what could happen in the future. This is important because accident victims often suffer truck accident injuries later on.
4. Legal Representation During The Settlement Process
Most Trucking accident lawyers have settled many accident claims outside the court by negotiating a fair settlement. However, sometimes the insurance claim may end up going to trial. Here, it would help if you had an experienced attorney to represent you. About 90% of truck accident victims who take their accident claims to court lose. Taking your insurance claim to court is not as easy as it seems. That is why it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney for complicated cases, such as trucking accidents.
Contact a Houston Trucking Accident Lawyer Today!
At West Loop Law, we put our client’s needs first. We know how challenging it is to deal with emotional and physical pain after a trucking accident. We also know that there are situations where an injured victim might think that they can’t afford a lawyer. However, that should not prevent you from seeking legal aid.
Our Houston trucking accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means that our payment is contingent upon successfully recovering compensation for you. Basically, we don’t get paid if we don’t win. Plus, our legal fees come out of your compensation check, not out of your pocket.
Remember, there is a statute of limitations on every trucking accident claim. In most states, you have up to two years to file a personal injury claim, and Texas is no different. You don’t have to wait before it is too late. Contact our experienced Houston trucking accident lawyers today to help you through the insurance claim process.