If you were in an accident with any large commercial truck or vehicle (e.g. big rigs, semis, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, etc.), it’s essential to hire an experienced grapevine truck accident lawyer.
You should choose a Grapevine truck accident lawyer who knows what they are doing with truck accident cases specifically. These cases are often complex and not the same as car accident personal injury matters.
How Are Commercial Truck Accident Cases Different From Car Accident Cases?
Both car accidents and truck accidents can involve devastating injuries and consequences. However, they are not the same. Commercial truck drivers operate vehicles weighing thousands of tons. Even “minor” accidents with vehicles carrying so much weight can cause fatal or life-changing injuries.
Many personal injury firms do not have an experienced 18-wheeler accident attorney that recognizes the differences in how truck accident cases must be prosecuted and tried.
Grapevine personal injury lawyer at The Francis Firm advocates for victims, securing compensation and justice after serious truck collisions.
Commercial Trucking Regulations
Commercial truck drivers are professional drivers that operate under additional rules and regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA) apply to any commercial vehicle companies and drivers that operate across state lines.
Texas adopted the FMCSA into its own motor vehicle laws by reference. The Texas Department of Transportation publishes the Texas Motor Carrier's Guide to Highway Safety, a guide to commercial trucking regulations and consequences for violations.
Under the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Service program enforces its Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for commercial trucking equipment based on the FMCSA.
Examples of commercial vehicle and driver regulations that your big rig accident attorney needs to be aware of include:
- Limitations on the amount of hours a driver can spend driving
- Regular medical exams for drivers
- Post accident alcohol and drug testing
- Restrictions on size and weight
- Companies’ responsibility to vet their employees and hire only qualified and competent drivers.
A general personal injury attorney that does not have sufficient experience litigating commercial truck accident cases may not be aware of or understand all these regulations.
What Is a Commercial Vehicle?
Not every commercial truck is a giant 18-wheeler or semi, though that’s what immediately comes to mind. Smaller moving trucks or box trucks qualify as commercial vehicles as well.
Even a pickup truck hauling a trailer that exceeds a certain weight will have to abide by federal regulations.
A qualified Grapevine truck accident lawyer will understand the cases that should be tried as commercial, where a regular personal injury attorney may not.
Normal personal injury cases for car accidents usually involve only the other driver’s insurance company or your own insurance company’s underinsured motorist policy. Injured plaintiffs’ damages in these cases are generally restricted by the defendants’ abilities to pay the judgments.
Commercial cases, however, involve companies’ liability policies, which are generally much larger than personal coverage. Failing to try commercial trucking cases under the correct statutes may severely limit your chances of recovery.
Multiple Defendants and Insurance Companies
Litigating a commercial truck accident case goes beyond just establishing the driver’s negligence. Qualified Grapevine truck accident lawyers know that these cases might also involve investigating the trucking company policies and practices and any negligence by the employer.
Your Grapevine truck accident attorney will also know that multiple insurance companies and policies are likely involved, depending on the specific circumstances.
For example, one truck accident may involve not only the driver and their company but also the shipper, broker, or trailer owner. If your personal injury attorney fails to rope in all these parties, they could be irreparably damaging your chances of a full financial recovery.
Litigating a Truck Accident Case
Most personal injury cases settle out of court. Trucking accident claims are no different. However, your Grapevine truck accident lawyer must be willing to litigate in court and have the experience to do so.
Trucking companies and their insurance companies will have their own experienced counsel to defend their interests. They do not want to pay you and will make every effort to reduce their own liability.
You must have an attorney who is willing to go to bat for you and litigate aggressively if necessary.
An experienced commercial truck accident attorney will do the following on your behalf:
- Investigate the incident and company and collect evidence, including witness testimony
- Determine which parties should be brought into the case as defendants
- Communicate your intent to file a claim against the defendants
- Help you calculate the costs of your losses and future expenses
- Present the relevant information to the defendants to demonstrate the case as they would present it to a jury
- Provide proof of your losses
- Negotiate on your behalf
Grapevine truck accident attorneys that have the necessary commercial truck accident experience know that they must prepare and act as though the case is going to end up in court, whether you intend to settle or not.
Determining the Value of a Commercial Truck Accident Case
The value of your damages depends upon the circumstances of the accident and the limits of the defendants’ insurance policies. Factors affecting your settlement amount include:
- Past and future medical bills related to the accident;
- Past and future loss income because of your injuries;
- Other expenses such as property damage and travel expenses to go to your doctors’ appointments;
- Non-economic losses (e.g. pain and suffering or physical impairment); and
- The egregiousness of the driver’s conduct.
Your Grapevine truck accident lawyer will help you determine the possible worth of your case.
Our Legal Team Are Experienced Grapevine Truck Accident Attorneys Ready to Take on Your Case
The Francis Firm is a personal injury firm in Southlake, Texas, that focuses specifically on truck and auto accidents and related wrongful death claims.
Attorney Michael Francis previously represented many of the largest truck companies in the country for almost a decade, and now he uses that experience to represent local trucking accident victims.
The Francis Firm has recovered millions of dollars for its clients that were injured in trucking accidents and has a proven track record of success. We serve clients in Fort Worth, Dallas, and surrounding areas.
You can view some of our results on our website.
Your consultation is free, and we do not get paid unless your claim is successful. Please contact us today to discuss your case.