The size and weight of semi-trucks mean accidents can cause terrible trauma and injuries. That’s why selecting an experienced truck accident attorney is so critical. A truck accident attorney knows how to negotiate aggressively with stingy insurance companies. Then, the attorney can take the case to trial to secure the best possible outcome.
Below is everything you should know about truck accident lawyers. If you have questions about a case, please contact the Francis Firm truck accident lawyers.
What to Do Following a Truck Accident?
You should get prompt medical attention after a tractor-trailer accident. Many serious injuries have delayed symptoms, such as head injuries and internal bleeding. You should document every medical treatment you receive after the accident.
Other essential steps after a truck accident are:
- Call law enforcement to report the truck crash immediately.
- Write down the tractor-trailer driver’s name, address, license number and plate number, and company.
- Take plenty of photos of everything at the truck crash scene. Also, take pictures of your injuries and car damage if possible.
- Talk to eyewitnesses and obtain their contact information. People’s memories fade after a few days, so it is important to get their stories right away.
Contacting a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible is also imperative. The attorney will conduct a crash investigation, help you get and afford the medical care you need, negotiate with the insurance company, and hire experts to prove liability.
Going without legal representation after a truck crash is a huge mistake. You’re likely entitled to significant compensation for your injuries, so don’t take a quick settlement offer.
What Are The Leading Causes of Truck Accidents?
Truck drivers cause many accidents that seriously injure and even kill other drivers. The most common causes of truck accidents are:
Federal law requires truck drivers to take breaks after 11 hours of driving. Some drivers feel pressure to reach their destination. Few things are more hazardous than a semi-truck with a sleepy driver at the wheel!
Driving Under The Influence
Tractor-trailer drivers have commercial drivers licenses. The rules for intoxication are stricter than for regular drivers. Most states say a truck driver with .04% BAC or higher is intoxicated.
If the truck driver who injured you was drunk, the insurance company would likely increase your settlement amount. Insurance adjusters know that juries don’t like intoxicated truck drivers. So the insurance company could pay a lot more if the case goes to trial.
Poor Truck Maintenance
Poor truck maintenance is a common reason for truck accidents. Bald tires, for instance, can be extremely dangerous on big rigs. If there is a blowout, the driver may lose control and slam into you.
The case depends on whether the trucking company or driver is liable for poor vehicle maintenance. The trucker is often to blame but not always.
Semi-truck drivers are just as likely to be distracted behind the wheel as other drivers. Truckers don’t use CBs like years ago, but texting and talking on cell phones while driving is a big problem. Even streaming music can be enough to distract them.
If a distracted truck driver hurts you, your truck accident lawyer can subpoena the driver’s cell phone records. This can be evidence that the driver was distracted by a cell phone when the accident happened.
Inadequate Truck Driver Training
Poor training is not usually the fault of the truck driver. Instead, the trucking company can be held responsible for not teaching the driver the road rules. A truck accident lawyer will review the trucker’s training records to determine if poor training was a factor in the crash.
Many trucking companies put too much pressure on truck drivers to get to their destinations on time. A trucker driving too fast or too long is partially liable for accidents. The trucking company also may share liability.
How Truck Accidents Are Different From Car Accidents
There are many differences between truck and car accidents. Here are a few factors to keep in mind.
Truck Accidents Are Worse
Tractor trailers weigh up to 80,000 lbs when they’re fully loaded. So the crash can be devastating if a huge big rig slams into a 4,000 lb. car at a stop light. The crash can be so bad the vehicle is torn apart.
You’re Suing A Trucking Company
This is a huge difference between a truck and a car accident. The personal injury lawsuit involves a large trucking company when a semi-truck hits you. There also could be a case against the truck driver.
A claim against a trucking company means negotiating with a strict, aggressive insurance company. Trucking companies hire skilled attorneys to represent them. They aim to give you as little money as possible for your injuries. This is a significant reason for having a skilled truck accident attorney fighting tirelessly for your rights.
Many auto accidents happen because of driver error, such as speeding or failing to stop. Those also can be reasons for truck accidents. However, many truck crashes happen because the truck is so large the driver cannot stop or make a proper turn.
Many trucks have equipment failures, too. Truckers and their companies are responsible for keeping their rigs in good working order. If they do not maintain the trucks, they can become dangerous to drive. There also could be a manufacturer defect in a part that contributed to the crash.
More Complex Cases
Big rig accidents are often more complicated than auto accidents. Yes, car accidents can involve several drivers. But truck accidents often have far greater damage, and more drivers and passengers are hurt.
Figuring out how much economic and non-economic damages should be paid in truck accidents is complex. When several people are hurt, it’s even more critical to have a skilled attorney fighting for maximum compensation.
Who is Responsible for My Truck Accident?
In a tractor-trailer accident, it is possible for more than one person or entity to be liable. This is because there may be several companies involved in the crash. Those who could be to blame are:
- The driver
- The company that hired the driver
- The truck manufacturer, if there was a defective part
- The firm that loaded the rig, especially if shifting cargo caused the crash or rollover
- Truck part companies, such as in tire blowouts
What Will My Attorney Do To Help Me?
A truck accident attorney will handle every part of your case so you can focus on recovery.
The attorney will do intensive research to determine who was liable for the accident. For example, you may think the truck driver caused the crash. But there could be other parties liable as well, such as the trucking company, shipping company, insurance company, or even a government agency.
Builds The Best Case
The attorney will build the case to obtain the best possible compensation. In addition, they may construct the case to present to the insurance company or a jury. Common duties are:
- Perform an investigation and gather evidence. This work may include police reports, photos and videos, and information from the rig’s ‘black box’ system. The attorney also may talk to witnesses, hire experts, and more.
- Collect every medical bill and expense you incurred after the accident.
- Determine every potential liable entity and insurance provider.
- Haggle with the insurance company to get the best settlement.
- Go to trial if the insurance company won’t offer a fair settlement.
Ensuring you get the Medical Care you Need
The attorney will help you obtain expert medical care, regardless of the severity of your injuries, with no upfront out of pocket cost to you. If you are injured in a truck wreck, finding quality and affordable care is more difficult than you think. A majority of family physicians and medical providers are unwilling to treat truck accident victims because they do not wish to become involved in a litigation matter. Good personal injury attorneys have relationships with medical providers of all specialties that can provide you with the expert medical care you need.
You could have severe injuries requiring extensive hospitalization, surgeries, and expensive rehabilitation. Medical expenses can run into tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. So, having a skilled lawyer fighting for your rights is critical.
How Will The Truck Accident Attorney Prove My Case?
Let’s assume you were not at fault for the crash. First, however, you have to prove another individual or entity was responsible. There are four determining factors of negligence in personal injury lawsuits involving car or truck crashes:
- First, the big rig driver owed you a duty of care to drive safely and reasonably.
- Second, the driver violated their duty of care.
- Third, the breach of the duty of care caused your injuries and damages.
- Fourth, you and your family suffered losses and damages from the injuries.
The damages you may be entitled to after a truck accident are either economic or non-economic. Economic damages are medical costs, loss of earnings, and vehicle damage.
Non-economic damages are pain and suffering, emotional and mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life. Proving pain and suffering requires a skilled attorney who knows what your injuries are worth. There is no exact rule that you are entitled to a certain amount of pain and suffering money for your specific injuries.
Your attorney will review your medical records, then review recent settlements and verdicts in the area with similar injuries. Then, they will argue to pay you a certain amount of pain and suffering compensation.
Were You In A Truck Accident? Contact One Of Our Personal Injury Lawyers Today
If you were in a semi-truck accident in Dallas or Fort Worth, you probably have a pile of medical bills, weeks of lost wages, and terrible pain and suffering. But don’t worry — there is help available. Contact the Francis Firm truck accident attorneys today for a complimentary case review.
- Who is Liable in a Truck Accident?
- How is Fault Determined in a Truck Accident?
- What Do I Do After a Truck Accident?
- What Factors Into How Much My Truck Accident Case is Worth?
- Should I Give The Trucking Company’s Insurance Adjuster a Statement?
- Do Special Laws And Regulations Apply to Truck Drivers?
- Can I Sue The Truck Driver’s Company For My Injuries?
- Why Should I Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?