Any motor vehicle accident can be devastating, especially when a tractor-trailer is involved. Fully loaded, big rigs can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, giving them great potential to seriously damage smaller vehicles when collisions happen. Those lucky enough to survive a truck crash can end up with crippling injuries, permanent impairments, and lasting trauma.
These survivors may also end up with viable claims for compensation and, at some point, complex settlement offers to consider. If you have been hurt in an 18-wheeler accident and you receive a settlement offer, it’s usually best to consult an experienced personal injury attorney for help reviewing the offer.
How Do I Initiate a Truck Accident Claim in Texas?
After a semi-truck accident, it can be tempting to pursue compensation from the trucking company or insurance provider by yourself. However, victims seeking financial recoveries on their own, without the help of a lawyer, often find that:
- The insurance adjuster can be pushy, unhelpful, and/or difficult to reach.
- When victims do finally get some answers from insurers, they can be left with even more questions and challenges related to their claim.
- Insurance company settlement offers commonly fall short, failing to cover all the losses from a big rig wreck.
A Texas truck accident attorney can help victims overcome these issues, working to position a claim for success and a fair settlement offer. In fact, an 18-wheeler accident attorney can:
- Initiate settlement negotiations: A lawyer can start this process by sending a letter to the at-fault party’s insurance provider. Working to achieve these out-of-court truck accident settlements can involve some back-and-forth, with offers and counteroffers to try to reach an agreement.
- Prepare a truck accident claim for court: Although most claims are settled outside of court, that is not always possible. In fact, if the at-fault parties dispute liability or damages, victims may be better off taking their claims to court.
Please be aware that Texas law sets the statute of limitations for truck accident claims at two years from the date of a collision (or from the date on which the crash-related injuries are discovered or they result in death). Claims that are not filed within this two-year window can expire, meaning victims can lose their rights to file claims and seek damages.
Texas Truck Accident Injuries: Physical & Psychological Damages
Compensation for 18-wheeler accidents can help victims get essential medical treatments as they recover from catastrophic injuries. Depending on how a crash happened, victims could be awarded financial recoveries for any physical injuries they have sustained in the wreck, like (but not limited to):
- Burn injuries
- Broken bones
- Herniated discs
- Internal organ damage
- Loss of limb(s)
- Nerve damage
- Severe lacerations
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Vision and/or hearing loss
- Whiplash and other neck injuries
Compensation can also cover psychological injuries resulting from a big rig crash. This trauma, which can last for years, can be far more likely to occur in serious wrecks. Commonly, it includes:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
What Compensation Can I Recover from a Texas Truck Accident Claim?
Texas law allows the victims of truck accidents to pursue compensation for physical injuries, property damage, psychological trauma, and other losses caused by a wreck. Specifically, this can include some combination the following damages:
- Economic damages: This type of compensation can cover any injury-related expenses or losses, including past and future medical bills, lost wages, and reduced earning capacity.
- Non-economic damages: Addressing more “hidden” psychological injuries, these damages can cover emotional distress, pain, suffering, and loss of consortium.
- Punitive damages: Rarely awarded, punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant for outrageous negligence, under certain circumstances. To be awarded punitive damages for a claim, it’s necessary to go to court, and a lawyer will need to prove that the act of negligence was particularly horrific.