Driving is one of the most dangerous activities we do on a daily basis. According to the Texas Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Facts of 2019, there were 256,338 people injured in motor vehicle crashes on Texas roadways and 3,610 lives lost. One of the most significant contributors to accident injuries and fatalities in Texas is large commercial trucks. Although the trucking industry is a vital component of our economy, sharing the road with these behemoths can make an already risky activity even more hazardous. If you have been injured in a truck crash in Texas, you may have the right to recover some of your losses.
How Do You File a Claim After Being Involved in a Texas Truck Accident?
If you are interested in seeking compensation for damages obtained in a Texas truck accident, there are several steps you will need to follow. They are:
- Seek medical attention. Your health and wellbeing should always come first, especially after a truck crash. Without an evaluation by a medical professional, it is difficult to gauge your own injuries. You may not feel any pain after an accident, but your doctor may be able to diagnose any internal injuries that have no immediate symptoms.
- Investigation and evidence collection. To build a case against the at-fault party, you will need irrefutable evidence. A truck accident attorney will know what evidence will be needed to prove your case and where to find it.
- Request compensation. Your attorney will draft and send a letter to the at-fault party’s insurance provider requesting a monetary payment in exchange for settling the case out of court.
- Begin settlement negotiations. When you partner with a truck accident attorney, you will have a skilled negotiator on your side to protect your interests during this process.
- Pursue legal action. Truck accident claims rarely have to be taken to court in Texas, but if an agreement is unable to be made, your legal team will be prepared to represent you throughout the trial.
The amount of time it will take for your truck accident claim to finalize will depend on many factors, including:
- How many parties are involved
- Everyone’s willingness to negotiate
- The extent of your damages
- The strength of your evidence
To improve your odds of recovering the total amount of your damages, report the accident to the police immediately and keep any documentation (such as medical bills and paychecks illustrating a loss of income) in a secure place for the duration of your case.
What Kind of Damages Can You Recover after a Truck Accident in Texas?
Victims of Texas truck accidents have the ability to recover economic, non-economic, and (in some rare cases) punitive damages.
- Economic damages are financial losses that can easily be calculated and can include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost income, including future lost income and benefits
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Funeral costs
- Non-economic damages are losses that you can’t quickly put a price tag on, such as:
- Physical pain
- Physical impairment
- Disfigurement, such as scarring
- Loss of companionship
- Mental anguish
- In wrongful death cases, loss of companionship and society amongst other recoverable damages depending on the relationship to the decedent
- All other non pecuniary losses of any kind other than exemplary damages
- Punitive damages are meant to punish a deter at fault parties for gross negligence. Gross negligence in Texas is defined as an act or omission: (A) which when viewed objectively from the standpoint of the actor at the time of its occurrence involves an extreme degree of risk, considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm to others; and (B) of which the actor has actual, subjective awareness of the risk involved, but nevertheless proceeds with conscious indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare of others.
The value of your case will depend mainly on the severity of your injuries. It may be beneficial to contact a Texas truck accident attorney soon after the accident occurs so they may begin collecting evidence. Although no one is guaranteed a settlement or reward, working with an experienced truck accident attorney will give you the best chance of resolving your claim favorably.