With trucks at nearly 80,000 pounds, 18-wheeler crashes often result in life-altering injuries. Driver fatigue, brake failure, federal safety violations, and road conditions can all contribute to accidents involving commercial vehicles. As a result, trucking companies must carry substantial liability insurance policies to compensate those injured by negligent truck drivers.
Due to the sheer size of a commercial truck, truck accidents may lead to severe injuries more often than collisions between two equally sized vehicles. Additionally, being involved in a truck accident may be further complicated by the fact that several parties may be liable for your injuries.
If you have suffered injuries in a crash involving a big rig in The Woodlands, a Woodlands truck accident lawyer could help you recover compensation for your losses. The seasoned team of personal injury attorneys at the Amaro Law Firm will prepare your case while you focus on your physical recovery.
The Benefits of Having a Woodlands Truck Accident Attorney on Your Side
A consultation with a Woodlands truck accident attorney to understand the circumstances of your truck accident case can help you make the most educated choices regarding your next move. While you are already coping with your injuries or the grief of a tragic loss, the added stress of insurance issues and legal proceedings can severely affect your well-being.
In times of distress, lawyers can provide strong advocacy, representation, education, and advice to injury victims and their loved ones. The services of a truck accident lawyer in The Woodlands can ensure that you receive fair compensation that will help you take back control of your life.
The right truck accident attorney can bring the following value to your case:
- Clarity. A truck accident attorney will help you sort out the unknowns as you navigate your insurance claim, medical costs, and settlement negotiations. A lawyer is a great resource to help you understand your legal rights as well as find medical assistance or learn about your payment options for medical treatments. Additionally, truck accident lawyers can evaluate which parties may be at fault for your truck accident, determine what compensation you deserve under the law, negotiate with insurers, and much more.
- Preparation. Establishing the presence of negligence or reckless misconduct in your case involves preparation backed by experience, composure, and dedication. Hence, a reputable Woodlands truck accident lawyer will not hesitate to prepare your case for trial, should it be necessary to achieve the desired resolution to your case. Your attorney will work tirelessly to untangle the details of your crash to prove liability.
- Aptitude. If dealing with insurance companies on your own, you will encounter manipulative insurance tactics. Insurance adjusters are well-versed in taking advantage of accident victims and their unfamiliarity with complex situations. A successful accident law firm understands how to defend your claim against deceptive insurance strategies.
- Results-oriented. In truck accident cases, lawyers have a vested interest in achieving favorable outcomes for their clients. Most injury attorneys are paid only if they win compensation for their clients. An ethically sound firm will also provide clients with the utmost levels of honesty and transparency.
- Advocacy. Enduring the physical and emotional pain of a severe injury is a considerable burden to anyone who suffers after a truck wreck. An empathetic Woodlands truck accident lawyer will handle the negotiation process and all correspondence with insurers, truckers, and other parties so you can focus on your health.
Trucking Accidents: Prompt Investigation and Action Is Essential
Having a skilled truck accident attorney assess your situation immediately is imperative. Collection, preservation, and analysis of evidence are essential to determine the fault of another party and your own innocence in a truck collision. Evidence at the crash scene includes vehicle damage, roadway markings and debris, eyewitnesses, traffic footage, and computerized truck data.
Taking early action and hiring an attorney will give you an advantage against insurance carriers and other entities that may be liable. In the trucking industry, many companies employ on-site employees who respond within hours of the incident. They play an integral role in the truck company’s defense. Typically, these workers collect evidence before any tampering with the scene occurs.
An investigating officer or detective will likely perform a comprehensive investigation of the scene itself when there have been serious injuries or fatalities. Officers take notes, estimations, and pictures to make sense of what occurred. If the resulting injuries aren’t severe, police may neglect to produce a full-scale scene analysis. It helps to get your legal team on your case in a timely manner. With an attorney advocating for you, you can gain peace of mind knowing that your interests are protected.
Dangerous Types of Large Truck Crashes in The Woodlands
Semi-trucks haul heavy cargo thousands of miles every day. The inherent weight difference between 18-wheelers and passenger vehicles as well as the trailer’s high center of gravity can result in the following types of accidents:
- Tire blowout
These types of tractor-trailer crashes often result in severe injury or death and are often challenging for drivers to avoid. For instance, even if another motorist does not make contact with an overturned truck, a single trailer can block an entire roadway and trigger a massive chain reaction of accidents.
Reasons for Accidents in the Trucking Industry
Driver errors and brake-system failures are some of the most common causes of truck accidents in The Woodlands. Fatigue, prescription drug use, speeding, and operator distraction often combine to make even more hazardous conditions. Federal law prohibits truckers from driving more than 11 hours during a 14-hour period. These regulations also require truckers to rest for at least 10 hours between shifts and limit the amount of time they may work in a single week. Additionally, truck drivers must keep detailed logs of their service hours, rest periods, and mandatory breaks throughout their trips.
Despite identifying operator fatigue and speeding as leading causes of semi-trailer crashes, truck drivers still report feeling pressured by employers to meet stringent delivery deadlines. This often results in truckers failing to take necessary rest breaks, driving too fast for poor conditions, or rushing through mandatory tire and safety checks.
As a result, experienced legal professionals may question commercial truck operators about their employment environment to determine whether trucking companies intentionally violated federal safety regulations. In these situations, an injured claimant may receive additional damages. A skilled truck accident lawyer in The Woodlands could help someone build their case based on the cause of their truck accident and help them pursue proper compensation.
Potentially Responsible Parties in Trucking Accidents
Commercial truck drivers and their employers are governed by state and federal trucking regulations. Several groups can contribute to crashes and may hold some level of legal responsibility, including:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Truck owner
- Company leasing the truck or trailer
- Company responsible for maintaining and/or repairing the truck or trailer
- Cargo loaders or vendors
- Truck, trailer, or parts manufacturer
- Truck, trailer, or parts designer
- Brokers or logistics companies
Due to the wide variety of parties who take part in preventing truck collisions, regardless of who is initially named as a defendant in the lawsuit, more than one party may be liable for the collision. The opportunity to collect compensation through multiple sources may allow for a higher verdict or settlement, but these settlements can be more difficult to obtain. Though more than one party may be liable, most will not hesitate to deny liability and protect themselves by employing large legal teams.
Truck Accidents Are Not the Same as Car Accidents
Trucks that operate as commercial vehicles, also known as big rigs, tractor-trailers, and semis, typically weigh 20 times as much as the average vehicle.
Any accident involving a motor vehicle is harrowing, but collisions with large commercial vehicles take the process of seeking compensation to a new level of complexity. Understanding how collisions between large commercial trucks differ from those involving just one passenger vehicle can be instrumental in your case. Here’s what you need to know about truck accidents:
- Higher Insurance Coverage: The liability coverage on truckers’ insurance policies typically exceeds the limit on standard car policies by up to 50 times. A lawsuit may amount to millions of dollars, so you can be sure that the insurance companies named in your case will do everything possible to diminish their individual costs. Moreover, many adjusters will use sneaky tactics, such as offering a low lump sum settlement up front, when the actual cash value of your case might be much greater.
- Significant Vehicle Damage: Due to the boxy nature and mass of a truck, the damage to passenger vehicles or surrounding property will be significant.
- Catastrophic Injuries: In a truck accident, injuries are typically far worse and may include intensive, long-term medical treatment and mounting costs.
- Extensive Medical Bills: Truck accident victims tend to be hospitalized longer than car accident victims. Some are incapable of returning to work for an extended period of time—if they can return at all. The Amaro Law Firm is able to better evaluate your present and future pain and suffering so that you may receive the appropriate compensation for future medical expenses and reduced quality of life.
- Increased Fatalities: Collisions with big rigs often result in a higher death toll. Each year, between 3,000 and 5,000 people die following a truck accident.
Given the numerous variables involved in truck accidents and the immense resources at the disposal of the trucking companies and their insurers, obtaining a free consultation with a reputable attorney is never a bad idea.
Truck Accidents Pose More Risk for Injury or Death
According to the NHTSA, accidents involving trucks account for 13% of all traffic deaths, despite only 4% of all vehicles on the road being 18-Wheelers. They also account for nearly 6% of accident-related injuries, but the spike between injury and death just goes to show the severity of these collisions.
In truck accidents, other drivers are also far more likely to be impacted physically than the truck drivers themselves. The occupants of the other vehicle in these cases account for 74% of the injuries, and 82% of the deaths as regular commuter vehicles stand little chance in an impact with such a large object. Even higher safety rated vehicles and safe driving practices can make little difference in serious crashes.
The sheer size of trucks on the road also increases the likelihood of multi-car accidents and highway pile ups, but even one-on-one collisions can be especially dangerous for passenger vehicle occupants. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety points to a gravely concerning statistic. Some 97% of people killed in one-on-one crashes between trucks and cars were the occupants of the passenger vehicle.
The gravity of these crashes is often met with a confusing process of insurance claims and liability questions that can quickly become an incredible burden to navigate alone.
Recovering Damages for Truck Wreck Injuries in The Woodlands
The weight and speed of tractor-trailers at the time of impact can dictate the severity of a claimant’s personal injuries. Large truck crashes may cause conditions necessitating lifetime medical support and care. Some of these life-altering injuries may include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Facial or bodily disfigurement
- Third-degree burns
The correlation between truck accidents and life-altering disabilities is why Texas insurance regulators require large trucks to carry between $750,000 and $5,000,000 in liability insurance. The minimum insurance requirements depend on the vehicle’s weight and cargo, and a Woodlands truck accident attorney could help claimants navigate high-value truck insurance liability claims.
Those injured due to truck driver negligence may be eligible to recover financial compensation from the trucker, the truck owners, and the driver’s employers. This compensation may include recovery for past and future medical bills, lost income, home health aides, in-patient hospital care, counseling, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of hobbies and activities. Additionally, trucking companies must pay injured parties exemplary damages as defined by Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §41.001 if a truck accident lawyer in The Woodlands discovers a systematic federal trucking safety violation was the cause of the accident.