How are truck accidents different from car accidents?
They differ in several ways. First, they’re more expensive – on average – than passenger vehicle wrecks, because the damage is greater and the injuries are more serious. Fully-loaded 18-wheelers can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and tandem (double-trailer) rigs weigh as much as 100,000 pounds.
Next, car accident insurance is pretty straightforward, involving only drivers and insurance companies. Commercial truck accidents bring in other insured parties, such as the trucking company, freight handlers, the drivers themselves – all covered by different liability insurance companies to further muddy the waters.
Another element that raises the financial stakes in an 18-wheeler wreck is that big rigs carry commercial insurance policies with much higher coverage limits than the $30,000 Texas minimum coverage for passenger vehicles, thereby making more money available to fairly compensate a victim.
These are just some of the several reasons why it’s important to have an experienced truck accident attorney on your side.
How important is early investigation to my claim?
Truck wrecks can result from a number of factors. In addition to federal trucking investigators, those from the Texas Department of Transportation (DOT), and local law enforcement, it’s your lawyer’s job to investigate and evaluate the wreck to make sure you get the compensation you need to recover from your injuries. The police are looking for traffic and criminal violations. The state and national truck wreck investigators are looking for violations of regulations. Your lawyer sniffs out evidence of negligence so you can file your claim and make your case for compensation to pay your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages owed you by the negligent party … be it the trucker, his employer, or someone else.
Sometimes the trucking company and/or the truck driver did not follow the rules and placed the public at risk. When evidence shows that a truck driver or trucking company cut corners to increase profits at the expense of community safety, your compensation claim may gain strength.
Fully investigating the accident and other elements surrounding the mishap is critical to your claim. And you can bet your opponents have a plethora of resources as their disposal to do all they can to shield themselves from or reduce their potential liability.
So if you’ve been hit by a truck, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law by phone 24/7, or fill out a FREE initial consultation form.
Will I have to go to court? How long does it take to reach a settlement?
Every case is different; even though, generally, less than 10% of all personal injury lawsuits see the inside of a courtroom. But as we’ve mentioned, truck crashes bring more interests to the table than just yours and the truck’s driver – each trying to protect their own turf. The timeline for your case can depend on a number of factors, including the time necessary to:
- Investigate your claim, which can involve special accident experts
- Treat your injuries, in addition to fully understanding any future medical care
- Collect medical records, police reports, and government investigators’ paperwork
- Create a demand package that is sent to all involved defendants and their insurers
- Fill out legal paperwork to move the legal process forward
- Negotiate your claim with the insurance company
- If necessary, file suit, depose witnesses, and potentially try your case in court
What do I do if the trucking company wants to speak to me?
Actually, unless the company is self-insured, it will probably be their insurance company which approaches you. One of the first things an insurance company does is try to get one of their adjusters to get a recorded statement from you, the victim. It could be by telephone or someone may knock on your door. Before doing this, speak to an attorney. Most insurance adjusters have an agenda – to protect their employer. They may not say so, or they might lead you to believe they are trying to help you. Always speak with a reputable attorney who handles commercial vehicle crashes before giving a statement to anyone.
In fact, once you hire a lawyer, ALL of your opponents’ insurance representatives and lawyers MUST speak with only your attorney. This is your shield against being pressured or tricked into saying something that will later be used against you, possibly out of context.
If anyone on the other side wants to speak with you, tell them you’ll get back with them, then contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law by phone or fill out the FREE initial consultation form.
But what if the trucking company’s insurance carrier offers me a cash settlement if I don’t contact an attorney? Shouldn’t I take what I can get?
Insurance carriers that protect trucking companies are in the business of offering as little as possible to injury claimants such as you. Any offer you get for settling quickly (even when you are still receiving medical treatment) or as a “reward” for not speaking to a lawyer may possibly be pennies on the dollar compared to the potential value of your claim. In exchange for this quick money, as helpful as the specific amount may be to you right now, rest assured you will be asked to sign a full release which waives your rights to any future recovery. Adjusters know that many people live paycheck to paycheck and have bills to pay, and the free consultation with an attorney can help you understand the potential value of your claim and the long-term implications of this type of decision.
The police report shows that the accident was caused by mechanical failure on the truck. Do I still have a case?
Yes … and maybe more than one.
Whenever you’ve been injured in an 18-wheeler accident, there are many potential causes that might have led to the wreck. Mechanical failure on a commercial truck can be caused by worn tires, bad brakes, inadequate safety systems, or any number of malfunctions that could have been prevented if the trucking company diligently maintained their vehicles.
Or maybe defective parts were the culprit. In that case, the manufacturer might bear some of the liability; and the company that failed to maintain the vehicle could also be found negligent, especially if they were aware of or should have known that the part was unsafe. There can be more than one negligent party in many big rig commercial truck wrecks.
How long do I have to file my truck accident claim?
In Texas, the general Statute of Limitations, which is the time limit you have to file a civil lawsuit for a personal injury, is two years from the date of the injury. ***There are several exceptions to this. The only way to know the exact deadlines that apply to your potential claims is by speaking directly with an experienced attorney licensed here in Texas.***
How can a Terry Bryant 18-wheeler accident attorney help me?
Insurance carriers and trucking companies have armies of attorneys, adjusters, paralegals, accident investigators, expert witnesses, and staffers to protect their bottom lines. Our team has the knowledge, experience, and resources to go toe-to-toe with them at every step of the way. In addition to the victories on our site, feel free to ask our attorneys for more information, including other victories, during your free consultation.
Contact us anytime by phone or online to arrange your free case evaluation. And remember, we work for YOU and collect no fees whatsoever unless your claim is successful.
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