TRUCKING COMPANIES DON’T PLAY NICE WHEN MONEY IS ON THE LINE. NEITHER DO WE.
Why You Need a Houston Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been hurt due to the negligence of a commercial truck driver or company, it’s critical that you waste no time in hiring a top-notch Houston truck accident lawyer to defend your rights.
When an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer collides with a passenger vehicle, the little guy doesn’t stand a chance. Without strong legal representation, you risk getting hit all over again in the aftermath. You may end up settling for an amount far lower than your injuries warrant. If you do go to court, you need an attorney with extensive truck accident experience to build a strong case and go head to head with the carrier’s legal team.
Call truck accident attorney Terry Bryant at (713) 973-8888 to schedule your free case consultation.
4 Reasons to Hire Houston Truck Accident Lawyer Terry Bryant
You may think all lawyers are the same, but they are not. Hiring the right attorney can make the difference between whether you recover the bare minimum or receive the full amount you need to compensate for your bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses.
Most trucking companies have a team of lawyers dedicated to saving their client money — at your expense. If you don’t want to be shortchanged, you need a tenacious and skilled Houston truck accident attorney to fight for you, every step of the way. You need Terry Bryant and his associates.
We’re a team of dedicated advocates who are motivated by a passion for standing up to bullies. Bullies take many forms in today’s world, including large insurers and trucking companies. If you’re considering filing a truck accident injury claim, here are a few reasons to choose us:
Experience. Terry Bryant is not only a Board Certified attorney (in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization) with over 35 years of experience, he is also a former judge (Municipal Judge, Spring Valley Village, TX, 22 years), which gives him a unique perspective and insight into what it takes to build a strong case for each of his clients. He and his handpicked legal team are deeply familiar with the complex web of laws and regulations governing tractor-trailers and boast a proven track record of getting justice for truck accident victims.
Customer Service. We know that when you hire a lawyer, it’s important that you feel comfortable putting your trust in our professional competence. We also know that this is likely a difficult time for you. At Terry Bryant, we hire people who are not only good at their jobs, but who are good with people. We treat clients with compassion and respect. The firm has received the Better Business Bureau’s Winner of Distinction award multiple times.
Attention to Detail. When you work with us, you can be assured that we will be thorough every step of the way in researching, building, negotiating, and litigating your case. We pay close attention to every detail and maximize every opportunity.
Resources. You will likely be going up against a large trucking or insurance company with seemingly bottomless resources. At Terry Bryant, we have the skilled legal team, investigators, and expert witnesses that put you on an even playing field.
These aren’t just qualities that you should look for in a truck accident lawyer, they are guiding principles for our team. If you want to work with a Houston truck accident attorney who believes in the power of our legal system to get you the compensation you deserve, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law at (713) 973-8888 to schedule a free consultation.
For a lawsuit to be successful, the injured party (the plaintiff) must be able to show that they have suffered injuries related to the accident. Typically, the greater the costs associated with the injury, the stronger the case. If the plaintiff demonstrates that the injury was caused by the parties on the other end of the lawsuit (the defendants), they will have grounds for a lawsuit.
WHAT EXPENSES WILL THE SETTLEMENT COVER?
The settlement can cover a range of expenses, including past and future medical-related costs and lost wages (including diminished earning capacity). In addition to these financial costs, there are other non-economic damages that might be recoverable in a claim, such as damages related to physical and mental pain and suffering.
HOW MUCH DOES A TRUCK ACCIDENT ATTORNEY COST?
At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we offer a No-Fee Guarantee to our clients. This means that we work on a contingency fee basis and we earn a fee only if there is a recovery.
HOW MUCH CAN I GET FROM A LAWSUIT?
The amount you can expect from a truck accident case depends on several factors. The amount of the damages you’ve suffered and the liability of the other driver are both key factors that your Houston truck accident lawyer will consider when determining the compensation you should seek.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF THE TRUCKING COMPANY CALLS?
You are under no obligation to speak to representatives from the trucking company or an insurance company. If they attempt to offer you a cash settlement, do not bite. Remember: they are in the business of saving themselves money — not compensating you fairly. Direct these parties to your truck accident attorney.
HOW DO TRUCK ACCIDENTS DIFFER FROM CAR ACCIDENTS?
Legally speaking, an accident involving a truck is not like your typical car wreck. Due to the vehicle’s size, damage and injuries tend to be more serious (and expensive). Multiple parties (driver, carrier, freight handler) and each of their insurance companies may be involved. Plus, commercial big rigs are governed by laws and regulations not applicable to passenger vehicles, and their insurance policies should have much higher coverage limits.
WHAT DO WE LOOK FOR WHEN INVESTIGATING YOUR CASE?
Truck wrecks can result from a number of factors. As your attorneys, it’s our job to sniff out evidence of negligence so you can file your claim and make a solid case for compensation to pay your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages owed to you by the negligent party — be it the trucker, the employer, or someone else. Often we will find that the carrier and/or the truck driver did not follow the law and placed the public at risk. When evidence shows that a driver or company cut corners to increase profits at the expense of safety, your compensation claim will gain strength.
WILL I HAVE TO GO TO COURT? HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO REACH A SETTLEMENT?
If yours is like 90% of cases, you won’t have to step inside a courtroom at all. It’s in the best interest of all parties to come to a settlement through negotiation. But truck crashes bring more interests to the table than just yours and the truck driver’s — each trying to protect their own turf. The timeline of your case will depend on a variety of factors, including:
– Accident investigation, which may require bringing in experts – Determining cost of current and future medical needs – Collecting documentation – Filling out legal paperwork and creating a demand package to send to defendants – Negotiations with insurance – Preparing to go to court.
HOW DO I GET THE BALL ROLLING ON MY CLAIM?
If you’ve been injured in a wreck with a commercial truck, get in touch with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law to schedule a free case evaluation. Contact us online or call (713) 973-8888, or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000.
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 every step of the way.
And remember, we work for YOU and collect no fees whatsoever unless your case is successful.
WHO IS LIABLE FOR A BIG RIG TRUCK ACCIDENT IN HOUSTON?
When a behemoth commercial truck is involved, an accident has the potential to be particularly catastrophic — especially to the unfortunate occupants of the smaller vehicle. In Houston, big rig wrecks are distressingly common, due to a number of factors: we are one of the most sprawling metro areas in the country; we are home to the Ship Channel and several oil and gas companies; and we are experiencing exponential growth. Fleets of large vehicles help keep our city running (with the fallout being hundreds of collisions each year, many of which result in serious or fatal injury).
The victims of any motor vehicle accident may pursue compensation for their injuries and losses from the responsible parties, but when a commercial vehicle is involved, it can affect how the claim is handled. This is because commercial vehicles are regulated at both the state and federal levels and are subject to additional safety regulations.
IN MANY TRUCK ACCIDENTS, MORE THAN ONE PARTY MAY BE AT FAULT
Driver error is the primary cause in most commercial vehicle crashes. In fact, failure to control speed and driver inattention together cause more crashes than nearly every other factor combined.
But driver error does not absolve the carrier.
If a driver acts with extreme negligence — for example, operates the vehicle outside of its intended scope without the knowledge or consent of the employer— he alone may bear responsibility.
But in most cases, even when the driver’s actions caused the crash, the trucking company may share liability due to a principle called respondeat superior.
Some carriers attempt to get around this by claiming their employees are independent contractors, but this is becoming harder to do.
WHO IS LIABLE WHEN A DRUNK TRUCKER CAUSES AN ACCIDENT?
Any person driving drunk is a danger to himself, his passengers, and every other person unfortunate enough to encounter him on the road. But when the inebriated driver is behind the wheel of a truck, the potential of injury, death, and costly damage is even greater. Commercial trucks require skill, dexterity, and alertness to operate: the smallest error can tip the vehicle or cause it to careen into adjacent lanes. Plus the size differential between a big rig and a passenger car means that the truck may do extreme damage to the smaller vehicle. This is why about 3,500 people are killed every year in crashes involving large trucks.
Normally, when an employee of a commercial transport company causes a crash, the employer is responsible for damages. This principle of respondeat superior helps ensure victims receive compensation to cover medical costs. However, it is relevant only if the employee causes an accident while in the scope of their employment. In general, there are few cases in which an impaired truck driver will be able to use respondeat superior to deflect responsibility to the carrier. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that motor carriers may not use alcohol within four hours of operating a cargo vehicle. A drunk trucker is in clear violation of this.
In Texas, though, the party who supplied the driver with alcohol — such as a bar or party host —may be found liable due to the state’s Dram Shop Laws. For these to be relevant, it must be shown that the person or business supplied alcohol to the driver when he was “obviously” inebriated and “a clear danger” to other people.
WHAT IF MECHANICAL FAILURE IS TO BLAME?
Mechanical failure can certainly be a culprit in a big rig crash. Who is liable for such a wreck depends on the nature of the breakdown. A trucking company’s lax maintenance can lead to worn tires, bad brakes, inadequate safety systems, and any number of other malfunctions. Carriers are required by law to inspect their vehicles and keep them in good working condition; and if they fail to do so, they can be held accountable.
If it’s determined that a defective part caused or contributed to the crash, the manufacturer of that part may bear at least some liability.
Many accidents with commercial trucks involve more than one defendant. Gathering documentation and witness testimony, researching, and managing all the details of these complex cases require a skilled and experienced Houston truck accident attorney. Terry Bryant will make sure every responsible party is held accountable. Call us today at (713) 973-8888.
If you or a family member has been hurt in a collision with a commercial truck, you are likely in shock and focused on recovery. Calling a lawyer may be the last thing on your mind. But keep in mind that it’s important to take this step as soon as possible. It’s best to launch an investigation immediately after the incident, and if the statute of limitations passes, you may not be able to recover the money your injuries warrant. Once you hire us, here’s what to expect:
We will start an investigation into the accident, looking at police reports, witness testimony, photographs, consulting experts, and gathering all possible evidence in order to determine what happened and who was at fault.
Once you finish your medical treatment, we will obtain medical and billing records, and then analyze your claim – including the calculation of your economic and non-economic losses. Our analysis will be used to prepare our demand.
If we and the insurance companies involved cannot come to a satisfactory agreement through negotiation, we will initiate a lawsuit by filing a petition with the court.
Once the defendants have been served and have answered, the discovery phase will begin. This includes deposing witnesses, giving the opposing party requested information, and hiring expert witnesses.
After the discovery process is complete, we will go to trial.
Keep in mind that just because a lawsuit is filed, that does not mean a case will end up in the courtroom. The two sides may come to an agreement at any time, sometimes through mediation with a neutral third party.
HOW WILL MY HOUSTON TRUCK ACCIDENT ATTORNEY PROVE LIABILITY?
It can be difficult to prove liability in any motor vehicle accident, but that is especially true when a commercial vehicle is involved. Your lawyer will gather evidence from a variety of sources to piece together exactly what happened and who bears legal liability for the crash.
We will study the police accident report, photographs, and other documentation of the scene. Another critical piece of information will be the speed and braking data taken by the vehicle’s recording device.
If the scene was examined by a special investigator sent by the state to determine possible mechanical failure, we will look at that official’s findings.
As the victim, you may be required to face an independent investigator hired by the trucking company. This person will attempt to shift liability onto you. We will help prepare you for this interview.
In order to determine damages, we will take into account your medical expenditures, any missed time from work, pain and emotional suffering, and expenses due to long-term or permanent injuries.
The Houston truck accident lawyers at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law have a thorough understanding of the specific state and federal laws regulating commercial vehicles. We will make sure every responsible party is held to account and that you get all of the money you need to rebuild your life. Contact us online or call (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000.
What To Do After A Truck Accident
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, here’s what to do in the immediate aftermath.
Call 911 to alert the authorities and, if someone is injured, request emergency medical responders
If you are in harm’s way, do whatever possible to get to safety
Gather the name and insurance information of the truck driver
Avoid speaking to the truck driver at length, and never admit fault without knowing the facts of your case
Cooperate with the police officer that responds to the scene of your crash
They will use the information you provide in their police report
If possible, take pictures of the scene with your phone and gather contact information of witnesses
If there is even a possibility that you have suffered an injury, play it safe and visit a doctor to be tested and treated
Keep copies of anything you receive related to the crash – medical bills, vehicle damage repair bills or correspondence from insurance companies
Contact an experienced Houston truck accident lawyer at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law to schedule a free consultation.
What to Know Before Filing a Claim
How do I know if I have a claim?
If the costs associated with your injuries are high and you suspect the truck driver’s negligence contributed to the accident, you should consider the possibility that you have a solid case to seek compensation. Ultimately, the only way to learn about your case’s chance of success is to contact an attorney with experience in truck accident cases.
Settlement vs. Trial
When both parties are able to come to an agreement through negotiation, it’s called a settlement and there is no need for a trial.
When the two sides aren’t able to settle, the case will go to trial, where a jury will decide who is at fault and whether the plaintiff should be awarded compensation.
Who can be sued?
Anyone who bears legal liability for a commercial truck crash can be found responsible in a lawsuit. This may include the driver, the trucking company, the truck/freight broker, and/or the manufacturer of a defective part.
Top 4 Reasons Truck Crashes Are Often Catastrophic
TRUCK ACCIDENTS ARE DEADLY. Every year in the United States, tens of thousands of people die in motor vehicle accidents. About 1 in 10 highway deaths occur in crashes involving large trucks.
SO MUCH CAN GO WRONG. Truck driver inexperience, driver fatigue, and equipment defects, including failures of brakes, lighting, and steering, are some of the reasons for truck crashes.
SMALLER VEHICLES DON’T STAND A CHANCE. A fully loaded tractor-trailer weighs up to 80,000 pounds. The average passenger car weighs in at around 4,000 pounds, while motorcycles top the scale at approximately 500 pounds. That’s why occupants of smaller vehicles are often on the losing end in truck crashes.
LARGE TRUCKS LACK AGILITY. Considering their much heavier weight and overall mass, it can take big rigs almost 720 feet, or about two football fields, to stop. This stopping distance is far greater than that of passenger vehicles. If conditions are rainy and streets are slick, or if a truck’s brakes are poorly maintained, the stopping distance will be even longer.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Because commercial vehicles carry so much more size and weight than their smaller counterparts, a collision between a large truck and a passenger vehicle can result in some of the most devastating injuries imaginable. This includes but is not limited to…
Traumatic brain injuries
Spinal cord injuries
Internal organ damage
Loss of limbs/amputations
Truck Accident Deaths
Truck accidents are notoriously severe, and the injuries that stem from these crashes are often fatal. When someone loses their life in a large truck accident, the surviving family members can file what is known as a wrongful death claim to get compensation. In Texas, wrongful death claims can be filed by the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased.
Top 5 Causes Of Truck Accidents
A truck accident typically has the same underlying cause as most other types of crashes – human error — even if the consequences can be much more severe. Here are five common reasons trucks crash.
Driver fatigue. Truckers are often under pressure to deliver their loads in a certain time frame, leading them to ignore federal guidelines that mandate rest breaks and restrict hours on the road.
Long-haul trips can be monotonous and lonely, and big rig drivers may try to ease their boredom by fiddling with electronics, talking, texting, or eating and drinking.
Improper maintenance. Trucking companies may be tempted to skirt federal maintenance and inspection guidelines in order to save money and get their trucks back on the road faster.
Unsafe driving practices. Like all drivers, 18-wheeler drivers may succumb to poor road practices like speeding, frequent lane changes, failure to check blind spots and use turn signals, tailgating, and road rage.
Driving while impaired. Did you know that one out of three traffic deaths involves a driver impaired by alcohol, drugs, or fatigue? An impaired driver sitting behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound 18-wheeler is a ticking time bomb for a deadly collision.
BIG RIG ACCIDENTS – BY THE NUMBERS
Every year, thousands of people die in truck crashes across the United States — and the vast majority of fatalities are the people in the smaller vehicle. In Texas alone, there were more than 35,600 truck (and bus) collisions in 2017, resulting in approximately 600 deaths, over 1,500 serious injuries, and thousands of less serious injuries, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
Truck Laws and Regulations
Federal regulations for truck drivers and trucking companies were designed to protect all drivers on the road — truck drivers and other motorists. The government has laws stipulating who may drive a truck and what qualifications they must possess. To learn more, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Commercial vehicles come in a variety of sizes and shapes, including:
Farm trucks or agricultural-related vehicles.
Where Do Truck Accidents Most Often Happen?
Large truck crashes are more likely to occur on rural roads than urban ones. They are also most common during the day (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Monday through Friday. This is when traffic is at its peak. While these statistics give us an indication of where and when these crashes are most likely to occur, it’s important to remember that they can happen anywhere large trucks and passenger vehicles share the road.
Call Houston Truck Accident Lawyer Terry Bryant Today
An accident involving a commercial truck is serious business. If you or a loved one has been injured, it’s imperative that you hire a lawyer experienced with truck claims to ensure you aren’t shortchanged by a lowball insurance offer and that you receive every penny you deserve. At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, our skilled and compassionate attorneys will fight for you every step of the way — up to and including in the courtroom. Fill out our online form or call our Houston office at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 to schedule a free consultation. We will listen to the details of your case and answer any questions you may have.