Dallas Truck Accident Lawyers
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The Ultimate Guide to Truck Accident LAW
Truck accidents or 18-wheeler accidents – no matter what you call them, these particular auto incidents are often catastrophic in nature and very stressful for all involved. Truck accidents in Dallas are frighteningly common, which is why it is so important to know what to do if you are involved in one. In this article, we break down everything you need to know about seeking legal help after a truck accident in Dallas, including what you can claim and how to find the best lawyer for your circumstances.
1. Understanding the legal definition of a truck accident
2. What happens during a truck accident investigation?
3. Major causes of truck accidents
4. Different types of truck-related accidents
5. Injuries commonly caused by truck accidents
6. How to find a good truck accident lawyer
Understanding the legal definition of a truck accident
It is crucial to understand the definition of a truck accident and recognize the seriousness of one. A truck accident is not usually an accident between two trucks, though this does happen – it is most often when large trucks collide with other vehicles of much smaller proportions, or pedestrians. These large trucks, such as commercial box trucks and tractor-trailer combinations, are typically known as 18-wheelers, and can be classified as vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds.
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What happens during a truck accident investigation?
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Major causes of truck accidents
Truck driver fatigue
Due to their larger size that directly impacts their stopping and turning times, trucks are usually required to drive at slower speeds than cars. When drivers fail to adhere to this rule, usually in the case of a tight deadline needing to be met, the results can be catastrophic.
Poor road conditions
Once again due to their larger size and excessive weight, trucks are more susceptible to skidding, sliding, and having difficulty stopping under poor road conditions. This could include anything from extreme weather events to poorly maintained roads—anything that puts the driver at risk.
Drunk and impaired driving
It’s not just fatigue, drugs, or alcohol that can be considered a lethal element in truck accidents. Like all vehicular operation, a driver who is distracted from the road is extremely dangerous. With the proliferation of smartphones and watches, there have never been more deadly disruptive devices keeping drivers from staying focused.
State and federal laws indicate strict inspection and maintenance schedules that should be followed by truck companies to ensure the safety of their operators and other motorists. Unfortunately, a common cost-cutting method is skipping out on these maintenance checks, leading to unsafe brakes, tires, and other poorly maintained equipment that can cause catastrophic accidents.
Due to a wide range of vehicles and causes, no two truck accidents are the same. We’ve listed some of the common types of truck accidents that occur in Texas.
Fatal truck accidents
Garbage truck accidents
Overloaded or unsecured cargo
Tanker truck accidents
Rear-end truck accidents
A truck jackknifes when its trailer and front cab slide towards each other to form an angle. This usually happens when the driver loses control of their truck due to a heavy load, braking too quickly, or an incorrect maneuver.
Due to their top-heavy nature, commercial trucks can easily tip onto their side under certain circumstances. Something as innocuous as a sharp swerve to avoid a hazard can cause the truck to roll over.
Also referred to as blind-spot accidents, these crashes occur because trucks have blind spots in the front, back, and on both sides. A lack of care taken when checking these blind spots during changing lanes, turning, or speeding up can cause no-zone accidents.
Head-on accidents are one of the most fatal types of truck accidents. You can only imagine the devastation that would result from an 80,000-pound truck colliding with a passenger vehicle.
While there are weight and size limits in place that trucking companies must adhere to, this isn’t always the case. Overloaded vehicles can put more pressure on tires, which may cause them to explode and thus make a truck lose control.
Underride accidents happen when a small car crashes into the back or side of a large truck and becomes wedged underneath. This typically happens when a truck driver can’t stop in time and runs over the vehicle ahead of it.
Injuries commonly caused by truck accidents
The destruction caused by a large truck accident is far more severe than car accidents. Again, some victims may walk away with only mild injuries, some may be more serious and life-changing, and some are fatal. Here are some common injuries that are typically associated with large truck accidents here in Dallas:
- Lacerations and cuts
- Broken or fractured bones
- Neck or head injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Back and spine injuries
- Internal injuries
- Damage to internal organs
- Amputations or disfigurement
- Partial or even total paralysis
How much is my truck crash claim worth?
Every truck crash is different, so it makes sense that every truck crash settlement is different. While some claims may net the complainant millions of dollars in compensation, others will yield much less. Key factors that help determine the value of your case include the following:
There are typically 4 stage to the settlement process:
1. How clear it is that the defendant is liable for the crash
2. Whether or not you were partially at fault
3. How strong your case is
4. How opposed the defendant is to go to trial
Why do I need a truck accident lawyer?
When it comes to an incident as stressful and high-stakes as a truck accident, having someone on your side who knows their way around the law is crucial. Trying to navigate the intricacies of the legal process without the help of a truck accident lawyer can see you missing out on valuable compensation that you are entitled to. A thorough and results-driven lawyer will do the following to make sure you not only have the best case possible, but that you also feel supported and heard during the legal process.
- Help you to comprehend all aspects of your case from beginning to end
- Thoroughly investigate the cause (or causes) of your crash
- Identify all possible sources of compensation, including any limits or loopholes
- Engage experts like accident reconstruction specialists to build your case
- Managing and organizing important documents for you
- Collecting and preserving vital evidence for your case
- Acting as your advocate and communicating with external parties for you
- Expert, tenacious negotiation to secure the highest possible compensation
- Argue for your best interests in court in the event that a settlement can’t be reached
Finding a good truck accident lawyer in Dallas
Finding the best truck accident lawyer in Dallas is as simple as calling the team at Angel Reyes & Associates. Our team has the winning formula for success in all manner of auto accident cases across Texas. When you hire one of our expert truck accident lawyers, you can rest assured that we approach each case with meticulous attention to detail, not to mention compassion. Our team uses tried-and-tested, best-practice procedures to achieve justice for our clients, including the conducting of a full and thorough investigation as well as development of evidence necessary to prove all liability and damages.
Every single investigation is handled by our team of highly skilled lawyers, who have been trained to know everything there is to know about the complex and nuanced world of Texas road laws. Our diligent approach and encyclopedic knowledge means we pick up things our competitors might miss, making us the team you can trust to secure the best possible outcome.
In the unfortunate instance of injury or death, our personal injury lawyers and wrongful death lawyers will compassionately craft a case to ensure that the victim’s beneficiaries receive the absolute maximum compensation that they are entitled to. Our team achieves outstanding results by taking a personal approach, working closely with victims from the moment they make contact so that we have the best shot at creating an airtight case.
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FAQs about Dallas truck accidents and the law
If you are hit by a truck driver with previous drug or alcohol related convictions, it could absolutely affect your truck wreck case against the company who employed that driver. It can demonstrate negligence on many levels such as hiring, supervision, retention, training, and more. When a trucking company knowingly (or accidentally) hires drivers with past drug and alcohol problems, they are willingly abandoning a greater responsibility to ensure their trucks are operated safely on public roads.
In short, a truck driver’s history with drugs or alcohol would likely be considered by a jury when they deliberate on your truck wreck case. Many large settlements or jury verdicts result in strong recoveries for truck wreck injury plaintiffs because of the irresponsible conduct of the company employing the driver, and not just the negligence of the intoxicated driver.
Naturally, you want to hold the person most directly responsible for causing the accident liable for injuries. Thus, suing the truck driver seems like a logical conclusion. While you can certainly sue the driver for damages, focusing solely on this defendant is unlikely to get you the compensation you deserve. While truck drivers must carry commercial insurance in Texas with higher payouts, insurance claims typically do not pay damages in full and do not cover pain and suffering losses.
Since trucking firms are often well-insured, a Dallas truck accident lawyer would typically recommend suing both the driver and the employer. The trucking company enters the suit as a co-defendant and assumes responsibility for screening, hiring, training, supervising, and retaining the driver. Typically, the company can be held liable for anything that occurs while the driver is “on the clock” representing their business.
In some instances, multiple drivers or parties share blame for a truck accident. For example, the truck driver may have been speeding, but you were also using your cell phone. When you share responsibility for an accident, it can directly affect how much compensation you’re entitled to.
To break it down simply, Texas is a modified comparative negligence state, which means your damages are reduced by the percentage of fault you share. These percentages are determined by a judge or jury in the court of law. For example, if a jury rules that you were 20 percent at fault for the truck accident and your damages total $100,000, you would only legally be liable to pursue $80,000 in compensation.
It may be your natural instinct to want to talk to the insurance company to get your side of the story down in writing, but this is a bad move. In the heat of the moment, you may say something that they can use against you to reduce the amount of compensation you are entitled to. Even something as simple and reflexive as the word “sorry” can be seen as an admission of guilt. Tell the insurance company that your lawyer will speak on your behalf.
There are various laws and deadlines that you have to consider when filing a truck accident claim. When you file any lawsuit in Texas, it is subject to the statute of limitations. This means you have two years from the accident date to sue. If you sit on it any longer, you nullify your right to compensation. In the instance that you file your case after two years, it’s likely the court will immediately dismiss it.
There are two major exceptions where you can extend the statute of limitations and have additional time to make your lawsuit official:
- If you were a minor at the time of the crash, the two-year statute would not begin until you turn 18 years old.
- If the defendant left the state before you filed your lawsuit, the statute would start once they return. Any time out of the state would not count towards the two-year deadline.
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