As mentioned above, trucking accidents are often more complicated than an accident between two cars. The weight and size of these vehicles can have a significant impact on the severity of injuries. Additionally, due to the involvement of commercial motor carriers and multiple insurance providers, identifying and proving liability can be quite complex. These are just a few things to consider as you begin to resolve your case.
Here are some additional circumstances that may factor into your truck accident case.
- Driver error. Trucks — especially large trucks — are much more difficult to operate, requiring intensive training and licensing. Trucks can be difficult to maneuver even for experienced drivers, however, and under the right set of circumstances, this fact can easily contribute to an accident. And of course, not all drivers follow best practices for safety while driving. In fact, a significant percentage of trucking accidents occur because of driver error.
- Vehicle malfunction. Commercial vehicle mechanical failures can also be a factor in accidents between private cars and trucks. According to data from the American Trucking Associations, commercial vehicle failures are a contributing factor in 7 percent of commercial trucking accidents. However, that research also reveals that brake problems, while not necessarily a causal factor, were present in approximately 27 percent of all commercial vehicle accidents.
Commercial drivers are responsible for inspecting and noting vehicle maintenance when necessary, while commercial carriers have a duty to carry out the required repairs and upkeep. If either party fails to do so, and that failure is proven to be a contributing factor in your accident, these parties can be held responsible for negligence.
- Improper loading and failure to secure freight. Truck accidents frequently occur when drivers fail to adequately distribute loads or do not secure freight properly. While professional truck drivers are trained on this process, the drivers of smaller trucks — such as certain construction vehicles — may not take the time to learn how to properly secure equipment and loads. Further, some professional drivers may fail to load freight correctly, particularly if the motor carrier offers inadequate training on this practice. This behavior may be classified as negligence if it is proven to have partially or fully caused your accident.
- Driver fatigue and stress. Motor vehicle carriers frequently encourage truck drivers to work long hours, often without adequate rest. In fact, trucking companies may go as far as training drivers to falsify records documenting rest periods. Stress is another factor, and many truck drivers involved in accidents cite work stress as a contributing factor. When motor carriers mismanage drivers — or worse, train drivers to ignore federal regulations — they can be held responsible for these negligent practices.
- Reckless and distracted driving. Unsafe driving causes a huge portion of car accidents in general, and it is often a factor in trucking accidents. Commercial drivers work long hours and may be in a rush to reach their next destination, causing them to speed, tailgate, change lanes unsafely, and otherwise engage in reckless driving. Additionally, because drivers spend so much time on the road, they frequently engage in distracted driving, using their phones or eating while behind the wheel. An experienced truck accident lawyer will be able to determine whether the driver’s poor decision making played a role in your accident, and will help you prove that these behaviors contributed to the accident if necessary.
- Vehicle weight and size. Truck-related accidents more frequently result in serious injuries and fatalities than other types of collisions, which in turn cause high damages, particularly medical bills, or in some cases permanent physical impairment or fatality. When there are a significant amount of losses or damages at stake, insurance providers and commercial carriers will fight harder to lower your settlement. A committed Texas truck accident lawyer will stand up for your rights against these parties and will look out for your best interest as you navigate your case.
- Employer negligence. When motor carriers mismanage employees, neglect vehicle maintenance, or institute harmful company policies, those practices may contribute to accidents on the road. Particularly unscrupulous commercial vehicle carriers may even falsify or destroy records that could be pertinent to your case. Investigating motor vehicle practices like these takes the assistance of a dedicated personal injury lawyer — one who is willing to dig deeply into a company’s history and management practices.
- Wrongful death. Fatalities are an unfortunate reality of many truck accidents. In Texas, for instance, there were over 550 truck accident fatalities in 2017. When truck accidents result in a death, survivors must attend to the deceased’s final details, including settling the estate. Additionally, in Texas, surviving relatives have the right to seek compensation for losses on the behalf of the deceased, loss of companionship, loss of household income, medical bills, and other damages.
Litigating for these losses and navigating the probate process is a complex and confusing exercise — one of the reasons why it’s a good idea to consult with a truck accident lawyer. San Antonio and Austin residents dealing with a wrongful death case can benefit from partnering with a law firm that has experience in both personal injury law and the Texas probate process, like our team at FVF.
Hiring a lawyer may not be the right decision for every accident victim, but it is wise to at least consult with a lawyer so that you can make the most informed choices about your truck accident case. Lawyers offer incredible value to personal injury cases, providing support and education for accident victims. The advice of an attorney can significantly alter your case outcome, ensuring that you receive reasonable compensation for your injuries and losses.
More specifically, here’s how speaking to an ethical and qualified personal injury can help your case.
- Education. First and foremost, a truck accident lawyer should be an educational resource as you navigate your insurance claim, medical bill payments, and settlement. Not only can a truck accident lawyer advise you on your rights, he or she can also help you pursue medical treatment and identify ways to pay for procedures and doctors’ visits. Lawyers will also help you identify which parties may be liable for your truck accident, understand what you are entitled to under the law, and investigate and settle hospital liens, among other things.
- Investigation. As you can see from the factors above, some truck accidents are more “accidental” than others. Proving that negligence or recklessness was a factor in your case takes experience, patience, and commitment. A good truck accident lawyer is not afraid to delve into the details surrounding your case, obtaining evidence that proves liability.
- Expertise. Negotiating with insurance companies by yourself can be extremely difficult, as insurance employees are trained to exploit accident victim’s ignorance of their rights and options. An expert personal injury law firm understands how to protect your case in the face of these tactics. They will help you pinpoint who is liable and what damages the law allows for in your case.
- Dedication to positive case outcomes. Truck accident lawyers have incentive to pursue the best case outcomes possible for their clients. Most personal injury attorneys accept cases on a contingency basis, which means they do not collect payment unless the client receives compensation. A highly reputable firm will also be committed to helping clients with the highest degree of ethical integrity and transparency.
- Support. The aftermath of an accident is a difficult time, especially if you or someone you love has sustained serious, life-changing injuries. A compassionate legal advisor, like those at FVF Law, will assume the role of negotiating and communicating with at-fault insurance providers, truck drivers, and motor carriers so you can focus on taking care of yourself or your loved one.
- Financial counsel. Accidents and their resulting injuries and losses are not only emotionally draining but also a burden on your financial well-being, causing permanent or temporary loss of income and high medical bills. The right attorney will be a financial resource, helping you seek out and pay for medical treatment, as well as attend to household finances, in the period following an accident.
The advice of a lawyer is a valuable asset for many truck accident victims. However, FVF stands out among personal injury lawyers due to our strong commitment to ethical counsel and compassion for accident victims. More specifically, here’s how we can help you during this difficult phase of your life.
- Strong ethical mission. At FVF, we are actively working to overturn the poor reputation of personal injury law. We offer clients full transparency and work to resolve cases with the highest degree of integrity and honesty.
- Reputation for excellence. We stake our name on our commitment to our clients, and that dedication has led us to obtain not only excellent case outcomes but also sterling reviews on Yelp, Google, and AVVO.
- Knowledge and experience. We have successfully litigated hundreds of personal injury cases, many of which involved accidents with trucks and other commercial vehicles. Our Austin truck accident lawyers have been supporting personal injury clients in central Texas since 2014, with over 70 combined years of legal expertise shared between our team.
- Willingness to fight. At FVF, we believe that one measure of a lawyer’s worth is his or her willingness to fight for clients. Our team will do the legwork, going above and beyond to investigate the cause of your accident and hold negligent and liable parties responsible.
- Client-centered approach. We strive to handle each case with compassion and understanding, tailoring our advice to meet the specific circumstances of your case. We understand how stressful and confusing a truck accident can be, and we work to make the whole process as efficient and straightforward as possible. We’ll also help you improve your quality of life after an accident, helping you obtain financial resources and medical treatment that will protect your financial well-being and health.
- Pressure-free consultation. Our goal at FVF is to help clients make informed choices for their case — regardless of whether they decide to pursue legal representation. We offer a free case evaluation in a pressure-free environment so that clients are able to understand their rights and options without an obligation to engage our services.
At FVF, we believe that it is every truck accident victim’s right to be as informed as possible. That’s why we invite Austin and San Antonio truck accident victims to contact our experts for a free initial case evaluation. Our team will help you through this difficult time so you can begin putting your life back together.