Our Houston Truck Accident Lawyers Can Assist You if You’ve Been in a Crash
Large trucks are a common sight on Houston’s roads. Even if you’re only commuting a short distance–and certainly if you’re getting on the highway–you’re likely to see an 18-wheeler or tractor-trailer truck.
At the office of the Milano Legal Group Accident Attorneys, our personal injury team realizes that while these trucks are necessary, they can also be dangerous. In fact, multiple large truck collisions happen every year in our state, and many of these crashes result in fatal or serious injuries.
Following a truck accident that leaves you or a loved one with serious injuries, our Houston trucking accident attorney is here to help you understand your options and rights. Please call our Houston truck accident lawyer today to schedule a free consultation.
Why Large Truck Accidents Are So Devastating
Large truck accidents can be absolutely devastating for those involved, often having life-changing effects for passenger car occupants.
When a large truck and a passenger car collide–the latter of which likely weighs up to 20 times less than the former–the vehicle is often totally crushed and destroyed, and those within the vehicle suffer serious injuries as a result. Small motor vehicles can’t stand the power of a huge 18 wheeler truck in a motor vehicle accident.
Some of the most common injuries that are sustained by passenger vehicle occupants in large truck accidents include:
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Bone fractures;
- Amputation and loss of use of limb injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Facial injuries;
- Internal injuries;
- Soft tissue injuries; and
- Psychological injuries.
In the most serious of cases, the injury types listed above can be fatal. When the injury is not fatal, it can leave the victim with long-term or permanent disability and disfigurement.
And it’s not just the injuries alone that are tragic. When a person is injured to a severe degree, they will likely suffer a decrease in their quality of life, too. This happens as a result of the individual being unable to care for themselves or do the things they once loved, being unable to work and earn an income to provide for themselves and loved one, and perhaps even being unable to maintain social or intimate relationships. Of course, this is on top of the economic costs of a truck accident, including medical bills, lost wages, and property damage expenses.
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Top Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents in Texas
Most large truck accidents that occur in our state are entirely preventable and happen because of negligence – the failure to exercise the required degree of care. Examples of negligence that can lead to a crash include:
- Falling asleep at the wheel;
- Driving while impaired;
- Speeding or taking a turn too fast;
- Driving while distracted;
- Improperly loading cargo into a truck, which could shift in transit;
- Improperly maintaining a vehicle in a safe condition;
- Failing to properly train a truck driver;
- Driving aggressively; and
In addition to the above, sometimes, vehicle defects, such as defective brakes or tires, are the cause of a crash. If a vehicle defect is to blame, a lawsuit to recover damages may be filed against the vehicle part manufacturer or anyone along the distribution chain.
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Determining Liability After a Truck Accident in Texas
Because Texas is an at-fault car insurance state, after an accident occurs, an injured party can recover compensation by filing a claim against the at-fault party’s liability insurance. In a truck accident, though, determining fault can be complicated because there are so many potentially at-fault parties involved. As such, it’s important that an investigation is opened as soon as possible after a crash.
Working with Houston truck accident attorneys is essential in this process—your attorney will have the resources and connections necessary to investigate your case, send spoliation of evidence letters to the appropriate parties, hire experts, interview eyewitnesses, communicate with the insurance company, and more.
Parties who may be found liable in a truck accident claim include the:
- Truck driver;
- Trucking company;
- Third-party driver involved in the crash;
- Shipper or loader of cargo; or
- Vehicle part manufacturer or distributor.
Sometimes, liability will fall on the shoulders of a single party, and other times it may be shared by multiple parties.
Steps to Bringing Forth a Truck Accident Claim in Houston
A truck accident claim can leave you unable to do much of anything, let alone gather evidence and go through the process of filing a truck accident claim since you may be confined to a hospital bed. However, in order to preserve your right to damages, there are things that must be done after a crash. Be sure to ask a loved one to do these things for you or to hire an attorney as soon as possible.
Steps to take after a crash related to bringing forth a truck accident claim include:
- File a police report and request a copy of the report for your records;
- Seek medical care and document all care;
- Gather any evidence that you can at the scene of the accident, including taking pictures of the scene and getting witnesses’ names; and
- Notify your insurer of the accident as soon as possible.
After a truck accident occurs, Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 16.003 requires that a suit be filed within two years of the date of the accident. If you wait longer than two years to bring forth your claim, you will be permanently barred from recovery.
Our 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer in Houston, TX Is Here to Help
The world may feel like it’s falling in on you after a crash, but you are not alone.
At the office of the Milano Legal Group Accident Attorneys, our 18-wheeler accident lawyer in Houston is here to offer the legal support and guidance you need. Our attorney is passionate about helping to settle your claim as quickly and painlessly as possible and will aggressively advocate for your right to your full recovery amount.
Please request a free consultation by reaching out by phone or online today.
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Truck Accident Frequently Asked Questions
What Does a Truck Accident Lawyer Do?
A truck accident lawyer helps clients obtain financial compensation for their injuries. When you hire an attorney to represent you in your truck accident case, he or she will do the following:
(1) Determine Liability in Your Truck Accident Case
The first step to obtaining compensation for your injuries is identifying the responsible party or parties. Using their legal experience, the Houston truck accident attorneys at Milano Legal Group will help you identify the liable party or parties. Possible defendants in a truck accident case include:
- The truck driver
- The truck manufacturer
- The trucking company
- The shipping company that loaded the truck’s cargo
- Insurance companies
- Government entities
(2) Build a Case on Your Behalf
Next, your attorney will build a case to present to the insurance company or court, according to your unique situation and circumstances. In order to build the strongest case possible on your behalf, your attorney will do the following:
- Collect evidence, including videos or photos of the accident scene, police reports, available data from the truck’s onboard electronic information system, and eyewitness statements.
- Obtain and compile your medical bills and any other documents that demonstrate your injury-related expenses.
- Identify all liable parties and their insurance providers.
- Negotiate with the insurance company or companies for a fair settlement on your behalf.
- Take your case to trial if necessary.
(3) Prove Your Truck Accident Case
Finally, your Houston truck accident lawyer will demonstrate to the court that the other party’s negligence caused your accident and resulting injuries. To do so, your attorney must prove the following:
- The truck driver owed you a duty of care to drive safely.
- The truck driver breached or violated his or her duty of care to drive safely.
- The truck driver’s breach caused your injuries.
- You suffered damages and losses as a result of your injuries.
Why Should You Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?
The defendants in truck accident cases are often represented by powerful insurance companies. Attempting to take on these entities alone is usually a losing proposition. Insurance companies are simply too sophisticated and powerful to take on without legal assistance. Therefore, if you have been injured in a truck accident, you should strongly consider hiring an attorney to represent you. Hiring an attorney levels the playing field and greatly improves your odds of a successful outcome.
How Do I Choose a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Following a truck accident, it is imperative that you choose the right Houston truck accident lawyer. With the right lawyer on your side your odds of success improve dramatically. Below are some tips for choosing the right attorney to handle your Houston, Texas, truck accident case:
- Choose an attorney who specializes in personal injury law
Following a truck accident injury, you should choose an attorney who focuses primarily on personal injury cases. Personal injury law is highly specialized, so choosing an attorney with specific knowledge in this area drastically increases the odds of a successful outcome in your Texas truck accident case.
- Choose an attorney with ample experience handling cases like yours
As well as choosing an attorney that focuses primarily on personal injury law, it is also important that he or she has significant experience handling cases with fact patterns like yours. When you meet with an attorney during your initial consultation, ask him or her whether he or she has handled other cases like yours. You should also feel free to inquire about the outcomes of these cases.
- Choose a Houston truck accident lawyer who will take your case to trial if necessary
Although most personal injury cases are settled before they make it to trial, your attorney must be ready and willing to take your case to trial if necessary. You can determine this by asking each prospective attorney you meet with about his or her trial experience.
- Choose a lawyer with a track record of successful outcomes
Although no attorney should ever guarantee a specific result in a personal injury case, lawyers are permitted to share their past results with you. Although an attorney’s previous results will not guarantee the success of your case, a long track record of success is certainly a good sign.
- Choose an attorney who will provide you with references
A successful lawyer will have a long list of contented clients. Therefore, he or she should be happy to provide you with the contact information of his or her previous clients.
Can You Sue a Trucking Company?
When you are involved in an accident with a semi-truck, in addition to filing a claim against the driver, you may be able to file an action in court against the trucking company. Often, trucking companies are fully or partially responsible for accidents involving their drivers. If this applies in your case, the trucking company may be held liable for your injuries. In fact, your odds of recovery may even be greater if a trucking company is involved in your case, as large companies have the financial resources to pay out settlements and judgments to accident victims.
How Fast Can My Truck Accident Case Be Settled?
In Houston, the amount of time it takes to settle a truck accident case depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident. In other words, without examining the details of your unique situation, it is nearly impossible to predict a timeline for settlement. However, factors that can affect your settlement timeline include:
- The estimated value of your case
- The number of parties involved
- The severity of your injuries
- The insurance company or companies involved
- The case load in your jurisdiction
How Much Does a Truck Accident Lawyer Cost?
Truck accident attorneys usually work on a contingency fee basis. This means that if you have been injured in a truck accident your personal injury attorney will only be paid if your case is successful. In other words, unless you win, you owe nothing. Contingency fees usually range from 33-1/3% to 40% of the gross settlement before a lawsuit has been filed and 40% to 45% of the gross settlement or verdict after it has been filed.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Trucking Accident Lawsuit?
Each state has a deadline by which an accident victim must file a lawsuit following an injury. This deadline is called the statute of limitations. In Texas, the statute of limitations for a trucking accident lawsuit is two years from the date of the injury. After being injured in Texas, you must file a lawsuit in court no later than two years after you are injured. If you miss the deadline, you lose the opportunity to obtain compensation for your injury. Therefore, if you have been injured in a truck accident you should contact an attorney in Houston as soon as possible.
What Are Common Truck Accident Injuries?
Truck accident injuries can be life changing. If a truck accident does not kill the person involved, it often leaves him or her with catastrophic injuries that can take years—or even decades—to recover from. Not only do many Texas truck crash victims barely survive their accidents, they also have to battle with the trucking company to obtain compensation. Luckily for truck accident victims, personal injury attorneys routinely take on—and beat—large trucking and insurance companies following truck accidents in Texas. Common truck accident injuries in Texas include:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Rib and torso injuries
- Internal injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis