If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a large truck, you should get help seeking compensation to cover your doctor bills and other expenses. Many tractor-trailers, cargo tankers, and commercial trucks travel through Texas daily.
When they cause serious accidents, the drivers and trucking companies should pay for the harm they cause. Let us answer your questions and review your legal options.
The experience and knowledge of the attorney you select after a commercial truck accident can make a big difference in the outcome of your claim. Our law firm has extensive experience in personal injury law, having handled more than 20,000 cases. Herrman & Herrman has Spanish-speaking and English-speaking staff, so you can discuss your legal matter in the most comfortable speaking language.
We have the resources to see truck crash cases through to their resolution. We are dedicated to helping families in Abilene recover from serious injuries caused by truckers’ negligence. Contact us to get help now!
Do I Have a Case?
You should contact a truck accident lawyer if you have been injured in a crash caused by a commercial truck in Abilene. A truck crash lawyer with Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. will review your accident at no charge and discuss whether you have a valid truck accident case.
We will outline your legal options so you have the information needed to decide how to proceed. If you cannot visit our office, we can arrange to meet at a location convenient to you, such as your hospital, rehabilitation center, or home.
A collision involving a commercial truck requires a detailed investigation to identify all the potentially liable parties. If you call us from the scene of the tractor-trailer accident, Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. will dispatch its accident investigation team to start gathering evidence right away. Our team understands the importance of moving quickly to preserve evidence.
The trucking company or its insurance company may offer a quick, low settlement. If you have received a settlement offer, you should have a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer review it before accepting or signing anything presented by the trucking company or its insurance representative.
Our semi-truck accident lawyers will review the offer and give you our informed perspective on whether it is a fair offer based on the specific facts of your accident.
You should contact a trucking accident lawyer if an at-fault party’s insurance company is disputing your claim. The collision may involve many insurance companies representing the trucking company, the truck driver, the owner of the trailer, and the freight shipper.
It is difficult to negotiate on your own. If we represent you, our experienced trucking accident lawyer will negotiate on your behalf with the insurance companies and seek a settlement that reflects the full extent of your injuries.
What to Expect from Accidents Involving a Semi-Truck or Commercial Vehicle
When an individual is involved in an accident with a large commercial vehicle or semi-truck, the results of that accident can be serious, if not deadly.
Given the size and weight of a semi-truck, especially in comparison to a much smaller passenger vehicle, it is easy to see how these types of accidents can result in serious injuries and, many times, death.
These accidents can occur for many different reasons, but it is often the negligence of the driver of the semi-truck or the driver of the other vehicle involved that caused the accident. Occasionally, it can also be something related to the functionality of the vehicle or equipment failure that leads to an accident.
Understanding the Cause of the Accident
Before proceeding with an accident claim involving a semi-truck, it helps to understand the cause of the accident. Truckers are charged with handling their vehicles safely and properly, and if the trucker fails to meet a reasonable standard of care while behind the wheel, this could be seen as negligent behavior.
Truck drivers are often dealing with a number of pressures, including driving a certain number of miles daily and receiving financial incentives to drive longer and further. These demands can lead to recklessness, including taking drugs to stay awake or speeding.
In addition, truck drivers are required to periodically inspect their vehicles to make sure equipment is working properly, and that cargo is also loaded safely and correctly. If the driver fails to conduct one of these inspections, or if he or she drives the truck despite the fact that the truck failed an inspection, the driver could be considered negligent, as well.
The trucking industry is heavily regulated by a handful of governmental agencies, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The FMCSA issues guidelines and rules for all commercial vehicle operators and their companies, and these rules govern the hours of service for drivers, requirements to properly maintain the vehicles, and certain safety training requirements that all drivers must maintain to be on the road.
These rules and regulations keep others on the road safe and also ensure that the trucking companies and their drivers stay current on regulations. If the driver failed to follow these regulations, they could be held liable for any damages caused as a result.
Protecting the Rights of the Injured
One problem many injured drivers involved in an accident with a semi-trailer run into is dealing with the trucking industry itself. When someone is involved in an accident with another car, a claim for injuries will be made against another individual and their insurance company.
However, an individual hurt in a truck accident will find themselves up against a billion-dollar industry. Most of these companies already have legal teams who regularly handle these types of cases, which can make it very difficult for an unrepresented individual to receive a fair settlement.
The trucking legal teams know how to investigate an accident quickly and also are well-versed in defense strategies to limit their liability. It is for this reason that a personal injury attorney is always recommended in these types of cases.
Should I Settle with the Trucking Company?
Some Texas trucking companies will contact you soon after an accident and offer a settlement. These quick settlement offers may sound impressive at first. But they typically represent a fraction of the actual value of the injury claim—essentially pennies on the dollar. The trucking company would like to limit its liability by settling the accident claim and getting it off the books before the full extent of the injury victim’s losses is even known.
In many cases, the accident victim is still receiving medical treatment and incurring medical expenses. If you accept a settlement from a trucking company while still undergoing treatment, you cannot ask the trucking company later for more money if your expenses exceed the amount of the settlement. You will be stuck picking up the tab for the balance of the medical care.
If you receive a call from a trucking company offering to settle your case, you should have a skilled trucking accident lawyer review the offer and provide guidance about whether it is a fair offer. Be careful. You should not sign a liability release or any other form presented by the trucking company or their insurance adjuster until you have talked with a personal injury lawyer.
What Do I Do If I Was Hit by a Semi-Truck?
You may be shaken and confused in the hours after a collision with a semi-truck. If you do not require emergency medical attention, you should still seek a prompt medical evaluation.
Inform the doctor that you were involved in a truck accident.
A doctor’s evaluation will provide an independent description of your injuries and will be relied upon by insurance adjusters if you eventually need to file a claim.
Report the accident to the police or ask someone else to summon the police if you are unable.
Do not let the truck driver talk you out of reporting the accident. Without an official police report, you will have more difficulty proving that the truck driver caused your injuries. It will be your word against that of the truck driver.
Exchange vehicle registration and insurance information with the truck driver.
Do this while you are waiting for a law enforcement officer to arrive. If the truck driver is uncooperative, wait for the police to arrive. The police will collect information.
Provide the facts of the accident to the police.
Do not discuss the specifics of the accident with the other driver. Do not try to reassure the other driver that you are unharmed. Even if you feel uninjured immediately after a crash, you may wake up the next day very stiff and sore.
Take photos of the accident scene.
If you can do so safely, use your phone camera to take photos showing damage to the vehicles, skid marks and debris in the road, and your injuries. Accident photos can provide evidence to support your claim.
Causes of Trucking Accidents
Texas highways are heavily traveled by trucks. Texas has a higher number of truck accidents than any other state. More than 640 people were killed, and 1,500 people sustained serious injuries in crashes involving tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, and other commercial vehicles in 2017, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
The drivers and passengers in other vehicles involved in truck accidents often sustain more severe injuries.
Many factors involving the truck driver or the vehicle itself may contribute to a serious accident.
Among the regularly cited causes of truck crashes are:
- Driving too fast for the conditions
- Driver inattention
- Driving on an unfamiliar road
- Following too closely or tailgating
- Improper lane change
- Aggressive driving
- Inadequate maintenance
- Break Failure
- Brakes out of adjustment
- Unsecured cargo
An analysis of 2,800 commercial truck crashes by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found that driver fatigue is a top contributing factor in crashes in which the truck driver is at fault.
Other commonly observed truck driver actions that contributed to many truck crashes were speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way, and using the wrong lane. Crashes involving speeding had a 170 percent greater risk of injury or fatality, the researchers said.
One truck accident may have multiple contributing factors and several potentially responsible parties. It is important to work with a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer if you or your loved one has been seriously injured.
Dangerous Roads for Semi-Truck Accidents
Texas had the highest number of crashes involving large trucks of any state, according to a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report. One out of every ten vehicles involved in a fatal accident in Texas was an 18-wheeler or other type of large truck.
Most of the people killed in large truck accidents are occupants of passenger vehicles. Of 556 people who were killed in truck accidents in Texas in 2016, 448 of the victims were occupants of other vehicles or pedestrians. Nationwide, about 70 percent of people killed in large truck crashes are occupants of other vehicles, and 10 percent were pedestrians or bicyclists.
Traffic safety involving large trucks is a serious problem in Texas. The Lone Star State accounted for 12 percent of deadly accidents involving large trucks in the United States.
Call Our Law Firm Today, Before It’s Too Late.
Contact our dedicated tractor-trailer accident lawyers at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., for help. You want the experience of our commercial truck accident lawyers on your side.
The quicker we start working on your truck case, the better able we will be to protect your rights to seek full compensation. Contact us at 844-426-3000 for a free initial consultation.