When a tractor-trailer or commercial truck is involved in an accident, the stakes are raised when compared to an average car crash. The risk of serious or fatal injuries is increased significantly. In addition, when it comes to a semi-truck accident, there are often multiple vehicles involved, and on highways, vehicles are driving at faster speeds. The injuries that drivers and their passengers can suffer from a semi-truck accident can be catastrophic, resulting in hefty medical expenses, and in severe cases, some injuries may require lifelong care. Luckily, there are truck accident attorneys available to help. If you have been injured in an accident with a tractor-trailer in Houston, contact a Houston truck wreck lawyer at McDonald Worley so that we can get started on your insurance claim with a FREE consultation.
Table of Contents
- 2 What is the Difference Between Car Accidents and Truck Accidents?
- 3 How is Compensation Determined Following a Truck Accident?
- 4 What should I do After a Truck Accident?
- 5 How is the Negligence of a Truck Driver Established Following a Truck Accident?
- 6 Semi-Truck Accidents
- 7 Hire a Houston Truck Wreck Lawyer
What is the Difference Between Car Accidents and Truck Accidents?
Big rigs or commercial freight trucks usually weigh approximately 80,000 pounds or even more. They are almost twenty times heavier than passenger cars. Although ten hours per day is the threshold for truck drivers, many tend to do overtime for extra cash. This is directly related to the safety of other drivers because they become vulnerable to accidents.
Larger insurance policies
The insurance policies of truck drivers are almost fifty times more than car accident policies. Every year, truck insurance policies are valued at millions. So, you can understand why the defense lawyer will want to prove that they were not responsible for the accident. Our Houston truck wreck lawyer will get in touch with insurance adjusters to employ various strategies to extract a bigger amount from the insurance company. That is why it is always wise to have an experienced Houston truck wreck lawyer who can walk you through the entire process.
Increased property damage
As you can see, the size and weight of commercial freight trucks are more than regular vehicles. So, there is a high chance that the surrounding properties will also be affected when there is a crash involving these cars.
More serious injuries
As a Houston truck wreck lawyer can tell you, truck accident injuries are more severe compared to car injuries. Starting from broken bones to whiplash, the extent of the injury can be vast. This will involve intensive medical care and extensive medication bills. You may also have to undergo several life-altering surgeries after such an accident.
Much larger medical bills
Victims of truck accidents spend more time in the hospital than those involved in car accidents. The injuries are more severe, and it takes a considerably longer period for the victim to go back to work. If you work with one of the experienced personal injury lawyers from McDonald Worley, we will be able to calculate your potential compensation based on your current and future sufferings and medication.
Greater chance of death
Imagine clashing with an 18-wheel commercial truck. There are more chances of dying than in a 4-wheeler. As per the reports of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), every year, there are almost 3000 to 5000 deaths that take place due to truck accidents.
When you consider all the considerable resources and variables involved in such accidents, your first step should always be to get in touch with an experienced Houston truck wreck lawyer. Without them, you will have no chance of winning the case.
How is Compensation Determined Following a Truck Accident?
The type and amount of compensation that you are eligible for depends on a couple of factors, similar to what you usually see in personal injury cases. First, there are economic damages, and second, there are non-economic damages.
Your compensation in an economic truck accident will cover various monetary costs, such as:
- Current Medical Expenses – this will include all fees for hospital care, emergency room visits, assistive devices, surgery, and appointments with medical professionals.
- Future Medical Expenses – this includes compensation for future medical attention and expenses.
- Lost Wages – compensation for lost wages between the time of the accident and settlement of the case.
- Loss of earning capacity – it will be helpful for the victim to get compensation if he/she can demonstrate accurately what happened at the time of the accident. The defending party will want to calculate the amount that the victim could earn if the accident did not occur.
Some of the non-economic damages resulting from the accident related to intangible losses and non-financial expenses include:
Pain and suffering
This will include the compensation for all your physical suffering resulting from the injury after the crash. The way the accident happened, the extent of your injury, the period that you may expect to suffer – the lawyer considers everything to calculate your compensation.
Apart from physical pain, the victim also suffers emotionally after a truck accident.. This includes embarrassment, worry, nervousness, fright, grief, and various other types of emotional distress.
Loss of Consortium
In addition to the victim, compensation is also granted to parents, minors, and spouses. The offender will also have to pay additional compensation if the victim is deceased after the accident.
Keeping economic and non-economic damages aside, there can also be punitive damages if your Houston truck wreck lawyer finds that the offender tried to cause the accident willfully. These damages are not just limited to monetary compensation. The offender may have to go to jail too.
What should I do After a Truck Accident?
It is always tough to do, but in the aftermath of an accident, it is essential to keep a cool head. Turn on your hazard lights and, if it is safe to do so, remain in your car as you call emergency services. Have yourself examined by the EMT and paramedics as they arrive. Even if you feel your injuries are very small, you should get a full medical inspection both for yourself and any passengers with you. Do not, under any circumstances, flee the scene of the accident before you have gotten all the information you need to pursue a case. This will include the names and contact information of everyone involved, including eyewitnesses.
As the police officers arrive on the scene, be sure to take note of their names and badge numbers. You will also need as many snapshots and photographic evidence of the incident. Take pictures of both vehicles from several wide angles around the cars. Then, take some close-up shots of the points of impact and any other aspects you feel might be important.
Don’t inadvertently take responsibility for the accident by saying anything seemingly innocuous like “sorry,” and don’t discuss what you “believe” happened with anyone but the police officer and the insurance agent from your policy providers — you aren’t obligated to speak with the insurance agents of the truck driver.
How is the Negligence of a Truck Driver Established Following a Truck Accident?
If you or any of your loved ones got injured in a commercial truck accident and you want to go to court to receive your deserved compensation, you need to prove that the truck driver or other parties were negligent while driving. Your Houston truck wreck lawyer will have to establish the duties of the truck driver and also demonstrate that he/she breached their code of duty that eventually led to the accident, injuries, and other significant damages. Some of the common examples that you need to keep in mind when it comes to negligence of truck drivers are speeding, texting while driving, falling asleep while driving, or running a red light.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict regulations because of the high-risk job of truck drivers:
- Maintaining a logbook for the number of hours the driver worked.
- Documenting rest breaks and total hours of service.
- Adhering to all the legally-mandated maintenance requirements and working schedules.
- Safely loading cargo, including hazardous materials.
- Not driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.
- Driving a maximum of ten hours per workday.
Approximately 415,000 big truck accidents occur every year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), in which semi-trucks, 18 wheelers, tractor-trailers, and other big trucks are involved. The DOT also found that in 2015, approximately 83,000 of these big truck crashes led to serious injuries, and more than 4,000 people were killed in these semi-truck accidents..
If you’ve been in a truck accident, you need to contact our office immediately so that we can begin working on your case before the insurance company has a chance to skew the evidence in their favor. Insurance companies do not want you to contact a car accident attorney because they can preserve the evidence, advise you of your rights, and ensure you receive the full justice you deserve.
After a semi-truck accident, you may be entitled to a significant financial settlement. You are entitled to be treated with the dignity and respect you deserve as well as a swift resolution by insurance companies. Our Houston truck wreck lawyer will ensure the insurance companies don’t drag their feet in meeting their obligations under the law.
If the other driver is at fault and has liability insurance, you may have the right to collect money damages to compensate you for your past and future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and physical impairment.
If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you may be entitled to collect money damages from your own insurance company if you purchased Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage.
Generally, medical bills are not paid until your case is settled. However, if you have Personal Injury Protection or Medical Payments Coverage under your automobile accident insurance policy, you may be able to pay your medical bills prior to the settlement of your case as they are incurred by making a claim against your own coverage.
Also, if you have health insurance, your medical bills may be paid as they are incurred by your health insurance company. Do not worry about making a claim for the non-fault use of your PIP or MedPay coverage; your insurance company is not allowed to raise your premiums just because you elect to use the PIP or MedPay coverage you purchased.
In order to collect money for your lost wages from the driver who caused the accident or from their insurance company, your lost wages must be documented by your employer or personnel department. Additionally, your doctor must state that it was medically necessary for you to miss work as a result of the injuries you suffered in the collision.
Hire a Houston Truck Wreck Lawyer
If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident, get the legal help you need to ensure that you are treated fairly. Semi-truck accident settlements can be substantial, just, and much-needed compensation to affected families and victims.
Regardless of who was at fault, you need someone making your case, fighting on your behalf to ensure that the insurance company does not ignore your needs. Contact a Houston truck wreck lawyer at McDonald Worley today to schedule your free consultation.