Houston Truck Accident Lawyer
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Types Of Truck Accidents
- Causes Of Truck Accidents
- Injuries Commonly Suffered In Truck Accidents
- How A Houston Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
- Tips To Prepare For Meeting A Truck Accident Lawyer
- Common Misconceptions About Truck Accident Cases
- Call Us Today To Schedule A Free Consultation With A Houston Truck Accident Lawyer
- Frequently Asked Questions (Faqs) About Truck Accidents
- Contact Our Houston Truck Accident Lawyer
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reports that total crashes in 2021 statewide involved 27,224 trucks, 25,925 truck-tractors or semitrailers, 500 fire trucks, 3,615 police vehicles, 31,868 vans, 651 ambulances, 2,550 buses, 1,187 school buses, and 243 pieces of farm equipment. The Houston Chronicle reported that there were over 4,200 commercial vehicle crashes in Harris County in 2022, more than any other county in the state.
According to TxDOT, Harris County saw 5,743 total commercial vehicle involved crashes in 2021, while Fort Bend County had 455, Montgomery County had 692, Brazoria County had 279, Galveston County had 229, and Waller County had 172. Commercial trucks are used to haul all sorts of goods to communities throughout Texas, so it is not surprising when truck accidents occur because people encounter these types of vehicles so frequently.
Types of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can always vary depending on multiple factors. People could be involved in any one of multiple types of accidents, with the four most common often including:
1. Semi-Truck Accidents
The semi-trailer truck or semi is customarily a combination of a tractor unit and a semi-trailer carrying freight. Semis are also more commonly known as big rigs, and it can be more difficult for these drivers to see surrounding vehicles.
2. Construction Truck Accidents
Construction trucks can include a wide assortment of vehicles, including articulated haulers, asphalt pavers, backhoe loaders, or boom lifts. Most construction vehicles are very large and more likely to cause significant damage in accidents.
3. Dump Truck Accidents
Drivers of dump trucks often need to comply with strict orders regarding the operation of their vehicles. Any number of errors in the dumping process can cause an accident.
4. Garbage Truck Accidents
Garbage trucks will once again be very large vehicles capable of causing immense damage in a collision. A garbage truck claim becomes complicated because a municipality could be liable for damages.
Causes of Truck Accidents
People need to be aware that just are there are several different causes of traditional car accidents, truck accidents too can have various causes. Some of the more common causes of these types of collisions can include:
1. Driver Negligence
The negligence of a truck driver is perhaps the most commonly claimed cause of many truck accidents because there are a number of ways in which a truck driver could be negligent. Examples could include aggressive driving, reckless driving, or distracted driving.
2. Poorly Maintained Trucks
In March 2022, the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council and Decisiv Inc., reported that maintenance costs increased 3.7 percent in the fourth quarter and were up more than 10 percent from the previous year. Many trucking companies decline to properly care for their vehicles because of the high costs in maintaining trucks.
3. Overloaded Trucks
The National Library of Medicine reported that over 80 percent of truck-related crashes were the result of truck overloading. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) statistics show that the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of a truck plays a major role in crash likelihood, as no fatal crashes involved trucks weighing less than 10,000 pounds but 16.7 percent involved trucks weighing between 10,001 and 26,000 pounds while 83.1 percent involved trucks weighing more than 26,001 pounds.
4. Driver Fatigue
FMCSA has noted how big of an issue driver fatigue is for truck drivers and recommends getting adequate sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding medications. Police reports may indicate when truck drivers appeared tired, but driver fatigue can be challenging to prove.
Injuries Commonly Suffered in Truck Accidents
Truck accidents have the potential to cause a wide range of highly serious injuries. The simple size of most large trucks means injuries will often be severe, and four of the most common kinds of injuries include:
1. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
A TBI is an acquired brain injury occurring when sudden trauma damages the brain. A TBI could be the result of a head suddenly and violently hitting an object, or an object piercing a skull and entering the brain tissue. Symptoms of a TBI may be mild, moderate, or severe.
2. Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury involves damage to the bundle of cells and nerves sending and receiving signals from the brain to and from the remainder of the body. An incomplete spinal cord injury involves a spinal cord still being able to transmit messages to and from the brain to the rest of the body, while a complete spinal cord injury has no nerve communication and motor function below the site where the trauma occurred.
3. Broken Bones
Some fractures do not need much time to heal, but other kinds of fractures may require surgeries or cause long-term disabilities. Serious fractures require reconstructive surgery and the insertion of pins, plates, and screws.
4. Internal Injuries
Internal organ injuries are some of the most dangerous kinds of injuries because failure to adequately treat such injuries could result in serious complications or even death. Common kinds of internal injuries include broken ribs, brain bleeds, abdominal aorta aneurysms in which the stomach is compressed during an accident and causes a rupture of the abdominal aorta, pneumothorax involving a rib puncturing a lung, ruptured spleens, and internal bleeding.
How a Houston Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
A skilled attorney can make a world of difference in a truck accident case. When you retain legal counsel for a truck accident, some of the benefits will include:
1. A Thorough Investigation
A lawyer will immediately commence their own independent investigation into a truck accident. The attorney is going to know how to collect all of the most relevant evidence and also work with experts to determine fault.
2. Aggressive Representation
Whereas many people can have difficulty getting insurance companies to even discuss their injury claims, a lawyer is going to be able to get an insurer to take notice and begin negotiating a possible settlement. The attorney will also know when to file a lawsuit if necessary.
3. Maximizing Compensation
The biggest benefit to hiring a lawyer is that a person is far more likely to recover what their case is actually worth than they would on their own. An attorney is going to know what a truck accident case is actually worth and then will commit to recovering as close as possible to that amount.
Tips to Prepare for Meeting a Truck Accident Lawyer
When people are seeking legal representation for a truck accident, they will often meet with several different attorneys to discuss their case. Some of the things you will want to do when you know you will be speaking to an attorney include:
1. Gather Evidence
Try to compile all of the available evidence you have for your truck accident case and bring it with you to your initial consultation. Pictures of your accident scene are always helpful.
2. Keep Records
When it comes to records people need to keep after a truck accident, medical records are one of the primary concerns with emergency medical services and other records of treatment being very important. Police reports, proof of income, vehicle damage estimates, and personal journals can also be valuable.
3. Know Your Rights
It is important for all people to understand what their rights are following a truck accident, and most people are entitled to file injury claims when they are hurt in truck accidents. When you work with an experienced lawyer, they can advise you on your rights throughout your case.
Common Misconceptions About Truck Accident Cases
The problem with truck accidents is that many people are often dealing with two very common misconceptions about how to handle these cases. Make sure you do not make either one of these mistakes:
1. You Don’t Need a Lawyer
Many people want to believe that they can negotiate their own settlement and avoid paying an attorney anything. An Insurance Research Council (IRC) study entitled “Paying for Auto Injuries: A Consumer Panel Survey of Auto Accident Victims” found that victims who hired attorneys received 40 percent more in settlements with insurance companies than those who represented themselves.
2. You Can’t Afford a Lawyer
Another very common reason people decline to pursue legal counsel is fear of the cost, but this is always a mistake in any injury case because many truck accident lawyers are going to handle a case on a contingency fee agreement. This is a sort of no-lose proposition for a client because the attorney does not charge anything to handle the case since they will only be paid if they win or settle the case.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Houston Truck Accident Lawyer
Did you suffer catastrophic injuries or was your loved one killed in a truck accident in the greater Houston area of Texas? You are going to want to be sure you take the time to speak to The Patel Firm about your case because we will know how to take the necessary steps so you are able to recover every last dollar that is available to you.
Our firm knows how complicating truck accidents can be for all people involved in them, and we work closely with you so you have legal guidance every step of the way as we work towards helping you recover all of the compensation you need and deserve. Call (713) 539-1115 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with our Houston truck accident lawyer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Truck Accidents
What should I do if I am injured in a truck accident in Houston?
After checking for injuries, always call 911 to report your truck accident to police. Make sure to seek medical attention, regardless of whether you believe you were harmed, and also try to take pictures of the scene of your crash.
What is considered a commercial truck?
Texas Transportation Code § 548.001(1) defines a commercial motor vehicle as a self-propelled or towed vehicle, other than a farm vehicle with a gross weight, registered weight, or gross weight rating of less than 48,000 pounds, that is used on a public highway to transport passengers or cargo when the vehicle, including a school activity bus as defined in Texas Transportation Code § 541.201, or combination of vehicles has a gross weight, registered weight, or gross weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds, the vehicle, including a school activity bus as defined in Texas Transportation Code § 541.201, is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, or the vehicle is used to transport hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placarding by a regulation issued under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act.
Can I still file a claim if I was partially at fault for my truck accident?
Under Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code § 33.001, a person cannot recover damages when their percentage of responsibility is more than 50 percent. In other words, you are permitted to recover damages so long as you were not more than 50 percent at fault, but your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of responsibility, meaning a person who is awarded $100,000 but is found to have been 25 percent at fault will see their award reduced by $25,000 and ultimately recover $75,000.
What happens when a truck driver is an independent contractor?
When a truck accident involves an independent contractor, there may be no trucking company to hold liable but the driver will still be insured. Federal law requires all truck drivers to maintain adequate insurance, and most companies will release freight without proof of insurance.
What kinds of damages are recoverable in a truck accident case?
Truck accidents can result in people obtaining compensatory damages that often involve both economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages relate to actual costs like medical bills, lost wages, and property damage, and noneconomic damages are for more subjective losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and disfigurement.
What information should people get from truck drivers?
When you are getting information from a truck driver, try to make sure you get their name, driver’s license information, trucking company’s name and contact information, license plate information, the truck’s Department of Transportation (DOT) number, the items being hauled, the truck driver’s insurance information, and the make, model and year of the truck.
What are No Zones?
No Zones are the giant blind spots around a commercial truck. Every truck has blind spots on each one of its sides as well as the front and rear.
Does my receiving a traffic ticket harm my injury case?
Not necessarily. A traffic ticket is only a charge, so you can still plead not guilty and get it thrown out, although a conviction could be used as evidence of fault.
Who can I talk about my accident with?
You should only discuss your accident with an experienced lawyer. Avoid talking about the accident with friends and family, and be especially careful not to post anything about the crash on social media because insurance companies will be looking for these statements and may use your words against you.
I cannot afford my medical bills but still need treatment, so what do I do?
Talk with your lawyer about possibly getting a medical lien. This will allow you to continue receiving treatment, but you will agree to pay all of your bills out of your settlement or jury award.
Contact Our Houston Truck Accident Lawyer
If you sustained severe injuries or your loved one was killed in a truck accident in the greater Houston area of Texas, do not wait to get in touch with The Patel Firm and be sure to call (713) 539-1115 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with our Houston truck accident lawyer.