McAllen Truck Accident Lawyer
Table of Contents
- Types of Truck Accidents
- Common Causes of Truck Accidents
- Truck Accident Injuries
- Damages in Truck Accident Cases
- Truck Accident Liability
Large trucks are commonly seen on roads throughout Texas because so many areas of the state are either shipping or receiving goods that require these massive forms of transport. Any kind of accident involving a large truck has the potential to result in severe injuries for every person involved, and any victim will want to be sure they are working with a McAllen truck accident lawyer.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 4,965 people were killed in large-truck crashes in 2020 for a 31 percent increase since 2011, and occupants of other vehicles accounted for 71 percent of fatalities while nonoccupants such as pedestrians and bicyclists were 12 percent and truck occupants made up 17 percent. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred most often in rural areas and on Interstate highways, with 57 percent happening in rural areas, 25 percent occurring on Interstate highways, and 13 percent involving both categories.
Types of Truck Accidents
Crashes involving large trucks can fall into many different kinds of categories. Common kinds of truck accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Trailer Accidents
- Override Accidents
- Underride Accident
- Jackknife Accidents
- Wide Turn Accidents
- Hazardous Material Spill
- Rollover Accidents
- Blind Spot Accidents
- Rear-End Collisions
- Head-On Collisions
- Side Impact or T-Bone Collisions
- Intersection Accidents
- Sideswipe Accidents
- Work Zone or Highway Construction Crashes
- Lane Change or Merging Accidents
- Left or Right Turn Accidents
- Multiple-Vehicle Accidents
- Brake Failure Accidents
- Lost Cargo Accidents
- Tire Blowout Accidents
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
While many people involved in large truck accidents will claim that truck drivers were responsible for causing collisions, insurance companies are always prepared to try and pass the liability on to another party. The truth is that truck drivers frequently do have a contributing role in most crashes.
Common kinds of truck driver negligence may include, but are not limited to:
- Lack of proper training
- FMCSA Hours-of-Service (HOS) violations
- Lack of proper safety equipment
- Truck Defects
- Reckless or Aggressive Driving
- Improper Lane Changes or Turns
- Failure to Yield Right of Way
- Running Stop Signs or Stop Lights
- Distracted Driving
- Tire Blowouts
- Truck Driver Fatigue
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
- Inclement Weather Conditions
- Potholes or Other Dangerous Road Conditions
It is important to understand that trucking companies can also be liable in certain cases in which issues with a large truck itself were a cause of a crash.
Truck Accident Injuries
Most truck accidents will result in significant injuries simply because of the size of the trucks that are involved. Collisions with large vehicles of such immense size usually means that victims face crushing risks within their own vehicles.
You always need to make sure to obtain medical attention after any truck accident because the medical record you get following a doctor visit will be critical in proving your injury claims. Some of the most frequent types of injuries in truck accident cases include, but are not limited to:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Closed head injuries
- Skull fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Herniated discs
- Permanent nerve injuries
- Internal injuries
- Fractures or broken bones
- Sprains and strains
- Joint damage
- Back injuries
- Knee injuries
- Leg injuries
- Neck injuries
- Arm injuries
- Burn injuries
A fatality in a truck accident can mean that certain family members may be able to file a wrongful death action. Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.004, a wrongful death claim will be for the exclusive benefit of a surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased, but when none of those people begin an action within three months of a death, the executor or administrator of an estate is allowed to bring an action unless the specified parties specifically request not to do so.
Damages in Truck Accident Cases
Most truck accident cases have the potential to result in both economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages involve pecuniary losses or financial losses while noneconomic damages relate to nonpecuniary losses or damages that are not economic in nature.
Economic damages often include:
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
- Property Damage
- Costs of Long-Term Care
- Rehabilitation Expenses
- Physical Therapy Costs
Noneconomic damages can include:
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Emotional Distress
- Physical Limitations
- Mental Anguish
Another kind of damages that is quite rare in most personal injury cases is punitive damages. The Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code refers to such damages as being exemplary damages, and they can only be awarded as a penalty or punishment and are not meant for compensatory purposes, which means that punitive damages have a specific intent to punish a party.
Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 41.003, exemplary damages are awarded only when it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that harm was the result of fraud, malice, or gross negligence. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 41.008 further states that exemplary damages may not exceed the greater of two times the amount of economic damages plus an amount equal to any noneconomic damages up to $750,000 or $200,000.
You also need to be aware that many truck accident cases do not reach the trial stage because an insurance company is more likely to settle the case before a case hits that point. Trials are very expensive, so insurers are often more inclined to just settle than risk larger judgments.
Truck Accident Liability
You should know that trucking companies often consist of several different parties. This means that when a truck accident happens, more than one party could be responsible for damages in your case.
Any one of the following parties could have a contributing role in your crash and may be liable:
- The truck driver — A truck driver can be liable for many different reasons, including possible violations of the law, operational issues within the trucks, or simply driving while distracted. When drugs or alcohol are factors in a truck accident, the truck driver is almost exclusively responsible for damages. Drivers who work long hours risk fatigue and other personal health conditions can complicate their ability to drive safely. Truck drivers are often held liable for injuries or property damage without any other person or company being found to be at fault.
- The truck owner — When a trucking company does not own a truck but uses it and provides the vehicle for a truck driver, a truck owner could find themselves being liable for an accident. A truck owner could still be responsible for inspecting their truck, checking its engine, and maintaining tires as well as other internal parts. The party that owns a truck must make sure to maintain all of the necessary parts such as brakes, fluids, and tires as well as electronic systems. Several different federal regulations govern the inspection and maintenance of trucks, and truck owners can be liable for not following the steps the federal government specifies.
- The company responsible for hiring the driver — The company that hires a truck driver can often be held responsible although proving this type of liability can be a complex matter. Trucking company issues could include performing incomplete inspections, cutting corners regarding safety, or setting unrealistic expectations that force truck drivers to take risks to meet deadlines. Investigations commonly reveal that trucking companies knowingly take risks with the trucks they are putting on the road, often jeopardizing the safety of other road users.
- A loading company responsible for putting cargo on the truck — When an accident is the result of some kind of issue with the freight on a truck, a cargo loader could be responsible if they did not fully inspect the cargo and secure it properly. Boxes or equipment may fall off a truck and damage another vehicle or cause an accident leading to injuries.
- A manufacturer that built the truck — Some trucks may be defective even when they are brand new, and it can be manufacturers of these vehicles that bear liability in such cases.
- Auto parts manufacturers that built any parts installed on the truck — Manufacturers of certain truck parts can be liable when there is any kind of defect causing a truck accident. Defective parts have the potential to cause tire blowouts, mechanical failure, or faulty brakes. A manufacturer will usually be responsible for any faulty parts that cause truck accidents.
- State or local governmental entities responsible for maintaining roads — When a truck accident is the result of some kind of unsafe road condition, then it is often some governmental agency that was charged with caring for the road that could become liable if it did not take proper steps to fix the road defect or want users about the danger.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a McAllen McAllen Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or your loved one suffered severe injuries in a large truck accident in Texas, you will want to have legal representation for assistance in recovering all of the damages that you are entitled to. Make sure you contact The Patel Firm for unparalleled legal assistance navigating the complex handling of truck accident cases.
Our firm has recovered millions of dollars for our clients and has office locations in Corpus Christi, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, the Rio Grande Valley, and Central Texas. You may call us at (956) 527-0321 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation so we can take the time to sit down with you and really go over all of the facts of your case so you can gain a full understanding of exactly what will be required to get justice.