Odessa Truck Accident Lawyer
The Texas Freight Mobility Plan from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) states that there are more than 66,000 trucking companies in the state, and more than $1.6 trillion and 1.2 billion tons of freight are moved on Texas highways. Because commercial trucks, 18-wheelers, and semi-trucks are so common, many trucks can cause devastating accidents that leave people with catastrophic injuries, and all victims will want to be sure they seek the help of an Odessa truck accident lawyer.
Many trucking companies have more than enough money to fairly compensate victims for their losses, but they also invest a lot of money in defending themselves against claims so they can get away with paying people minimal amounts of financial compensation. You need to exercise severe caution with the handling of an injury claim following a truck accident and should be sure to retain legal counsel as soon as possible so you can have an attorney immediately step in to investigate your case to determine whether other parties in your case may bear liability.
Have you been involved in a car accident in Odessa?
Reach out to our Odessa car accident lawyers at The Patel Firm today at 361-600-3632. We’re ready to hear your story. We don’t charge any upfront fees, and our consultations are always free of charge. If we find our services align with your needs and choose to take your case, we’ll promptly start striving to secure the compensation you rightly deserve.Need Assistance? Let’s Chat.
Liability for Truck Accidents
In many truck accident cases, a trucking company itself becomes liable because it is usually the company’s vehicle that is involved in the wreck, and the trucking company often has responsibility for ensuring the vehicle was safe to operate. A truck accident stemming from any kind of flaw with a truck could become liable for not properly caring for its vehicle.
A trucking company could also become liable through vicarious liability for the actions of a truck driver because an employer may be vicariously liable for the acts of its employee when an employee is acting within the scope of employment at the time of a truck accident. Vicarious liability allows you to hold a trucking company liable for an employee’s negligence even when a trucking company itself did nothing wrong.
Other kinds of parties that may be liable for a truck accident can include:
- Truck drivers — The driver of a large truck could be liable in a truck accident for a variety of reasons. A truck driver may have broken a state or federal law, they may have been distracted while driving, or they could have knowingly been operating in defiance of federal Hours of Service regulations. A truck driver may also test positive for alcohol or drug consumption.
- Truck or truck part manufacturers — If the brakes, tires, or some other part on a truck fails and causes an accident, it may be possible that the manufacturer of that part becomes liable through a product liability claim. While product liability actions often concern replacement parts on older trucks, it is entirely possible that a new part on a new vehicle also proves to be defective.
- Truck owners — A trucking company may not necessarily be the owner of the truck that its driver is using, and in such cases, then the actual owner of a truck could become liable. In such cases, a separate owner of a truck is responsible for maintaining the truck and ensuring that it will be safe to operate. When they are negligent in caring for a truck and do not adhere to federal regulations regarding the inspection and maintenance of trucks, it can cause crashes.
- Loading companies — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also has some very strict cargo securement rules, and a cargo loading company can become liable when they do not follow federal standards. Trucks hauling loads that exceed gross vehicle weight ratings may cause equipment and brake failures, cargo that is stacked too high may affect handling and cause rollovers, and off-center or imbalanced loads could affect handling or even damage the truck and its tires. Failure to properly secure cargo can also result in shifting or sliding loads that risk falling out of trucks and into traffic.
- Maintenance companies or mechanics — It could be possible that a trucking company or truck owner did invest in proper care for its vehicle, but a mechanic or maintenance company handling the repairs did not properly perform their duties. Some of these parties may not adequately service the trucks they are handling and claim jobs were completed when they were not. In such cases, then the mechanic or maintenance company could become liable for damages.
- State or local governmental entities — People generally expect the roads they use to be safe for all users, but there are times in which a truck accident could actually be the result of some kind of dangerous road condition. In such an event, then a state or local government agency could bear responsibility for not correcting a hazard or notifying people about it.
Kinds of Truck Accidents
There is a wide variety of different types of 18-wheeler accidents people may be involved in. You will want to have the help of an experienced Odessa truck accident attorney in identifying your type of collision and then working to also identify all liable parties.
Two of the most common kinds of truck accidents are override and underride crashes. An override accident involves a passenger vehicle being run over by a semi-truck, while an underride crash involves a passenger vehicle sliding underneath a big rig.
The rollover accident is also a common kind of truck accident because many large trucks can flip onto their sides or possibly roll over multiple times. A rollover accident always has fatal potential because cars to the sides of these trucks will be crushed underneath the trucks as they roll over.
Other types of truck accidents could include, but are not limited to:
- Jackknife Accidents
- Left or Right Turn Accidents
- Wide Turn Accidents
- Head-On Collisions
- Rear-End Collisions
- Lane Change or Merging Accidents
- Blind Spot Accidents
- Side Impact or T-Bone Collisions
- Sideswipe Accidents
- Tire Blowout Accidents
- Trailer Accidents
- Brake Failure Accidents
- Intersection Accidents
- Hazardous Material Spills
- Work Zone or Highway Construction Crashes
- Multiple-Vehicle Accidents
Causes of Truck Accidents
Some truck accident victims immediately speculate what the cause of their accidents was, but many others can be completely clueless. One of the main reasons you should hire a lawyer for a truck accident case in Odessa is that they will be able to conduct an independent investigation to determine the exact cause of your collision.
One unfortunately common cause of truck accidents is a truck driver driving while intoxicated (DWI), possibly because of alcohol consumption but also possible because of some kind of drug use. Several truck drivers may be taking certain medications that impair their ability to safely operate large trucks.
In other cases, a truck driver may be guilty of tailgating, which means the truck was following another vehicle too closely. When a truck commits a tailgating offense, a sudden stop will often mean the truck cannot stop itself in time, and it collides with the vehicle in front of it with the enormous weight of the truck, often causing significant damage and injuries to the passenger vehicle occupants.
Additional causes of truck accidents could include, but are not limited to:
- Tire Blowouts
- FMCSA Hours of Service (HOS) Violations
- Truck Defects
- Inclement Weather
- Improper Lane Changes or Turns
- Driver Fatigue or Drowsy Driving
- Failure to Yield Right of Way
- Improper Training
- Running Stop Signs or Stop Lights
- Lack of Proper Safety Equipment
- Reckless or Aggressive Driving
- Distracted Driving
- Potholes or Other Dangerous Road Conditions
Truck Accident Injuries
Many people who are victims of large truck crashes suffer very serious injuries. In most cases, the size of the trucks means that people are powerless to avoid being seriously hurt, and they can endure traumatic experiences of tremendous pain and suffering while awaiting medical treatment.
Following their treatment, a truck accident victim may be diagnosed with any number of broken bones or fractures. A broken bone will usually heal within a certain number of months, depending on the bone that breaks, but some people could experience permanent problems as a result of a fracture.
Another common kind of injury can be internal organ injuries, and these types of injuries are always more dangerous because they are not as obvious to victims as external injuries producing clear signs of harm. Internal injuries may include organ damage affecting the liver, spleen, lungs, or stomach.
Some of the other types of injuries stemming from truck accidents could include, but are not limited to:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Closed head injuries
- Skull fractures
- Sprains and strains
- Herniated discs
- Joint damage
- Permanent nerve injuries
- Back injuries
- Knee injuries
- Leg injuries
- Neck injuries
- Arm injuries
A large truck accident also dramatically increases the probability that a person could die from their injuries, and certain family members have the right to file wrongful death claims in such cases. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.004 is the state law that provides that wrongful death claims allow surviving spouses, children, and parents of a deceased person exclusively to file these claims.
Damages in Truck Accident Cases
Truck accident cases can result in litigation that may eventually reach a courtroom, and an award from a jury is generally referred to as compensatory damages because the award intends to compensate a person for their harm. Compensatory damages come in two forms, economic damages that are tangible financial losses and noneconomic damages that are more subjective nonpecuniary losses.
Economic damages often include lost wages claims when truck accident victims are out of work because of their injuries. Victims can be entitled to both past and future lost wages, so it’s important to determine exactly how long you may be out of work.
Other types of economic damages can include:
- Medical Bills
- Property Damage
- Rehabilitation Expenses
- Costs of Long-Term Care
- Physical Therapy Costs
Noneconomic damages usually relate more to the psychological harm a victim is experiencing, and emotional distress becomes a common kind of noneconomic award. Emotional distress relates to a victim dealing with the trauma of a truck accident and could be bolstered through an evaluation by a doctor or mental health professional or testimony from a victim’s loved ones.
Some of the other noneconomic damage might include:
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Mental Anguish
- Physical Limitations
Another kind of damage that is much less common is punitive damages, which the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code refers to as exemplary damages. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 41.003 stipulates that a claim for punitive damages requires proof by clear and convincing evidence that harm was the result of fraud, malice, or gross negligence, and the damages cannot be more than two times the economic damages plus an amount equal to any noneconomic damages up to $750,000 or $200,000, whichever is greater.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with an Odessa Truck Accident Lawyer
Did you sustain severe injuries, or did your loved one die in a truck accident in Odessa? You will want to be sure that you take the time to speak to The Patel Firm about your case because we have years of experience handling 18-wheeler accident cases and can fight to ensure that you recover as much compensation as possible.
Our firm will be able to negotiate a fair and full settlement on your behalf, but we will not be afraid to take your case to trial when an insurance company is unwilling to provide you with what you need and deserve. You can call (432) 217-1197 or contact us online to receive a free consultation with our Odessa truck accident lawyer.