Plano Truck Accident Lawyer
Table of Contents
- Truck Drivers
- The Factors that Make Truck Accidents that Much More Dangerous
- Truck Driver Negligence
- The Trucking Company
- The Insurance Company
- The Insurance Company’s Tactics
- Do Not Wait to Consult with an Experienced Plano Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents rank among the most dangerous traffic accidents, but if someone else’s negligence leaves you injured in a truck accident, a dedicated Plano truck accident lawyer can help you move forward with the recovery process.
When you see a massive semi on the road beside you, you recognize the immense size differential, and no one has to tell you how vulnerable you would be in the event of an accident. In fact, the occupants of the other vehicles involved in truck accidents are far more likely to be seriously injured – or worse – than the truck drivers themselves are. While truck driver negligence is often the cause of truck accidents, the trucking company itself often shoulders lability in the matter. If you have been injured in a truck accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, it is time to consult with an experienced Plano truck accident lawyer.
The most important point to be made about truck drivers is that they are professional drivers who are held to more exacting safety standards, rules, and restrictions. The power behind a fully loaded 80,000-pound tractor trailer is so immense that any negligence on the trucker’s part can prove deadly. Further, because truckers spend so much time behind the wheel, both state and federal laws impose careful hours-of-service regulations that are intended to help mitigate the dangers associated with drowsy driving.
There are several factors inherent to trucks that make truck accidents that much more likely and that much more dangerous, including:
- Trucks require far greater stopping distances on the road than other vehicles do, which makes leaving ample traveling space between one’s truck and forward traffic imperative.
- Trucks have vast blind spots that spread along all four sides, which leaves motorists who find themselves traveling in these blind spots at immense risk. The blind spot on the driver’s right extends back and across two lanes, making it the most dangerous – and perhaps least obvious – blind spot of all.
- Because of their immense height and top-heavy build, semis are more susceptible to rolling over in high winds, which is exactly as terrifying and dangerous as it sounds.
- Because big rigs carry massive loads, they are vulnerable to the dangers associated with the shifting weight of a poorly executed load, which can directly cause or exacerbate dangerous accidents.
- 18-wheelers require more room to make right turns and must slow down considerably to take curves and exits safely. When truckers fail to factor these dangers into their driving decisions, it can lead to very serious errors.
- The immense weight of tractor-trailers can leave truckers overly confident when it comes to the dangerous effects of bad weather. This, however, is magical thinking. Bad weather calls for slower speeds, and when truck drivers ignore this fact, they seriously endanger everyone on the road.
- Semis require ongoing maintenance and mandated safety checks all the way around the rigs, and truckers who fail to follow through with these requirements make dangerous accidents more likely.
Although truck driver negligence is exceptionally dangerous, this does not prevent it from happening – in far too many life-threatening forms.
Driving a truck safely is an immense responsibility, and there is no room in this equation for distraction. A truck driver who allows anything other than maneuvering safely through traffic to cloud his or her thoughts courts dangers and puts everyone on the road at increased risk. If the distraction involved is texting, the danger is that much more serious. Texting is known as the most alarming distraction of all for very good reasons – it manages to meld distractions that involve a driver’s hands, vision, and thoughts into one life-threatening super distraction.
Motorists recognize that drinking and driving is a phenomenally dangerous idea. Truck drivers are professional drivers who are required by law to forgo drinking and driving – under threat of losing their commercial driver’s license. Unfortunately, some truck drivers refuse to stop. Alcohol causes physical, sensory (visual), and cognitive impairments that render the primary task of navigating an 80,000-pound semi safely over our roadways all but impossible. The dangers associated with impaired truckers is so serious that the law takes a zero-tolerance stance in response.
Those careful hours-of-service restrictions mentioned earlier are in direct response to truck driver exhaustion. When a trucker is nodding off behind the wheel, the danger is unparalleled. And the cognitive and physical impairments created by too little sleep are extremely dangerous even in milder forms. When truck drivers have health conditions like sleep apnea or take certain kinds of medications, the problem can become that much more serious.
It’s important to take a moment and consider the trucking company, which often bears considerable responsibility when it comes to truck accidents. Consider the following:
- The trucking company is responsible for hiring safe, reliable, experienced, and appropriately licensed truck drivers and for ensuring that they aren’t required to drive outside the boundaries of safety.
- The trucking company is responsible for hiring experienced and appropriately licensed truck mechanics and for providing them with the quality tools and parts they need to keep the rigs in safe working order
- The trucking company is responsible for maintaining a safe fleet of trucks and for sending out only those rigs that are roadworthy.
- The trucking company is responsible for implementing careful maintenance and safety-check protocols that it oversees to ensure they are consistently followed.
- The trucking company is responsible for ensuring that it follows safe loading practices and that its loading crews are well trained.
Trucking is a fast-paced industry that is fueled by our robust economy, but this does not give trucking companies the go ahead to bend the rules in order to keep things moving. Trucking companies are responsible for making safety their overriding priority.
Your truck accident claim will very likely be filed with the trucking company’s insurance provider, and it’s important to take a moment and speak to this. The trucking company is a profit-generating powerhouse, and its insurance company is similarly inclined, which means that they are both heavily invested in keeping your settlement as low as possible. Toward this end, you can expect the insurance company to rally the troops from the outset – sending out investigators and evidence gatherers seemingly before the dust settles. In other words, you’re going to need to bring your strongest claim and you are well advised to have a savvy truck accident lawyer on your side.
It’s also important to steel yourself for some of the insurance company’s strong-arm tactics that you can expect to encounter.
Early Settlement Offer
If the insurance company comes back with an early settlement offer, you can assume it did not do so out of the goodness of its heart. Early offers are generally intended to finalize claims before claimants are fully aware of how extensive their physical, financial, and emotional damages are and are still reeling from everything they’ve been required to endure. Once you sign on the dotted line, the matter is settled, and you have no further legal recourse, which makes consulting with a dedicated truck accident lawyer prior to accepting a settlement offer in your best interest.
If the insurance company denies your claim early on – with what seems like only a cursory glance – the subtext is that it has the final say, so you might as well walk away. Don’t be fooled by this approach. In the end, if the insurance company fails to work with you fairly in regard to your claim, the court will have the final say. If your knowledgeable truck accident lawyer believes in your claim, there is no reason that you shouldn’t believe in it.
Blame the Victim
The insurance company may engage in the not-so-subtle practice of attempting to shift blame toward you – and away from its policyholder. Fault in these dangerous accidents is not left to be decided by the whims of the insurance company – it is a determination that is based on evidence and the facts involved. Even if you do share some of the fault, however, in the State of Texas, you are not barred from seeking compensation as long as you aren’t deemed more than 50 percent at fault. Your compensation will simply be reduced by the percentage of fault that you bear.
Complicate the Process
Another unsavory practice that some insurance companies engage in is prolonging and/or further complicating the already complicated and lengthy truck accident claims process. The idea behind this is to offload those claimants who have already been worn to a frazzle by the violent truck accident and the grueling claims process involved.
Another classic ploy used by insurance companies is attempting to cast doubt on the severity of the damages you claim. In the end, these amounts will be backed up by supporting evidence, but there are things that you can do to help bolster your claim from the outset, including:
- Carefully follow the instructions and advice of your doctor and medical team. The insurance company is looking for a way to demonstrate that your injuries are not as serious as you say they are, and you do not want to encourage them in their efforts.
- Avoid social media. The insurance company is adept at misinterpreting statements and photos to their own advantage.
- It is also a good idea to give the insurance company a pass when they ask for a formal statement. Instead of providing the insurance company with material it can mold to whatever meaning it chooses, allow your truck accident lawyer to handle the insurance company – while you tend to the important task of regaining your health and well-being.
If you have been injured in a truck accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, seeking the professional legal counsel that you need to reach your fullest recovery is paramount. The formidable truck accident lawyers at The Patel Firm recognize the difficult path forward that you face and are committed to harnessing the full force of their impressive experience in the skilled pursuit of your claim’s best possible resolution. Your claim is important, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at (361) 400-2036 for more information about how we can help you today.