It is safe to say that no one anticipates getting into an accident when they leave their home. If you suffered an injury from an 18-wheeler, it is important to speak with a Tyler truck accident attorney about the details of your case.
In Texas, it is estimated that at least one person dies about every two hours each day from a vehicle collision. With a massive shortage of truck drivers to haul cargo through each state, one would expect truck accidents to have decreased. However, there is no evidence to suggest that truck accidents have decreased significantly, or even at all. This means that hundreds of people are still subjected to dangerous truck accidents each year. In the event that you are in such an accident, it is essential to hire an experienced truck accident attorney in Tyler, Texas.
Although there is no shortage of personal injury lawyers, hiring one of the best in town is in your best interest.
What Causes Tyler, TX Truck Accidents
It is true that trucks in Texas have some of the lowest reported rates of accident injuries and fatalities. But the fact that there are still hundreds of truck-related accidents causing injury each year means that there is room for improvement. Many truck accidents occurring today, just like any other accident, are totally preventable.
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Improper maintenance—when workers or companies fail to regularly service their vehicle’s equipment like brakes or tires;
- Defective parts—when automotive parts come defective and fail while the truck is transporting a load;
- Traffic violations—when a driver is speeding, runs a red light or stop sign, etc.;
- Improper loading—when a driver loses control of the vehicle because the cargo’s weight is not evenly distributed;
- Overloaded cargo—when a truck is overloaded, it can also cause instability;
- Driver fatigue—when a driver is on the road for long periods of time with no break or rest causing them to begin falling asleep while driving;
- Driving under the influence—when a driver is impaired from using alcohol, drugs, over-the-counter medications, or prescription medications;
- Weather and road conditions—when adverse weather and road hazards can contribute to an accident;
- Distracted driving—using a cell phone while driving or doing anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the road; and
- Inadequate driver training—companies may opt for quantity over quality, leaving inexperienced drivers on the road after completion of a short driver training course.
Any of these incidents alone is a recipe for disaster. The resulting collision may wreak havoc on someone’s life and significantly reduce their quality of living.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Although trucks have some of the lowest reported rates of crash-related fatalities, colliding with a truck can cause serious damage. Some injuries attributable to truck accidents are:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs);
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis;
- Cuts and lacerations;
- Orthopedic and cervical injuries;
- Broken bones;
- Soft tissue damage;
- Internal organ damage, and
- Chronic disabilities.
These injuries are serious and may require lifelong treatment or rehabilitation. We believe that the person or company liable for your injuries should be responsible for your bills and your pain and suffering. That is why we fight for clients like you to get what they deserve.
What to Do After a Truck Accident in Tyler, TX
The steps you take immediately following a truck accident are important and can impact your claim for damages.
Contact the Police
The first thing you should do if someone else has not already called is to contact the police and alert them that there are injuries.
You must exchange information with the truck driver and other parties involved in the collision. You should ask for their name, address, commercial driver’s license information, employer, insurance, etc. If any witnesses stopped, be sure to ask for their information as well. Sometimes, witnesses cannot wait until the police arrive. You will want to get their contact information before they leave the scene.
Take Scene Photos
Scene photos can be important pieces of evidence in your claim. If you can do so safely without further injuring yourself, take photos of the vehicle damage and the surrounding scene. Include all physical damage to all vehicles, skidmarks, debris, and more. If there is anything notable about the scene, be sure to include photos.
Be Cautious of What You Say
It is imperative to watch what you say to the other driver and the police. Even saying “I’m sorry,” could be misinterpreted as admitting fault. Do not inadvertently say something that could jeopardize your case. Stick to the facts and do not embellish or say anything more than what is asked of you.
Report the Accident
You should file a report with your insurance company and start a claim with the driver’s carrier or employer. It is best to file a claim right away. The defendant’s insurance company or employee claims representative will likely pressure you for a recorded statement. Do not agree to give a statement without legal representation. The claims adjuster is looking for you to say something that will allow them to place additional blame on you.
Seek Timely Medical Treatment
If you do not require emergency transport from the scene, you need to see a doctor immediately if you are hurt. Do not delay any medical treatment. Otherwise, the defendant’s insurance company or employer will use that against you. If you wait too long to see a doctor, they will allege something else caused your injuries after the truck accident.
Contact a Tyler Truck Accident Attorney
You should contact a Tyler truck accident lawyer at Armstrong, Lee & Baker LLP following an accident. The sooner you hire a lawyer to represent you, the sooner we can protect your rights. You need a legal advocate on your side who is not afraid to go up against these large trucking companies. When you have a lawyer representing you, we will handle all communication with the insurance companies and defense lawyers, so you don’t have to. That includes settlement negotiations as well.
Proving Liability in a Truck Accident
Before you will receive any compensation for your injuries, you must prove the defendants are liable for your injuries. If you are pursuing a negligence claim, you must provide evidence that supports the following four elements:
- The defendants owed you a legal duty of care;
- The defendants breached their legal duty to you;
- The breach resulted in the accident and your injuries; and
- You have verifiable proof of damages.
You must successfully prove all four elements, or the defendants may not have to pay you any money. However, it is important to point out that Texas allows you to collect some compensation even if you are partially at fault for the collision. This is known as comparative negligence. Texas is a modified comparative negligence state with a 51% threshold. That means you can collect a portion of your damages as long as you are not more than 50% at fault.
Your percentage of liability will reduce your settlement or trial award. Consider an example where a jury decides you are 20% at fault. You would receive 80% of your damages. If the jury decides you are 60% at fault, you would receive no money at all.
The defendant’s insurance adjuster will do everything possible to place more than 50% of the blame onto you. If they can push your liability over 50%, the insurance company will have no exposure and owe you nothing. That is why it is crucial to have a skilled lawyer representing you and protecting your rights.
What You Can Recover
Dealing with injuries stemming from an accident is never easy. Truck accident survivors need compensation for their injury-related expenses. We are here to fight for you to receive compensation for a number of damages, including:
- Loss of current and future wages;
- Medical bills;
- Pain and suffering;
- Rehabilitation, and
- Mental health treatment.
Whether we obtain a settlement for you or take your case all the way to trial depends on your needs and the liable party’s offer. We will not hesitate to file suit on your behalf to get you everything that the at-fault party owes you.
Not every case ends up making it to trial. In fact, most cases end up settling out of court, with only about 3-4% going to trial. Ultimately, the important thing is obtaining compensation for the damages you incurred as a result of the truck accident.
Our attorneys will conduct a comprehensive review of your case to ensure that all your bills are accounted for. Armstrong Lee & Baker LLP will take your case all the way from consultation to trial. Cases generally involve the following stages:
- Investigation—the preliminary phase of your case when your attorney gathers evidence to bolster your case;
- Treatment—the period immediately following the accident and beyond when you seek medical assistance for your injuries;
- Demand—the letter that your Tyler truck accident lawyer sends to the insurance company after completing their investigation of the facts of the case;
- Negotiation—the period after the demand is sent and the liable party begins negotiating a settlement offer with your attorney;
- Settlement—the phase that your case reaches if an appropriate settlement offer is received and your Tyler truck accident attorney drafts a settlement agreement to close the case; and
- Filing suit/Trial—the period that you reach if negotiation fails and your case is brought before either a judge or jury to determine liability and an appropriate award.
Even if you end up filing a lawsuit, you can continue to negotiate with the opposing party to reach a settlement before trial. Your attorney will go through any questions you may have about this process. Although it may seem lengthy, all these steps get you closer to the case’s conclusion.
What Compensation Can I Expect?
One of the most asked questions that people have after hiring an attorney is how much their case is worth. Your settlement amount or reward is based on several factors:
- The extent of your injuries and how they affect your life;
- The total amount of your bills and lost wages;
- The amount of any reasonably anticipated future medical bills and lost wages;
- The amount of insurance available from the liable party;
- Whether you had any preexisting medical conditions; and
- Whether you share any fault for the accident.
Although some people expect to receive millions of dollars for their case, those results depend on a number of factors. Your attorney will go through your case to give you a realistic idea of the amount of compensation to expect.
Statute of Limitations for Texas Truck Accidents
As with other types of personal injury accidents, you have only a limited amount of time to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault parties in an 18-wheeler accident. One of the most important legal deadlines is the statute of limitations. In most situations, you have only two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit. Limited scenarios might alter the filing deadline. However, it might be shorter, not longer.
Missing this deadline means you likely will not receive any compensation for your injuries. The court will most likely dismiss your case. It does not matter if you are currently negotiating with the defendant’s insurance company either. The adjuster will ask for proof that you filed a claim before the statute of limitations expired. If you cannot produce proof, they are under no legal obligation to offer you any money, even if they had been willing to do so before the statute of limitations had passed.
Our Tyler truck accident attorneys will help ensure you do not miss any important deadlines. That is why we recommend hiring a lawyer at the start of your case rather than a year or so into the claims process.
Tyler Truck Accident Attorney
Your search for a “trucker lawyer near me” ends here. Not only will you get a dedicated lawyer working on your case, but you will have an attorney that is familiar with Tyler, TX truck accidents.
Our attorneys at Armstrong Lee & Baker LLP have worked with local clients just like you to obtain the maximum amount of compensation available. You can reach our office by phone call or via text. You can also reach us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Call us today to get a free consultation from an experienced truck accident lawyer.Tyler, Texas’s best will be on the other end.
Txdot.gov Motor Vehicle Crash Statistics in Texas from 2021CBSnews.com Massive Shortage of Truck Drivers