Did you know that Texas has the highest number of fatal crashes involving big trucks in the US? In 2016, 108 people were killed in Texas as a result of an 18-wheeler crash. The next highest state is California, with less than half as many deaths.
18-wheeler trucks can weigh up to 20 times as much as the average car, so you can imagine the amount of damage they can cause, especially when they are driving on the highway (where most of these crashes occur), going at a high rate of speed.
If you have been injured in an 18-wheeler accident or your loved one has died as a result of a truck accident, you should consider hiring a Houston truck accident attorney. They can ensure you get the compensation you or your family deserve, especially if the accident was the fault of the truck driver.
Read on to learn more about how to build your case.
Causes of Large Truck Accidents
It’s important to understand the cause of the truck accident, as that will determine the liability of the driver and other drivers (and you, if you are in any way at fault). Insurance companies will look for any way to reduce the liability of their driver, so you will need to show that the truck driver was negligent in causing your accident.
Your lawyer will be able to determine this. Some of the common causes of truck accidents include:
- Distracted driving (e.g., texting, talking on a cell phone, reaching for something, etc.)
- Failing to obey traffic signals and signs
- Excessive speed
- Driving unsafe for weather conditions (e.g., rain, snow, ice, fog)
- Driver fatigue and failing to follow hours of service regulations
- Sudden stopping or swerving
- Driving under the influence
- Vehicle defects
- Cargo shifts or spills
When a truck driver is at fault for an accident, both they and the trucking company they are driving for could be held at fault. If the truck driver is an employee of a company, they could also be held liable, especially if the equipment is unsafe or the driver is not following proper safety regulations and allowable driving time.
What to Do After an Accident
After you have been in a truck accident, you need to take care of yourself first. Take these steps after being involved in a collision with a truck:
Get Medical Treatment
If you have serious injuries, seek medical attention right away. If someone hasn’t already called the police, make sure you do so. When the police and first responders arrive, let them assess your injuries.
If you have severe injuries, you may need to be transported to the emergency room via ambulance. If your injuries are minor, you might choose to have paramedics triage your injuries and then seek medical care on your own after handling the accident details.
Whatever you do, make sure you get documentation of your injuries and any medical treatment you receive.
Exchange Information with the Driver
Just as you would in a crash with a passenger vehicle, you should exchange contact and insurance information with the driver of the truck. Not only do you need information about the driver, but you should also note their employer or trucking company they are driving for.
If your injuries are not severe, take the time while you are waiting for police to arrive to document the accident. Take photos and video of the damage to the vehicles, property, and the immediate scene. Take close-up photos and wider angle shots to get as much detail as possible.
You should also make a note of all of the details you can remember about the accident, including:
- Exact day and time
- Weather conditions
- What direction you were driving and what direction the truck was driving
- Other relevant details
If there are any witnesses, get their information as well. Their contact information will likely be in the police report, but in case it isn’t, you will want it for your own records and to provide to your attorney.
Don’t Speak to the Insurance Company
While you will need to contact your own insurance company to report the accident, you should not communicate with the insurance company of the truck driver other than to report the accident if the driver does not.
Beyond that, do not communicate with them. Anything you say to them can be used against you later or used to deny your insurance claim.
Contact a Houston Truck Accident Attorney
As soon as possible after the accident, contact an experienced truck accident attorney. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner they can start working on your case, and the more likely it will be that you and any witnesses remember details. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to investigate the accident.
Your attorney will help you build your case by:
- Investigating the accident to determine fault (a good attorney will have investigators that they work with and may even work with accident reconstruction specialists)
- Looking into the driving record of the driver to determine if this is a pattern of behavior
- Investigate the trucking company if it is suspected that the accident was due to their negligence
- Estimate your costs (e.g., medical expenses, including current and future, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.)
If the insurance company refuses to settle or does not provide an adequate settlement amount, you may choose to take your case to trial. Because of this, it’s important that your attorney has litigation and trial experience.
Take Actions to Protect Yourself After an Accident
An accident involving an 18-wheeler can have a significant negative impact on your life. Injuries, missed work, and permanent disability can result. Our Houston truck accident lawyers care about you and your family and we understand. If you have been in an accident, you should consider speaking with a Houston truck accident attorney to make sure that you get everything that you are entitled to.
Contact us today and schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Our truck accident lawyer has almost two decades of experience in personal injury claims and truck accident cases. My personal injury law firm can help you get back on track with your trucking accident claim. We provide a no pressure and no hassle free consultation and free case evaluation for accident injury claim so call today!