Mesquite Truck Accident Lawyer Representing Victims Seeking Justice After Being Hurt By Someone Else’s Negligence
According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), approximately 12.6% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents in Texas in 2019 involved a commercial truck. That means Texas leads the nation in terms of truck accident fatalities. As concerning as these numbers may be, it is important for truck accident victims to know their rights to recover compensation for their injuries. Learn how truck accident claims work in Texas and the crucial role an attorney can play in helping you pursue compensation.
What Kind Of Truck Accidents Happen More Frequently In Texas?
There are approximately 200,000 commercial trucks in Texas, each one of them weighing about 35,000 pounds when hooked up to an empty trailer. A large passenger vehicle weighs no more than 4,400 pounds, so any type of collision between a semi-truck and a passenger vehicle can be very serious and often deadly, especially for the passenger car.
That being said, jackknife accidents, rollovers, rear-end collisions, and semi truck accidents with front-end collisions are some of the most common types of accidents involving trucks. A rollover accident is potentially catastrophic, and it happens when the trailer forces the truck to roll on its side. The sheer size and weight of a fully loaded semi-truck make rear-end collisions equally serious because a truck requires a longer distance in order to come to a complete stop.
Rear-end collisions can occur due to errors made by the truck driver as well as the passenger vehicle driver – if the car driver cuts in front of the truck and suddenly applies their brakes, the truck may not be able to stop. Likewise, if the truck is going too fast or the driver is distracted and fails to notice the vehicle in front of them has come to a stop, the truck could end up hitting that vehicle from behind.
When a truck drifts from its lane toward oncoming traffic or fails to stop at an intersection, a head-on collision could occur, large truck accidents are typically due to either driver error or mechanical failures. Finally, a jackknife accident happens when the truck trailer comes to a sudden stop, and the trailer itself continues accelerating, causing the truck and trailer to fold at a 90-degree angle. The sweeping motion of the trailer could cause it to collide with other vehicles, making it a serious situation.
Do Trucks Really Have A Black Box?
An important fact that many people may not know is that most modern trucks are equipped with a device that works in a similar manner as a black box on an aircraft, recording important data about the truck and how it was being operated in the moments before an accident occurred. This “black box” is called an EDR or event data recorder, and it is actually a read-write memory card system installed onboard the truck by the manufacturer.
It is designed to detect sudden changes in most diesel engines, such as a sudden change in wheel speeds, engine failures, or other unusual conditions that could indicate an accident. It also records other data such as whether the seatbelt was being used, the steering angle, the truck’s speed, and the use of brakes. Some models may even have GPS positioning and other information that could help investigators get a clear picture of what was happening in the moments leading to the accident, during the accident, and afterward.
All of this data is crucial to help determine liability for the accident. However, the EDR data belongs to the party who owns the truck – typically the truck owner/operator or the trucking company, and it is not unusual for EDR data to be destroyed shortly after the accident. A truck accident attorney needs to act quickly to ensure the EDR data will be preserved and that the data can be accessed and used for evidence, which usually requires a court order. This is another reason why it is best to reach out to a Mesquite truck accident lawyer shortly after the accident takes place – the longer you wait, the more likely it will be that crucial pieces of evidence, such as EDR data, may be lost or destroyed.
Why Is Filing A Truck Accident Claim More Challenging Than A Car Accident Claim?
When you’ve been involved in a car accident, chances are you may be filing an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance or, in some cases, with your own insurance company. Some cases may require legal action, but there are rarely multiple claims and multiple responsible parties to be dealt with in a auto accident. On the other hand, a truck accident almost always has multiple parties that may share responsibility for it.
For example, suppose you were injured in a truck accident where the truck was driven by an employee of a trucking company. In this case, you may find it necessary to file an insurance claim against the employee’s insurance carrier and the trucking company’s insurance carrier. Upon further investigation, it is determined that the trucking accident was caused in part by cargo that was improperly loaded and shifted in transit, causing the trailer to become unbalanced and roll over. Now, the logistics company that loaded the trailer may also be a responsible party in the accident – and the list goes on. This is one of many reasons why a truck accident case can be substantially more challenging than a car accident and requires the knowledge and legal skills of a seasoned truck accident attorney
What Kind Of Losses Does A Truck Accident Claim Cover?
Truck accidents can leave victims with devastating personal injuries and extensive losses that impact their physical well-being and their financial and emotional wellness. For these reasons, most truck accident victims may be entitled to compensation for their damages. Standard damages are usually divided into two categories: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic or monetary damages are the actual financial losses directly resulting from the accident. Someone who sustains serious injuries from a recent truck accident may require emergency medical help and a hospital stay, with some cases requiring extensive surgeries and a long recovery process. Some truck accident victims may never fully recover and end up sustaining some form of partial or total disability and need long-term rehabilitation or the help of a home health aide. Medical bills and the past and future costs of medical treatment are examples of economic losses. Other examples can include lost wages, loss of future earning ability, and property damage (including the cost of repairing or replacing a vehicle).
While the financial impact of a truck accident can be significant, the entire event creates more than physical scars and medical bills. An injury and the recovery process can cause a lot of pain and suffering, and the accident itself is usually the cause of endless amounts of trauma, stress, and emotional pain that directly affect the victim’s quality of life for months, sometimes years. These emotional factors, along with physical pain, are some examples of non-economic damages. While no amount of money can undo what happened, non-economic damages are the closest thing to providing restitution for such a traumatic event.
In some truck accident cases, there may be a third category of damages available in cases where gross negligence can be proven. Gross negligence occurs when a defendant acts in a reckless manner in spite of knowing that their actions are dangerous, illegal, or may cause harm or serious injury to others.
For example, if a truck driver decides to have one too many beers before getting behind the wheel, that person knows what they are doing is dangerous as well as illegal, and they choose to do it anyway. If their behavior leads to a serious accident, it could be considered gross negligence. If that is the case, the court may also order the defendant to pay punitive damages in addition to standard damages.
Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant and prevent similar behavior from happening in the future. This category of damages is not available for every case, so it is important to speak with your personal injury attorney to learn what type of damages may be available for your specific case.
What Is The Deadline For Filing A Truck Accident Claim In Texas?
In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims (including truck accidents) is two years from the date when the accident happened. In short, a statute of limitations is a legal deadline that applies to tort law cases and defines how long a plaintiff has to take legal action. With very few exceptions, a plaintiff who allows the statute of limitations to expire may likely have their case barred, meaning they will not be able to seek compensation because their case may be dismissed right away.
Two years may seem like a long time, but the truth is that a Mesquite truck accident lawyer needs to have enough time to conduct an investigation of the accident and retrieve key pieces of evidence to build your case. It is the victim’s job to prove that the defendant was negligent and caused the accident and damages, and the longer you wait, the harder it may be to recover crucial evidence. It is in your best interest to reach out to a Mesquite truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Why Should I Choose To Work With An Attorney For My Case?
As you can see, truck accident claims are more challenging than other types of motor vehicle accident claims and require the help of a professional who knows the laws that apply to your case and has access to experts that can aid with the investigation process and hold the at-fault parties responsible for your damages. In addition, trucking companies are no strangers to accident claims and are quick to protect themselves with a team of attorneys who are ready to fight back, and you need to do the same.
At the Oberg Law Office, Attorney Gregg Oberg has helped countless truck accident victims in Mesquite, Texas, and surrounding areas recover fair compensation for their truck accident injuries. If you have been hurt in a truck accident, you need a strong and knowledgeable legal ally for your case. Don’t fight the trucking company alone! Contact the Oberg Law Office by calling 972-682-9700 and requesting a no-commitment consultation to discuss your case and see how we can help you.