More often than not, 18-wheeler accidents are attributed to the negligence and carelessness of the truck divers or trucking companies they work for. If you or someone you know is suffering from the consequences of being involved in an 18-wheeler collision, it’s crucial to call a lawyer today.
At Dibrell Graham Law, we are highly knowledgeable in the field of trucking collisions. We know all the tricks and tactics insurance companies and motor carriers use to avoid liability, and we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. We will provide you with all of the information necessary to begin the process of recovery.
Contact Dibrell Graham Law today to bring you one step closer to winning your 18-wheeler truck collision case.
Why trucks are different
An 18-wheeler collision case is very different from a regular car accident. This is because there are laws in place that hold truck drivers to specific standards. State and Federal Laws have strict regulations on the maintenance and upkeep of 18-wheeler vehicles. One of these regulations is for truck drivers to fill out pre-trip and post-trip vehicle inspection reports. Often times, these reports reveal negligence and become crucial pieces of evidence in an 18-wheeler collision case. A trucking lawyer can send out a “spoliation notice” to ensure that the trucking company is under a duty to preserve all evidence.
More severe injuries
Due to the size of these vehicles, it’s no surprise that 18-wheeler collisions lead to more catastrophic injures and more frequent fatalities than regular passenger vehicles. The average 18-wheeler weighs 20-30 times more than the average car. With the increase in weight comes the increase in damages and costs associated with the accident. This can result in a higher settlement for the victim.
The possibility of multiple parties at fault
The trucking industry is a layered industry with many cogs in its machine. From haulage brokers, to shipping firms, to loaders, managers, and safety personnel, each role is meant to assure a safe drive for the truck driver and the other drivers on the road. However, if one or several employees make even the slightest mistake, it can lead to a catastrophic accident. That’s another point that makes this type of trucking accident unique—more than one party may be held liable. An injured victim or loved one may be able to file for compensation against multiple parties. It’s important to hold all those involved accountable, and a well-informed lawyer can help you do that.
As noted above, there are regulations for nearly every aspect of the trucking industry. Some of these include:
- Cargo types
- Cargo weight limits
- Truck size
- Maximum speed limits
- Cargo loading processes
- Safety protocols for both the cargo and truckers
- Maximum number of hours that truckers can drive in one day
When a trucker’s negligence leads to an accident, your attorney must be familiar with the regulations to hold the trucking company accountable.
Common 18-wheeler accidents
Semi-trucks and 18-wheelers are responsible for more accidents in Texas than any other type of vehicle. This is largely due to their enormous size, and the length that drivers are behind the wheel during a drive. Although most drives end safely, when they don’t, it can lead to severe injury or sudden death.
The most common causes of truck accidents are driver fatigue, overloaded trucks, and rear-end truck collisions. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or has died because of a semi-truck collision, it’s crucial that you call a lawyer today to figure out the next steps.
Drivers face unique risks from 18-wheelers and semi-trucks. The speed and the weight of the vehicles are factors alone, not to mention the potential exposure to hazardous chemicals and other dangerous materials.
The three main types of semi-truck and 18-wheeler collisions are:
- Head-on crashes
- Rear-end crashes
- Side-impact wrecks
Regardless of the type of accident you or a loved one has faced, the right lawyer can help you get the fair compensation you deserve.
Who is liable in an 18-wheeler wreck?
When an employee is involved in a wreck, their company often takes on the burden of responsibility as well. So, often times, both the driver and the company are responsible for the 18-wheeler crash. The driver will be liable for negligence if it was a factor in the accident and the company may be responsible for:
- Negligent supervision
- Negligent hiring practices
- Failure to verify proper licensing/ certification
- Improperly training drivers
- Failure to maintain the vehicle
How long can an 18-wheeler claim take?
The duration of time an 18-wheeler collision claim can take varies depending on multiple factors such as: the cause of the accident, the type of injuries suffered, the number of liable parties, and the experience and skill of the truck accident lawyer.
The standard claims protocol is as follows:
- The truck firm’s insurance investigation: The truck’s insurance company will send people to investigate the case to try and protect themselves and offer you the lowest possible settlement.
- Initial offer: If the insurance company sees that their client is responsible for the collision, they’ll make an offer for a settlement. Never, under any circumstances, should you take this meeting without a lawyer present. These companies will offer you significantly less than you are entitled to. The right lawyer can get you a fair settlement.
- Counteroffer: If working with a vehicle lawyer, your lawyer will contest the offer and make a counter that benefits you.
- Litigation and court case: If the insurance company refuses to settle with an amount that you deserve, your attorney may have to take them to court. If there were fatalities involved in the crash, your lawyer will also file a wrongful death suit.
- Final Settlement: Eventually, all parties will reach an agreement. More often than not, truck companies like to settle out of court, but your lawyer may be able to seek punitive damages if there is clear evidence of reckless behavior.
Damages you can claim in an 18-wheeler case
In the state of Texas, you are able to claim damages even if you’re liable for 50% of the accident.
If involved in a truck accident, you or your loved one can claim economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include the cost of all medical treatment, loss of household services, loss of potential income-earning ability, loss of wages, and any property damages.
Non-Economic damages include pain and suffering in the past and future, loss of quality of life (impairment), loss of consortium (spousal responsibilities and companionship), mental anxiety, and loss of society (only in the event of a wrongful death).
How long do you have to file for an 18-wheeler accident claim?
The statute of limitations in the state of Texas for a truck accident claim is two years. Therefore, you have two years from the date of the accident to file your claim. In rare cases, the statute of limitations may be extended, such as when a child is injured. Get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible if you or a loved one has been in a truck collision.
Contact a skilled Texas 18-wheeler attorney
If you or someone you know is suffering the repercussions of a crash with an 18-wheeler, the lawyers at Dibrell Graham Law can help (512) 522-5330. Our skilled attorney will fight for you to get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.