Do you get nervous when you’re near a semi-truck on the freeway?
That’s normal, considering semi-trucks can weigh up to 40,000 pounds. And they require a stopping distance, measuring around two or three cars in length.
Indeed, they can be dangerous when their drivers lose control.
If you’re unfortunate to be involved in a semi-truck accident in Texas, it’s essential to know what steps to take afterward. This article is for you.
And even if you’re lucky never to have experienced it, this article can give you the knowledge to prepare should such a disaster occur.
What Causes Rear-End Truck Collisions
A semi-truck driver cannot perform evasive action for various reasons. He couldn’t see the other vehicles or lost control of his truck.
The common causes of this type of semi-truck accident include the following:
- Driving too fast, resulting in loss of control
- Failure to yield
- The driver was using his phone or fiddling with the radio
- Unfavorable road conditions like slippery surfaces or treacherous slopes
- Hostile environmental factors like heavy rain, fog, or snow
- Drowsy or sleepy while driving
- Changing lanes abruptly, to the surprise of the other drivers
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Mechanical issues with the truck
- Driver’s inexperience or error
What Are the Common Injuries Sustained After a Rear-End Collision
Many things can happen in an accident involving a huge semi-trailer truck. Given its size and weight, it’s bound to create a lot of damage if its driver loses control and it rams onto other vehicles.
Apart from property damage, the victims will likely incur injuries. However, the type and severity of these injuries will depend on the impact sustained.
Here are some of the common injuries after a rear-end collision.
Bruises, Cuts, or Lacerations
Broken glass or shards of metal can go flying after a collision. It could strike the car occupants, causing cuts, bruises, and lacerations. What’s scary about this situation is when the sharp bits enter the eyes, causing blindness or hitting major arteries or veins.
The impact of the collision can cause the occupants to lurch around inside the car. In addition to bruises from flying debris, the violent force may cause broken bones.
Spine or Neck Injuries
Whiplash is a common injury in a car collision, resulting from a sudden, violent head jerking. It may take days or weeks for its symptoms to emerge. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
Internal Organ Injury
Blunt trauma can cause internal bleeding. This injury is scary since it is typically not visible from the outside. If not proper medical treatment is received, the victim could suffer from hemorrhagic shock or death.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Arguably, traumatic brain injury is the worst injury that a car occupant can have after a semi-truck accident. It causes a wide range of symptoms, which include convulsions or seizures.
Always Call 911
If you’re fortunate to survive a semi-truck accident, get yourself to safety.
First, ensure no broken bones, life-threatening wounds, or debilitating injuries. Then go to the side where it’s safe and call 911.
If others may need assistance, please attend to them. But be careful of potentially injuring them. Make sure it’s okay for them to move about.
When calling 911, inform the operator about the accident and the extent of your injuries, if any. It also helps to advise the operator of the presence of other injured accident victims.
It’s also best to have law enforcement officers at the scene of the accident. The purpose is to put on record the fact that the semi-truck driver caused damage.
Should You Pursue the Runaway Semi-Truck Driver
There are instances where the semi-truck driver was unaware that he collided with another vehicle and caused damage. Given the size of his truck, he may not have noticed the collision.
On the other hand, some drivers intentionally flee the scene of the accident to escape liability.
In both cases, please resist the urge to pursue the driver, especially in the second case, where he intentionally flees the scene. He will most likely be aggressively driving to get away from you as far as possible to avoid responsibility.
Just ensure you get his license plate number and the make and model of his truck.
It also helps to document the damage. You’ll need it when filing a claim against the driver and his employer.
You don’t need to put yourself in a dangerous situation by pursuing the semi-truck driver. Since transport routes can be traced, you can go to the trucking company and get the driver’s name.
Pull over to the side of the road when you get hit by a semi-truck driver on a fast-moving freeway. Make sure you are safe and secure, then call the police. If you have injuries, seek medical attention as well.
Document Your Injuries and Damage to Your Vehicle
After safely maneuvering to the side of the road, check yourself for injuries. You can take a video of yourself immediately as you examine for bruises, wounds, or broken bones.
When you’re in the clear for bodily injuries, disembark from your car and document any damage. Check the bumper and the sides of your vehicle. Take photos or videos of any dents and scratches. This will be crucial proof when filing a claim with your insurance provider.
What to Do If the Semi-Truck Driver Stops
Your objective is to exchange information with the driver. Ask him for his name, the trucking company he works for, and contact information. You also need to obtain his insurance information and truck registration.
If you can find witnesses at the scene of the accident, it helps to have their names and contact information too. You should contact them as they help build a case against the driver at fault.
Contacting your insurance provider is the next recourse. After all, you deserve to get financial and medical compensation after going through an unfortunate experience.
Be sure to have all the information ready to submit to your insurer. Include all receipts for your medical treatment, hospitalization, and therapy.
It Helps to Have Legal Representation
In most instances, discussing your case with a semi-truck accident lawyer in Houston would be best.
Semi-truck accidents fall under a special category that requires specialized knowledge and familiarity from the lawyer. Strict regulations call for a careful study to develop a strong case.
So if you want a better chance of success in your compensation claim, talk to a semi-truck accident attorney.
Proving the Driver’s Negligence in Semi-Truck Accidents in Texas
To win in your personal injury compensation claim, you must prove negligence on the part of the semi-truck driver.
There are four elements of negligence that you must prove in court.
First, you must show that the semi-truck driver had the duty to act in a particular manner to avoid causing bodily injuries or property damage to other road users, including you.
This means the driver must adhere to traffic regulations and exercise care to ensure others on the road are not harmed.
Second, you must demonstrate that the driver breached his duty to exercise care. This means he should have observed the rules for safe driving.
Third, you must establish that the driver’s breach of duty to exercise care caused the accident.
Lastly, you need to exhibit your physical injuries or property damage which resulted from the accident.
Gathering Evidence to Support Your Compensation Claim
Are you looking to file a claim for damages?
You will need all the documentation and records you can get to support your compensation claim.
The first document you must secure is the accident report. This is an official account of what happened. It’s hard to dispute it since it is the police that executed this report.
You also need to secure copies of your medical records and bills. To file a compensation claim for your treatment, it must be supported with documents showing that you underwent treatment and paid for it.
You must also maintain records to obtain compensation for lost earnings or wages due to missed work. The court will likely only grant your claim if you present proof that there was a diminished capacity to perform work and you lost earnings as a result.
You can also claim damages for the pain and suffering you went through.
In addition, you can seek compensation for future medical expenses if the nature of your injuries requires continuous treatment or rehabilitation.
You can also claim more if you suffer permanent scarring or disfigurement, long-term disability, or diminished quality of life.
These injury claims are complicated. You must consult a semi-truck accident lawyer in Houston in all these instances.
Rear-End Truck Collisions Can Be Devastating
Imagine a colossal truck weighing 40,000 tons backing up on your car while you’re aboard it. That is a scary experience.
If you were in a semi-truck accident in Texas, you have a few legal avenues that you can pursue. From filing a claim with your insurance provider to seeking a compensation claim in court.