Has a semi-truck hit you?
Are you wondering if you can file a case against the driver?
This article will discuss what you can do after getting into a semi-truck accident.
Collision with a Semi-Truck
You shouldn’t have to shoulder your medical costs if you have been a victim of a semi-truck driver’s reckless driving behavior.
It would be best if you didn’t worry about your lost wages or reduced earning capacity due to your injuries. And more importantly, you don’t have to stress about your future medical or rehabilitation expenses.
All these things are the erring driver’s responsibility.
An experienced semi-truck accident lawyer in Houston can help you pursue a personal injury case against the liable parties.
Whose Fault or Negligence Is It Anyway
In a typical auto accident case between two cars, the driver at fault is the one liable for the payment of damages.
But this conclusion doesn’t apply where the party at fault is a semi-truck driver. It’s complicated.
In the semi-truck case, several parties may be liable to pay for damages. It’s not just the driver at fault. Instead, you also include the driver’s employer, the trucking company. You may also have the manufacturer of the truck or its parts. And you can include more parties in the personal injury case for their potential liability.
Fault or Negligence of the Semi-Truck Driver
Accidents happen. And negligence is usually the cause of these unwanted occurrences.
You have several reasons behind accidents with semi-trucks. These reasons include excessive speeding on the part of the driver. He could also be distracted because he used his phone while operating his truck. Or he could be tired and exhausted because he drove more than 20 hours without resting.
Initially, you look to the driver for the payment of damages. After all, he was at fault and the party responsible for inflicting injuries or destroying your property.
However, the claim for compensation continues beyond there.
Most truck drivers are trucking company employees, even if they have the label “independent contractors” in their working relationship.
As the employer, the company is responsible for its truck driver’s actions while performing his duties.
Under the law, the at-fault driver’s liability is also the truck company’s liability.
So what does this mean for you?
You can file an action against the truck driver, his employer, or both for damages.
In addition, you can also sue the companies that manufactured the truck or its parts if the cause of the accident could be traced to the truck’s malfunction or its parts.
Determining the Party to Sue in Semi-Truck Accidents in Texas
Which party should you sue following a semi-truck accident in the Lone Star State?
The process starts with an investigation followed by pursuing a claim with the insurance provider. If that’s not an available option, you can take your case to court for recovery of damages.
In these steps, it’s best to have a semi-truck accident lawyer in Houston to help you.
1. Investigation and Building a Case
You will need to gather all the evidence to support your cause of action. For the court to appreciate the facts about the accident, you need to present proof.
The investigation process begins at the crash site. You need to take photos and videos of the crash.
Check out the vehicles involved in the crash, focusing on the impact and damage to your car. You should also take pics of the skid marks on the road to get an image of how the crash progressed.
Look for witnesses who may get pictures or videos of the crash as it happened. Check the area of surveillance cameras as well. You can use the footage to support your claim that the semi-truck driver was at fault.
You’ll need those police reports and driver’s logs as well. So try to get copies of them.
If it shows that the driver was on the clock when the accident happened, it means he was performing his duties to his employer. You could also be looking at filing a case against the trucking company.
2. Filing an Insurance Claim
The truck driver and his employer may offer to settle with you. Speak with them and see what they put forward. However, know that they are likely to propose the least amount possible.
In this regard, never agree to anything. Don’t sign any agreement, proposal, or paperwork.
When asked, only reply with facts. And always confer with a semi-truck accident lawyer in Houston.
3. Negotiating a Settlement
If the truck driver and his employer are willing to negotiate, prepare your counteroffer.
Their settlement offer may start at a small amount. So it’s up to you to state your concerns and interests and tender your counter-proposal.
Accept it if their offer is fair and reasonable and your attorney agrees. If you’re already happy with their offer, you don’t have to go through a protracted legal battle.
4. Taking Your Claim to Court
On the other hand, if you’re not satisfied with their offer, you don’t have to accept it. You can bring your case to court and file for recovery of damages against the truck driver and his employer, among others.
At this stage, you need a semi-truck accident lawyer in Houston to help you pursue your case and get the compensation you deserve.
Possible Factors of Semi-Truck Accidents in Texas
Human error and gross negligence are often the causes of semi-truck accidents in Texas. But that’s just saying in general terms. To narrow them down, here are the possible factors.
Truck drivers follow a strict schedule. They need to meet delivery demands within a certain period; otherwise, they will get an earful.
So to keep up with their tight schedule, they must drive fast. Unfortunately, speeding can likely lead to losing control of their truck, which may result in a catastrophe.
2. Improper Placement of the Truckload
When you improperly place the load, it creates an imbalance on the truck. This makes it challenging to maneuver, especially in unfavorable road conditions.
3. Distracted Driving
Calling or texting on the phone while driving is dangerous. More so for truckers who operate big vehicles. These two activities take their eyes off the road.
And it’s not just limited to cell phone use. Truckers often find themselves fiddling with their radio to communicate with other drivers.
Some drivers also zone out as a result of monotony.
These aspects let the mind wander, losing focus on the task.
Distracted drivers may suddenly find themselves scrambling to gain control of their trucks. Losing control may result in a collision.
4. Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
Typically, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Texas is 0.08 percent. If you reach this level, you are considered legally intoxicated and should not be operating a motor vehicle.
But the BAC limit for semi-truck drivers is different. It is 0.04 percent, which is half the limit for regular drivers.
It makes sense to have a stricter policy on alcohol consumption for semi-truck drivers. The size of the vehicle they are operating creates more significant damage to everything nearby.
In the same way, truck drivers shouldn’t be driving if they experience nausea, vertigo, or dizziness due to drug use.
It doesn’t matter if it’s an illicit substance or a prescription medicine. If it impairs their senses, affects their judgment, and reduces their reaction time, they shouldn’t be driving.
5. Drowsiness or Falling Asleep Behind the Wheel
Ideally, semi-truck drivers must sleep and rest for at least eight hours before hitting the road.
Unfortunately, this is only sometimes the case. As they are on the clock, many truckers forego sleeping to reach their next stop on time.
This is terrible news for everyone. If they fall asleep, their trucks would easily ram other cars on the highway, causing a devastating accident.
6. Aggressive Driving
Road rage is not an uncommon occurrence. From tailgating to stepping on the brakes abruptly, it is dangerous on the road, even for smaller vehicles.
Imagine a 40-ton metal on wheels trying to ram anything on its path off the road. Aggressive driving by a semi-truck driver can produce mass casualties.
Looking for a Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer in Houston
Have you suffered physical injuries or property damage due to a semi-truck accident in Texas?
Then it would be best if you had adequate compensation.
Unfortunately, getting fair and reasonable compensation isn’t always the case unless you are willing to fight for it.
Make sure your demands and interests are fully met.
At O’Hara Law Firm, we go above and beyond for our clients in pursuing their claim for compensation against the at-fault truck driver and his employer.
We can help you through the negotiation process to obtain a fair settlement. If that’s not an available option, we can take your case to court.
Because you deserve to seek compensation for your damage.