What To Do When You're a Victim of a Truck Accident

What To Do When You're a Victim of a Truck Accident

It is easy to be caught unprepared for the aftermath of a truck accident. Because truck accidents are complex incidents from a liability standpoint, it is imperative that any involved driver be proactive about defending their interests.

Truck accidents are quite different from everyday car accidents. Injuries are often much more severe and likely while property and vehicle damage is typically more widespread and devastating. Because of the complexity and seriousness of a truck accident, the need for representation is urgent.

As with all emergencies, preparation is key. Drivers need to know what to expect, how to handle themselves at the scene, and what their immediate and long-term priorities should be.

Types of Injuries caused by truck accidents

  • Serious contusions
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal injuries
  • Head trauma

Unlike common car accidents, truck accidents are much more likely to produce serious injuries. The reasons for this ultimately boil down to physics. A truck vs. car accident, for example, regardless of the class of car involved, is not a matchup of equals. Many trucks weigh several dozen tons fully loaded and are capable of delivering harmful force in a collision. As a result, the driver and passengers in the car are subject to very different injuries than their counterparts in a car vs. car accident.

The resulting injuries also go from moderate bumps and bruises to catastrophically broken bones, internal injuries and head trauma.

What a truck accident lawsuit involves

Conventional car accidents are strictly regulated by Texas Law. Drivers are required to report accidents involving injuries to local law enforcement without exception. Truck accidents, on the other hand, are at least partially regulated by federal law. As such, the obligations of involved drivers, especially those driving trucks, are amplified. There are cargo considerations, possible hazardous material response scenarios, and limits on hours driven.

Establishing Negligence

In some circumstances, it is far easier to establish negligence in the aftermath of an accident if a truck is involved. Because truck drivers are required to follow regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, limits on their activities and compliance with all safety regulations will be the first place any attorney will look for possible causes of any subsequent accidents. Under state law, it is considerably harder to establish objective criteria for negligence, as there are few restrictions on a driver’s choices regarding operating time or location.

The Statute of Limitations on Truck Accident Personal Injury Claims 

Although the statute of limitations for a personal injury civil claim under Texas law is two years, Title 28 of the United States Code sets a four-year statute for claims under Acts of Congress. This can create intricate legal issues if there is a dispute sufficient to require a trial.

Challenges Involving Statute of Limitations

The Statute of Limitations may create options for cases that cannot be successfully litigated in one jurisdiction, but which may strengthen in another. Issues like jurisdiction, estoppel, and prohibition of litigation require the services of a qualified attorney. Attempting to navigate conflicting statutes of limitations in potentially conflicting jurisdictions is not a matter best left to lay persons, especially if they are recovering from the very accident they presume to litigate.

It is important to remember that any problem that needs to be solved is better addressed by a truck accident attorney. The victims of any accident must put their recovery at the top of the priority list.

Truck Accident Victim Compensation

If you are not at fault in your accident, it is important that you determine your damages and recover your expenses. Very often, these costs will be covered by the truck driver or their insurance:

  • Medical Care
  • Vehicle Repair
  • Lost Opportunity for Wages

It is vital that you establish a means by which you can obtain compensation for your injuries. Medical expenses, in particular, can and often do exceed even your own insurance coverage limits, and if you were not at fault, there is no reason you should be left to pay for an accident that is someone else’s responsibility.

Challenges that truck accident lawyers help injured victims face

  • Catastrophic Injury
  • Many involved drivers
  • Competing jurisdictions

The biggest problem in a truck accident is the danger of catastrophic injury. The second biggest problem is the multiplicity of potential plaintiffs and defendants. In almost every accident, there are at least two parties involved in the operation of the truck. In some, the driver is an employee of the truck owner while in others, the cargo company hires truck and driver at the same time. There are even cases where all three parties share liability.

Truck Accident Liability

Under federal law, shipping and trucking companies can no longer shield themselves from liability by shifting responsibilities between driver and truck owner. This is an important principle that can make things somewhat easier at the state level when it comes to sources of liability and discovering who is at fault.

Working to establish these facts is crucial. Although it isn’t possible to apply federal standards to state laws, truck drivers are subject to both sets of regulations if they are inside Texas jurisdiction. This is doubly true if the shipping company or the owners of the cargo are based in Texas.

What Your Truck Accident Attorney Can Do For You 

Having an experienced attorney who is not only aware of these challenges but who knows how they interact in the intricate world of personal injury litigation is essential for any truck or car driver who plans to protect their driving privileges and assets.

An Attorney is a Layer of Protection

While it is true some protection can be obtained through insurance, the fact is everyone is looking out for themselves in a vehicle accident, insurance companies included. Attorneys are bound by a code of ethics, and both state and federal law to protect the interests of their clients.

If you are seeking compensation for your injuries, and you intend on avoiding a situation where you end up worse off than when you started, having a competent attorney on your side is an essential step towards the successful resolution of an accident, especially those involving a truck.