Injured in an 18-wheeler crash in Texas? Our Austin truck accident lawyers are here to help. Call (512) 800-8000 for a free consultation from our attorneys.
A tractor-trailer accident often involves serious injury or death. When 80,000 pounds of steel smashes into smaller cars, trucks, motorcycles, or even SUVs, the big rig usually comes out the winner. If you’ve been hurt in a tractor-trailer accident it is important to contact us immediately! Get an Austin, TX Truck Accident Lawyer fighting for you right now!
More and more tractor-trailers operate on the roads today than any time in history. With our increasingly congested highways, it only makes sense there is a greater potential for accidents. This is especially true in Austin. Austin has grown rapidly and our roadways simply can’t safely handle the volume of traffic we see on a typical day. When you add never-ending construction zones to the mix, the problems only get worse.
When big rigs drive in congested construction zones the drivers have even more complicated driving tasks to contend against. With narrower lanes, traffic re-routing, and uneven surfaces, tractor-trailer drivers have to keep a careful eye on surrounding vehicles. When you add suddenly slowed or stopped traffic you have a recipe for disaster.
Tractor Accident Statistics
There are approximately 14,000,000 commercial vehicles licensed to drive on US roadways any given year. This includes commercial freight vehicles, tractor-trailers, and single-unit trucks. That is a lot of trucks hurtling down the highways at high speeds.
Within the last few years alone, there were over 196,000 large truck crashes yearly, representing over 4,400 fatalities, 137,000 non-fatal crashes, and 55,000 injury crashes. Interestingly enough, most of the fatal accidents involving large trucks took place during the week in rural areas during daylight hours when visibility was at its best. Unfortunately, these accidents involving large trucks usually also resulted in fatal multiple-vehicle crashes.
Large truck accidents happen for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common reasons tractor-trailer crashes happen include failure to yield, speeding, driving too fast for conditions, and inattention. Additionally, tractor-trailer drivers have a higher responsibility to get off the roadways during inclement weather than private car drivers. In fact, the federal safety regulations prohibit them from driving when weather or roadway conditions make it unsafe to do so.
Proving Liability in Truck Accidents
As any Austin Truck Accident Lawyer can attest, these cases can be difficult cases to prove. Insurance companies for the big trucking companies often hire an Accident Reconstructionist and/or investigator while the truck is still at the scene of the accident in the most serious accidents. This gives them a huge advantage by the time you even think of hiring a lawyer. They have collected data, spoken to witnesses and police officers, and often begin forming their version of how the truck accident happened while you’re still lying in a hospital bed.
If you have been involved in a truck accident the first thing you should do is contact us right now and get an Austin Truck Accident Lawyer working for you! We document the scene and inspect the vehicles before crucial evidence is lost. Even if the vehicles have been towed from the scene we can often still usually find scuff marks, skidmarks, or other evidence at the scene that can become critical as your case makes its way through the court system. But, that physical evidence begins to be brushed away by weather and traffic almost immediately. The sooner we can start collecting evidence, the more evidence we will have to prove your case.
We also need to start preserving evidence in the hands of the trucking company or their insurance company. Federal regulations limit how long trucking companies have to hold onto certain documents that can help us prove the driver drove too many hours, had a history of negligent driving, or other evidence of negligence. If we don’t start preserving this evidence immediately it could be gone by the time we try to prove our case to a jury.
A truck accident can leave your physical health and financial well-being in ruins. Even people who feel fine may suffer from “hidden injuries” that do not surface for days, weeks, or months. We have handled cases for clients who didn’t know they had bulging discs in their neck or back until months after the accident. That can lead to insurance companies for the big rig companies denying your claim. They often say your bulging disc is not related to the accident. Our Austin Truck Accident Lawyer knows how to handle these defenses.
First, we work with doctors, physical therapists, and other medical professionals that know how to explain to a jury how your condition was caused by the truck accident. Jurors are smart people, and it’s important to give them a firm understanding of the dynamic trauma your body went through when you were hit by a tractor-trailer.
Secondly, we work with you to carefully document the changes in your lifestyle before and after the truck accident. Many people with hidden injuries tell us they didn’t realize they were hurt until they could no longer do some of the activities they used to enjoy. By documenting these changes in lifestyle we can show the jury how the truck accident impacted your life.
On top of the physical pain and injuries, you may be out of work for weeks, months, or lose your job altogether. Even if you keep your job, you may have several doctor appointments that require you to take time off work. This can lead to lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, and financial hardship. We will help you navigate the complex medical and financial damages we need to prove so the insurance company or jury understands what is fair compensation for your injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions or concerns expressed by people who have been involved in a truck accident:
Do I need to seek medical attention after a truck accident even if I feel fine?
This question comes up because many people who are involved in accidents disregard the importance of receiving a medical checkup right after the accident happens. Later on, it turns out that they experience medical issues that did not surface immediately after the incident took place. However, not seeking immediate attention may cause your insurance company to become more likely to deny your injury claim. Why? Because if the injury appears weeks or months later, it becomes much more difficult for you to prove to them that the injury is a direct consequence of the accident.
What fatalities tend to happen more often in truck accidents and why?
The majority of deaths involving a large truck are people riding in cars. However, the death toll is not only attributable to the weight of the truck, which can sometimes be up to 30 times bigger than a car but the fact that the truck has a greater ground clearance results in the possibility of smaller vehicles under-riding trucks. Add to that the braking capability of the truck which needs greater distances to stop than cars do, plus driver fatigue, and you have the perfect recipe for someone losing their life.
Who can be held liable if you are injured in an accident involving a truck?
There are several potential defendants in accidents involving trucks, among them:
- The truck driver
- The trucking companies
- The owner of the truck itself
- Those responsible for maintenance or repair services for the truck
- The manufacturer of the truck’s parts
- The freight loader
- Other drivers involved in the accident
Is it a good idea for me to accept a settlement offered by the insurance company in a truck accident case?
Don’t rush to accept what the insurance company initially offers you. Truck accidents can result in catastrophic trauma. They can have consequences that create financial, physical, and emotional scars that can become your constant companions for a long time, if not forever. Accepting the first amount offered might mean that any future expenses you incur will have to come out of your pocket. Let your Austin truck accident attorney do the negotiating for you. They will make sure you receive a much more suitable settlement.
Is it important to work with an Austin truck accident attorney? Why?
Finding an experienced Austin truck accident attorney is absolutely vital. By their very nature and all the possible parties involved, commercial truck accidents tend to be complicated. You will need to find an attorney that has experience in these types of cases and has handled them before. Make an appointment to meet with them and ask them all the pertinent questions. Don’t shy away from finding out about their experience and the results that they have obtained in prior, similar cases.
Austin Truck Accident Lawyer Summary
Truck accidents are complicated cases. They require skilled legal and expert knowledge to gather the facts that will best help you get the full amount of money you deserve for your injuries. The sooner we start working on your case, the better our chances are of proving the negligence of the truck driver. We do this by:
- Hiring experts to reconstruct your accident if necessary;
- Hiring experts to review your medical history and prove the accident caused your injuries;
- Working closely with you and your family to help you convey to the jury how the accident changed your life;
- Working with you to help you understand the legal landscape throughout your case;
- Investigating the driver and trucking companies and looking for patterns of negligent driving or training;
- Inspecting the vehicles to ensure the police officer’s and other witnesses opinions match up with the physical evidence;
- Inspecting and documenting the scene when possible in order to preserve physical evidence;
- Much more.
Imagine for a moment you’ve just had an accident involving an 18-wheeler truck. After being appropriately thankful you weren’t smashed flat along with your car, you take stock of what’s happened and start wondering what it’s going to take to find an Austin truck accident lawyer. The truck’s driver might be injured. The truck belongs to a shipping company based in another state 2000 miles away. The cargo belongs to a foreign manufacturer in another country. The truck is insured by a local agent, but its cargo is insured by a company in a second foreign country.
Then the truck catches fire moments before the police, fire department, and ambulance arrive. Traffic is backed up for miles. Two other cars were involved. There’s a spill on the freeway. There’s damage to the center divider.
If you’re like most of us, you do well to get your bills paid on time and have a vague idea of where your birth certificate is. Suppose you could handle the discovery, motions, litigation, and unraveling of local, state, federal, and international regulations and insurance policies for the accident described above? Remember one of the litigants might very well be the government. Just filling out the police report is going to take the rest of the day.
Could you handle all this if you were injured too? Can you do it on foot? Remember your car might be totaled. At the very least you might be driving on three wheels. One can only imagine what it would be like to face such a situation. It might sound unbelievable, but as attorneys, we face these kinds of cases every day. Every emergency operator has all kinds of stories about what they’ve heard from accident victims. We have even more stories because we’re the people who get the second call from the accident scene.
Even in the best of circumstances, just keeping all the phone numbers and names straight in an accident like this requires a dedicated team of professionals. The potential for crisscrossing claims of liability, litigation, and possibly months or years of answering motions is enough to make even experienced trial attorneys take a moment to straighten their ties and expensive pens on their desks. For the average driver, it’s beyond comprehension. One thing you can be certain of in a situation like this is that everyone at the scene, including the tow truck driver, has a lawyer. In fact, most of them probably have more than one. The secret to avoiding a disaster is to never be the guy at the accident scene without a lawyer.
The truth is a truck accident is very different from your average fender bender. If two cars collide and there are no serious injuries, the entire controversy could boil down to offsetting insurance claims and a few hours of writing letters. When a truck is involved, everything changes, which is why preparation in advance of what could be years of hard work is so vital to success. Our job is to make sure you are prepared for any contingency. This is how we protect you financially and legally and how we help preserve your insurance policy and driving privilege.
Just in Time
What most non-lawyers don’t realize is that litigation is just as much about timing as it is about having a legal advantage. There are deadlines and due dates built into the law, the rules of evidence, judges’ discretion, and even the daily routine of a court clerk. An inexperienced litigant stands a better than average chance of crippling their case right out of the gate because they miss a filing, are late responding to a motion, or find out key evidence is suppressed because they failed to perform some task at the appointed time.
You need experienced counsel. This is especially true in a situation like a truck accident because only an experienced Austin, TX 18-wheeler accident attorney is likely to have the relevant experience to know what to expect. As qualified lawyers, we don’t get surprised by the requirements of a complex case. In fact, we know how to use that complexity to our advantage. We know how to protect our clients from the seemingly chaotic storm of details that surface when trucks are involved in traffic accidents. We put that knowledge and experience to work on your behalf. When you discover what you avoided by retaining the best counsel, you’ll understand why our advice is so crucial.
Protecting our Client
But before we start filing motions and working in your best interests, we see to it you have access to the best care. First and foremost, we go to bat for you with your insurance company and any others that might be involved. We make sure you get what you are entitled to under your policy and we see to it you aren’t treated unfairly because you didn’t spend years studying the insurance code.
This is key to getting you the best medical care and making sure your vehicle is either repaired or replaced without delay. Once we are sure you are both cared for and protected, then we start fighting to make you whole. You will not be asked to waste a single minute arguing with other litigants, fielding intrusive calls from opposing insurance companies, or dealing with belligerent attorneys. We shield you from the noise so you can put all your energy into making a full recovery and putting things back the way they were.
We believe in our duty, both legal and ethical, to zealously represent your interests. We will fight for you in and out of the courtroom and see to it you aren’t shoved aside when it comes time for injuries to be fairly compensated. The law in cases like this can be very complex, and the tangle of interlocking interests, legal advantages, and financial motives can be even more intricate. Make things simple for yourself and avoid making things worse for yourself by putting a team of experienced professionals in your corner. We can promise you one thing. When you consider the alternative, you’ll be glad you made the right decision.
Don’t wait! Contact us today!