As an injury victim pursuing a truck accident claim, you need an experienced truck accident lawyer in Dallas. Learn about truck crashes and a lawyer’s role.
A truck is a motor vehicle used to transport cargo, carry specialized payloads, or perform other practical work. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration. Smaller varieties may be mechanically similar to some vehicles. However, some commercial trucks designs make them fit to combine with specialized equipment. Examples are garbage trucks, fire trucks, concrete mixers, and suction excavators.
Other truck types like semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and tractor-trailers convey goods and food items from one part of the country to the other. The increased number of these commercial vehicles on the roadway increases the possibility of truck accidents. When these large trucks collide with smaller passenger vehicles, it could lead to catastrophic injuries or death.
These two are the basics of most personal injury claims involving truck drivers and trucking companies. Contact a truck accident lawyer at Dunn | Sheehan LLP. Our lawyers have the experience and legal knowledge to help truck accident victims get the maximum compensation.Get in Touch
How Often Do Truck Accidents Happen?
Trucking accidents are pretty common and can result in serious injury or death. For example, in a 2019 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 75% of trucks involved in fatal accidents were large, heavy trucks. The latter refers to trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds.
The report also had these key findings:
- In 2019, 5,005 people died in large truck wrecks. The number was almost the same as the 5,006 fatal truck accident victims in 2018.
- 71% of people killed in large truck crashes in 2019 were occupants of other vehicles
- 77% of fatal crashes involving large trucks in 2019 occurred on weekdays (6 a.m. on Mondays to 5:59 p.m. on Friday)
- 2% of drivers of large trucks in fatal accidents have blood alcohol concentrations of 0.08 grams per deciliter or higher
- In 2019, drivers of large trucks in fatal crashes were less likely to have a previous license suspension or revocation than drivers of passenger cars.
With these numbers, it is clear that trucks can be a menace on roads with the capacity to cause significant harm. For this reason, it is not far-fetched to expect truckers and truck companies to emphasize safety on the road. The duty to behave carefully also extends to drivers and occupants of passenger vehicles. However, this is easier said than done, which explains why truck accidents keep happening despite safety practices emphasized by governmental regulatory bodies.Get in Touch
What Are the Causes of Truck Accidents?
Whether it is a commercial motor vehicle accident or a passenger car crash, the fundamental cause of every accident is negligence. When drivers fail to follow the road's rules, the result is an accident. Below are some of the common reasons why Dallas truck accidents occur.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day about eight people in the United States are killed in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. Distracted driving takes three forms, namely cognitive, manual, and visual. Visual distraction is anything that takes your eyes off the road.
Manual distraction is anything you do with your hands away from the steering wheel. Cognitive distractions have to do with thoughts and actions that require mental effort. Due to the size of trucks and the effort it takes to drive them, commercial truck drivers always need to keep their attention on the road.
You must keep your blood alcohol concentration below 0.04% as a commercial truck driver. This is the law in most states in the U.S., including Texas. When a driver drinks and drives, their cognitive abilities are impaired, and their reflexes are slow. As a result, they cannot react in time to avoid a collision.
The size of trucks makes it hard for them to stop when speeding. For a standard passenger vehicle traveling at 65 miles per hour, it takes about 300 feet to stop. However, for a fully-loaded commercial truck, the stopping distance running at 65 miles per hour is about 525 feet. The latter is 225 feet more than a passenger car. Therefore it is important that truck drivers always maintain the legal and posted speed limit.
Fatigued driving is one of the leading causes of commercial truck accidents. Truckers spend a lot of time on the road conveying goods and food items. While traveling, they might encounter traffic or mechanical failure that delays their trip. As a result, they drive longer than the 15 hours they should be on the road. This causes fatigue, which may cause drowsiness, and ultimately, an accident.
Some of the most common causes of truck crashes are:
- Smaller vehicles traveling in the truck's blind spot
- Mechanical failure
- Bad roads
- Reckless driving
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Inadequate truck maintenance
- Adverse weather conditions, etc.
The common types of truck accidents are
- Rear-end collision
- Head-on collision
- Blind spot accidents
- Tire blowout crashes
- Rollover accidents
- Jackknife accident
What Injuries Will You Sustain in a Truck Accident?
Truck collisions are known for causing life-threatening or fatal injuries. Rarely do people involved in an accident with a commercial truck sustain minor injuries. Some of the most common injuries from truck accidents are:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries: A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a wound that penetrates the skull to the brain. It happens as a result of trauma to the brain. A person with a TBI needs immediate medical treatment to prevent lifelong impacts.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: A spinal cord injury (SCI) is a wound that affects the spine. SCIs can result in paralysis beyond the injury site, making it catastrophic. In addition, a person with a spinal cord injury may need lifelong medical care, making financial compensation crucial.
- Internal Injuries: This refers to any wound that affects the body's internal organs, including internal bleeding. Sometimes, internal injuries are delayed and do not appear immediately after the crash. This makes them dangerous and life-threatening. To avoid the fatal effects of an inner wound, get medical treatment after the crash. Then, even if you feel fine, see a doctor.
- Back/Neck Injuries: Back and neck injuries are either minor or severe. An example of a minor wound is whiplash, and it heals within days or weeks. A back injury could be a muscle strain, and you can make a full recovery if it is not severe.
- Broken Bones: A bone breaks when the body receives more force than it can handle. Unlike soft tissue injuries like a sprain, broken bones can leave a person disabled if not appropriately treated. So ensure you get the best treatment. If you didn't cause the accident, you don't have to worry about the hospital bills, as the liable party will pay you compensation.
What Steps Should You Take After a Commercial Trucking Accident?
Make an Accident Report
After a crash, you should remain at the scene and call 911. Making the call alerts every available first responder about the accident. When the police arrive, tell them your version of how things happened. Stick with the crash's facts and avoid digressing. Also, avoid saying anything about who's at fault and wait for the investigators to conclude their preliminary inquiry.
Where you are severely injured and cannot make the report immediately, find out as soon you can if the other driver filed a report. If they did not, you should report the crash to the police. The police report validates the occurrence of the collision and is credible evidence for your injury claim.
Get Treated for Injuries
The financial burden of medical care makes people shy away from getting treatment after an accident. However, it would help if you did not let this stop you from getting the help you need. Even if you spend personal funds getting treatment, you can recover the sum in an insurance claim or injury lawsuit.
You need photos of the accident scene, video footage, witness testimony, and an accident reconstruction specialist's report to win a compensation claim. Evidence gathering starts at the crash site, but if your wound prevents you from doing so, a truck accident attorney can help. Contact one as soon as you can.
Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer
Insurance companies and their adjusters have a lot of tricks they use in cheating victims of truck accidents on their compensation. Personal injury attorneys know how they operate. Therefore, it would be best to hire one before starting the truck accident claim. An experienced truck accident attorney will offer you experienced legal advice and representation.Get in Touch
How Do You Prove Fault in a Truck Accident?
In any accident case, you cannot hope to get compensation without first establishing fault. To show who the responsible party in the crash is, you need to show the four elements of negligence:
- The duty of care owed to you by the truck driver;
- The negligent action that constituted the breach of the duty of the care;
- How the breached duty caused your injuries; and
- The damages or losses you suffered as a result.
For example, if a truck driver were intoxicated, they would have breached their duty of care. If their impairment caused the crash, you have causation. Next is the result of the breach, say the broken bone you suffered and the financial losses (damages) you incurred. Proving the four elements of negligence can be tricky, so hire an experienced truck accident lawyer.Get in Touch
Who Can You Sue in a Truck Accident Case?
The nature of a truck collision is such that there can be several responsible parties. But keep in mind that this depends on the case's specific facts. Below are those who may be the at-fault parties in a trucking accident:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The cargo loader
- A third party driver whose action caused the event leading to the crash
- The truck manufacturer or mechanic
What Compensation Can You Get in a Trucking Accident?
Truck accidents are part of the broader category of personal injury law, which allow you to sue for compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are of two kinds: economic and non-economic damages, and they cover:
- Medical bills (past, present and future)
- Lost income
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish, etc.
Punitive damages do not compensate you but serve to punish a grossly negligent fault party. Furthermore, you must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years from the accident date to get compensation.Get in Touch
What Will Our Truck Accident Lawyers in Dallas Do for You?
Having an experienced legal team on your side when pursuing a compensation claim is crucial. Lawyers do more than render legal advice to you. They sit at the negotiation table with the at-fault driver's insurance carrier. If your case becomes a lawsuit and goes to trial, they have the trial experience to win in court.
In addition, a trucking accident lawyer will help you gather the required evidence and call expert witnesses to prove your claim. You don't have to worry about our legal fees because we work on a contingency fee basis. It means that we don't get paid unless you win your case.
Contact Our Dallas Truck Accident Lawyers Immediately
Were you injured in a trucking accident? Then our Dallas truck accident attorneys at Dunn | Sheehan LLP can help you get the compensation you deserve. Our lawyers have decades of experience helping injury victims get justice. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.Get in Touch