San Antonio Truck Accident Lawyer

Every day there are thousands of accidents across the country, many of which involve tractor trailers and semi trucks. Due to the sheer size of these vehicles, the damages can be severe and even fatal. For people who are involved in truck accidents, the results can be devastating.

Why Are Truck Accidents So Serious?

Freight truck and commercial vehicle crashes are more dangerous because the vehicles are so much larger and heavier than passenger cars. Trucks can be 20 times heavier than cars, weighing up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. This makes trucks less agile and responsive on the road, with nearly double the required braking distance. In addition, the air brakes used on semi-trucks are slower to engage than the hydraulic brakes on passenger vehicles, further increasing braking distance and increasing response times.

Moreover, when a truck and a passenger vehicle collide at highway speeds, the car absorbs most of the impact of the crash. The size and height of trucks protect them from some of the impacts, and the freight itself can buffer impacts and protect truck drivers. These factors mean that truck accidents are much more likely to cause catastrophic injuries to other parties, resulting in brain or spinal cord injuries and even fatalities.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents?

Truck accidents can be complex and have many causes. In many cases, there is more than one factor that contributed to the collision. For example, a truck driver may have been distracted on the road, but their vehicle may also have been poorly maintained or loaded, so both factors contributed to the accident. A truck accident victim may have a basis to file a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver and against the company responsible for maintaining or loading the truck. It is important to investigate truck accidents thoroughly and to identify all the negligent parties who may share responsibility.

Our San Antonio truck accident lawyer can investigate many possible causes of truck accidents. The most common causes of truck accidents are:

  • Driver error or distraction, including fatigue, speeding, driving under the influence, or using mobile devices while driving
  • Failure by the truck company to follow safety requirements, including improper truck maintenance, failure to investigate safety hazards on the truck, or a lack of driver training and supervision
  • Defects by the truck manufacturer, including faulty design or a manufacturing defect
  • Failure by a shipping or cargo company to properly load a truck or follow safety guidelines when securing cargo

In cases where there are multiple liable parties, it is possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against everyone who contributed to the accident. However, it is important to contact a San Antonio truck accident attorney as soon as possible in order to preserve evidence and conduct a thorough investigation.

What Are Some Common Damages Suffered in a Truck Accident?

From serious personal injuries to significant damage to your vehicle, damage and injuries that result from truck crashes can be quite severe.

The most common damages that result from truck crashes include:

  • Personal injuries that incur the cost of medical bills, hospital stays and services, pharmacy bills, rehabilitative therapies, and more
  • Damage to your vehicle that incurs the cost of repair or replacement, as well as the cost of temporary transportation
  • Pain and suffering experienced as a result of the accident
  • Loss of income if you are unable to go to work due to an injury
  • Loss of future income if you are injured so severely that you are unable to continue your current occupation at the same wage
  • Mental anguish, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of everyday activities may all be included as non-economic damages

Truck accidents don’t just affect the people who were directly in the accident. They can also have life-changing impacts for whole families, as an injured or disabled loved one may not be able to work or contribute to household expenses, may not be able to help with household upkeep and shared responsibilities, and may require more care and support from family members, keeping them away from their own work or important activities. In other words, although these are the most common damages in a truck accident, the various impacts and effects can have much more serious consequences.

If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident, and it has negatively affected your daily life, schedule a consultation with a truck accident attorney to learn more about your rights and the legal avenues available to you.

Who Can File a Truck Accident Claim?

Anyone who has suffered substantial damages as a result of a truck accident may be able to file a claim. If your life has been dramatically affected by a truck accident, you may be able to file a claim even if you yourself were not involved in the accident. People who may be claimants in a truck accident lawsuit include:

  • The driver of the impacted vehicle(s). The driver of the impacted vehicle may be severely injured, resulting in medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. They may also have property damages as a result of the accident. All of these things may be cause for a lawsuit, and allow them to file a truck accident claim.
  • Passenger(s) in the impacted vehicle(s). Likewise, passengers in the impacted vehicle may have medical costs, pain, and other damages that make them eligible to file a claim.
  • Surviving family members. If the truck accident resulted in a fatality, surviving family members and loved ones may be able to file a truck accident claim for the costs of medical care, funeral and burial expenses, loss of family income, and other economic damages. They may also be able to sue for non-economic damages like loss of companionship and other consequences of their loss.
  • Affected loved ones and family members. In the cases of severe disability and other life-changing accidents, close family members and loved ones may also have the right to file a truck accident claim. For example, if an accident victim can no longer work, their family may have a claim for lost income and inheritance. If the accident victim requires ongoing special assistance from their family and can no longer contribute to the functioning of the household, there may also be grounds for a claim.

Because there can be so many different consequences and aspects of a truck accident and so many people affected, it is important to consider all these effects before reaching a settlement agreement. It is always best to have legal guidance through the settlement process to ensure you don’t settle for less than you deserve. And, if you can’t reach a fair settlement, you need an experienced trial lawyer who can take your case to court.

Furthermore, even if an accident victim has settled their claim, it does not always mean that other affected parties cannot file claims of their own. If your family member or loved one reached a truck accident settlement that did not include your damages, you may have your own case. If you or your family are suffering as a result of a truck accident, consult with a San Antonio truck accident attorney to learn more about your options.

What Does Filing a Claim in a Truck Accident Ential?

The first step in a truck accident case is to fully investigate the facts of the accident. This requires reconstruction and analysis of the events that led up to the crash, as well as the need to collect relevant evidence. It also requires collecting parties’ and witnesses’ statements and building a case based on what you can prove happened in the accident.

Navigating such a complex area of law can be difficult without the help of a knowledgeable and experienced San Antonio truck accident attorney. Not only is it essential to pay attention to the facts, but it is equally important to understand and apply the complex legal issues involved. In a truck crash, Texas personal injury laws cover most of the claims, but truck drivers are also required to follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. An experienced trucking accident lawyer in San Antonio, Texas, understands the laws and regulations that apply to all relevant parties and can hold them accountable.

The second step in a truck accident lawsuit is to prove damages. Truck accident victims and their loved ones should keep detailed records of all costs, expenses, treatments, and losses related to the crash.

After you have determined the cause of the accident, who is liable, and the amount of your damages, you can begin the settlement process. An experienced San Antonio truck accident lawyer will help negotiate with the other parties and their insurance companies if a settlement is offered. Because many different parties may be involved, it is possible that you’ll need to work with several insurance carriers. That can be a daunting and complicated process, and insurance companies may not offer all the compensation you deserve.

If you are unable to reach a fair settlement agreement, you will need to file a complaint in civil court and begin the process of bringing a lawsuit against the responsible parties. Filing a lawsuit will also enable you to enter the discovery phase, where you can demand company records and documents that may be evidence in your case.

It’s important to have an expert truck accident lawyer in San Antonio who will negotiate for everything you are entitled to but who isn’t afraid to take negligent companies to court when necessary. The trucking company will have significant legal representation at every phase of the process, and you also need to have an experienced lawyer at your side to fight for your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.

Is the Trucking Company or the Truck Driver Responsible for Your Truck Accident?

Depending on the circumstances of a trucking accident, the truck driver may be at fault, or the trucking company may be at fault, or they may both have some liability. Holding the right party responsible is critical in a truck accident case. Determining who is truly responsible for your accident affects every aspect of your claim, including the potential settlement or damage award.

Generally speaking, if a driver is on duty and acting within the scope of their job when the accident occurs, the trucking company may be held liable, and any claims may be paid through their insurance. However, the truck driver as an individual is liable and responsible for your damages when:

  • The truck driver is an owner/operator, so there is no difference between the truck driver and the trucking company
  • The truck driver is an independent contractor, so they are not employed by any trucking company and are required to carry their own insurance
  • The truck driver was driving for personal reasons outside of the scope of their employment when the accident occurred
  • The truck driver was overtly negligent or dangerous on the road, making reckless driving decisions that caused the accident

If the truck driver is liable for the accident, and their insurance is insufficient for your damages, you may have to file a lawsuit and hold them personally accountable. However, even if you win your case, an individual truck driver may not be able to pay for all your damages.

On the other hand, you may be able to sue the trucking company itself if the cause of the accident was due to the following:

  • Poor vehicle maintenance. Federal law requires that trucking companies maintain their vehicles properly and keep them safe on the roads. The company must regularly inspect and repair vehicles and perform regular preventative maintenance, which includes tire rotations, maintaining proper fluid levels, keeping lights and mirrors operational for visibility, and other regular service.
  • Poor hiring practices. Trucking companies are legally responsible for hiring only qualified truck drivers and ensuring that they are properly trained and certified for the work they are performing. Trucking companies should screen candidates prior to employing them and ensure that every driver has a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) with the right endorsements for their vehicle and cargo type and that they have a good driving record. The company should also conduct ongoing checks to ensure that the driver’s license or endorsements have not lapsed or that they have not picked up negative marks on their driving record.
  • Poor work practices. Truck drivers have strict regulations regarding how long they are allowed to work in a day, mandatory rest periods, and maximum working hours in a seven-day period. Truck drivers are required to log those working hours in a written form or via an app or other technology. However, there are numerous exceptions to the logging requirements, and many companies find ways to pressure drivers to work longer hours, increasing the risk of drowsy drivers and truck accidents.
  • Poor cargo loading procedures. Some truck accidents are caused by improper cargo loading. Truck cargo must be within the weight specifications of the vehicle, properly balanced, and secured in place during travel. Improperly loaded cargo can cause the truck to be unstable and difficult to control, overloaded with poor braking, or cargo can fall off the truck and create a hazard for other drivers. Some trucking companies have their own employees to load truck cargo from a warehouse, but cargo loading may sometimes be the responsibility of a third company, which may be responsible for the accident.

Between 2010 and 2018, the average verdict for a truck accident lawsuit over $1 million has jumped from $2.3 million to $22.3 million, as juries are increasingly penalizing trucking companies for reckless and unsafe driving practices. While Texas trucking laws are more permissive than federal laws, allowing truckers to work longer hours, have shorter breaks, and have fewer trip logging and documentation requirements, it is still critical to hold these companies accountable for unsafe practices that jeopardize the safety of everyone who shares the road.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a trucking accident, it is crucial to conduct a thorough investigation to determine what caused the accident and hold the right parties liable for your damages. Working with an experienced San Antonio truck accident lawyer will allow you to get all the relevant information in your case, which may include gathering driver logs, dashcam footage, driving records, employment records, surveillance footage, GPS data, truck telemetry data, maintenance records, and more. This data will help prove your case and hold the right parties responsible for the truck accident.

How Can Aaron Allison Help?

The San Antonio personal injury lawyer at Aaron Allison Law Firm helps truck accident victims recover compensation for their damages. Our law firm has successfully litigated accident cases throughout Texas, and we are passionate about vindicating the rights of those injured by reckless freight truck drivers and negligent trucking companies.

Take the first steps towards justice today. Call 512-812-7484 or contact us online. The initial consultation is free, and we do not collect attorney fees until we get you compensation.

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