Hit by a Semi-Truck in Texas – What Should I Do and What are My Options?
Nearly 3,200 accidents involving semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and other large commercial vehicles occurred on Texas roads in 2019, including 543 fatal crashes that claimed 613 lives.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, those crashes also caused at least 1,124 serious injuries and 4,733 non-capacitating injuries. Across the United States, trucking-related accidents are far more likely to kill or seriously injure the occupants of smaller passenger vehicles.
Any motor vehicle accident is traumatic, but a crash involving a semi-truck or other large commercial vehicle is especially distressing. And all too often, the shock victims and their families experience in the hours and days after the wreck prevent them from taking the actions needed to preserve evidence, protect their rights, and ensure they’re fully compensated by the responsible parties.
Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents in Texas
Having recovered the largest verdicts and settlements in history on behalf of semi-truck accident victims across Texas and throughout the United States, it’s become clear that the vast majority of these crashes are entirely preventable and the result of negligence on the part of the trucking company, it’s driver, or both.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a truck driver’s actions contribute to a significant percentage of crashes in Texas and throughout the country. The top-10 driver-related actions reported in connection with fatal semi-truck accidents include:
- Distracted Driving/Driver Inattention
- Failing to Yield the Right of Way
- Driving While Intoxicated or Ill
- Careless Driving
- Failure to Remain in the Appropriate Lane
- Failure to Obey Traffic Signs and Signals
- Following Improperly
Other factors that contribute to or cause severe and fatal semi-truck accidents include:
- Driver Fatigue
- Inadequate Training
- Improperly Loaded Cargo
- Poor Vehicle Maintenance
- Vehicle or Equipment Malfunctions
- Adverse Weather Conditions
- Poor Road Conditions
Sometimes, another motorist shares responsibility for a semi-truck accident. Texas adheres to a modified comparative fault rule, which reduces damages an injured victim can recover by their own degree of fault. For example, if the trucking company and its driver are found 80% liable, and the victim is 20% at fault, the injured party would only receive 80% of their damages. However, the injured victim isn’t entitled to any compensation if they’re found to be more than 50% at fault for the crash.
How Trucking Companies Avoid Responsibility for a Crash
Because an 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident is far more likely to cause severe injury and death, the verdicts and settlements awarded to innocent victims and their families tend to be much higher as well.
Facing a potentially record-breaking payout, trucking companies, their insurance carriers, and their teams of attorneys will do almost anything to sidestep responsibility and avoid paying victims the compensation they truly deserve – even if that means downplaying your injuries, blaming you for the accident, and destroying or “losing” training records, driver logs, and other vital evidence proving their responsibility.
For that reason, it’s essential to take the appropriate steps to preserve your rights in the aftermath of the accident:
- Make Sure Your Passengers are Safe and Call 911: Call 911 immediately, even if you think no one is injured. Contacting 911 is not only the fastest way to get help to the scene, but it also ensures police will arrive to gather evidence and take statements from those involved and any witnesses. Their written accident report could eventually help you disprove any attempt by the trucking company to blame you for the crash.
- Take Photos and Videos of the Accident Scene: If you’re physically able and it’s safe to do so, take photos and videos of the crash scene, including damage to vehicles, the roadway, any skid marks, stop signs and other traffic controls, and the lighting on the highway.
- Gather as Much Information as Possible: If you’re able, write down the truck driver’s name, the name of the trucking company and its DOT number (located on the semi-truck driver-side door), the license plate number of all vehicles involved, the name of the truck driver’s insurance company and the policy number, and names, phone numbers, and addresses of any witnesses.
- Go to the ER: Everyone in your vehicle should head to the emergency room after the crash, even if no one appears to be hurt. Because the adrenaline released after such a traumatic event can mask pain, truck accident victims don’t always recognize when they’ve been injured. Getting checked out at the emergency room ensures that any potentially serious injuries are identified, treated, and documented in your medical records, which will help refute any attempts by the trucking company and its insurer to downplay your injuries or deny you were hurt at all.
- Notify Your Insurance Company: You should always get in touch with your insurance company after a semi-truck accident, even if you’re sure you weren’t at fault. Not doing so could result in a denial of coverage and prevent you from receiving PIP, Med-Pay, and other benefits that would otherwise help cover your medical bills and other expenses.
- Don’t Speak with the Trucking Company’s Insurer: Not long after the accident, you’ll probably receive a call from the trucking company’s “claims rep” or insurance adjuster promising to do whatever they can to “make things right” or “take care of you.” Don’t be misled! The insurance company is only interested in minimizing your injuries, blaming you for the accident, and paying you as little as possible. You’re under no obligation to speak with or provide a recorded statement to the trucking company’s insurer, and doing so can prove to be a costly mistake.
- Follow All Medical Advice and Keep All Doctor’s Appointments: Attorneys for the trucking company and its insurance company will use any failure to follow medical advice or skipped appointments as an excuse to question your injuries and pay you less than your case is worth. Make sure you follow your doctor’s recommendations and go to all scheduled appointments.
- Don’t Speculate About Fault: Besides your attorney and immediate family, you should never discuss fault with anyone. That includes the police, your insurance carrier, and the trucking’ company’s insurer. Anything you say could be twisted or intentionally misinterpreted in an attempt to blame you for the crash.
Hit by a Semi-Truck in Texas? Call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here for a Free Consult with Our Undefeated Texas Truck Accident Lawyers.
Contacting an Experienced Texas Truck Accident Lawyer with a proven record of success representing truck and 18 wheeler accident victims is an important step in protecting your rights and making sure that you are fully and fairly compensated for all your injuries and losses after being hit by a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, or another large commercial vehicle.
What many don’t realize, however, is that while almost every personal injury law firm in Texas claims to represent truck accident victims, very few have taken big trucking companies to trial, and even fewer have consistently recovered record-setting verdicts and settlements in truck and 18 wheeler accident cases.
Our Undefeated Texas Truck Accident Lawyers do both: just recently, for example, we recovered the #1 largest truck accident settlement in Texas, and have consistently set records with the largest verdicts and settlements against R&L Trucking Company, Oakley Trucking, Greyhound Bus Lines, and a number of other large commercial motor carriers.
To learn more about our success representing the victims of semi-truck crashes and other trucking-related accidents, visit our “Results” page or Click Here to see what our clients have said about their experience with our firm.
If you or a loved one were injured or tragically killed in a Texas semi-truck accident, call 1-888-603-3636, use the “chat” button on our homepage, or click here to send us a confidential email through our “Contact Us” form.
Our Texas Truck Accident Lawyers will answer your questions, explain your rights and options, and provide you with the information you need to decide what’s best for you and your family.
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