Trucks require more training and experience to drive than passenger vehicles. As a result, truck drivers and the trucking companies who hire and supervise them are held to a higher standard by having more regulations for their operations. When truck drivers and trucking companies are negligent or fail to follow state and federal trucking regulations, it can cause an accident that can leave others with devastating, life-long consequences. If you or a loved one have been injured or suffered damages from a trucking accident, the Houston trucking accident attorneys at Kherkher Garcia can help you secure the financial compensation you need to begin the process of recovery from your accident.
The first settlement offer you receive from an insurance company often will not cover all your expenses and losses, especially if you have ongoing medical treatment needs.
The first settlement offer is never the maximum amount of compensation that the insurance company is willing to offer. An experienced lawyer can help you evaluate any settlement offer you receive to determine whether it provides fair and full compensation for your losses.
However, the statute of limitations does not begin to run for a minor who suffers personal injury or property damage in a trucking accident until he or she turns 18. If you do not file your lawsuit before the expiration of the limitations period, the court can permanently dismiss your lawsuit.
For example, the truck driver’s log may demonstrate that the driver was behind the wheel longer than permitted by regulations and may have been fatigued at the time of the accident.
The truck may have a data recorder that can show the truck’s GPS position, speed, acceleration, and braking. The driver may also be required to undergo a drug and alcohol test following an accident, which can show if the driver was under the influence. The load manifest can show whether the truck was improperly or unsafely loaded. Or, the truck’s maintenance logs can show whether the truck was properly maintained.
The Dangers of Truck Accidents
Large commercial vehicles like box trucks, semi-trucks, and tractor-trailers are large, heavy, complicated pieces of machinery that require more training and experience to operate than your average passenger vehicle. Trucks are longer, wider, and heavier than most other vehicles on the road.
As a result, trucking accidents pose unique dangers over most other kinds of motor vehicle accidents, such as rear-end collisions (since trucks require a much longer distance to stop), jackknifing, roll-overs, sideswipes (since trucks have large blind spots), shifting cargo, and cargo spills.
The heft and speed of large trucks also mean that when they are involved in accidents with smaller passenger vehicles, the occupants of the smaller vehicles often tend to suffer more severe injuries than the occupants of the truck.
Who is Responsible?
In a car accident, the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident is usually the party solely responsible for paying compensation to those injured in the accident. However, in a trucking accident, there may be several parties other than the truck driver who may bear legal responsibility, including:
The trucking company, who is responsible for hiring or retaining, training, and/or supervising the truck driver
The freight company, which loads the truck (an improper or unsafe load can cause a trucking accident)
The truck manufacturer or parts manufacturer, if a design or manufacturing defect causes the accident
The company responsible for maintaining the truck, if inadequate or improper maintenance causes the accident.
How Could the Company be Negligent?
Although a truck driver is responsible if his or her acts or negligence cause a trucking accident, the trucking company may also be held legally accountable for injuries and damages after a collision.
If the trucking company employs the truck driver (versus using them as an independent contractor), the trucking company can be held responsible for the driver’s negligence through a legal doctrine known as respondeat superior, which is a Latin term that roughly translates to “let the master answer.” The doctrine allows an employer to be held liable for any negligence committed by an employee in the course and scope of the employee’s work.
The trucking company can also be held responsible for any direct negligence, regardless of whether the truck driver is an employee or an independent contractor. The trucking company could be found negligent in its hiring or retention of the driver if the driver had a history of negligent driving.
The trucking company could also be held responsible if they fail to properly train the driver or ensure that the driver had sufficient training and experience. The trucking company could also be held accountable for failing to properly supervise drivers, such as ensuring that the driver does not drive longer than the federally-mandated limits.
Lastly, the trucking company could also be negligent if it is responsible for maintaining the truck and fails to ensure that it is properly maintained.
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What Compensation Is Available If I’ve Been Hurt in a Truck Accident?
A trucking accident can cause both minor and severe injuries. Some of the common injuries that are suffered in trucking accidents include:
Cuts and bruises
Back and neck injuries, including whiplash injuries and spinal disc injuries
Head trauma, like a fractured skull or orbital bone, or eye damage
Traumatic brain injuries, like a concussion, intracranial bleeding, or coma
Internal organ injuries and internal bleeding
Rib and torso injuries, often caused by seatbelts and airbags
Soft tissue injuries, such as sprain, strains, and tears of tendons, ligaments, and muscles
Spinal and spinal cord injuries
If you have been injured in a trucking accident, you may be entitled to compensation for various damages that you may have suffered, such as:
Medical expenses, including hospital bills, doctor’s visits, surgeries, medication, physical and occupational therapy, home health care, mobility equipment or prosthetics, or home alterations to accommodate disabilities caused by injuries Lost wages and lost earning capacity, if you miss time from work during your recovery, or if your injuries prevent you from returning to your pre-accident level of work and you suffer a reduction in earnings as a result Pain and suffering, or the emotional and physical anguish and distress caused by your injuries Finally, you may also be entitled to compensation if your property has been damaged. This includes damage to your vehicle or property that was in your vehicle or on your person at the time of the collision.
Why Choose Kherkher Garcia?
If you or a loved one have been injured in a trucking accident, you may be wondering how to choose a law firm to represent you and your family in your claim for compensation. When you hire Kherkher Garcia to help you pursue compensation following a trucking accident, you get a team of trial attorneys who are dedicated to representing injured victims against the teams of lawyers who represent the big trucking companies and insurance companies.
Our attorneys have a proven track record of success winning verdicts and millions of dollars in compensation for our clients, and we’re ready to put that experience to work for you.
If you have been hurt in a collision with an 18-wheeler, contact the Houston trucking accident lawyers at Kherkher Garcia today to schedule a no-cost consultation with a knowledgeable member of our team today.