Accidents involving 18-wheelers often leave victims in smaller vehicles with medical bills, ongoing medical care costs, lost wages, and tremendous stress. If a semi-truck driver caused your accident, you may be eligible to file an insurance claim or lawsuit to recover damages to cover these losses and more.
At D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™, our 18-wheeler & semi-truck accident lawyers in Houston help injured claimants recover the damages they need to start rebuilding their lives. We can find out what caused your collision, identify the liable party, collect all available evidence, and file an insurance claim on your behalf. If it is necessary to get the money you deserve, we can even take your case to court.
Who Is Financially Responsible for Semi Truck Accident Injuries?
Even when a trucker acts recklessly or carelessly and causes an accident, he may not be the only one financially responsible for your injuries, property damage, and pain and suffering. Instead, a legal construct known as “vicarious liability” holds their employer responsible for their actions while they are on company time.
Depending on the facts of your case, the financially responsible party may be:
- The trucking company
- A corporation receiving the delivery
- The truck’s maintenance company
- A manufacturer of the truck or a defective truck part
Holding the trucking company or other party liable is somewhat more complicated than filing a claim against another motorist, as you would in a car accident case. A large corporation likely has an entire legal team on its side, ready to minimize any possible liability.
The upside of this situation, however, is that the company probably has a much larger liability policy than an individual would. This means we may be able to collect more to fully compensate you for your damages without having to worry about the maximum limits of a private insurance policy. This is especially important if you suffered severe injuries (such as a traumatic brain injury) that may require ongoing nursing or future medical care.
Who Is Liable in a Trucking Accident: the Trucker or the Company?
To prove the trucking company is liable for your accident and injuries, your Houston truck accident lawyer will provide evidence to show the trucker acted negligently and they were on the clock at the time of the accident.
Most of the evidence we need to collect is similar to a typical car accident. We request copies of the police report, identify eyewitnesses, and take pictures of the scene of the accident. We may even enlist the help of an accident reconstruction expert to help us understand who caused your collision and how.
A semi truck accident also creates a wealth of other evidence that a Houston semi truck accident lawyer can use in your case. Federal and state regulations require trucking companies to collect and preserve certain information, including:
- The truck driver’s rest logs
- Data from the truck’s computer
- Mandatory drug and alcohol testing results
- The truck’s maintenance records
- Documentation of the damage to the truck
- The driver’s personnel files
- Reports about past incidents involving the truck or the driver
While any of this information could be vital to proving your case, most of it is in the hands of the trucking company after an accident. To ensure the company preserves this documentation and gives us access to it, we need to act quickly after an accident.
One of the first things we do is send a letter of spoliation to the trucker’s employer, demanding it gathers and protects all possible evidence in the case. If the employer fails to do so, the company may face stiff punishments from the courts.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
One of the questions potential clients often ask us is how much they can expect to get for their losses. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most difficult questions to answer. The only way we can determine a fair value for your case is to fully investigate the accident and document your losses.
We need to add up your medical bills, property damage costs, out-of-pocket costs, and other expenses to come up with a total of your current economic losses. If you suffered serious injuries, we may need to call in experts to estimate the cost of your future and ongoing care. Finally, we will put a financial value on your pain and suffering by considering the severity of your injuries and how they have affected your life.
Only once we complete these steps can we understand what a fair settlement value looks like in your case. If you agree to a settlement without consulting an attorney, you may not collect enough damages to cover your future needs. Therefore we encourage all truck accident victims to talk to an attorney before signing anything from the insurance company.
What Can I Expect from the Truck Accident Recovery Process?
In the vast majority of semi-truck cases, we can settle out of court. We begin by sending a demand letter to the trucking company’s legal team or insurance company. In this letter, we outline our case and demand fair recovery based on the evidence we collected. While trucking companies rarely agree to the amount we requested, this typically launches settlement negotiations. We aggressively negotiate, fighting for the full value of your claim. We can usually come to a fair settlement agreement during this process.
Only rarely does the trucking company refuse to agree to a fair settlement at all. When this occurs, we are not afraid to take the company to court to recover the damages you deserve.
Can I Wait Until I Recover from My Injuries to File My Lawsuit?
Your physical recovery cannot be delayed without the possibility of hindering your recovery. Your right to file a lawsuit cannot be delayed, either, without putting your financial recovery at risk. According to Texas law, you generally have two years from the date of the 18-wheeler accident to file a personal injury lawsuit for yourself or on behalf of an injured family member who has passed away as a result of the accident.
The age of injured victims, the whereabouts of the at-fault party, and other factors can lengthen or shorten the statute of limitations. Additionally, if your accident involved a government or municipal truck, you might have to comply with additional notification and filing deadlines.
Our truck accident team will make sure your potential lawsuit is filed on time. We will help you avoid the risks of noncompliance and preserve your ability to hold the at-fault party liable for its negligence.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring Our Truck Accident Team in Houston?
Before you can seek financial recovery from the at-fault party, the state requires you to prove their negligence and liability. This means proving it:
- Had an obligation to act with reasonable care
- Failed to do so
- Caused your medical injuries
- Caused your financial damages
On your own, this can be a daunting task. When we represent you, our personal injury law firm handles these obligations. We will also take the following steps to bolster and support your case:
- Consult medical and trucking industry experts
- Determine the financial value of your case
- Collect supporting documents and evidence
- Identify the at-fault party or parties in your case
- Canvass the area for photos and video footage
- Handle in-person communications and correspondence
- Negotiate a favorable monetary settlement on your behalf
If we have to seek recovery at trial, we will prepare your evidence and ensure you and any witnesses understand the trial process and the value of your testimony. Whether via settlement or trial, our team will ensure you get timely updates throughout the recovery process.
We Treat You Like a Person, Not a Case File
Our goal is to recover the full cost of your injury-related expenses. Yet, you don’t have to take our word for it. Our previous clients say:
- Shelley F.B.: “The staff here are genuinely concerned about what is going on in our lives. They have walked me through every step, and I sincerely appreciate their helpfulness.”
- Daniel L.: “Very attentive and helpful law firm. Quick to answer your questions and explain tough legal language and made a negative time of my life have a positive outcome and brighter future.”
- Kiana S.: “Great firm and they follow up on everything and they make sure you are comfortable and that everything is correct with your claim I would highly recommend.”
Reviews like this attest to our passion for helping injured clients. They can also help you make an informed decision and get the legal care and support you need.