Given the mass and size of a large truck, truck accident injuries are frequently catastrophic or fatal. Traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord damage are common after a truck accident. Injured victims—or their families in fatal cases—may be able to file an insurance claim and recoup their losses after the accident.
However, truck accident cases are complex. The lawyers at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC® can help. We can help you explore your legal options, navigate the entire personal injury claims process, and negotiate for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation with a truck accident lawyer’s team in Houston. Our personal injury lawyers can handle your entire case from start to finish while you rest.
Who Is Liable for Your Truck Accident Injuries?
The party responsible for the accident is liable for the victim’s damages. The first step of filing a truck accident claim and collecting financial recovery is to determine who was at fault for the accident.
There are a number of parties that may be liable for your truck accident injuries, including:
- The carrier
- The truck driver
- The truck owner
- The truck manufacturer
- A truck part manufacturer, such as a tire or brake manufacturer
- A third-party shipping company
- The inspection service provider
At D. Miller & Associates, PLLC®, we have been helping truck accident victims in Houston since 2002. We understand the nuances of these types of claims and can conduct a thorough investigation to identify liability. Before speaking to an insurance adjuster or filing a claim, run your case by one of our team members to clarify your options.
Other Potentially Liable Parties
Other than the previously listed parties, potentially liable parties can include third-party motorists and local governmental entities. For example, if a poorly maintained road caused or contributed to your truck accident, a local municipality may bear liability.
Similarly, a third party, like another motorist, may have also contributed to the accident. For example, they may have failed to yield the right of way, causing a truck driver to swerve and hit you.
Our team of lawyers can determine all parties that shared the fault for the accident.
Proving the Four Elements of Negligence in Your Truck Accident Case
When seeking financial recovery after a truck accident, you have to establish the same four elements of negligence you would in any personal injury case.
Duty of Care
First, you have to establish that the liable party owed you a duty of care to keep you reasonably safe on the road. For example, trucking companies and their drivers have to abide by the same traffic laws as other motorists. They also have to comply with additional safety rules and regulations.
Breach of Duty of Care
Our truck accident attorneys in Houston will get to work demonstrating that a trucking company, a truck driver, or another liable party breaches their duty of care in some way. Various forms of negligence can constitute a breach of duty of care, such as failing to abide by speed limits.
Causation refers to the link between another party’s breach of duty of care and your accident and injuries. We can investigate the crash to determine how their negligence caused or contributed to your accident and injuries.
Finally, we must prove that your truck accident led to your injuries and other accident-related losses. We can use your medical records, wage statements, and other pieces of evidence to illustrate your losses.
Examples of Negligence that Can Lead to a Truck Accident
Due to their weight and size, trucks pose unique risks for other motorists on the roads. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When collisions occur with passenger vehicles, motorists can suffer severe injuries.
That’s why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets such strict rules and regulations on trucking companies and their drivers. When trucking companies or truck drivers violate these regulations, they increase the risk of truck accidents.
Take a look at some examples of negligence that can lead to truck accidents.
Failure to Abide by the Hours of Service Restrictions
The FMCSA restricts the length of time truck drivers can legally operate their vehicles to ensure they have enough rest and sleep to drive safely. Some of the regulations include the following:
- A thirty-minute break after eight consecutive hours of driving
- A ten-hour minimum off-duty period requirement
- An additional two-hour driving window if driving in adverse weather conditions
When trucking companies or their employees fail to adhere to this regulation, they risk driving while fatigued, which can be just as dangerous as driving while impaired, according to the National Safety Council (NSC).
Failure to Abide by Drug and Alcohol Testing Requirements
The FMCSA also requires truck drivers to submit to regular drug and alcohol testing. When their employers fail to test them, they are violating this regulation.
Under 49 CFR 382.603, anyone who supervises truck drivers also has to undergo a 60-minute training session to help them identify common behavioral traits of someone under the influence.
Failure to Properly Secure Cargo
Another way truck accidents can happen involves the cargo they carry. This cargo contributes to the weight of these trucks, and trucking companies have to make sure they properly load and secure cargo before a trip.
If they fail to do so, cargo can shift while the truck drives, which is very dangerous. Loose, heavy cargo can spill out of a truck in the middle of traffic or cause the truck to topple over as it shifts from side to side. Trucking companies have a responsibility to train the employees who load and secure cargo to ensure everyone’s safety on the road.
Failure to Follow Hazardous Material Regulations
Some trucks transport hazardous materials, such as gasoline and other toxic chemicals, across the state. Trucking companies have to follow specific rules and regulations regarding how to properly transport and secure these materials so as not to cause harm to other drivers and the environment.
Failure to Abide by the Speed Limit
Trucking companies may place undue pressure on their drivers to meet unreasonable deadlines. Truck drivers may feel tempted to speed while on the road so they can make their scheduled deliveries.
Regardless, truck drivers have to abide by the same traffic laws everyone else does, including speed limits. When a vehicle so large and heavy is traveling at high speeds, the chances of a collision occurring only increase.
Failure to Adjust for Hazardous Road Conditions or Inclement Weather
Truck drivers also have to adjust their speed and driving techniques when road hazards or inclement weather increases risks on the road. They may have to slow down, use their hazard lights, or take a different route to ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road. If they fail to do so, they could cause or contribute to a collision.
Negligent Hiring Practices
When trucking companies hire truck drivers, they have to vet their candidates. They have to make sure they have undergone all the proper training, as well as take a look into their driving record. Without such protocols, inexperienced drivers can end up operating dangerous vehicles.
How D. Miller & Associates, PLLC® Can Help With Your Truck Accident Case
Our team of truck accident lawyers can help with all aspects of your case, including the following actions:
- Assess liability
- Work with you to assign a value to your claim
- Work with the truck company’s legal team to obtain a fair recovery for you
- Investigate and collect evidence
- Negotiate with the insurance company
You should also know the following about how we can help you.
We Will Handle the Insurance Claims Process
In the chaotic aftermath of a serious accident, it helps to have an attorney advocating for your best interests and managing confusing legal matters. You certainly do not want to inadvertently mishandle your claim and miss out on the financial recovery that you deserve.
Insurers often dispute liability, and there is usually an intensive investigation. When you are up against a commercial trucking company, the process of gathering evidence, proving fault, and calculating future damages becomes even trickier.
We Will Stand With You in Court, If Necessary
If you and the insurer cannot agree on the terms of a settlement, a Houston 18-wheeler accident lawyer can prepare your case for court. We will continue pursuing the funds you need to be whole again and to accommodate your future medical needs.
In some cases, we even suggest beginning with legal action. Whichever route is best for your case is the one we can pursue. We will be ready to advocate for you in a trial and argue your case before a judge or jury. This way, we can seed a trial verdict in lieu of a settlement. Sometimes you will not even have to go to trial. After litigation begins, the liable party may settle during mediation.
We Will Utilize Our Experience and Knowledge
We can explain your options so you can make informed decisions about your case. Our lawyers can facilitate all types of claims pertaining to truck accidents, including:
- Standard negligence claims
- Product liability claims
- Wrongful death claims
We will take on the tasks you do not have the time or energy to devote to. Our personal injury team is dedicated to fighting for accident victims and their families.
We Will Handle All the Necessary Paperwork
With any claim or lawsuit comes plenty of paperwork. Even a simple clerical error on a form could be enough to jeopardize your case. When you work with our truck accident team in Houston, we will handle all the forms and necessary paperwork for your case.
You won’t have to comb through the details while you are recovering. We can make sure we submit accurate, thorough information throughout the legal process.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover after a Truck Accident in Houston?
You may qualify to collect both financial and emotional losses. When we value your claim, we will include current and future damages associated with your injuries, such as:
These can include emergency care, hospitalization, specialized care, surgeries, prescriptions, prosthetics, and follow-ups.
Truck accidents can result in serious injuries that require ongoing care, like traumatic brain injuries. Mayo Clinic affirms that this condition can involve relearning foundational skills like walking, which can take months. We can go after financial recovery that can pay for physical and psychological therapy, as well as in-home aid if you require it.
Other medical expenses, such as medication, medical equipment, and modifications to your home, may also warrant financial recovery. We can use your medical bills and records to get an idea of how much your current and future medical expenses add up to. The last thing we want is for you to foot the bill down the road due to another party’s negligence.
It’s understandable that you may have had to take time off work to heal from your injuries. Still, even a week out of work can put an enormous strain on your family’s finances. You don’t deserve to suffer these losses without financial recovery. Our truck accident lawyer in Houston can seek recovery for these losses, including loss of wages, loss of work benefits, or the loss of a promotion.
Reduced Earning Capacity
In some cases, accident victims may never be able to work again or perform the same duties they once did. This can cause a discrepancy between what they used to be able to earn and what they can now earn. Our truck wreck lawyers can go after reduced earning capacity if this is the case for you. We can seek the difference between your pre-injury income and the amount you are able to earn after the accident.
These damages include losses that are intangible and difficult to assign a value to, such as:
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Emotional harm, such as pain and suffering
Damages for truck accident cases may range from thousands to millions of dollars. To ensure the insurance company or courts factor in the totality of your losses, start collecting all your receipts, medical documents, and information about your injuries. Store these documents in a folder for safekeeping and share them with your lawyer.
Our Tuck Accident Lawyers Can Help if You Lost a Loved One
If you lost a loved one in a truck accident in Houston, our wrongful death lawyers can take on your case while your family grieves in peace. You deserve to properly honor the memory of your loved one, but few families are financially prepared to do so after a sudden loss.
While you spend time with your family members, our legal team can investigate, gather evidence of negligence, and fight for fair financial recovery.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Only certain people can bring legal action against a liable party on behalf of a loved one. Typically, typically it is the spouse, child, or parent of the deceased.
Our wrongful death attorneys can determine who in your family may file a wrongful death lawsuit and help you navigate the process.
What Types of Financial Losses Can You Seek Recovery for?
If you lost a loved one in a truck accident in Houston, you can pursue financial recovery for various losses, including:
- Your loved one’s funeral and burial or cremation services
- Your loved one’s accident-related medical bills
- Your loved one’s pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium for the companionship your loved one offered
- Loss of income for the financial contributions your loved one made ot the household
You don’t have to handle a wrongful death case on your own. A lawyer from our firm can help you every step of the way.
What Steps Should You Take After a Truck Accident?
It can be difficult to know where to turn after the shock of a truck accident. Here are the steps you should take after any motor vehicle accident to protect your safety and your legal rights.
Address Your Immediate Medical Needs
Get yourself and your car to safety, seek medical attention, and give the police your information for the accident report. Even if you did not require emergency medical care immediately after the accident, you should still see a doctor as soon as possible.
You may have suffered from severe injuries with latent symptoms. For example, Cleveland Clinic notes that it can take days or weeks for whiplash symptoms to occur.
Call Your Insurance Company
Report the accident but only provide basic information. Do not agree to answer any accident investigators’ questions—even those from your own insurer—without an attorney’s counsel.
Insurers may try to take anything you say out of context and shift the blame onto you. When you do speak to them to report your accident, stick to the facts, such as where and when the accident occurred. Avoid going into any detail that could diminish your claim.
Call Us for a Consultation
Speak to one of our truck accident lawyers, free of charge, and brief us on your circumstances. We understand the immediacy of the situation and can quickly explain your options and how we can help.
Begin Collecting Information
Gather all documents and evidence that pertain to your accident and injuries. To validate your claim, we need proof of fault, medical records, and financial records like medical bills and proof of lost wages.
We will help you gather evidence as well. We can speak to witnesses, investigate the truck driver’s driving history and driving logs, and compile a comprehensive list of your monetary and non-monetary losses.
Avoid Discussing Your Accident and Health
Do not talk about your accident, your health, or your case. This is because the insurance company could take anything you say out of context and use it to argue that you do not deserve a settlement. Do not risk your financial recovery by accidentally admitting fault or implying that your injuries do not affect your life more or less than they actually do.
This also means that you should not provide more information to the insurance company than absolutely necessary. When they call you, answer their questions truthfully, but do not expound on those answers. Once you hire a lawyer, you can direct the insurer’s calls to your representative.
Continue With Your Medical Care
To protect your health and preserve your truck accident claim, follow your doctor’s orders and stick to your treatment plan. Failing to follow through with medical care can invalidate your claim. If you forgo or delay medical treatment, your injuries could also worsen. This could also give an insurer fodder to undervalue or deny your claim. For your health and your case, do the right thing and follow through with your prescribed treatment plan, as well. This way, you can make your maximum medical recovery.
You should also keep a daily journal that documents your pain levels, treatments, response to treatments, and thoughts about how your injuries are affecting your life. We can use this information to better illustrate the impact of the accident on the insurance company or court.
The Benefit of Hiring a Truck Accident Attorney in Houston
After a truck accident, your injuries are likely severe, and you probably face a long recovery period. The last thing you may want to tackle is an insurance claim or a lawsuit. These processes involve ample paperwork and require you to communicate with insurers or defendants.
When dealing with a truck accident case, you may even have to go up against a trucking company that has a team of defense attorneys on its side. You don’t have to go through this alone, though. You can hire a Houston truck accident lawyer from our firm to handle the entire legal process for you.
This way, you can rest and focus on your health. We can deal with the liable party and the paperwork for you.
D. Miller & Associates, PLLC® Provides Client-Focused Legal Care
We understand that you have your choice when it comes to legal representation. We want to explain a few things that set our firm apart from the rest. Take a look at the ways we provide client-focused, compassionate legal services for our clients:
We Personalize a Legal Strategy to Suit Your Individual Situation
We never want our clients to feel like they are just another case file on a desk. We promise you will never be pushed aside when you work with our firm. We take pride in tailoring our legal services to suit your unique situation. We never apply a one-size-fits-all approach to a case.
We will take the time to listen to your story and answer your concerns from the moment we begin working with you.
We Provide Information to Help Navigate You Through the Legal Process
One of the ways we help navigate you through the legal process is by educating you along the way. Our firm has compiled a host of helpful articles you can access on our FAQ page. You can peruse through articles on various topics, including truck accidents, and learn more about the ins and outs of pursuing financial recovery after an accident.
This FAQ page may even hold the answers to some of the questions you have right now. It may be helpful to take a look and jot down any additional questions that arise so you can ask our legal team.
We Make Ourselves Available to You
Whether you need to call us or email us, we make it a point to get in touch with you whenever you need. We are here to help, so feel free to come to us with any questions or concerns that you may have as your case progresses.
We Provide Regular Updates on Your Case
Even if we do not hear from you, we will make it a priority to reach out with any developments in your case. We understand that updates are important and that you want to feel comfortable with the decisions we make moving forward. We will notify you of any progress in your case so you never have to wonder what’s going on.
Our Previous Clients’ Testimonials Speak Volumes
Nothing speaks louder than client testimonials, and we have our share of satisfied clients. You don’t have to take it from us; they can explain what it is like working with our truck accident lawyers in Houston, TX. Take a look at what they had to say about our firm:
- “I have been represented by D. Miller & Associates, PLLC for almost a year and I have nothing but positive things to say. The people there are always friendly and do their best to answer any questions to the best of their ability. I would strongly recommend this firm for any of your personal injury or any other claims you may have.” – Wayne Peacock
- “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.” – Shelley Flynt Bradley
- “Everytime I’ve called they have been very courteous and attentive. They also answered all my questions I had regarding my case and made me feel like they truly care about my claim. Even though my case is still pending I know I will go to them for any other legal issues I may have in the future.” – Adrianne Frencl
We are proud to have served accident victims across Texas, and now we want to put our resources to work for you and your family.
Why Is It Important to Act Quickly after a Truck Accident?
Truck accidents are complex and urgent cases. We need to document serious injuries from the get-go, collect vital information from the trucking company before they lose or destroy evidence, and begin compiling all the evidence to substantiate your claim.
We also need time to obtain a complete damage assessment so you receive a fair settlement. Plus, the statute of limitations imposed by Texas law restricts how long we have to file a personal injury lawsuit before you lose your right to seek financial recovery.
How Long You Have to File a Lawsuit in Texas
Texas law generally gives accident victims two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Similarly, the law allows certain family members to file a wrongful death lawsuit up to two years after their loved one’s demise, usually.
If you miss this deadline, you risk losing the right to take legal action against a liable party. Don’t let a negligent party get away with causing you harm. Begin your case immediately so you can have as much time as possible to pursue this option for seeking financial recovery.
How Our Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help Streamline the Legal Process
When you work with our truck accident attorneys, they will do their best to move the process along as smoothly and quickly as possible. Keep in mind that it takes time to build a truck accident case. Our legal team needs time to investigate, gather evidence, and negotiate with insurers. The sooner you get started, the better.
We can get started on your case immediately after you reach out to us. This will help us comply with any deadlines that apply in your case.
We Can Help You Recover after a Truck Accident in Houston
You deserve justice and fair financial recovery after suffering injuries in a truck accident. You don’t have to let a negligent party get away with causing your losses. You have a right to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit, and you also have the right to hire a lawyer.
Contact D. Miller & Associates, PLLC®, today to request a free consultation with a truck accident lawyer’s team in Houston. Your truck or car accident lawyer in Houston will want to do all they can to help injured Texans like yourself.
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