In 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported nearly 400,000 accidents involving commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), or vehicles weighing 10,001 pounds or more designed to transport products or passengers. That same year, more than 100,000 people suffered injuries and over 4,000 victims lost their lives in CMV accidents across the United States. Collisions involving CMVs, such as large trucks or buses, have the capacity to cause serious injuries or fatalities, particularly to occupants of smaller vehicles.
Federal law requires CMV operators to obtain commercial driver’s licenses to operate semi-trucks or buses as they have specialized functions and features that require certain skills and knowledge to protect drivers, passengers, and others on the road. If a driver fails to operate their CMV in a safe, responsible manner, serious consequences can occur.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one as the result of a CMV driver’s negligence, a commercial vehicle accident lawyer serving Longview, TX can help you determine if you qualify for financial recovery. Contact D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™ today at (713) 850-8600 to discuss your case with our legal team.
A Major Oilfield in the Longview, TX Area Increases the Need for CMVs
According to the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), the largest and most productive oilfield in the U.S., known as the East Texas Oilfield, takes up central Gregg County and parts of Rusk, Upshur, Smith, and Cherokee counties. In operation since its discovery in 1930, the oilfield features more than 30,000 wells across its approximately 140,000 acres, which have produced over 5 billion barrels of oil.
To transport this valuable resource, petroleum companies rely on fleets of large trucks. Although both the oil and trucking industries contribute significantly to the Texas economy, they also present an increased risk to those on roads throughout the state, including those in areas near oilfields such as Longview. In fact, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reported nearly 250 CMV accidents in Gregg County in 2018 alone.
The Dangers of CMVs on Texas Roads
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) outlines some of the primary factors that contribute to the dangers of CMVs, especially to those in lighter vehicles such as cars, vans, SUVs, and pickup trucks. Large truck and bus drivers must take into consideration the differences between their vehicles and others on the road to effectively prevent or minimize the occurrence of collisions. They include:
- Larger blind spots
- Wider turns
- Increased size and weight
- Longer braking times
- Higher ground clearance
If a negligent CMV driver caused the Longview accident that led to your injuries or the loss of your loved one, the lawyers at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™ can help you pursue financial recovery for your damages. Call us today at (713) 850-8600 to speak with our legal team about your case evaluation.
Establishing Liability in Your CMV Accident Case
To file a civil claim against the driver who caused your accident, you must first establish liability in your case. Texas requires that the liable party cover the victims’ damages, but with law enforcement, lawyers, and insurance companies all launching their investigations at the same time after an accident, determining fault can present a challenge. However, an attorney can help by demonstrating that the actions of the driver constitute negligence. The criteria include:
- Duty of care: The driver had an obligation to protect the safety of the victim on the road within reason, such as by following traffic laws.
- Breach of duty: The driver breached their duty of care by acting recklessly or failing to act when necessary.
- Causation: The driver’s breach of duty led to the victims’ injury or fatality.
- Damages: The victim or their family incurred significant damages as a result of the injury or fatality.
Once you have proven the negligence of the CMV driver, a commercial vehicle accident lawyer serving Longview, TX can help you proceed with the claim process.
Dealing with Unethical Insurance Company Practices
Liability insurance policies exist to benefit the victims of motor vehicle accidents, but unfortunately, insurance companies often do not provide adequate coverage for injuries. While minor claims may not present an issue, adjusters may try to undervalue larger claims or pin some of the blame on the victims so that the company can avoid cutting into its profits. They sometimes try to offer victims a low settlement before victims have had a chance to assess their damages, and when victims accept, they often find that the settlement does not cover all of their losses.
A lawyer can help by communicating with the insurance company on your behalf and handling all negotiations for you. While they prefer to settle out of court to avoid potentially lengthy and complex court proceedings, they will fight for your case at trial if they cannot achieve a sufficient settlement amount outside of the courtroom.
Financial Recovery in CMV Accident Cases
If you or a loved one suffered serious or fatal injuries in a CMV accident caused by the other driver, you may qualify for financial awards. The types and amounts you or a lawyer might pursue depend on the circumstances of your case, but they may include recovery for:
- Emergency room bills, ambulance ride, tests, procedures, rehabilitation, follow-up care, medical equipment, and other healthcare expenses related to the accident
- Transportation to and from your medical appointments
- Funeral and burial costs if you lost a loved one in the accident
- Lost wages for the time you had to take off work to recover
- Loss of earning capacity if you cannot return to work due to your injuries or you lost a loved one who provided for you financially
An attorney can evaluate your damages and seek fair financial awards in your case.
A Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer Serving Longview, TX Can Help You with Your Case
You do not deserve the damages you incurred as a result of your CMV accident injury or loss, and the lawyers at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™ can help you seek the financial recovery you deserve by investigating your case, establishing the liability of the negligent driver, and pursuing the awards you deserve. Contact us today at (713) 850-8600 to discuss your options with our legal team.