Tips for Obtaining a Settlement in an 18-Wheeler Accident Claim
The Lone Star State is no stranger to serious truck accidents. In 2022, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) documented more than 8,000 commercial 18-wheeler accidents in Texas alone. Commercial trucking is a vital part of our economy and we should all support the men and women who make it their job to deliver goods throughout both Texas, and the United States. However, if you find yourself involved in an 18-wheeler accident due to the negligence of a commercial truck driver, there are a number of steps you should take.
Why Texas Leads the Country in 18-Wheeler Accidents
Texas is the largest state in the lower 48 and according to statistics, each year commercial trucks travel more than 31 billion miles on Texas roads. You can see that we have more of these 18-wheelers traveling on Texas roads versus any other state. Therefore, this leads to a significantly higher number of 18-wheeler accidents. Many of these accidents occur in the major cities, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.
Another major factor as to why there are so many commercial truck accidents in Texas, is due to the fact Texas is a major player in the global shipping trade. Because of port locations on the Gulf of Mexico, the Texas coast serves as a major point of entry and departure for both shipping and the oil and gas industries. Shippers of oil and gas rely heavily on large commercial vehicles to distribute products throughout the state. Negligence on the part of truckers can have devastating consequences, resulting in financial loss and personal injury.
What Might Lead to an 18-Wheeler Accident
Commercial truck drivers often operate their vehicles for many hours on end. This can lead to driver fatigue, which is the most common cause of 18 wheeler accidents. Texas law permits truckers to operate their vehicles for 12-15 hours straight, before taking a mandatory 8 hour break. If you’ve ever driven your car for 12 hours straight, then you understand how physically and mentally exhausting that can become.
In addition to driver fatigue, there are other factors that can lead to an 18-wheeler wreck. Some of these include:
- Insufficient training
- Reckless driving
- Inadequate truck maintenance
- Defective mechanical parts
- Overweight or poorly loaded cargo
If any of these factors lead to an accident, the driver and or the company the driver works may be held liable for damages. If you’ve been involved in an 18-wheeler accident, contact the Law Office of Brian Brunson today for a free consultation.
Actions to Take Following an 18-Wheeler Accident
- Assess yourself for any injuries you may have sustained – Check on the health of yourself and any passengers that are riding with you. If you or anyone has injuries, request medical attention immediately. (Call an ambulance.) If you feel like you may have been injured, do not tell anyone that you are “okay”.
- Call the police – Remain on the scene until first responders arrive. If the accident was a minor “fender bender” and it is obvious that there are no injuries, you should move yourself and your vehicle out of the roadway. If your vehicle is inoperable or you feel like you have sustained any form of injury, remain where you are. Whether there were injuries or not, you should contact the police so they can create an accident report. Other individuals involved in the accident may later claim that they sustained injuries, so you’ll want an official police report on record.
- Do not apologize – Even if you feel you might have been at fault, do not apologize to anyone. There are many factors that could have attributed to the accident. You do not want to prematurely incriminate yourself in any way. Collect as much information as you can about the scene and the situation, but do not discuss the accident with anyone involved or any onlookers.
- Call your insurance company – You want to inform your insurance company that you have been involved in a car accident. However, only disclose the necessary information. Do not speculate on who was at fault, or discuss any injuries, etc.
- Call the Law Office of Brian Brunson – If you were injured in a not-at-fault accident, then you should not have to incur the cost of medical bills and car repairs. You are likely entitled to financial compensation from the other driver’s insurance. This compensation can cover things such as medical expenses, lost income, vehicle repairs and other costs. Contact us today at 214-730-8961 and let our personal injury attorneys review the details of your accident. The initial consultation is absolutely free and you pay nothing unless we recover money for you.
Proving Negligence and Acquiring Compensation
There are two types of “damages” and they are known as compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are determined based on the total amount of your medical bills and property damage are the costs to repair or replace property (car, dwelling, etc.). Sometimes other factors are taken into account, such as pain and suffering which are hard to assign a dollar amount to, but can be calculated based on a variety of factors. Punitive damages may be awarded by a court if it is deemed that a defendants actions were so heinous that they went above and beyond and should result in a monetary settlement extending beyond that generally awarded for compensatory damages alone.
In order to win a claim, the attorney representing you (the plaintiff), must prove the following:
- Duty of care: The truck driver had a responsibility to uphold the laws of the road.
- Breach of duty: The truck driver breached this duty by not following these laws.
- Causation: The truck driver’s breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
- Damages: The plaintiff’s injuries require financial compensation to satisfy damages.
If you’ve been involved in an 18-wheeler accident, you need an experienced truck accident lawyer on your side. Contact the Law Office of Brian Brunson today for a free consultation.
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