18 Wheeler Accident Lawyers in Austin
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Heavy 18-wheeler trucks are common in the Austin, Texas area, whether delivering goods or on the surrounding interstate highways. With most commercial trucks weighing as much as 25 times the weight of a standard passenger vehicle, 18 wheelers can cause a catastrophic amount of damage, including severe injuries and in many cases, death. Even the slightest error in judgment by the truck driver can have devastating consequences. The smallest contact between a passenger car and an 18 wheeler can send a passenger car colliding into oncoming traffic, flipping over or crashing against the side of the road.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), most recent statistics show that of approximately 450,000 reported crashes in 2017, 4237 of them were fatal and 344,000 involved injuries.
When a person is involved in an accident with 18 Wheeler, an accident lawyer can help seek compensation for their injuries. If you or a family member have been injured in an accident and not sure how to proceed, the attorneys at the Zinda Law Group can help you pursue the compensation that you deserve. Start with a FREE consultation to learn more about your case.
All passenger vehicles on the roads in Austin and the surrounding roadways are, at one time or another, exposed to the risk of an accident involving an 18 wheeler. Some causes of 18 wheeler accidents are:
- Veering into another car’s lane
- Loss of Control due to faulty equipment such as tire blow out or trailer problems
- Rear ended by a truck
- Driver fatigue
- Improper turns – over or under-estimating when making a turn
- Insufficient training by the trucking company of their drivers
- Weather and road conditions.
Injured in an 18-wheeler accident?
Extreme caution should always be used when driving in the vicinity of an 18-wheeler. However, even then accidents may not be able to be avoided. In that case, it is important to find an experienced attorney who can help you investigate the accident and gather evidence immediately so that your rights are preserved and your interests protected.
After an accident with a truck, it is important to complete a few key steps to make sure that you have the best chance of being fairly compensated.
1. Seek Medical Attention
After an accident, it is important that you move to a safe location as quickly as possible if you are able. From there, assess your medical situation. If it is necessary, call 911 to request emergency services. Remember that the adrenaline that comes from an accident can often mask the pain of injuries you may have suffered.
2. Document the Accident
Talk to the police and file a report as soon after the accident as possible. Filing a report soon after will ensure that the details are still fresh in your mind. In addition, take pictures of the scene and your vehicle, and make sure that you have the information of the driver of the tractor-trailer.
3. Contact an Attorney
The process of getting compensation for your injuries is not a simple one. It is important that you have an attorney on your side who is experienced in this field to guide you through and make sure that you are treated fairly every step of the way.
Filing a Lawsuit
Once you have contacted an attorney, they can assist in walking you through the steps of making a claim. These include:
1. Investigating the Accident
Your attorney will want to collect every bit of information about the situation. This will include police reports, the trucker’s driver history, whether the truck was properly loaded, etc. Information that may not seem particularly relevant may end up being crucial, so be as forthcoming as possible with your attorney.
2. Determining Liability
Once your attorney has a handle on the facts of the case, they can begin to determine who was at fault. There are a few different parties who may be responsible for an 18-wheeler collision, so determining who to file a claim against is crucial.
3. Negotiating a Settlement
The vast majority of personal injury claims never see the inside of a courtroom. Once your attorney has determined who is liable for your accident, they can begin to negotiate the best possible settlement for you with the party who is at fault.
In the rare case that an agreement on a settlement amount cannot be reached, you may need to go to trial. In this case, it is very important that you have an attorney who has experience in litigating these matters.
Who Can I Sue?
Depending on the facts of your accident, there may be a few different parties who share at least part of the fault.
If the driver of the truck was driving outside of the time limits approved by federal regulations or was generally driving irresponsibly, then they may be held liable for the crash.
18-wheelers are large machines made up of a lot of parts, and if the failure of one of these parts ends up causing a crash, then the manufacturer probably shares at least part of the fault.
The Loading Company
Loading companies prefer to fill trucks to their maximum capacity to make the most money. However, there are limits to what trucks can handle, and if the overloading of a truck has caused a collision, then the loading company may share in the blame.
Proving Truck Driver Negligence
To recover anything from a truck driver, you need to establish that they were negligent and that that negligence caused your injuries. Negligence can be proven by showing that the driver was drunk at the time of the accident, was driving longer than allowed for the day, did not have the proper licensure, etc.
Next, you must establish the link between that negligence and your injuries. For example, If a truck driver involved in an accident was driving drunk, but it was another vehicle’s reckless driving that caused the accident, then the trucker’s drunkenness is not really what caused the accident.
Establishing this link of causation is crucial in any personal injury lawsuit.
Your attorney can investigate your incident, establish liability, and will have the resources necessary to prove who’s negligence caused your accident.
What Compensation Can I Claim?
One of the major questions on the minds of those making a personal injury claim is, “How much is my case worth?” The compensation you stand to receive depends on your damages and losses, which can be broken up generally into the following categories.
This category includes things like medical bills, damage to property, and lost future earnings from not being able to work. The damages in this category can typically be established with a fair degree of certainty.
This category includes the pain and suffering caused by an accident. While it is difficult to put an exact number on the damages in this category, the pain you feel from an accident can be very real, and it may be compensated.
How Long Do I Have To File A Claim?
Every personal injury claim must be brought within a certain amount of time following the accident. This period is known as the statute of limitations.
Austin follows the Texas Statute of Limitations which tells us that a person has 2 years to pursue a claim after an accident with a semi-truck.
It is advisable to contact an attorney in Austin as soon as possible after the accident to better understand your position and a timeline of how long you have to make your claim.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE
An accident involving an 18-wheeler can be devastating and is often quite complex. There may be more than one party responsible for the accident. In addition, there are various laws and rules regulating the commercial truck industry, including driving restrictions for truck drivers, the type of training required to be certified to drive 18 wheelers and much more. It is imperative that you retain a lawyer who has intimate knowledge of this area of the law and is very experienced handling 18 wheeler accident cases.
At Zinda Law Group PLLC, our Austin truck accident attorneys are very familiar with this area of the law and deliver results, protecting the rights and interests of our clients and getting them the results they deserve. Call 800-863-5312 for a FREE consultation with a lawyer today.