A truck accident can change your world forever, making it impossible to return to the life you had before. As a result, you may be entitled to significant compensation if another party is to blame. However, the aftermath of a crash is stressful, and although there is no specific deadline as to when you should hire a truck accident lawyer, the sooner you do the better. Determining which parties can be held liable is often complicated. With the help of a Houston truck accident attorney, you can figure out how you need to approach your claim. Other things to consider when deciding at what point should you hire an attorney, including the following. How Much Time has Passed Since the Accident? Delaying contacting an attorney after a crash can result in a loss of critical evidence that proves fault. Ultimately, that can give the trucking company a considerable advantage, which may result in either the devaluing of your claim, or it being denied altogether. Examples of valuable evidence can include, traffic camera footage, inspection of the truck involved in the accident, proof that the trucker was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the truck driver’s logbook, the truck’s black box data, photos of the scene and of any skid marks on the ground, eyewitness statements, etc. Additionally, the state of Texas has a statute of limitations in place for truck accident claims, that allows victims up to two years to pursue compensation. Have You Been Offered a Settlement by the Insurance Company? You don’t necessarily need an attorney if the opposing party’s insurance company offers you a settlement, but consulting with one before you accept it is highly recommended. Insurers are motivated to settle quickly and for as little money as possible, which means the first settlement offer will likely be low. If your injuries and medical costs are severe, that amount probably won’t be enough to cover your current and future financial losses. Truck accident victims often win 3.5 times more in settlement compensation when they are represented by an attorney, according to a study conducted by the Insurance Research Council. Are You Severely Injured? Unfortunately, truck accidents often result in severe injuries that require immediate and possibly ongoing medical attention. A truck accident attorney can thoroughly investigate your claim and handle all negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company on your behalf while you recover. If your injury is so serious that you’re unable to meet with a lawyer at their office, many are willing to come to you. Have You Decided to Sue? The legal process can be complicated and overwhelming. Even more so, if multiple parties are responsible for your injuries. For example, liable parties may potentially include the driver, the trucking company, truck manufacturer, or government entities. Trucking companies have a big budget to spend on legal representation. If you decide to sue, you will need a knowledgeable attorney at trial. Texas has a comparative fault law, which can affect your amount of compensation. As long as you are less than 50 percent at fault, you can recover compensation, but the amount awarded will be reduced by your percentage of liability. Your lawyer will help you determine a strategy that will ensure you receive fair compensation, and that comparative fault laws are applied correctly. Don’t hesitate to contact a skilled Houston truck accident lawyer today.
An accident of any kind can be terrifying, but especially so when an 18-wheeler truck is involved. These types of accidents are often devastating due to the size of the truck, and in some cases the weight of its cargo. If you or someone you love is ever hit by an 18-wheeler, it’s important to know what to do after. What to Do Immediately after the Accident Having guidance after an 18-wheeler accident is not only best for your health, but will also help you obtain the best results for your accident claim. Self-Check and Call 9-1-1 The highest priority is your wellbeing. Ensure you are not in any immediate danger, then call 9-1-1 and stay in your vehicle until emergency responders arrive. If you are in a dangerous situation, try to move to the side of the road. Check on your passengers and if they are injured, try not to move them and wait for first responders. Exchange Driver Information Get the most information you can about the truck driver and the company they work for, including: Name, address, and phone number for the people involved in the accident Insurance information and policy number Vehicle registration card Name, address, and phone number of the company the trucker works for. 18-wheeler year, make, model, color, and license plate number VIN number of the vehicle. It’s usually on the lower left front windshield and/or on the inside of the driver’s door. If you are immediately transported to the hospital, the police officers who arrive on the scene will file an accident report that should contain the above listed information in it. Document the Scene Write down the exact location of the accident, street names, and address, as well as the contact information for any witnesses. If you are physically able to, take photographs of: The accident scene and surrounding area from every direction and angle Any skid marks on the road Each vehicle involved in the crash and its damage The trucker’s drivers license ID Your injuries. If you have a dashcam, make sure to save any video footage. All of this information can eventually be used as evidence when it comes time to prove liability and obtain compensation. Contact an 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Attorney Take advantage of a free consultation with an experienced 18-wheeler truck accident lawyer in Houston. They will walk you through the next steps and advise you on what you need to do to obtain the compensation you will need for medical bills, to fix your vehicle, to cover lost income, and for any other accident-related expenses. Why 18-Wheeler Truck Accidents Often Happen in Texas The most common illegal actions that result in 18-wheeler accidents are: Distracted Driving: often due to talking on a cellphone, texting, eating and drinking, watching TV, or surfing the Internet. Violating hours of service requirements: if a trucker spends too many hours on the road, he may become drowsy, inattentive, or even fall asleep behind the wheel. Reckless driving: some truck drivers use drugs or alcohol while on the road, which can result in aggressive or unsafe driving maneuvers, or traveling over the speed limit. Improper maintenance: truckers must ensure that all parts of their vehicles, trailers, and cargo are in proper working order before beginning a journey. Overloading the trailer, improper fasteners, thinning tires, broken mirrors, and other maintenance problems can all lead to an accident. Poorly trained drivers or lack of experience. Trucking companies may engage in negligent hiring practices to get truck drivers on the road. For example, failing to perform background checks, drug testing, and adequate driver training. Speak to an Experienced Houston 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Lawyer If you or a loved one is hit by an 18-wheeler truck in Texas, you may be entitled to legal compensation. Contact Milano Legal Group so we can help you get your life back together. Call (713) 489-4270 or message us online to schedule a free consultation today.
Nearly 650 people lost their lives in Texas truck accidents throughout 2017, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The highest total in any year dating back to 2007. When truck accidents are not fatal, the damage can still be devastating, and victims are often left with serious or life-changing injuries. Unfortunately, most of these crashes are preventable. Leading Causes of Truck Crashes Understanding the most common causes of truck accidents may help avoid some of these tragedies in the future. Distracted Driving Distracted driving is a serious issue among drivers of all vehicles, but the results can be catastrophic when a truck driver is not paying attention. Common forms of distractions include texting or talking on a cell phone, drinking, and eating. Truck Driver Impatience or Road Rage Truck drivers are under an enormous amount of pressure to meet certain deadlines, which can result in impatience or anger when on the road. The NHTSA revealed that almost a third of all driver error-caused accidents can involve behaviors from road rage. When a trucker is driving too aggressively, other drivers should not take retaliatory action as it will only increase the probability of an accident. Driver Fatigue A person’s driving abilities can adversely be impaired when they are not getting an adequate amount of sleep. Truck drivers work long hours and don’t have a reliable sleep schedule. Although there are federal laws that dictate how many hours a trucker can be on the road, it doesn’t guarantee they will adhere to them if they are trying to meet a deadline. Reckless Driving Going over the speed limit dramatically decreases a truck driver’s chances of reacting to any unforeseen elements on the road. Other dangerous behaviors include: sudden lane changes, failing to signal, or failing to account for traffic. Poor Weather Conditions When a truck driver fails to adjust to climate and road conditions, it often leads to poor visibility, and they may encounter cross-winds or wet driving surfaces. All of which significantly reduces their ability to control the vehicle. Driving Under the Influence Many truck drivers resort to stimulant drugs out of boredom or to stay awake. Truckers actually have the highest rate of alcohol and drug abuse among other drivers. Driving under the influence clouds judgement and can compel a driver to take unnecessary risks. Poor Maintenance or Manufacturing Defects Trucks must be kept in good condition, as required by law. However, proper maintenance can be expensive and many truck owners or companies are not willing to spend the money to do it right. Defects, on the other hand, originate from the manufacturer and can be, for example, a mistake in the design of a part. If a vital part, such as an axle, tire, or wiring fails, the truck driver may lose control. Preventing Truck Accidents If both the truck driver and other road users take necessary safety precautions, most truck accidents are avoidable. For example, drivers of other vehicles on the road can drive defensively by: Using turn signals to give truck drivers ample time to react and make adjustments to your intentions. Avoiding driving in blind spots. Tractor-trailers have large blind spots which smaller vehicles should be aware of. These are often located at the rear, the side, and the connection between the truck and the trailer. Keeping your distance. It is difficult to judge a truck’s braking distance when you are tailgating. Vehicles traveling behind a truck should give an ample distance of around 20 to 25 car lengths, especially when driving uphill. Speak to an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney When you are injured in a truck accident caused by negligence, you must take immediate action in order to hold the driver and the trucking company accountable. Contact the Milano Legal Group PLLC today, and get started with a free and confidential consultation.