Truck Accident Lawsuits: What You Need to Know
If you were injured in a truck accident, you could be entitled to financial compensation – but how does a truck accident lawsuit work, how much money could you be entitled to, and what does your attorney have to prove? Here’s what you need to know.
Who Can File a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
Anyone who has been injured in a truck accident could be eligible to file a lawsuit under Texas law. In addition, surviving family members of a person who was killed in a truck accident may also be able to sue.
There are about 500,000 truck accidents each year. If you’ve been involved in one and sustained injuries or irreparable damage to your own vehicle, you may want to talk to a truck accident lawyer about your situation.
Texas has a statute of limitations on accident claims. That means you must file your lawsuit or take legal action within 2 years of the date of the accident to file your personal injury claim. If you wait longer than two years, you’re most likely going to lose your right to seek compensation.
What About the Insurance Company?
After an accident, you’ll get a few phone calls – and some of them will be from the other party’s insurance agency.
Do not talk to an insurance adjuster without consulting an attorney first.
Insurance companies train people to sound kind, caring and compassionate when they’re checking up on your injuries. They’ll ask if you’re okay and express concern about what happened, but despite that, insurance adjusters are not on your side.
An insurance adjuster has one job: To save his or her company money, even if it means being unfair to you.
If an insurance adjuster calls you, politely let them know that all questions should go to your attorney – and stick to your guns. Don’t cave in because they’re being so nice (or because they become more insistent or aggressive) – just let the adjuster know that you’re working with a lawyer and provide him or her with our phone number.
Can You Sue a Truck Driver?
In some cases, the truck driver is directly responsible for a victim’s injuries. Several things, like speeding, driving too many consecutive hours and falsifying log books, driving while distracted or driving while fatigued, can contribute to a crash.
If a truck driver’s negligence or recklessness causes or contributed to your accident, he or she may be financially liable for your injuries.
Can You Sue a Trucking Company?
Sometimes the trucking company is responsible for a crash. For example, negligent corporate policies – such as paying truck drivers by the mile to encourage them to speed, failing to train drivers properly, or poor truck maintenance – can sometimes be the company’s responsibility.
Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
When you’re in an accident, the police will create a report that includes statements from you (if you’re able to give one), the truck driver and any witnesses who stuck around after the crash. Several factors can cause a truck accident, including:
- Bad weather
- Careless driving
- Distracted driving
- Driver error
- Equipment failure
- Fatigued driving
- Improper cargo loading
- Lack of training
- Negligent driving
- Poor truck maintenance
- Reckless driving
If you decide to file a truck accident lawsuit and it goes to court, the court will have to decide how much responsibility you bear and how much the truck driver and trucking company bear. For example, if you’re driving the speed limit and minding your own business, and a truck driver falls asleep at the wheel and runs you off the road, you didn’t do anything wrong – but if you were speeding and checking your email on your phone at the time of the crash, you probably bear some responsibility as well.
Responsibility is important when it comes to awards.
What About Settling a Truck Accident Lawsuit Out of Court?
Many truck accident lawsuits don’t actually make it to court. Instead, they’re settled between the truck driver or trucking company’s insurance company and the victim’s lawyer. That happens when the insurance company offers a fair amount and the victim accepts it.
If the insurance company is unwilling to offer a fair amount, your case will go to trial.
How Much Money Do You Get if You Win a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
In a truck accident lawsuit, your attorney will present all the facts of your case to the judge and jury. The jury will decide how much to award you in compensatory damages and, in some cases, how much to award you in punitive damages.
- Compensatory damages are meant to compensate you, or pay you back, for things like medical care, modifications you’ve had to make to your home, and lost wages. If you hadn’t been in the accident, you wouldn’t have these expenses and you would’ve been able to work, so the jury can award you as much as necessary to cover what you’ve already had to spend and what you’ll have to spend (or lose out on) in the future.
- Punitive damages are meant to punish bad actors. If the trucking company was negligent and hired someone with a DUI in his or her past, for example, and the trucker was drunk when he or she hit you, the jury can award you punitive damages to – for lack of a better term – teach the company a lesson and prevent other companies from doing the same thing.
The bottom line is that the jury can award you whatever amount it thinks is fair in a truck accident lawsuit. You can be awarded money to pay for your medical bills (past, present and future), your lost wages and loss of future earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
If you are partially responsible for the accident, the jury will take that into consideration when determining the amount to award you. For example, if the jury finds that you were 30 percent responsible for what happened, your award amount will be lower than it would if you were not at all responsible for the crash.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Filing a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
If you were injured in a truck accident, we may be able to help you get the financial compensation you deserve.
Call us right now for a free case review. We can come visit you at home or in the hospital, and we’ll listen carefully to every detail – and if you’re entitled to compensation, we’ll fight hard for you every step of the way.