Traffic accidents involving heavy commercial trucks such as an eighteen-wheeler or other large freight carrier can be much more catastrophic than an ordinary car accident. Commercial vehicles can weigh 80,000 pounds or more, while an average passenger automobile weighs approximately 3,000 pounds. Due to the basic laws of physics, any collision between a commercial truck and another vehicle is likely to result in serious or fatal injuries.
The danger posed by commercial truck accidents can be made worse depending on the nature of the freight the truck is carrying: if hazardous or flammable materials are on board burns and respiratory injuries could result.
After a semi-truck accident, there will be many people at the scene such as rescue personnel, police officers, fire fighters, and tow truck drivers. Often, the trucking company insurance representative will arrive at the accident scene within minutes in order to take pictures, interview witnesses, and compile their version of the events in order to avoid or limit the liability their company will face in the event of a lawsuit. Invariably, the trucking company's version of the accident will place you at fault. This is why you need expert legal advice as soon as possible following a truck accident.
In the event that you or a loved one are involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle you may be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries by bringing a legal claim against the responsible parties. 18-Wheeler and commercial truck accidents often involve many different companies as well as multiple insurance companies: this makes it much more difficult to allocate fault and ascertain the cause of the accident. Conversely, these policies have much higher policy limits (typically a minimum of $1 million dollars) and these limits give you much better chances of having ample insurance coverage to pay for medical treatment, pain and suffering, lost wages, etc.
Texas employs a doctrine of comparative fault, whereby the actions of both the plaintiff and the defendant are factored into a jury’s decision to award compensation. If the jury finds that the plaintiff is partially to blame or contributed to the accident in some way, they may then discount the compensation that the plaintiff will receive proportionately. If the jury believes that the plaintiff contributed more than 50% in causing his or her own injuries then the defendant does not have to compensate the plaintiff.
The consequence of this is that the defendant does not have to beat the plaintiff flat-out; they simply must show that they are not entirely responsible or they simply must deflect the blame elsewhere in part, and they will save themselves a considerable amount of money. As such, trucking companies are not usually willing to settle with accident victims if they believe that there is the slightest chance that they can deflect the blame elsewhere in trial.
Utilizing a lawsuit to resolve the harm done by a truck accident serves two important purposes: permitting the injured party to recover from the financial, physical, and emotional harm caused by the wreck and to dissuade those whose negligence caused the accident from conducting themselves in that fashion ever again. In situations where egregious conduct or wanton recklessness causes you to suffer harm, a jury may force the defendant to pay additional damages to further dissuade such reckless behavior. In assessing and presenting your claim, a skilled attorney will consider all aspects of the harm and loss you have suffered as a result of your accident and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.