All road accidents come with risks. However, because of the enormous mass involved, truck accidents are among the most dangerous of road collisions and can have a serious impact on your life. Between your injuries and medical bills, it’s possible you may never fully recover from the incident.
But you’re not alone in this. By working with a truck accident lawyer in San Antonio, you can take steps towards holding the responsible party liable for the accident. It might be a truck driver, trucking company, or road crew. Whoever the negligent party may be, you deserve to hold them financially responsible for the accident. The Law Office of Ray Lopez is ready to take on your case on a contingency basis, which means that you never pay out of pocket for your legal services.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Although truck accidents happen for many reasons, negligence is usually a contributing factor. All of the following are common causes of trucking collisions involving negligence:
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence affects truck drivers just as much as it does regular drivers, but because of the dangerous nature of trucks, the risks are even higher. Whether they are using drugs or alcohol, an intoxicated truck driver behind the wheel of a large commercial vehicle greatly increases the risks for other drivers. In 2018, there were 40 fatal DUI crashes in San Antonio and hundreds more with serious injuries.
Although truckers are held to higher standards than regular drivers, they sometimes fail to meet those standards. In an effort to be more awake, a driver might take an illegal stimulant or take excessive amounts of a prescribed drug. This could have a significant impact on their ability to control the truck or react to emergencies.
It’s difficult to control a car in high winds or rain. But it’s even more challenging to control a truck, and a driver should drive slow enough to drive safely. If a truck driver fails to do so, they put every other vehicle on the road at risk.
Inclement weather alone doesn’t constitute negligence, but a speeding driver in bad weather is. If bad weather was a contributing factor to your truck accident, it’s also important to determine the truck driver’s speed. Even if they were driving at the legal speed limit, the speed may have been too fast for the conditions.
Driving While Drowsy
A tired driver is dangerous when they’re moving a multi-ton vehicle. For this reason, Texas has instituted “hours of service laws” that dictate how long a driver can be on the road, how many breaks they should get, and how long they must be off before returning to service. Despite that fact, many truckers skip or postpone rest breaks to meet unrealistic deadlines or to get back home sooner.
Drowsy driving is similar to drunk driving in that the driver has poor judgment and diminished reflexes. If a truck driver is guilty of this, they could find themselves causing a fatal accident.
Sometimes, the trucking company is to blame. If they force their workers to drive through federally mandated rest periods, the company might be liable for the accident.
Poor Hiring Practices
If a company hires someone who does not have a CDL or who has a history of dangerous driving, they could be responsible for the accident. It’s their responsibility to hire safe and qualified drivers.
The same can be said of their training and supervision. As they cut corners, the company might not provide adequate training to their employees. The lack of training might be the primary cause of the accident.
Some collisions are caused by defective parts. If a defective part caused your accident, you need to determine who was responsible for making the defective part. It might be a parts manufacturer, an assembly crew, or someone else.
Lack of Maintenance
The truck driver or trucking company should provide their vehicle with proper maintenance. When this doesn’t happen, accidents are more likely to occur. Two common examples of this are blown out tires and failing brakes. With proper maintenance, neither issue should be a problem.
The Consequences of Truck Accidents
In 2018, there were 777 serious injuries from road accidents in Bexar County. Truck accidents significantly contributed to that number. In fact, individuals involved in truck accidents are more likely to experience serious injuries than individuals in car accidents. The heavy weight of the trucks makes them likely to cause significant damage to the other involved vehicles and the people occupying them.
There are many varied consequences of truck accidents. Any of the following could happen to you after a truck collision:
One of the most obvious risks is bodily injury. During an accident, someone could suffer from a head injury, spinal cord injury, broken bone, laceration, or internal bleeding.
Debt from Medical Treatment
After your accident, the bills will start piling up. All of your doctor’s visits come at a cost. Although you might have health insurance, it probably doesn’t cover all of your bills. Copays, deductibles, and other medical expenses all add up.
There’s also lost earnings. If you have a serious injury, you will be unable to work. Whether you’re out of work temporarily or permanently, it will affect your finances. It puts all the pressure on someone else in your family or will leave you deep in debt.
More debilitating injuries, like a damaged spinal cord or traumatic brain injury, could mean you need a live-in health aide, but this isn’t by any means cheap. Without compensation for your accident, the debt could be overwhelming. The median household income in San Antonio is only $49,711, which means few households are capable of handling the expenses of a truck accident.
Loss of Enjoyment
You might take things like mobility and freedom from pain for granted, but after a truck accident, you might find that you are unable to do and achieve the things that once happened naturally. Loss of enjoyment is a noneconomic damage item. Your truck accident attorney can help determine the level of your pain and suffering and calculate an appropriate figure to add to your claim.
What Does a Truck Accident Lawyer in San Antonio Do?
After your truck accident, you may be able to seek compensation for your accident. If you have car insurance, you may go through your own insurance company. In nearly all cases, the initial settlement offer from your insurer is inadequate to fully compensate you for your injuries. In many cases, your insurer is only responsible for a portion of the claim and you may have to seek additional compensation from other sources.
There is another option available to those who were in an accident caused by someone else. If the truck driver or another party was liable for your collision, you can go through their insurance company or sue them directly. Large trucking concerns, however, are able to call upon vast resources to delay your claim. You might need to fight to negotiate an appropriate settlement, and that requires an experienced truck accident lawyer in San Diego.
An attorney knows how much money you deserve and can negotiate with the insurance company to get you fair compensation. Additionally, they know what it takes to appeal a denied claim.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Another option is to file a personal injury claim. As long as someone’s negligence caused the accident and you were injured, you have grounds for a claim. The lawsuit allows you to seek compensation for all of your accident-related expenses, including pain and suffering.
A personal injury claim is a challenging process. As a civil case, it does not require as much evidence as a criminal case. However, it does require strong evidence proving the negligence.
Your claim could end before it goes to trial. Your lawyer might be able to negotiate a settlement with the other party. In this case, you may receive a check for the settlement agreement and move forward with your life.
If the negotiations don’t work, your case will go to court. Your attorney will represent you and try to convince a judge or jury that you deserve compensation. For instance, an attorney could use a driver’s log as evidence to prove that a truck driver did not take their required rest breaks.
What Should You Do After A Truck Accident?
The actions you take soon after a truck accident can have a major impact on your case. First, you should seek medical attention. Seeing a doctor will not negatively impact your chances at getting a fair settlement or jury award. Retain all documentation and contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Even if you suffer from minor injuries, find time to see a medical professional. Some injuries are not visible; only a doctor can determine the full extent of your harm. In addition to providing treatment, they also establish evidence of your injury. Their medical report can be used in court to prove you deserve compensation.
Always make a police report. After the police arrive, they will analyze the scene and create a police report. The report could be used to prove the other party caused your accident. Do not admit fault, even if you think you were partially responsible for your accident.
Finally, you should contact a lawyer. Before you start going through insurance companies and answering questions, you should get legal advice. They will guide you through the process and prevent you from making a serious mistake.
It’s worth noting that there’s a great deal at stake and you should carefully choose your attorney. With the right legal professional, you can work towards a positive outcome. Contact the Law Office of Ray Lopez to get started.