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What Should You Do After a FedEx Truck Crash in Texas?

With more than 100,000 vehicles, nearly 125,000 drivers, and an annual revenue estimated at around $84 billion, FedEx is easily one of the largest trucking companies in the United States. With numbers like these, it’s no surprise that FedEx freight trucks are involved in injury-causing truck crashes nearly every day on American roads.

In fact, according to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in a recent 24-month period (November 2020 through October 2022) FedEx Ground trucks were involved in a total of 2,766 crashes in the United States, including 893 that resulted in injuries and 71 that resulted in at least one fatality. That’s more than one injury accident per day on average, and a fatal accident more than every other week.

If you or a family member were injured or killed in FedEx truck crash in Texas that wasn’t your fault, you deserve compensation. But getting it won’t be easy: big trucking companies like FedEx are known to fight insurance claims aggressively, denying liability whenever possible—or, failing that, undervaluing the true cost of severe injuries, pain, and suffering. This makes it difficult for accident victims to get the fair compensation they deserve.

What Causes FedEx Truck Accidents?

Accidents involving a FedEx freight truck are often complex, with many potential contributing factors. Some of the most common include:

  • Distracted driving: According to the FMCSA, more than 7 out of 10 accidents involving large trucks occurred when the driver was “doing something besides driving the truck,” for example looking at billboards, using a mobile phone, or eating.
  • Driving while fatigued: Truck drivers put in long hours on the road and may even feel pressured to skip mandatory rest breaks to make deliveries on time.
  • Negligent training or supervision: Trucking companies are under a lot of pressure to keep up with shipments. Unfortunately, that means they may put a driver who hasn’t been properly trained on the road—or keep a driver on the road despite multiple flagrant safety violations.
  • Poor truck condition: Semi-trucks and trailers require regular inspections and maintenance to ensure safety. However, these checks and repairs don’t always occur when they’re supposed to.
  • Improper loading: Cargo that isn’t loaded or secured properly, or shifts during transport, can alter a truck’s center of gravity and make it harder to control, and more prone to overturning.

Depending on the circumstances of the crash, the liability for the accident may fall on the truck driver personally, the trucking company (either FedEx or an independent trucking company used as a contractor), a maintenance company, parts or vehicle manufacturer, or even a bar that knowingly overserved a driver.

What Happens if You Get in an Accident With a Delivery Truck Driver?

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FedEx’s Recent Crash and Legal History

As mentioned above, due to the sheer size of the fleet, FedEx Ground trucks are involved in a staggering number of serious accidents—nearly 900 in just the last two years alone.

A quick Google search drives the point home. Just in Texas, in the last 12 months, there have been several notable crashes in the news.

  • On November 28, 2022, a FedEx truck rolled over on I-35 in Buda, shutting down all but two lanes of the interstate for over an hour.
  • On September 6, 2022, a crash between a FedEx delivery truck and a school bus on 183A in Leander sent the bus driver, bus monitor, and a student to the hospital.
  • On February 11, 2022, a FedEx truck driver on I-35W in Fort Worth lost control on slick ice and slammed into an existing pile-up crash at high speed. Six people were killed, and dozens were injured in the pileup. (This one was caught on video, and the footage is truly terrifying.)
  • On December 17, 2021, a FedEx truck on I-35E in Lewisville hit a concrete barrier, flipped on its side, and caught fire.

Of course, not every crash involving a FedEx truck will necessarily be the truck driver’s fault. Vehicles crash for many reasons.

That being said, like other trucking companies, FedEx regularly has to pay out large verdicts and settlements to injury victims harmed by their drivers—as much as they try to avoid responsibility or dispute the severity of the victims’ injuries.

In fact, just a few months ago on August 26, 2022, a Nevada court awarded $8 million to a woman whose vehicle was rear-ended by a FedEx truck. According to attorney Benjamin P. Cloward, who represented the woman, FedEx accepted liability but never offered more than $1.8 million to settle, despite three years’ worth of evidence strongly supporting a higher evaluation.

Sadly, we see this kind of behavior all the time from large trucking companies like FedEx.

Steps to Take After Your Truck Crash

There are several important steps you should take after any truck crash to protect yourself, your health, and any future legal case you wish to pursue.

  • Contact the police. Even if you believe the damage is minor and no one was hurt, still file an accident report. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
  • Document any evidence you can. If you are safely able to do so, take pictures of the scene, car damage, and injuries, and even license plate number. Get contact information from eyewitnesses, the truck driver, and the trucking company.
  • Keep your cool (but don’t admit fault). Emotions run high after accidents, but yelling won’t help your case. Nor will admitting fault—even if you’re just trying to be nice or you aren’t sure who caused the accident. Words you say, especially before the full facts are known, can be used to deny or reduce your legitimate claim.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible if you have any new symptoms, no matter how minor they seem. Often, we hear from injury victims whose injuries only got worse over the following weeks or put off treatment because they thought they’d get better on their own. Insurance companies will use this against you, claiming that your injuries must not have been serious or were unrelated to the crash. So always seek help as soon as possible.
  • Don’t talk to the insurance company adjuster right away. The insurance adjuster is not your friend. They are trained to get you to say things that may sound innocent to you, but can be twisted to cast doubt on your injuries or your role in the crash. The best way to protect yourself is by having your attorney handle all the communication with insurance.
  • Contact an attorney as soon as possible. Evidence disappears quickly after truck crashes. Trucking companies like FedEx are only required to keep logs, event recorder data, and other evidence that could prove your case for a limited time. If that evidence is lost—or even deliberately destroyed by the trucking company—there may be no way to recover it. The sooner you hire experienced legal representation, the more your attorney can do to build you a strong case.

Crosley Law Stands Up to the Big Trucking Companies

You would think a large trucking company that makes billions per year wouldn’t need to nickel-and-dime injury victims and fight legitimate claims. Unfortunately, that’s just not reality.

FedEx and their insurance companies are motivated by profit. Reducing the amount they have to pay out in claims helps their bottom line. And they retain expensive, well-trained attorneys to defend them in court. Injury victims are at a severe disadvantage—but hiring an experienced truck accident attorney can level the playing field and help you defend your rights.

Crosley Law has a history of taking on trucking companies (including FedEx) and winning. In one notable case, we were honored to represent Amanda’s family in a wrongful death lawsuit against a negligent truck driver.

The truck driver in this case claimed that Amanda caused the accident by running a red light. Because Amanda died at the scene and there were no other available eyewitnesses, the police report took the truck driver’s side of the story, and the insurance company refused to pay. Amanda’s mother, however, believed otherwise and hired Crosley Law. After conducting an extensive investigation and forcing the trucking company to provide us with dashcam footage, telematics data, driver records, and more, we discovered that, among other things:

  • The truck driver was the one who ran the red light, not Amanda.
  • He was traveling 43 miles per hour at the time of the collision, and still didn’t even hit his brakes for five more seconds.
  • The trucking company had seen the dashcam footage before us, but deliberately attempted to hide it.
  • The driver had a documented history of reckless driving, and never showed any remorse or regret when interviewed by our team.

But that’s not all. We also interviewed more than 40 of Amanda’s friends and loved ones, and even worked with an economist to determine her future potential income. This work paid off, and helped us obtain a $9 million settlement in mediation for Amanda’s family.

truck accident settlement

A Grieving Mother Clears Her Daughter’s Name: Amanda and Jane’s Story

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Or, consider Jerry’s case. He suffered a devastating brain injury after his pickup was hit by a wrong-way semi-truck driver. Jerry could no longer work and suffered obvious cognitive and emotional damage—yet because his brain scans seemed normal, the trucking company refused to acknowledge that he had a brain injury at all. Crosley Law went the extra mile for Jerry, digging into the latest scientific research and even getting him into an experimental study using brain scanning tech that was far more sophisticated than a simple MRI or CT scan. Our hard work paid off with a $16 million jury verdict for Jerry at trial.

Cutting-Edge Tactics Result in a $16M Jury Award: Jerry M.’s Story

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Crosley Law: Helping Injured Texans Get Justice

For more than 17 years, the team at Crosley Law has been helping people injured in car accidents, truck accidents, and other personal injury situations take on the insurance companies and get the compensation they deserve.

Your initial consultation is free, and you pay nothing unless we win a settlement or verdict at trial on your behalf. To request your in-person or video consultation, contact our personal injury law firm today at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or fill out our brief contact form.

References

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (2022, November 16). Safety Measurement System—Overview (U.S. DOT#: 265752). Retrieved from https://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/SMS/Carrier/265752/BASIC/CrashIndicator.aspx

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (2015, February 11). CMV Driving Tips—Driver Distraction. Retrieved from https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/driver-safety/cmv-driving-tips-driver-distraction

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Out-of-State Car Accident Jurisdiction: A Visitor’s Guide to Texas Injury Law

Texas isn’t just the second most populous state in the U.S. It’s also one of our nation’s biggest destinations for out-of-state travelers. According to Travel Texas, the state hosts more than 70 million visitors per year.

While we certainly wish that everyone who visits our state enjoys a stress-free trip, the reality is that more than a handful of those 70 million will be involved in car accidents. Some of those will result in serious injuries and legal action. And that can put out-of-state drivers in a tough spot.

If you’re an out-of-state driver, the process can be frustrating and confusing—especially if you try to handle it on your own. But a little knowledge and a good Texas car accident lawyer can significantly simplify the process for you.

What Is Jurisdiction?

You’ve probably heard the term “jurisdiction” on the news or your favorite legal drama, but what does it mean? When you file a lawsuit, you have to make sure that the court has the power to hear your case. Lawyers refer to this power to hear cases and issue decisions as “jurisdiction.”

If both you and the at-fault driver are from the same state, it’s not hard to determine jurisdiction—you’ll file your lawsuit in that state’s courts. But when the parties are from different states, things can get complicated.

Generally speaking, if you’re involved in a car crash and want to pursue a lawsuit, you can file in either the state where the defendant lives, or the state where the accident happened. If a car accident occurred in Texas, then Texas law is going to apply, and a Texas court will have jurisdiction. That is true even if the injured party isn’t a Texas resident and has a car insurance policy issued in another state.

A Brief Overview of Texas Personal Injury Law

If you were injured by a Texas driver, you’ll typically have to file a Texas personal injury claim. That means you’ll need to consult with a lawyer that is licensed to practice in Texas, like the team at Crosley Law.

While every injury claim is different, here are four points to keep in mind if you are going to file a personal injury claim in Texas.

Texas Is a Fault State

Under Texas law, the driver who caused the accident must pay for all your damages, including your medical bills and lost income. If you want to recover compensation for your medical care, lost wages, and other economic and non-economic damages, you’ll first need to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. You will also need to prove that the driver was responsible for the car accident.

If you live in a no-fault state like Florida or Michigan, and you are driving your own personal vehicle (insured in your home state) when you’re involved in an out-of-state accident in Texas, your own no-fault benefits may still cover you. However, you will likely still need to make a claim against the Texas driver to recover any non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering), or if your own insurance benefits aren’t enough to cover your economic losses.

Further, if your own insurance company pays your no-fault benefits up front, and you later win your car accident case in Texas, you may have to pay back your no-fault insurance company out of your settlement or trial verdict.

If You Were Partially at Fault, the Insurance Company Could Deny Your Claim or Reduce Your Damages

Texas applies a doctrine of modified comparative negligence with a 51% bar in injury claims, so the insurance company can reduce your compensation by the percent of blame you hold for the crash.

What does that mean?

  • First, to be eligible to receive any compensation, you cannot be more than 50% at fault. If you are determined to share at least 51% of the blame, your claim will be denied entirely.
  • Second, if you are more than 0% but no more than 50% responsible, your damages will be reduced by your degree of fault. In other words, if a court believes your actions made you 10% responsible for the car accident, you can only obtain 90% of your claimed damages.

Can I Recover Damages if I Contributed to a Car Accident?

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Texas Has a Two-Year Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits

One crucial piece of information to know if you get in a car wreck is the state’s personal injury statute of limitations. If you file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations expires, you may lose your right to compensation.

In Texas, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits, meaning you have two years after a car crash to file your injury claim.

While that may seem like a lot of time, it’s best to get started with your case as soon as possible after the accident. The earlier you contact an attorney, the less likely crucial evidence will be lost or overlooked, and the more time you’ll have to build a robust legal case.

All Texas Car Owners Must Carry a Minimum Amount of Liability Insurance

Texas’ car owners are legally required to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage on their vehicles: at least $30,000 per person for bodily injuries, with a maximum of $60,000 per crash, and $25,000 for property damage. Other types of insurance, such as collision, uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM), and personal injury protection (PIP), are available but not required under state law.

If you get into an accident caused by a Texas resident and they only have Texas’ mandatory policy limits, a negligent driver may not have enough coverage to pay for all your damages, particularly if you suffer serious injuries.

If your personal auto insurance policy from your home state includes UM/UIM and/or PIP coverage, those benefits will likely be able to step in and cover you if the Texas driver is uninsured or underinsured. However, you should still speak to a personal injury attorney about your options for recovering any remaining damages.

Your Post-Accident Itinerary: What to Do After the Crash

Here are some general tips for what to do immediately following your accident.

1. Report the Accident to the Police

Unless the accident was minor enough to cause almost no damage, Texas law requires you to notify the police so that they can fill out a crash report. If possible, it is a good idea to obtain a copy of that report for future use.

Even if you feel like the damage was minor and you suffered no serious injuries, still get an accident report. Sometimes injuries that seem minor at first turn out to be much more severe.

2. Collect the Driver’s Information

The next thing you need to do after an accident is to collect all the relevant information from the other driver. This information includes:

  • Personal: Name, address, phone, and email
  • License: Driver’s license and license plate number
  • Insurance: Insurance company and policy number

3. Assemble Witness and Damage Evidence

Ask any witnesses for their name and contact information so that their testimony can be used as evidence later, if needed. Additionally, take pictures of the crash scene, your injuries, and the damage to the vehicles involved.

4. Avoid Admitting Any Fault

Do not admit fault to the other driver, police officers on the scene, or witnesses. Even a simple statement such as, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you,” could be used against you later when determining what percent of the crash was your fault.

5. Seek Medical Care

You should always follow up with a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident if you’re experiencing any new symptoms, however minor they might seem.

While this might seem like an added inconvenience—especially if you’re on vacation—you are far better safe than sorry. As noted above, sometimes injuries are more severe than they first appear. Seeking immediate treatment helps ensure you get the care you need. You will also establish medical records linking your symptoms to the crash, making it harder for the insurance company to argue that you are exaggerating your symptoms or that they were pre-existing.

6. Contact a Texas Personal Injury Attorney

Insurance companies are not on your side. They will use any possible means to avoid having to pay your insurance claim. Before you call or speak to any insurance agent—whether they represent you or the other driver—contact a Texas personal injury attorney.

Fight These Four Common Insurance Company Tricks After a Car Accident

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Do I Really Need to Hire a Texas Car Accident Attorney if My Accident Happened There?

Although you don’t have to hire an attorney, we strongly recommend that you work with an experienced car accident attorney who is local to the area where the crash took place. If you’re an out-of-state visitor, most likely Texas will be your only option (unless the at-fault driver was also a resident of a different state). So, at minimum, you’d need to hire an attorney who is licensed to practice here.

Hiring a local Texas attorney makes sense for other reasons, too. Car accident cases are often complicated and time-consuming. Your attorney may need to subpoena records and evidence, depose the defendant, follow up with eyewitnesses, and more. It is also to your benefit to contact a lawyer sooner rather than later, as critical evidence may be lost forever if your lawyer isn’t able to protect and examine it soon after the crash. All these things are much easier to handle if the person doing the work is familiar with, and local to, the area.

Furthermore, an experienced attorney based where the crash took place should be familiar with local laws, local courts and judges, and potentially even local insurance company attorneys who may be on the defense team.

For all these reasons, working with a Texas attorney can help the process go much more smoothly, and give you a better chance at a great outcome than trying to handle things on your own.

Our team has handled many claims for out-of-state crash victims. For example, John was on a business trip in San Antonio. As he was walking through an intersection, a delivery truck turned the corner and hit him. Using the police report, dashcam footage, and the truck driver’s own statements, we were able to negotiate a $178,000 settlement—and John didn’t have to deal with the logistics of an out-of-state trial.

pedestrian accident settlement

John’s Story: Aggressive Tactics Lead to a $178,000 Settlement for a Pedestrian

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Crosley Law: San Antonio’s Personal Injury Team

A serious crash will bring your vacation plans to an abrupt stop. Although your trip to San Antonio may be ruined, speaking with a local personal injury attorney can help ensure the accident doesn’t ruin the rest of your life as well.

At Crosley Law, we focus on Texas personal injury lawsuits and use our extensive knowledge of local cases and Texas law to maximize our clients’ accident compensation.

We know that pursuing a lengthy personal injury lawsuit can be incredibly stressful and frustrating experience for people who live far away from where their case has been filed, and we work hard to make the process as frictionless as possible. No matter where you reside or spend most of your time, we are happy to work around your schedule, answer any questions you have, and keep you updated about your case. We have extensive experience representing Texas visitors in personal injury claims and are happy to accept referrals from attorneys in other states.

We also accept referrals from out-of-state attorneys who need in-state counsel.

If you’ve been in a serious accident while visiting San Antonio, contact us today at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or online for your free consultation to getting your life back on track.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

What Happens if You Get in an Accident With a Delivery Truck Driver?

If your neighborhood is anything like ours, chances are you see a steady stream of delivery trucks, vans, and other vehicles pass by your house or apartment on a daily basis. The trend really took off at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it certainly shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Nowadays, you can get almost anything delivered—even fast food.

While there are many benefits to getting groceries, restaurant meals, and merchandise delivered right to your door, there are also potential downsides to roadways filled with delivery trucks—especially as competition between delivery services becomes fiercer. It’s not hard to find news stories about the hazardous working conditions that many delivery truck drivers find themselves in, and it’s no surprise that these conditions can lead to mistakes and poor decisions that cause car wrecks.

When a delivery driver injures you or a loved one, you don’t want excuses — you want fair compensation and peace of mind. The Crosley Law team can help with your delivery truck accident claim. We’ve won millions in settlements and verdicts against negligent delivery companies and will fight to get you the fair compensation you deserve.

More Pressure on Drivers Means More Errors—and More Delivery Truck Accidents

Today, a broad network of delivery drivers helps us get the goods we need, from groceries and paper towels to lunch from our favorite taqueria. Amazon alone has more than 70,000 branded delivery trucks on the road and plans to put more than 100,000 electric delivery trucks on the road over the next several years.

But despite this massive fleet size, Amazon delivery drivers still must deliver an average of 250-300 packages per day at peak times just to keep up. At the same time, orders for oversized items (including furniture and big-screen televisions) has increased, making delivery jobs even more difficult.

Many drivers have gone to extreme lengths to meet Amazon’s and other companies’ expectations. Delivery drivers have reported skipping breaks and meals, and many rely on caffeine and other stimulants during the day. During the initial COVID-19 delivery surge, one anonymous Amazon delivery truck driver noted that he has to choose between safety and productivity. The man said he’d even stopped wearing a seatbelt because he couldn’t afford spending seconds buckling and unbuckling it between deliveries.

“It’s a second to cut off the time it takes to complete our routes,” the driver told a journalist, “and one second is a lot of time for us.”

More than two years later, the pressure on delivery truck drivers remains high. And it’s not just Amazon. Drivers for FedEx, UPS, DHL, GrubHub, DoorDash, and more are all feeling the strain.

Who Is Responsible to Pay for Your Damages after a Delivery Truck Accident?

If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a delivery truck in Texas and it wasn’t your fault, you have every right to seek fair compensation for your medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. But that doesn’t mean it will be easy to get what you deserve.

Commercial vehicle cases are almost always much more complicated than a typical motor vehicle collision that involves two passenger vehicles. Determining who bears the responsibility for the crash, and insurance coverage that would apply, has a lot to do with this added complexity.

Before you file an injury claim or a lawsuit, you’ll need to determine the driver’s relationship with the delivery company. That’s often easier said than done.

Here are a few common scenarios, and what they mean for your delivery truck accident case:

The Driver Is a Direct Employee of a Delivery Company

When a driver is an employee, the company is typically responsible for their on-the-job negligence. For example, most UPS drivers are employees. If a UPS driver is texting while driving and rear-ends your vehicle, their employer’s insurance policy should cover your damages.

While most big delivery companies insure their drivers with large insurance policies (sometimes in the millions) to protect company assets, smaller “mom and pop” delivery services may have much less coverage. In Texas, businesses only have to carry $25,000 in property damage and $60,000 in bodily injury coverage per crash, with a $30,000 per-victim cap in bodily injury claims.

RELATED: Hit by a Delivery Driver, a Pedestrian Gets a Settlement: Zack’s Story

The Driver Is Employed by an Independent Delivery Partner

It’s easy to assume a delivery driver is a company employee if they’re wearing a uniform and driving a vehicle covered in logos. However, this assumption may be incorrect.

Companies like FedEx and Amazon often use delivery partners who use their logos and standardized uniforms. In fact, there’s a good chance that your Amazon delivery driver works for one of the company’s many delivery partners, no matter what their shirt says.

Big companies rely on delivery partners for one reason: it helps them avoid liability. If one of their partner’s drivers causes a wreck, the victims must sue the delivery partner, not Amazon or FedEx.

Many of these smaller “final mile” delivery partners have modest insurance policies. Amazon, for example, favors small delivery companies (with 100 or fewer employees) over larger ones. Small businesses are more likely to cut costs and opt for less insurance coverage.

The Driver is a Gig Worker

Companies like UberEATS, DoorDash, and Shipt have become part of our everyday life. However, these companies take varying stances for how they cover their delivery drivers, who are independent contractors—commonly known as gig workers.

While UberEATS and DoorDash have up to $1 million in coverage per crash, other companies like Shipt, Instacart, and Grubhub do not provide any insurance coverage for their gig drivers. Instead, they insist that the drivers maintain their own insurance policies.

Unfortunately, many personal auto insurance policies will not cover crashes and incidents that occur while the driver was engaging in commercial activity. So, unless the gig driver bought a special commercial driving policy or rider, they might be uninsured for your claim.

RELATED: Who Is Responsible for a Food Delivery Driver Accident?

Do You Have Personal Auto Policies That Cover Your Injuries?

While your liability claims will focus on the driver and their insurance companies, you may also have claims with your own insurer.

Most Texas drivers carry at least a modest amount of personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. These policies can provide additional compensation when the at-fault delivery driver has insufficient coverage. We strongly recommend all Texas drivers carry as much PIP and UM/UIM coverage as they can reasonably afford.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

PIP is a no-fault insurance policy that will help cover your lost income and medical bills. You should have at least a modest amount of PIP coverage unless you declined it in writing. PIP also covers family members that live with you.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM)

Even if the at-fault delivery driver has a large insurance policy, a catastrophic wreck or multi-vehicle pileup can quickly exceed the policy limits. In these cases, UM/UIM coverage will step in and cover your excess losses. As with PIP, you should have at least a modest uninsured and underinsured motorist policy unless you declined the coverage in writing.

Winning Your Delivery Truck Accident Case Will Take Work

Identifying the insurance companies you need to file claims against is only one step. Unfortunately, these cases are often difficult and complex—particularly when big insurance policies are in play.

Delivery companies and their insurers will fight to defend their bottom line. They will do whatever they can to deny responsibility for the delivery truck crash. And if they can’t deny responsibility, they’ll argue that your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim and minimize any settlement they have to pay out.

The best way to protect yourself is by speaking with an experienced delivery truck accident lawyer. Here are just a few ways an attorney can help.

Preserving and Collecting Critical Forensic Evidence Before It Disappears

Commercial vehicles, including delivery trucks and cars, often have sophisticated systems that track their every move. These technologies, which are called telematics, provide companies with detailed information about drivers’ speed, location, engine performance, and behaviors. Some even have onboard dash cams that record the view inside and outside the vehicle.

These systems can be an essential source of evidence during an injury claim. But unless you act quickly, these data points could be deliberately (and legally) destroyed by a delivery truck company looking to evade responsibility. Unlike a commercial driver’s logbooks, there are no rules about how long a company must preserve a delivery driver’s telematics data.

In addition, your attorney may help you identify and collect other potential sources of evidence, such as the commercial driver logbooks, potential eyewitness accounts, nearby security cam footage, and more.

Recently, we represented a young bicyclist who suffered catastrophic, life-altering injuries after he was hit by a reckless delivery driver. We quickly sent letters demanding access to electronic data about the driver’s conduct before and after the crash. We discovered a pattern that the driver had a long history of speeding on the job, and that the company had ignored the problem. If we had not acted quickly, the company may have disposed of this essential information.

RELATED CLIENT STORY: Picking Up the Pieces of a Shattered Life: Ramse’s Story – Crosley Law

Getting Expert Opinions

At Crosley Law, we have developed strong relationships with accident reconstruction specialists, traffic safety experts, doctors, medical researchers, neuroscientists, economists, life care planners, and other experts across a wide range of disciplines in engineering, medicine, and more.

For example, in the young bicyclist’s case mentioned above, Crosley Law hired more than a dozen experts who could clearly help us prove:

  1. What actually happened during the crash, and who caused it
  2. What our client’s long-term medical care needs and costs will be
  3. The impact of the injury on our client’s future employment and wage-earning potential
  4. The impact of the injury on our client’s future quality of life, which helps us calculate non-economic damages such as pain and suffering

The right experts, simply put, can make or break your case. Experts who focus on matters of negligence, like crash reconstruction specialists, can be the difference between winning your case or losing it. And experts who focus on damages, like life care planners, work to ensure that you receive compensation that’s truly fair, and reflective on your long-term needs.

Crosley Law: Fighting for Crash Victims in San Antonio and Throughout Texas

At Crosley Law, our experienced attorneys have represented many victims of commercial vehicle crashes. Whether you or your loved one were injured by an 18-wheeler, a FedEx truck, or a delivery driver’s personal vehicle, we can help you understand your rights and legal options.

We offer both in-person and video conference consultations. Contact our personal injury law firm today at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or fill out our brief contact form to schedule your free consultation today.

References

Gurley, L.K. (2020, July 1). Amazon delivery drivers are overwhelmed and overworked by COVID-19 surge. Vice. Retrieved from https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/m7j7mb/amazon-delivery-drivers-are-overwhelmed-and-overworked-by-covid-19-surge

Ewing, J.; Weise, K. (2022, July 21). Amazon Wants 100,000 Electric Vans. Can Rivian Deliver? The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/21/business/rivian-amazon-delivery-vans.html

Helling, B. (2022, February 22). Amazon Deliver Driver Pay: Salary, Pay Amounts & More. Ridester. Retrieved from https://www.ridester.com/amazon-delivery-driver-pay/

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

How to Prepare for a Deposition in a Texas Personal Injury Case

If you’ve suffered a personal injury that wasn’t your fault and you need to file a civil lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve, sooner or later you will likely have to provide your personal testimony in a deposition.

Although depositions are not given before a judge, the things that you say will be considered admissible evidence, which means it could be presented during a trial. A good or bad performance in a deposition could significantly influence your settlement or trial, so it is critically important to be as prepared as possible.

A deposition can be an intimidating prospect, and our clients often have questions about what to expect. In this blog post, the Crosley Law team will go over what you can expect from the deposition process, how to prepare for a deposition, and rules to follow as you answer questions carefully.

What Is a Deposition?

A deposition is a question and answer session, conducted under oath, as part of the discovery process of your personal injury lawsuit.

During a deposition, both your San Antonio personal injury lawyer and the insurance company attorney will have a chance to ask you questions about your personal injury claim. These questions and your responses are either transcribed (written down word for word) by a court reporter or video recorded. Your statements are considered evidence and can be presented to the judge or jury if your case goes to trial.

Depositions are an important part of any personal injury lawsuit. A strong, factually consistent deposition can strengthen your personal injury claim and might lead to a bigger settlement. However, a flawed deposition can undermine your credibility and devalue your claim.

Defense lawyers are constantly looking for inconsistencies and ulterior motives in personal injury claims. A simple misunderstanding or misstatement might have serious ramifications. 

What Kind of Questions Can I Expect?

During your deposition, the insurance company’s lawyer will pepper you with questions about your accident, injuries, and damages. You should expect questions about: 

  • Your background, including your work history and level of education
  • Details about how the accident happened (time, speed, distance, direction of travel, which way were you looking, etc.)
  • Physical and emotional injuries you’ve suffered
  • Pre-existing conditions and past medical treatment 
  • The severity and frequency of your symptoms 
  • The treatment you’ve received and whether it helped 
  • The names of your doctors and medical providers 
  • The extent of your limitations and work restrictions 
  • How your life has changed since the accident 
  • Medical bills and lost income 

Before your deposition, you should review your accident reports, medical records, notes, diaries, and other evidence that might refresh your memory. 

It’s important to remember that, in many cases, the defense attorneys already have access to most, if not all, of this information. But they are going to ask you about it anyway. They want to assess whether you are credible, and if they can catch you saying something untrue (even if it’s an innocent mistake) or get you to open up about information that they don’t already have access to you, they may be able to use it against you.

Nine Rules to Follow While Giving Your Deposition Testimony

1. Dress Appropriately and Be Punctual

In a perfect world, what you wear to your deposition shouldn’t matter—only your words, and the truth. Unfortunately, we do not live in that world. The way that you dress can subconsciously influence how others feel about you.

Depositions are also often recorded and seen by others involved in resolving your case—including juries—so it’s important to make a good impression and present yourself in the best possible light.

We recommend that clients dress in clean business casual or “church” clothes. Some people choose to wear a suit and tie if they’re used to wearing them for work, but if you aren’t accustomed to professional attire, a nice shirt will usually suffice. We want you to look nice, but also feel as comfortable as possible so you can focus on your testimony.

You should also show up on time (or early) for your deposition. If you’re late or a no-show, it could negatively affect your case. 

2. Always Tell the Truth

After a serious accident, you could be in a lot of physical and emotional pain. You may also have limited memories of the incident.

While you might feel tempted to overstate your symptoms and the facts surrounding your accident, it’s never a good idea. When you exaggerate or are dishonest, the defense lawyer and the insurance company will use these statements against you during settlement negotiations and in court.

Other times, you might not want to admit facts that seem embarrassing or damaging (such as a history of substance abuse). Even if you think an answer will not portray you in the best light, be honest. You will hurt your case if you are evasive or untruthful. Remember, the opposing attorney already has access to all the evidence that both sides will be presenting. If you lie, you will be caught.

If you have concerns about tough questions or difficult topics, discuss them in advance with your San Antonio personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer might have suggestions or strategies that will help you frame your testimony. 

3. Listen Carefully and Make Sure You Understand the Question

Lawyers can, and often do, ask confusing questions. Sometimes they do it by accident, because they forget that not everyone has a law school education. Other times they do it on purpose, because they’re hoping to trip you up and get you to say something untruthful.

If you aren’t absolutely certain what you’re being asked, don’t answer. Instead, you may ask the attorney to:

  • Repeat the entire question.
  • Rephrase the question.
  • Explain what they mean by a specific word or phrase.

There’s no limit to the number of times you ask for a question to be restated or re-explained. Ask as many times as you need to be sure you can answer fully, honestly, and accurately.

4. Always Ask to See the Documents

As with any other civil matter, personal injury cases lawsuits are built on evidence, including police reports, medical records, letters and emails, photographs, and other documents. Chances are you will be asked about one or more of these documents while you give your deposition, and it’s extremely important that you know what they say.

Your attorney should have access to all the documents that have been entered into evidence and will have a good idea of what opposing counsel is likely to ask you about. Crosley Law’s attorneys will even create a summary of our clients’ medical records and other essential documents and go through them with our clients to ensure they are very familiar with them.

However, no matter how prepared you are beforehand, always take time to read anything the opposing attorney asks you about before you give an opinion. For example, if the lawyer asks whether you agree with a police officer’s opinion on a certain page of the police report, don’t automatically say yes or no.

Always ask them to show you, specifically, which section of the document they’re talking about—or even ask to review the entire document you are being asked about.

Remember, the opposing attorney is attempting to catch you in a “lie.” Even if you are being as honest as possible, accidental misstatements or moments of forgetfulness can be damaging to your credibility.

5. Don’t Guess or Speculate

The most important thing for a witness to have is credibility, or in other words believability.

If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t try to come up with an answer that you think might be the right one. If you’re doing your best to answer questions honestly, the absolutely worst thing you can do is to make a guess in your deposition, and have that guess turn out to be wrong. The opposing attorney will seize on that mistake and use it to imply that you were lying, or at the very least the rest of your testimony cannot be trusted.

Instead, it’s far safer to say things like:

  • I don’t recall
  • I’m not sure at this time
  • I would have to check my records before I can answer that question

This is a difficult rule that doesn’t always come naturally when answering questions. Many people have a natural tendency in conversation to “fill in the gaps” with speculation, and may worry that saying “I don’t know” will make them look evasive, stupid, or guilty.

However, it’s important to stay disciplined here. Remember the second rule: Always tell the truth. If you aren’t sure, the best thing to do is say that you aren’t sure.

It’s important to stay disciplined here. Remember the second rule: Always tell the truth. If you aren’t sure, the best thing to do is say that you aren’t sure.

6. Only Answer the Question That’s Being Asked

Volunteering information beyond the scope of the original question comes back to haunt many witnesses in depositions.

If you answer a simple yes or no question with three minutes of testimony—or even just a few sentences—you may inadvertently provide contradictory information or give the opposing attorney enough information to ask several additional follow-up questions you weren’t prepared for.

Again, many people have a natural tendency in conversation—especially when they’re nervous—to fill in the gaps and silences and expand on what they’ve been asked. But when you volunteer information that you were never asked about, it cannot help your case. You are only giving the opposing lawyer additional evidence that they can potentially use against you.

7. Keep Your Answers Short and to the Point

Even when sticking to the question that’s being asked, you should still try to keep your answers brief. You should almost never give long, detailed answers to a defense lawyer’s questions. Give the simplest, most honest answer you can—and stop talking once you’ve answered the question.

A deposition is not the time to tell your full story. Instead, it’s a chance for the defense lawyers to build their case against you. Don’t do their job for them. Your own lawyer will have a chance to cross-examine you at the end of the deposition. Depending on your case and litigation strategy, your lawyer might try to flesh out your answers at that time. 

There are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, if you’re asked an open-ended question about whether your personal injury has affected your life, that would be a cue to offer up more detail. However, don’t forget the earlier rules: tell the truth, don’t exaggerate or speculate.

Your lawyer will go over any other exceptions to this rule with you before your deposition. And remember, if you aren’t sure how to answer a question, you can always ask for more information.

8. Take Your Time When You Testify

When you testify, a few seconds of silence can feel like an eternity. Sometimes, accident victims feel like they have to provide quick answers.

However, if you need time to think, take all the time you need. Formulate your answer before you speak. Your personal injury lawyer will want you to deliver thoughtful, accurate answers to every question. There is no time limit, and the deposition transcript will not record how long you took.

9. Stay Professional and Polite

Depositions are often stressful for witnesses. Emotions can run hot. The defense lawyer will probably ask you personal or uncomfortable questions, trying to shake your confidence or undermine your credibility.

Don’t take the bait. Always conduct yourself in a professional manner, even if you’re nervous or frustrated.

If you become combative or angry, the defense lawyer will use your bad behavior against you. If you need a break to calm down, compose yourself, use the restroom, or just clear your mind, ask for one. Depositions aren’t meant to be grueling tests of endurance, and reasonable break requests are usually granted.

If you have a personal injury lawyer, he or she will also attend your deposition. When the insurance company’s lawyer asks inappropriate or leading questions, your lawyer should object under the rules of evidence or civil procedure and can try to exclude this testimony at trial. Your attorney should also have access to the written transcript of the deposition once it becomes available and can review it for accuracy—court reporters sometimes make errors.

Always Consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer Before Participating in a Deposition

Depositions are highly formal and technical interviews. It’s in your best interest to have a personal injury lawyer effectively prepare you for your deposition testimony, and then be present with you at your deposition.

Lawyers are trained to assess evidence and guide people through the formal discovery process of a claim. Your lawyer can work closely with you to help you understand the process and coach you in how to respond to questions. 

At Crosley Law, we take a hands-on approach to deposition prep. Our clients receive worksheets and checklists beforehand, helping them understand the questions they might face. We also meet with our them before the deposition, reviewing evidence, discussing tactics, and practicing testimony. Our goal is to give our clients all the tools they’ll need for a successful deposition.

And because we have handled so many San Antonio personal injury cases over the years we can often provide our clients with our personal knowledge about specific insurance companies or even attorneys. Recently, we guided a client named Michael through a tough deposition and were even able to prepare him for what to expect from a particular lawyer.

Michael comments, “The whole process of going (or possibly going) to court was very nerve-wracking and intimidating, but having this team on my corner definitely helped put me at ease and feel confident I was going to get the help I deserved.” 

“The whole process of going (or possibly going) to court was very nerve-wracking and intimidating, but having this team on my corner definitely helped put me at ease and feel confident I was going to get the help I deserved.”

Michael
Inside view of a car after a collision with an 18-wheeler.

Hard Work, Preparation, and Patience Pay Off After a Truck Accident: Michael’s Story

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Crosley Law: Personal Injury Attorneys You Can Rely On

Depositions can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’ve never given one before. But with a good attorney guiding you and a bit of preparation, you can enter the deposition room with confidence.

At Crosley Law, we know that well-prepared clients give the best possible depositions. We represent personal injury victims in San Antonio and throughout Texas, and we handle a wide variety of personal injury claims. Before you speak with an insurance adjuster or defense lawyer, complete our simple, online form or call us at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000. We offer a free consultation and a no-fee policy

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

The Dangers of 15-Passenger Vans (and What to Do After a Passenger Van Accident)  

Traffic safety experts and auto manufacturers have known for decades that large passenger vans are especially likely to be involved in certain kinds of serious crashes. While these vans are a convenient way to transport groups of people, larger vehicles require a greater degree of driving skill to operate safely—particularly when fully loaded with passengers or equipment.

Before you or a loved one jumps into a 15-passenger van for school, a church outing, or other adventures, you should understand the dangers of these vehicles. Continue reading and learn how to protect yourself, what to do if you’re injured in a crash involving a large passenger van, and how a car accident attorney can help.

Why Are Large Passenger Vans More Dangerous Than Other Kinds of Vehicles?

Large passenger vans, which can typically hold 12 to 15 people, are much more dangerous than a normal car or truck. One of the main sources of danger is that these vehicles experience high rates of rollover crashes. While only one-third of single-car accidents involve a rollover, more than 50% of passenger van accidents are rollover crashes.

There are several reasons for the high risk of rollover for a large vans. Those reasons include:

High Center of Gravity

Large passenger vans sit higher above the road, so they have a relatively high center of gravity compared to most other vehicles. The higher the center of gravity, the less stable and more prone to rolling over a vehicle will be. This is particularly true when the vehicle turns, travels at high speeds, or gets struck by another vehicle.

Large Size and Weight

The sheer weight and length of passenger vans make them more difficult to handle, even under normal circumstances. On wet and slippery roads or in emergency situations (like a tire failure or another driver swerving unexpectedly), large vans can be especially tricky to maneuver. The additional weight and momentum also mean that 15-passenger vans take longer to stop and create devastating impacts when they hit another vehicle.

Poor Handling Under Load

A 15-passenger van fully loaded with passengers and cargo is significantly more difficult to operate safely compared to an empty van. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a van carrying 10 or more occupants is three times as likely to be involved in a rollover crash as a van with five or fewer occupants.

As the van fills up, the additional load shifts the center of gravity higher and further back. Inexperienced drivers may not realize how much they need to adjust their driving habits to compensate, and they can easily lose control.

Warning Signs of a Dangerous Passenger Van

Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do to avoid a crash. However, before you or loved one ride in a large van, look for these potential hazards:

Poor Maintenance (Especially Tires)

Poor maintenance of a passenger van’s tires, brakes, and other safety systems can cause collisions and rollovers. If you have concerns about the vehicle’s safety, ask the operator whether he or she checks the tire pressure on a weekly basis and when it was last inspected by a mechanic.

When passenger vans are fully loaded, the seating arrangements tend to place excessive weight on the rear tires. If the tires have been used beyond their estimated life (even if the tread depth is good) or if they are underinflated, the pressure can cause a blowout.

The NHTSA published an eye-opening study many years ago that found:

  • More than half (57%) of all large vans had at least one tire that was underinflated by more than 25% of the recommended pressure
  • Nearly three quarters of all large vans (74%) had at least one tire that was misinflated (either over- or under-) by 25% or more
  • Both of the above figures were roughly double the figures for regular passenger vehicles (27% and 39%, respectively)

Overloading

Van manufacturers also set specific guidelines for how much weight you should pack into a large passenger van and where you should place it. If the van is overloaded and improperly packed, the risk of a rollover or other crash increases significantly.

Many organizations will only carry 5–10 people in their large vans. Even though the vans may claim a larger capacity, passenger vans become both more difficult to handle and more likely to roll over when they’re loaded with more than 10 people.

Additionally, a 15-passenger van should also never use a rooftop carrier. Place additional weight on the roof raises the vehicle’s already-high center of gravity even further, which further increases the risk of a rollover.

Passengers Not Wearing Seatbelts

Because passenger vans are frequently used by schools, youth groups, and other organizations, their occupants sometimes treat them like school buses and ignore seat belts. But vans aren’t buses, and they lack many of the important design and safety features of vehicles designed for 30 or more passengers.

According to the NHTSA, between 2010–2019, 69% of all people killed in 15-passenger van accidents weren’t wearing a seatbelt. Not only that, but 57% of those killed specifically in rollover crashes were ejected from the vehicle.

Make sure your loved ones know they should always wear seatbelts, even in a large passenger van.

An Inexperienced Driver

The NHTSA recommends that 15-passenger vans should only be operated by experienced drivers with a commercial drivers license that includes a passenger endorsement. However, this is not a legal requirement in Texas, where the law generally does not require more than a standard drivers license to operate a large passenger van.

Responsible organizations, however, will follow the NHTSA’s stricter recommendations — or at least require their drivers to undergo training before they take the wheel of a big van. Before riding in a passenger van, don’t hesitate to ask the driver how much training they’ve had and how much experience they have driving vans that carry 10 or more passengers.

Speeding

Passenger vans and high speeds make a dangerous combination due to their poor handling, heavy weight, and high center of gravity. When a large van goes over 50 miles per hour, the likelihood of a rollover increases significantly.

After a passenger van accident, your first priority should be your safety. Call emergency services to receive prompt medical attention for your injuries. Then, as soon as you’re able, contact an experienced vehicle wreck lawyer. They can help you:

Collect Evidence Before It’s Gone

Because many 15-passenger van crashes are single-vehicle auto accidents, it’s important that the van is preserved (in its existing condition) after the crash. In a single-vehicle crash, the maintenance or condition of the van could be a key contributing factor to the crash. If the owner repairs the tires, brakes, or other parts, it might be impossible to identify the cause of the wreck.

If you contact a Texas car accident lawyer immediately, he or she can help you issue “preservation letters” to prevent the van’s owner from disposing of valuable evidence. Your lawyer and his or her experts might want to inspect the vehicle and look for root causes of the crash.

If possible, have someone take as many pictures as possible at the scene of the accident. Ask them to document any damage to the van, including the tires. You can also do this yourself if you feel physically able, but receiving medical treatment for injuries should be your top priority.

Determine Who Is at Fault

One of the first things an attorney will do after the accident is help you determine what caused the crash, who bears the responsibility, and which potential sources of insurance coverage exist. Relevant insurance coverage could help you pay for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other damages you may have sustained.

Depending on your circumstances, you may have a claim against one or more of the following parties:

  • The van driver. As a passenger, you have legal rights if you are injured in an auto accident caused by the driver of the vehicle you’re in. This can be uncomfortable if the driver is a friend, family member, or member of an organization you belong to (for example, a church or university group), but keep in mind that successful personal injury claims generally get paid by insurance companies, not individuals.
  • The van owner or operator. Many passenger vans are owned and operated by hotels, transportation companies, or other commercial enterprises who have a responsibility to ensure that their drivers are properly licensed and trained and that their vehicles are well maintained.
  • The driver of another vehicle involved in the crash. The crash might have been caused completely by the driver of the other vehicle. That’s exactly what happened to Melissa, one of our recent clients, who suffered injuries when another vehicle rear-ended the hotel shuttle she was riding in.
  • Your own insurance company. If you have personal injury protection (PIP) or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as part of your own auto insurance policy, these coverages may come into play.

As highlighted above, determining who was at fault isn’t always a simple matter. Critical evidence can quickly get lost or manipulated if you don’t take steps to preserve it. Eyewitness accounts can vary. Responsible parties aren’t always honest, and insurance companies will do anything in their power to avoid paying out a large settlement.

An experienced attorney will know how to collect and preserve evidence, follow up with witnesses, and even consult with expert witnesses such as accident reconstructionists and traffic safety professionals to get the full picture.

Calculate a Fair Settlement

If you’ve been hurt by another person’s negligence, you shouldn’t be on the hook for your own medical treatment, lost earnings, and other costs and losses.

But how do you determine fair compensation for all the different after-effects of a car wreck? It usually isn’t a straightforward process. Current medical bills and missed paychecks are easy enough to add up. But how much medical care are you going to need in the future? What are your long-term accident-related costs?

And what about the value of things that don’t come with a price tag—like chronic pain, long-term cognitive impacts from a brain injury, or losing your ability to spend quality time with friends and family?

One thing you can be fairly certain of: the insurance company is going to undervalue these damages when they make their initial settlement offer. Working with an attorney can increase your chances of getting a fair settlement offer that will provide for your long-term needs.

RELATED ARTICLE: What Should You Do if You’re Injured Riding Public Transportation in San Antonio?

Crosley Law Firm: We Fight for Passenger Van Victims in San Antonio and Across Texas

At Crosley Law Firm, we use our experience in large passenger van, bus, and truck accident cases to advocate and get fair compensation for our clients. Our lawyers have access to advanced technologies that help us investigate large passenger van crashes to identify the causes.

To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, complete our online form or call us at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000.

References

U.S. Department of Transportation. (n.d.). 15-passenger vans. NHTSA. https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/15-passenger-vans.

Thiriez, K.; Ferguson, E.; Subramanian, R. (May 2005). 12 & 15 Passenger Vans Tire Pressure Study: Preliminary Results. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. DOT HS 809 846. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/809846

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Can You Get a Concussion Without Hitting Your Head?

Concussions, also known as mild traumatic brain injuries, are far more common than most people realize. Most estimates figure at least 3 million new cases occur in the United States each year, with falls, sports accidents, and car crashes commonly responsible.

But because so many people with mild traumatic brain injury delay or skip medical care—or are simply misdiagnosed—accurate estimates are extremely hard to come by. Worse, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about what kinds of events can cause a concussion, and how severe the long-term symptoms can be.

If you were in a car accident or other potentially traumatic event, and you’re experiencing one or more concussion symptoms (for example, headaches, nausea, “brain fog,” blurry vision, or forgetfulness), could you have a concussion even though you didn’t actually hit your head? The short answer is yes.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at what can cause a concussion, why the term “mild traumatic brain injury” can be so misleading, and how a brain injury attorney can help you pursue (and win) any compensation you may be entitled to.

Why You Don’t Need to Hit Your Head to Have a Concussion

a top view of the inside of the bony structures at the front of the skull

To understand how you can get a concussion without hitting your head, you need to understand a few things about cranial anatomy.

Everybody knows that the brain is located inside the skull. What you may not know is that the brain doesn’t fill the entire space on its own. Rather, the brain is surrounded and cushioned by three layers of protective membranes (called meninges) and a water-like substance called cerebrospinal fluid.

When your head is subjected to a powerful enough force, your brain jostles around inside your head, and can slam into the inside of the skull hard enough to cause damage. This is the fundamental cause of the concussion.

While blunt force trauma to the exterior of the head is often the instigating cause of a concussion, it certainly isn’t a necessary condition.

Common Situations That Could Cause a TBI Without Hitting Your Head

One of the most common examples of this phenomenon is shaken baby syndrome. Infants and toddlers have proportionally large and heavy heads in comparison to the rest of their bodies. If a young child is shaken violently, their brain will bounce back and forth against the inside of the skull. Even five seconds of shaking is sometimes enough to cause permanent brain damage, or even death.

infographic showing a side view drawing of a brain illustrating acceleration-deceleration injury or shaken baby syndrome

However, the same sort of injury can also occur in adults. Consider what might happen if you were involved in a violent rear-end car crash. The impact force of the other car slamming into yours causes the car to rapidly accelerate and decelerate, and your head to quickly whip back and forth. Even if your head never hits the steering wheel or dashboard, the whiplash alone could easily result in a concussion as your brain strikes the inside of your skull.

What Are the Signs of a Concussion? Did You Suffer One?

A concussion can have a wide range of symptoms, lasting from only a few minutes after the impact to months or even years later. Learning to spot the symptoms can help you get the medical attention you need and, if applicable, begin to put together a personal injury case.

If you experienced any of the following common symptoms in the immediate aftermath of your head injury, it’s possible you suffered a mild traumatic brain injury:

  • Loss of consciousness for 30 minutes or less, with anything over 5 minutes generally considered a severe concussion. (But do note that you can still have a concussion even if you never lose consciousness. This is another common misconception about concussions.)
  • Temporary anterograde amnesia (for example, inability to remember events immediately following the moment when the concussion occurred.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Headaches, blurry vision, and dizziness
  • Feeling confused or disoriented

Post-Concussion Syndrome

In most cases, the symptoms of a concussion will gradually diminish until a full recovery is made within 1-3 months. However, a sizable minority, roughly 20 to 30 percent, will still be struggling with concussion-like symptoms more than six months after the injury.

When those who suffer concussions are still dealing with persistent symptoms long after the initial injury, and even after the brain damage seems to have been healed, they may be diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome.

In addition to the symptoms already describe above, people with post-concussion syndrome may be dealing with more severe memory problems, insomnia and extreme fatigue, unexplained mood swings, irritability and anxiety, ringing ears, difficulty concentrating, and more.

What’s the Difference Between a Concussion and Post-Concussion Syndrome?

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Increased Risk of Multiple Concussions

After suffering one concussion, your likelihood of suffering a second concussion, or even repeated concussions, increases dramatically.

A concussion triggers chemical changes in your brain, including an imbalance of potassium and sodium and reduced blood flow that puts the brain in a state of energy deprivation. It can take your brain up to a year to restore the balance, and during that time it will be much more susceptible to damage.

Plus, if you’re also dealing with altered brain function due to persistent post-concussive symptoms, you’re also more likely to suffer an accidental trip, fall, or other incident that could cause a head injury.

If you believe you may have had a concussion, or are experiencing any concussion-like symptoms, it’s crucial that you receive medical attention as soon as you can. Not only can your doctor help you deal with your symptoms and reduce your risk of future concussion injuries, but an accurate diagnosis and solid medical evidence will be necessary if you wish to pursue any kind of personal injury claim.

“Mild” Traumatic Brain Injury Can Be a Very Misleading Term

Brain injuries are medically categorized as either mild, moderate, or severe, with concussions falling on the “mild” end of the spectrum. But that term can be extremely misleading. Even a “mild” TBI can be a serious injury with long-term, life-altering consequences.

It’s important to understand that brain injuries have both primary and secondary effects. When TBIs are initially diagnosed as mild, moderate, or severe, doctors will typically only look at the primary, immediate symptoms, like how long you lost consciousness and whether your altered mental state or post-traumatic amnesia lasted longer than 24 hours.

But just because the primary effects of a traumatic brain injury are on the mild side does not mean secondary effects like mood changes, memory loss, and sleep disorders will be. In fact, recent studies have shown that people who sustained mild TBIs still had high rates of disability five or more years after their head injuries, comparable to those who were diagnosed with more severe head injuries.

Concussion Victims Face Many Obstacles When Pursuing Personal Injury Claims

There is no question that even a supposedly “mild” TBI can have drastic negative consequences on a person’s quality of life. And if your concussion was the result of someone else’s negligence—for example, after a car accident caused by another driver—you deserve fair compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and the pain and suffering of dealing with your symptoms.

Unfortunately, TBI victims often face significant obstacles from both the insurance company and the legal system. For example:

  • Difficulty proving “invisible” injuries. It’s not always easy for a third-party observer to see how severely a concussion can disrupts someone’s life. Many symptoms are self-reported. Even visible signs of brain damage may not show up on an MRI, CT scan, or any other common imaging test, they just aren’t always sensitive to detect microscopic (but still severe) damage to brain structures. If you can’t prove your post-concussive syndrome with robust medical evidence, the insurance company may try to argue that you’re exaggerating your symptoms.
  • The original diagnosis was missed or delayed. Mild traumatic brain injuries often get missed by ER doctors, who need to prioritize life-threatening injuries. By some estimates more than half of concussion sufferers who seek emergency medical care don’t have their mild TBI noted on the ER chart, even if they report concussion symptoms.
  • Myth and misconceptions. Our scientific understanding of brain injuries has advanced dramatically within the last 20 years. However, many people (including, unfortunately, potential jurors and defense attorneys) still cling to misconceptions that used to be widely accepted—for example, that you can’t have a TBI if you never lost consciousness, or that “mild” TBIs always resolve in 3-6 months and any symptoms beyond that point are likely only psychological.

Crosley Law: The Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers San Antonio Trusts

Given the significant legal hurdles that must be overcome, we strongly recommend that you work with a personal injury attorney who has extensive experience litigating traumatic brain injury cases.

At Crosley Law, we have a long, successful track record of helping people get the justice they deserve for their brain injuries. Over the years we’ve invested the time and resources it takes to learn the science, build strong relationships with medical experts across the nation, and develop sophisticated investigative and legal strategies. We know what kinds of medical evidence our clients need to provide to convince an insurance company or jury that their injuries are real and serious. And that has translated into real results for our clients.

One of the best examples is Jerry’s story. When Jerry’s MRI results came back normal, the insurance company claimed he just had a mild concussion and was fine, despite obvious behavior, mood, and cognitive effects. We spoke with dozens of top scientists and got Jerry into a research study using an extremely advanced and rare imaging device, which conclusively proved severe brain damage. At trial, we were able to secure at $16 million verdict. Jerry’s story is just one more important example how even a “mild” TBI is often anything but.

Cutting-Edge Tactics Result in a $16M Jury Award: Jerry M.’s Story

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In another instance, we represented the family of a very young child who had suffered a traumatic brain injury. Because she was still hitting developmental milestones, the insurance company did not believe her symptoms were serious and refused to offer a fair settlement. Crosley Law worked with a number of medical experts to show how her injury would very likely affect her future brain development, especially executive function, and set the record straight.

Need Help With Your Brain Injury Case? Contact Crosley Law Today

Our team of personal injury experts can ensure you get the quality medical care and legal representation you need and deserve. We’ve handled everything from minor concussions to six and even seven-figure TBI cases. Your initial case review is always free, and if you hire us, you owe us nothing unless we win.

To schedule your free consultation with Crosley Law, complete our online form or call us at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

U-Turn Laws in Texas: Who’s at Fault After a Crash?

There’s a lot of confusion about Texas’ U-turn laws. While U-turns are generally legal in Texas and a convenient way to quickly change direction, they’re also known for leading to numerous car accidents.

If you’ve been involved in a U-turn accident, it might not be immediately clear who is at fault. First, although the driver making the U-turn is usually liable for your injuries, they might try to blame you for the crash. Second, some cities in Texas have their own U-turn ordinances—which can affect your case.

Because of the complexities of U-turn laws and liability in Texas, it’s wise to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to present evidence and negotiate with insurance companies. This is true whether you were injured while making a U-turn or by someone else making a U-turn.  

This article will outline U-turn laws Texas observes and the realities of car accidents involving them. We’ll also explain how working with a lawyer can make a significant difference when it comes to determining liability in your personal injury case.    

Contrary to popular belief, most U-turns are legal in Texas. Unless a posted sign specifically states that U-turns are not allowed on a particular stretch of road, drivers may consider the maneuver.

To make a legal U-turn, a driver must:

  • Be in the far-left lane
  • Have a clear view of at least 500 feet in the direction of approaching traffic
  • Yield to oncoming traffic and comply with the traffic signal (if present)
  • Watch for drivers turning right on a red light if making a U-turn on a solid green light at an intersection
  • Watch for drivers turning right on a red light if making a U-turn on a green arrow at an intersection

Even when a driver follows all the laws regarding U-turns, they are uniquely dangerous and create a higher likelihood of a collision.

A U-turn is illegal if:

  • A posted sign prohibits it
  • It’s at a railroad crossing or fire station
  • The driver can see less than 500 feet
  • It’s a one-way street
  • The driver doesn’t wait for a large enough gap in traffic  

Keep in mind that, even when a driver follows all the laws regarding U-turns, they are uniquely dangerous and create a higher likelihood of a collision.

Drivers Are Often Responsible for Injuries They Cause While Making a U-Turn

Everyone behind a wheel is legally obligated to do all they can to keep everyone safe. When someone ignores the rules of the road and causes a car crash, they are financially responsible for the injuries they caused.

Just because something is legal doesn’t always make it a good idea on the roadways. All drivers have a duty of care to others on the road, and when their actions cause injuries, they might be liable.

For example, suppose a driver is on a Texas road where U-turns are allowed, and they can see 500 feet into oncoming traffic. A vehicle is coming the other way, and the turning driver makes a very fast U-turn to get ahead of them, assuming they have enough space to not get hit. However, the other car is closer than the U-turner thought, and the turning vehicle causes a collision.

Even though the driver was allowed to make a U-turn, they broke other rules of the road. If someone was injured in the U-turn crash, their personal injury lawyer would likely argue that the at-fault driver was speeding, did not keep a proper lookout while driving, and did not properly yield to oncoming traffic.

Both Drivers Have a Duty of Care, and a Lawyer Can Identify Precisely Who Caused the Wreck

In some cases, the driver who did not make a U-turn is at fault. Because all drivers must exercise a duty of care, every driver involved will likely face some level of investigation. Was the other driver texting? Were vehicles turning right doing so illegally? Was a safe U-turn made dangerous by other traffic speeding or going the wrong way?

A personal injury lawyer at Crosley Law can help you investigate your case, assess each party’s liability, and help you build a legal strategy that protects you and your loved ones.

Insurance Companies Often Dispute Fault After a U-Turn Accident

Because of the complexity of U-turn law and many U-turn accidents, who is at fault can be disputed by the involved parties and the insurance companies. Once again, this is when it’s best to work with a personal injury attorney.

For example, the drivers may disagree about whether the road was clear, or whether one of them may have been driving too fast. If the U-turn was at an intersection, the insurance company might dispute whether the U-turner was responsible for hitting a right-turner from the cross traffic.

Witnesses can certainly help clear this up, but not every car crash has witnesses. Even the police officer who arrives on the scene may not have a clear idea of who is at fault.

Our team can help you identify other pieces of evidence that can help you strengthen your claim and prove who was at fault. They might include surveillance video footage, GPS and dashcam data, mobile phone records, and insight from accident reconstruction experts.

Because of the complexity of U-turn law and many U-turn accidents, who is at fault can be disputed by the involved parties and the insurance companies. Once again, this is when it’s best to work with a personal injury attorney.

The Texas Doctrine of Modified Comparative Fault

Why would the insurance company engage in victim blaming? To save money and weaken your case.

Texas observes a legal doctrine called modified comparative fault. If you were partially responsible for the U-turn crash, the insurance company can reduce your compensation by your degree of fault. And if you were more than 50% to blame, you will not get anything.

So, the other party’s insurance company may try to put more than half of the blame on you, no matter who was making the U-turn, to avoid paying damages. An experienced car accident attorney is your best bet in these situations.

RELATED: Thorough Investigation Results in Truck Accident Settlement

Crosley Law Gets Justice After U-Turn Crashes

At Crosley Law, we pride ourselves on taking the serious and complex cases that other law firms avoid. After decades of experience with Texas laws and motor vehicle crashes, we have the knowledge and network it takes to secure the financial compensation you deserve.

If you or a loved one have been injured because of a careless U-turn, or if you made a safe, legal U-turn and were injured by another driver who wants you to take the blame, it’s time to call Crosley Law. We begin every case with a free initial consultation, where we get to know you and your case and determine the best path forward.

To set up your case evaluation today, call (210) LAW-3000 | (210) 529-3000 or fill in the simple contact form on our website.   

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

11 Things You Need to Know About a Bicycle Accident Insurance Claim in San Antonio

Cycling is a great way to get some fresh air, exercise, and save on gas money. So it’s no surprise that bike commuting is increasing in popularity. But even with dedicated bike lanes and increased awareness of cyclists, motor vehicle accidents are still a serious concern. While San Antonio has made great strides in becoming more bike-friendly, the city is one of the nation’s most dangerous for bicycle riders– leading to high levels of bicycle accident insurance claims.

Many of our bicycle accident lawyers are avid cyclists, so we know how easy it is to have a near-miss or accident with a car. Unfortunately, when a bicycle and motor vehicle collide, the cyclist often suffers serious injuries.

After a car accident, cyclists should make an insurance claim to help their pay medical bills or damages. If you have serious injuries from a wreck, keep reading. We’ll explain our bike laws and outline how a free consultation with a San Antonio bicycle accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Here are 11 things you need to know about your bicycle accident insurance claim:

1. Seek Medical Treatment Immediately

Regardless of whether you think you have any serious injuries or an insurance claim, you should seek medical treatment after a car accident.

Adrenaline can mask the pain of injuries. Even if you do not feel like something is wrong, you may be hurt. This is especially true for bicycle accidents. You may not realize that you’re badly injured because you attribute the pain to general soreness.

Delaying treatment is not only bad for your long-term health, but it’s also bad for your insurance claim. Many people resist going to the doctor at first, expecting their pain to get better on its own. They may put up with days or even weeks of discomfort, with no improvement, before seeking help.

The longer you wait, the harder it is to prove that the bike crash caused your injuries. And this gives the insurance company a chance to accuse you of either exaggerating your symptoms or trying to get them to cover an unrelated injury.

RELATED: 5 Common Bicycle Accident Injuries

2. Document Everything You Can About Your Bicycle Accident Insurance Claim

Insurance companies are more concerned about their profits than fair payouts to claimants. So, they’ll look for any potentially valid reason to reduce or deny your bicycle accident claim. You, or your bicycle accident attorney, may need to build a case to show that you were not at fault.

The easiest time to collect the evidence is right after the accident. If possible, gather all the information you can, including:

  • Information on anyone involved in the accident, including their driver’s license and insurance details
  • Names and contact info for any witnesses
  • Photos or videos of the scene, which will help reconstruct the accident later if needed
  • Accident and police reports

The more documentation you can provide, the easier it will be to build your case.

A bicycle accident attorney can help you continue to gather and build evidence even after the incident. For example, a lawyer might preserve security camera footage, follow up with eyewitnesses, or consult with experts. But the sooner you contact a lawyer, the more likely they can help you.

3. Insurance Coverage Often Depends on Who Is at Fault

Texas is an at-fault state, so the at-fault party (usually via their insurance company) is responsible for paying out.

In many bike accidents, the driver of the car is at fault, so the driver’s insurance company should cover your injuries. If the cyclist is at fault, however, their homeowners or renter’s insurance policy may cover injuries, as well as other vehicles’ property damage.

Determining fault can be challenging. Sometimes, the fault may be split between multiple negligent parties. This is why it is important to document every detail about an accident if you are able.

In one case that Crosley Law took on, a cyclist named Wayne was hit by an 18-wheeler. Unfortunately, he lost his life. The truck driver said that Wayne ran a stop sign and was to blame. Without other witnesses, the police believed the trucker. Wayne’s family was heartbroken,. They knew that Wayne was a very careful cyclist and did not believe he would have been reckless. They knew they would need a lawyer to help them prove what really happened.

Tom Crosley took on the family’s case. After an extensive investigation, he found that the 18-wheeler had cracked axles, bad brakes, and a nonfunctional turn signal. Authorities had even revoked the truck driver’s license. Neither the truck nor the driver should have been on the road!

Crosley Law’s investigation proved that Wayne was riding carefully, as he always did, when the truck turned without proper warning due to the broken turn signal. Because of Tom Crosley’s hard work and diligence, the insurance companies settled with Wayne’s family for over $1 million.

RELATED CLIENT STORY: A Cyclist Loses His Life in a Truck Wreck: Wayne C.’s Story

4. You May Have to File Claims With Multiple Insurance Companies

Even when the other driver is 100% responsible for the crash, the full amount of your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages might exceed their auto insurance policy limits. Texas only requires that drivers carry $30,000 per person in injury liability insurance. Although this might sound like a lot, it won’t go far if you need multiple surgeries or lose significant time at work.

When liability coverage limits aren’t enough, other insurance companies or supplemental insurance policies may help with compensation if they are available. These may include your own uninsured and underinsured motorist (UI/UIM), personal injury protection (PIP) or MedPay policies. Yes, you might need to file a bicycle accident claim with your own auto insurance– even though you were on your bicycle rather than driving your car.

If the driver was working at the time of the accident—for example, as a delivery truck driver—the employer’s insurance policy would provide another source of liability coverage. Companies typically have much higher coverage limits than personal policies.

Crosley Law represented the family of a young cyclist who was struck by a delivery truck driver and suffered significant, lasting brain injuries. The lifetime cost of his medical care was estimated at $12 million. After pouring our hearts and souls into this case (and investing more hours than any other case at the firm) over nearly 3 years, we were able to reach a confidential settlement that will provide for his long-term care.

A skilled lawyer will find out which policies can kick in additional coverage when you’ve been the victim in an accident.

RELATED CLIENT STORY: Crosley Law Settles Major Brain Injury Case: Raymond’s Story

5. Many Drivers Are Uninsured (or Flee the Scene)

Even though Texas drivers are legally required to purchase liability insurance, not everyone follows the law. According to a 2021 study by the Insurance Research Council, approximately 8.3 percent of Texas drivers are uninsured. Research also shows that drivers are more likely to flee the scene after a collision with a pedestrian or cyclist. Outside magazine tracked nearly 700 cyclist deaths in the United States in 2020 and found that more than 1 in 4 of those fatal accidents were hit and runs.

If you are the victim of an accident with an uninsured driver or a hit and run, will you get any help with your medical bills?

If you know the identity of the driver, you might sue them directly. But if a driver is not paying for insurance, they often won’t have the funds to compensate you for injuries and damages associated with your bicycle accident claim.

In these scenarios, you will likely need to look to your own auto insurance policy. Your uninsured motorist coverage can act as a substitute for the liability insurance that should have been available to you, and help you pay for your medical bills and pain and suffering. PIP and MedPay can also help cover some of your financial costs.

6. Insurers Will Try to Settle for Less Than Your Bicycle Accident Insurance Claim Is Worth

Insurance companies are not working for your best interests. The less they pay out in benefits, the higher their profits. This means that even if you have a valid claim, they will try to pay as little as possible to settle your bicycle accident insurance claim.

You should almost never accept the insurance company’s first offer. The adjuster is probably hoping that you’ll take less than you deserve.Instead, consult with a lawyer, counter with a higher (and fairer) amount.

This is an area where experience matters a lot. The insurance company knows how to calculate claims and negotiate payouts. It also understands how much it could potentially lose if your case goes to trial and the jury awards you compensation. You probably don’t. A personal injury lawyer can greatly improve your chances of reaching a fair settlement or jury verdict, particularly in complex or high-value cases (as bike accidents often are).

7. A Bicycle Accident Insurance Claim Can Cover More Than Just Medical Bills

When a motor vehicle and a bicycle get into an accident, the cyclist often suffers significant injuries that impact their daily lives for a long time—and sometimes permanently. Insurance, however, may try to compensate you only for your medical bills, with little else to acknowledge other kinds of damage and trauma.

You could be entitled to coverage for much more than that. Other kinds of economic losses you may be able to claim, apart from current and future medical bills, include lost wages, reduced future earning capacity, and ongoing treatments.

You can also demand compensation for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional anguish, disfigurement, or loss of enjoyment of life. These damages don’t have a fixed price tag like a medical bill, but are still a clear cause of suffering that deserves fair compensation. In many cases, a bicycle accident victim’s non-economic damages might exceed the amount of economic damages—sometimes significantly so.

A good bicycle accident lawyer can calculate the full extent of your damages. Most lawyers offer a free consultation, so it doesn’t hurt to ask a firm like Crosley Law what your case may be worth.

8. You May Have a Property Damage Claim

You might deserve compensation for more than just your physical and emotional injuries. Many bicycles, especially e-bikes, can cost as much as a small car and are very expensive to replace.

Fortunately, insurance may also cover this property loss or damage. In Texas, drivers must carry a minimum of $25,000 in coverage for property damage. You can use this coverage to replace not only your bike, but also your helmet, clothing, and other biking accessories or gear.

9. San Antonio Law: Safe Passing Ordinance

In 2010, San Antonio passed a bike ordinance. It requires a safe distance between vehicles and vulnerable road users, including cyclists and pedestrians. This distance is 3 feet for cars, and 6 feet for commercial or large trucks. Violators are subject to fines of up to $200, though enforcement is often difficult.

If a vehicle violates this ordinance and the cyclist crashes, the driver may be at fault for the accident even if there was no direct contact. For example, if the vehicle suddenly cuts off the cyclist or forces them to swerve to avoid a collision, the driver can still be held responsible.

RELATED POST: How Can We Improve Bicycle Safety in San Antonio?

10. San Antonio Law: Bicycle Light Ordinance

San Antonio also passed a bike ordinance requiring cyclists have a front white light, and a rear red reflector or red light when operating a bicycle at dusk or at night. If you were not in compliance with this ordinance, you may be found at fault, or partially at fault, for the accident. For both legal and safety reasons, it is in your best interest to stay highly visible and behave in a defensive manner when cycling.

Consider Carl’s story. A witness said that Carl was not using a light, and police cited “failure to use a headlight” as a factor in the accident that occurred when a Ford F-350 truck ran into Carl’s bicycle. Carl suffered severe injuries that required ongoing medical care. Insurance tried to deny his claim, saying Carl was at fault for not using a headlight. Crosley Law did extensive research, including consulting accident reconstruction experts. We built a compelling case and took the case to trial. The jury awarded Carl $1.5 million for his injuries.

RELATED CLIENT STORY: The Crosley Law Team Secures a $1.5 Million Settlement for an Injured Bicyclist: Carl R.’s Story

11. There Is a Time Limit for Filing Your Bicycle Accident Insurance Claim

In Texas, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim with insurance and file a lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, the insurance company has no obligation to pay for your damages.

Don’t wait until the statute of limitations runs out to file your accident claim. You shouldn’t even risk getting too close. It takes time to gather and evaluate the evidence and go through multiple rounds of negotiation with the insurance company. The sooner you get started, the more time you and an experienced attorney will have to build a successful personal injury case.

If You Are an Injured Cyclist, Call Crosley Law Today for a Free Consultation

Our firm has avid cyclists who know what a joy—and what a danger—bicycles can be. If you suffered injuries in a car-bike accident, let our experienced team provide the representation you need to get the settlement you deserve.

If you have any questions about your case, schedule your free consultation with a bicycle accident lawyer at Crosley Law. You can complete our online form or call us at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000. Bike accidents can have lifelong implications, so let our team help you recover and get the care you need.

References

Insurance Research Council (22 March, 2021). One in Eight Drivers Uninsured. Retrieved from https://www.insurance-research.org/sites/default/files/downloads/UM%20NR%20032221.pdf

Whelan, L. and Fox, M. (29 January 2021). What We Learned from Tracking Cycling Deaths for a Year. Outside. Retrieved from https://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/biking/what-we-learned-tracking-cycling-deaths-year/

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

5 Reasons You Should Always Talk to a Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer After a Crash

After a traffic accident, you have a lot to think about and plenty of decisions to make. One of them is whether you’ll work with a commercial vehicle accident lawyer to demand compensation for your losses.

You should always talk to an attorney if you’ve been hurt in a car or truck accident. No matter if the other vehicle was a large semi-truck or a small hatchback driven by someone you know, you shouldn’t have to pay when someone else’s actions caused you pain and cost you money.

When a commercial vehicle crash caused your injuries, it gets more complicated. Compared to most other traffic accidents, those caused by large vehicles and someone on the job involve more people, different legal and insurance processes, and, often, very serious injuries.  

This post digs into the reasons you need to talk to a lawyer after a commercial motor vehicle accident. It will also outline what to expect if a semi-truck, delivery van, or another commercial vehicle injures you or someone you love. Finally, we’ll offer specifics on what an attorney can do to help you secure the compensation you deserve.

1. Determining Liability Is Complex

When a traffic crash happens, someone is at fault (liable). When a wreck only involves private cars, Texas law usually assigned fault to one (or both) of the drivers.

But if a commercial vehicle causes an accident, it might be because the truck driver was careless or reckless. And the employer might have provided poor training or expected too many hours behind the wheel. Perhaps maintenance wasn’t performed correctly, or whoever loaded the cargo ignored weight limits.

Compared with private vehicles and drivers, commercial vehicles and drivers must follow much stricter rules about upkeep, driving breaks, and more. Yet drivers and their employers are frequently found cutting corners in order to maximize their profits—at the expense of public safety.

Companies hire and contract with a lot of people, and any one of them could be partially liable when the rules are broken and an accident is the result.

It’s not easy to identify all the at-fault parties and legal claims, especially as you’re healing. An experienced truck accident attorney will know how to look into these possibilities and figure out who is truly at fault.

Consider the story of our client, Zack. As a pedestrian, he was struck by a speeding delivery driver. He now lives with a brain injury and leg damage. During our investigation, we found that not only was the driver reckless, but the trucking company offered the bare minimum in training and ignored the driver’s tarnished record. Crosley Law was able to secure a settlement of $9 million in mediation.

RELATED: Who Is Liable in a Commercial Truck Accident?

2. Evidence Is Hard to Track Down Without a Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer

Evidence from motor vehicle crashes comes from many sources.

  • Witnesses at the accident scene
  • Video footage
  • GPS, event recorder, and dash cam footage
  • Driving logs and maintenance records
  • Employment records
  • Medical records
  • Analysis of damages and injuries
  • Expert witnesses
  • The police report and other sources

These pieces are critical to your case and can be quite difficult to gather.

Commercial vehicles are unlike most passenger cars and trucks. They have complex electronic systems that track the truck’s every move. Their owners and operators must regularly inspect and repair the vehicles. Drivers must pass strict Department of Transportation (DOT) physicals.

That’s a lot of information that a personal injury lawyer can use to prove that truck driver was at fault in the accident—but there’s a problem. Trucking companies and their employers sometimes manipulate or destroy incriminating evidence; getting your hands on it before they have a chance to do so isn’t always easy.

We represented a mother after her daughter, Amanda, was killed when a tractor-trailer smashed into her car. Initially, the driver insisted that Amanda ran a red light. However, after a thorough investigation of dashcam footage and other data, we proved that the truck driver was the one at fault. Further, we learned that the trucking company intentionally hid this evidence from the investigators.   

A good attorney will not only know to look in all these places but will be aware of the importance of acting fast, before the company loses or destroys evidence.

RELATED: Sophisticated Tactics Uncover a Trucker’s Negligence: J.T.’s Story

3. Serious Injuries Complicate Cases

Commercial vehicles tend to be large—especially big rig semi-trucks, which can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Just imagining the catastrophic injuries that kind of force can cause is horrific enough. Learning to live with them is a massive challenge.

Gathering the documentation needed for this kind of settlement or lawsuit can be overwhelming, even if you’re not dealing with serious injuries. And understanding the financial and mental costs of future care and treatment may be impossible.

RELATED: Proving “Invisible” Injuries After a Catastrophic truck Crash: Joshua’s Story

We’ve seen truck crash injuries upend people’s lives. Our client, Barb, suffered a severe TBI after her vehicle was literally run over by a big rig. Although she lived and regained most of her physical capabilities, the brain injury took much of her independence.

This is where an experienced commercial vehicle accident lawyer is incredibly helpful. They have previous experience with serious injury cases, and work with networks of medical experts to accurately calculate what you need and deserve.

For Barb, we were able to secure a settlement of nearly $5 million.

RELATED: How Can I Be Compensated After a Concrete Mixer Truck Accident?

4. Talking to the Insurance Company Is Risky

Trucking companies and other commercial employers are fully aware of what happens when one of their employees causes an accident and injuries. To prepare, they maintain significant insurance policies to cover costs. In addition, they pay legal professionals to defend them aggressively.

It’s common for the at-fault party’s insurance company to contact an injured person soon after a crash. As friendly as they might sound, their goal in these conversations is to poke holes in your story, or get you to say or do something that they can use to deny or reduce your insurance claim. They may also quickly offer a settlement amount, before you really have a chance to find and review the facts.

Understand that, no matter how tempting the insurance adjuster makes it sound, the settlement is likely to be well below what you actually need and deserve.

Working with a lawyer means they’re the ones to talk to the insurance companies. They have a good idea of what a fair settlement looks like and know how to negotiate with adjusters.

RELATED: How Does Insurance Work With Commercial Truck Accident Liability?

5. You Need a Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer if Comparative Fault Is Involved

Texas observes a rule of modified comparative fault, which can quickly complicate things if a negligent commercial vehicle or company driver injures you. Comparative fault is a legal doctrine that awards financial compensation even when both “sides” of a case bear some fault for what happened. If you share some responsibility for the crash, the insurance company can reduce your compensation by your percentage of fault. Texas modifies this rule: if someone is more than 50% at fault for a truck or commercial vehicle accident, they cannot receive any compensation. 

So, for example, if a semi-truck rear ended you, but it was determined that you entered the lane too closely to the front of the truck, you may be found 30% at fault for the accident. If you were originally eligible for $100,000, the insured could reduce your compensation by 30%, leaving you with $70,000.

However, the insurance company might argue that your mistake was 51% to blame for the crash, so they don’t have to pay you anything.

Investigating a case involving comparative fault is complex, and it’s well worth it to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer. You’re far more likely to obtain fair compensation with legal representation.

A commercial vehicle accident lawyer can help you sort through evidence, pinpointing the exact causes of your wreck. Armed with this evidence, they can fight back against the insurance company’s claim that you were mostly to blame.

RELATED: How to Get a Fair Settlement in Your Truck Accident Claim

Crosley Law Truck Accident Lawyers Help San Antonians Get Justice After Commercial Vehicle Accidents

At Crosley Law, we are highly experienced with commercial vehicle cases, and in fact it’s one of our preferred types of cases to handle. We have an extensive network of accident and medical experts we work with, who use advanced methods to help us thoroughly investigate the situation and how your life had changed.

We begin every case with a free consultation, where we get to know you and your story to determine the best path forward.

Take some time to read the client stories in this article, as well as the significant settlement amounts in our top cases. Our law firm has worked on numerous truck accidents to help clients recover from medical bills and lost wages.

When you’re ready, call (210) LAW-3000 | (210) 529-3000 or fill in the simple contact form on our website to get in touch with an experienced truck accident lawyer. We look forward to hearing from and working with you!    

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

What Causes Texas Oil Truck Accidents (and What to Do If You’re Injured)

In Texas, the oil and gas industry is big business. More than 400,000 Texans are directly employed within the industry, helping to produce, transport, and refine more than 1.5 billion barrels of crude oil per year.

The sheer amount of oil tankers we have on the ground virtually guarantees that at least a few serious oil tanker accidents will occur each year in Texas—especially in the Permian Basin near the border with New Mexico.

But there are many reasons why tanker truck crashes are both more common, and often more dangerous, than other kinds of truck crashes. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the main reasons, provide helpful advice to those who have been injured in an oil tanker truck accident, and explain how a tanker truck accident lawyer can help.

Texas’ Permian Basin Poses Unique Challenges

Spread across Texas and New Mexico, the Permian Basin is one of the country’s most significant oil and gas regions. It takes a lot of workers and trucks to produce about 30% of the United States’ oil and gas and 10% of its natural gas.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the amount of freight tonnage that runs through the Permian Basin is 20 times higher than the rest of the state. And because many of these trucks are carrying heavy loads of oil, sand, water, and other materials, there are far more overweight trucks on the Basin’s roads.

With more big trucks on the road, the likelihood of tanker truck crashes increases, especially around congested areas like Midland and Odessa, TX. It’s no surprise that during the 2016-2018 boom, the number of truck wrecks in the Basin increased by more than 120%.

And rural roads, like those in Loving County, pose even more challenges. Compared to more urban areas, it takes much longer for the police and emergency medical services to arrive at a crash site. These delays can result in lost evidence and poor health outcomes—even fatalities.

But the number of trucks alone can’t entirely explain why oil truck accidents have skyrocketed in the last few years.

Common Causes of Tanker Truck Accidents

In the immediate aftermath of a tanker truck accident, it’s not always clear what the fundamental causes were. And there might be several contributing factors (and multiple liable parties).

While piecing together the story of the accident may be complicated, it’s an essential task for injury victims who wish to seek fair compensation after the crash.

Some of the most common causes include:

Driver Negligence

Just like any other kind of motor vehicle accident, many oil truck crashes are caused by careless mistakes made by the truck driver. This includes things like speeding, distracted driving, and failure to properly signal a turn. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), at least 78% of tanker truck rollovers involve driver error.

Poor Training or Inexperience

When fully loaded with oil, a tanker truck can easily weigh more than 30 tons. It takes a significant amount of training and experience to learn how to operate one safely.

Unfortunately, trucking companies that are desperate for drivers (and profit) may not provide sufficient safety training. They may also fail to conduct rigorous background checks and hire tanker truck drivers that are inexperienced or have a history of reckless behavior or safety violations.

Driver Fatigue (and Lax Industry Regulations)

Oil truck drivers often work longer hours than even other kinds of truck drivers. For one, oil industry work is relatively lucrative, and a driver can sometimes earn a six-figure salary if they pick up enough shifts. On top of that, drivers transporting petroleum products are also exempted from some mandatory rest break regulations, and can operate their tanker trucks for 12 hours without triggering a 30-minute rest break.

This combination of factors provides a powerful incentive for oil truckers to work as long and often as they can—right up to, and sometimes past, the breaking point. It goes without saying that a fatigued driver is much more likely to make catastrophic mistakes, regardless of how well trained they are.

This combination of factors provides a powerful incentive for oil truckers to work as long and often as they can—right up to, and sometimes past, the breaking point.

Unstable and Unsafe Loads

We usually think of improper loading as a problem for traditional 18-wheelers, but tanker trucks are no exception.

Oil sloshing around in a tank that’s only partially filled can significantly alter the handling of the truck. These so-called “liquid surges,” combined with a higher center of gravity, make oil trucks especially vulnerable to rollover accidents. Statistically, about four cargo tank trucks roll over every day in the United States.

Poor Truck Maintenance

Given their size, weight, and transportation of hazardous materials, oil trucks are supposed to be kept in excellent mechanical condition. Trucking companies must follow strict state and federal rules involving inspections and routine maintenance.

Unfortunately, this is another area where the trucking companies frequently cut corners to save time and money. Failure to inspect and maintain vehicles regularly creates a dangerous situation, and it’s usually other drivers who pay the price. The FMCSA reports that at least 54% of tanker truck rollover accidents involved defective or poorly maintained brake systems.

Poor Road Conditions

This is a huge problem out in West Texas, where the oil industry is booming. Many highways and transportation networks in the Permian Basin and surrounding area simply weren’t designed to handle the incredible amount of heavy vehicle traffic that now regularly passes through these low-density rural communities. Several roads are in terrible shape or lack shoulders. This only magnifies the danger for everyone involved.

RELATED POST: Learn How to Protect Yourself on West Texas’ “Highway of Death”

After an Oil Tanker Truck Accident, Contact an Experienced Attorney as Soon as Possible

Oil truck accidents can be extremely complicated to litigate. Even if you did nothing wrong, and your injuries are significant, you’ll still be fighting an uphill battle to get anywhere close to the compensation you deserve.

Oil and gasoline trucking companies (and their insurance carriers) generally aren’t interested in making sure victims get the full amount of compensation they need after a crash. They’re mainly concerned about how little they can pay to make the case go away.

Negligent parties may even obstruct the investigation by hiding or destroying evidence, falsifying logs, or attempting to get the injured person to admit their own fault. And because the industry has incredibly deep pockets, they can afford huge teams of lawyers who aggressively defend their corporate interests.

Even in the best-case scenario, these cases are still incredibly complex. Arguing them successfully requires a sophisticated understanding of oil, gas, and trucking industry regulations. It requires a thorough investigation of the accident scene, driver, and company records. It requires an in-depth examination of medical records and determining how injuries are likely to alter the trajectory of a victim’s life. And if the case goes to trial, it all needs to be put together into a compelling narrative that a jury will understand.

How does an ordinary person fight back against all these obstacles? By hiring an oil truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.

RELATED CLIENT STORY: A Poorly Maintained Semi Changes a Family Forever: Michael and Jill P.’s Story

Oil and gasoline trucking companies (and their insurance carriers) generally aren’t interested in making sure victims get the full amount of compensation they need after a crash. They’re mainly concerned about how little they can pay to make the case go away.

What Is a Tanker Truck Accident Claim Worth?

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a tanker truck crash, you might be eligible for significant compensation. However, every case is unique. After all, minor bumps and bruises are often worth much less than a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or a wrongful death claim.

As part of your claims against the trucking company, driver, and others, you might be eligible for a wide array of damages and compensation:

  • Payment of your medical bills, both now and in the future
  • Lost income and wage-earning capacity
  • Nursing and long-term care
  • Compensation for your pain and suffering
  • Funeral and burial expenses

When you work with one of Crosley Law’s tanker truck accident lawyers, we will diligently work to identify all your financial and emotional losses—and will name all the responsible parties.

Need Help After a Serious Oil Truck Accident? Call Crosley Law Today

Crosley Law is no stranger to oil and gas industry cases. We’ve represented individuals who have been injured in tanker truck crashes, as well as workplace accidents on oil fields and rigs.

As you might imagine, most oil tanker accidents occur in West Texas near the Permian Basin. Crosley Law has developed strong relationships with local crash investigators who can get to the accident scene quickly, reducing the risk the crucial evidence will be lost. As soon as you hire us, our tanker truck accident attorneys will get on the case.

Time is of the essence after oil truck accidents. If you or someone you love has been in an accident, contact the team at Crosley Law today for a free case review. You can call (210) LAW-3000 | (210) 529-3000 or use the easy contact form on our website. 

References

Buckley, K. (12 January 2022). Texas oil and gas pulled in nearly $16 billion in taxes and royalties last year as the industry recovers from pandemic downturn. Houston Public Media. Retrieved from https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/energy-environment/2022/01/12/417022/report-texas-oil-and-gas-sent-more-than-15-billion-to-the-state-in-taxes-and-royalties-last-year-as-industry-recovers-from-the-pandemic-downturn/

Cargo Tank Rollover. (n.d.) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Retrieved from https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/FINAL_Cargo_Tank_Rollover_Fact_Sheet_508.pdf

Permian Basin Freight and Energy Sector Transportation Plan: Executive Summary. (November 2020). Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved from https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/get-involved/oda/PBFP/110120-pbfp-executive-summary.pdf

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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