In 2018, there were 37,515 crashes involving commercial vehicles in Texas, resulting in over 600 fatalities and thousands of serious injuries. Truck crashes can cause devastating injuries — leaving victims overwhelmed, pressured, and struggling to figure out what to do and how to move on.
Have you been injured in a truck wreck? Personal injury claims involving truck wrecks are significantly more complex and more stressful than typical car crashes. Truck companies and insurance agents will try to get you to settle your claim for as little as possible. Never accept an insurance settlement without speaking to a truck accident lawyer first.
Keep reading to learn three ways an attorney can help remove some of the stress from your truck wreck while helping you get the settlement you deserve.
1. Identifying Hidden Causes of Truck Wrecks
A variety of factors can cause commercial trucking crashes. Some of them are clear-cut, like speeding, but others take more investigation to uncover. Without the help of an experienced truck wreck lawyer, you may not discover all the factors that contributed to your crash.
Some of the top hidden causes of truck wrecks include:
Vehicle Defects and Maintenance
While it may be easy to blame the driver of a truck for the wreck, sometimes the crash is caused by factors out of their control. Truck defects and faulty maintenance jobs can be deadly and difficult to discover as an underlying cause of a collision. Problems with brakes, tires, and steering mechanisms are common causes of crashes and could be the fault of the mechanic, freight company, or manufacturer.
Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug Use
Detecting and screening for illegal drugs is common after a wreck, but over-the-counter drugs and prescription medicines can also affect driving ability. Allergy medication often causes drowsiness, while other popular medications can cause blurred vision or difficulty concentrating.
Fatigue and Sleep Apnea
Long hours on the road can lead to extreme cases of fatigue in truck drivers. Additionally, studies show that many truck drivers suffer from sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that disrupts their sleep and causes daytime drowsiness, and even chronic fatigue. Being alert and attentive is important for any driver on the road, but it’s especially crucial when the driver is responsible for an 80,000-pound vehicle.
Fatigue and its effect on driving capabilities led to federal Hours of Service (HOS) rules, which dictate how long a truck driver may drive without a break. However, some truck companies pressure drivers into breaking the HOS rules, forcing them to work unsafe hours. While the driver is still responsible for choosing to keep driving, the company is also at fault for pressuring them to do so.
RELATED CLIENT STORY: Crosley Law Gets $4.9 Million Settlement for Trucking Accident Victim with TBI
2. Proving Negligence: Who’s to Blame for Your Crash?
As we mentioned in the previous section, there is sometimes more than one party responsible for a truck wreck. Being able to hold all the parties responsible could potentially lead to a larger settlement and remove dangerous drivers from the road — not to mention dangerous managers from their positions of power. But proving negligence in a truck crash can be difficult and often requires thorough investigation by an attorney with experience countering the tactics of large corporations and their lawyers. To identify all the parties involved in causing your truck wreck, your attorney will look at the following areas:
- Police reports about the scene and crash
- Pictures and tangible evidence from the scene
- Reconstructions of the collision
- Witness testimonies
Truck Driver Information
- Qualifications and training
- Driving record
- Driving log (hours on the road)
- Driving behavior during the wreck
- Post-accident drug testing reports
Truck and Maintenance Reports
- Maintenance logs
- Inspection history
- Presence of electronic logging device or speed limiters
Freight Company History
- Hiring procedure
- Training processes
- History of truck crashes
RELATED ARTICLE: 5 Damages That Car Accident Victims Miss Out On
3. Calculating the Value of Your Truck Wreck Claim
Truck crashes have the potential to cause devastating damage. Accurately calculating damages, the physical, financial, and psychological losses caused by a collision, is complicated even in straight-forward cases involving passenger vehicles. Estimating damages for a truck wreck can be even more difficult.
“Without the help of an experienced truck wreck lawyer, you may not discover all the factors that contributed to your crash.”
Trying to calculate damages on your own, or even with an online settlement calculator, typically produces highly inaccurate estimations compared to working with an experienced attorney.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover?
There are two main types of damages that you can recover from a personal injury claim:
- Economic Damages: Compensation for past, current, and future bills and expenses that result from the negligent party’s actions.
- Non-Economic Damages: Compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced due to your wreck and the emotional or financial impact on your immediate family.
As you can imagine, calculating non-economic damages is a very subjective art. Accurate calculations cannot be estimated by a computer or anyone without an exhaustive knowledge of Texas injury law. Additionally, calculating compensation for truck wreck cases can be particularly challenging. Not only can the large trucks cause significantly more damage to your person and property but also more emotional trauma.
How Does an Injury Lawyer Calculate a Claim’s Worth?
Calculating a settlement depends on a variety of factors. State laws, your insurance policies, the at-fault party’s policies — all of these components have an effect on your compensation. Online calculators typically only add up your estimated bills and expenses and then attempt to assign an arbitrary value to your pain and suffering.
A local attorney with experience in truck wreck cases will take a much more detailed approach, looking at all of the wide-ranging factors that may impact your case. They also understand how local judges typically rule on similar cases and can use this knowledge to determine the strength of your case and the maximum settlement you could potentially receive.
Discover Our Sophisticated Approach to Truck Wreck Claims
At Crosley Law, we routinely obtain significantly higher settlements in cases involving commercial truck wrecks than in passenger automobiles claims, even when the injuries are similar. There are many reasons for this.
- Our investigations often uncover safety shortcuts taken by the trucking company, and when we expose this type of negligent behavior, the settlement value of the case increases.
- We are often able to prove that there was an economic motive that led the trucking company or its driver to take shortcuts with safety; a theme of profits over safety can increase a claim’s settlement value.
- We frequently partner with respected medical and accident reconstruction experts that help us pinpoint the real causes and factors that led to the crash.
- When appropriate, we use focus groups and mock juries to tailor our trial presentations and negotiation tactics.
To learn more about our innovative approach to truck wreck litigation, contact our office and request a consultation.
Crosley Law Understands the Stress of Serious Truck Wrecks
At Crosley Law, we know how devastating truck wrecks can be to victims and their families. Besides the pain and financial hardships that arise, victims often experience high levels of stress — and sometimes PTSD. Working with an experienced truck wreck attorney for your personal injury claim means that you can focus on recovering and taking care of your family while we focus on getting you the compensation you deserve.
Boris, C., and Brewster, R. (2016, May). Commercial driver perspectives on obstructive sleep apnea. American Transportation Research Institute. Retrieved from https://atri-online.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/ATRI-Driver-Perspectives-on-OSA-05-2016.pdf
CMV involved crashes and injuries. (2019). Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved from http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/trf/crash_statistics/2018/30.pdf
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.