Commercial Vehicle Crashes in Texas
Any vehicle that requires a commercial driver’s license to operate is considered a commercial vehicle. For example, 18-wheelers, construction vehicles, delivery trucks, tractor-trailers, and tanker trucks are all included. Accidents involving commercial vehicles are often more complex because multiple parties can be liable. Here is what you need to know.
Who is Liable? The Truck Driver or the Trucking Company?
That will depend on the cause of the accident and whether the truck driver is an independent contractor or an employee of the trucking company. If the truck driver is an independent contractor, the trucking company typically cannot be held responsible for their negligence. Therefore, the driver’s auto insurance company would be responsible for damages. On the other hand, if the truck driver is an employee, the trucking company can be held liable for employees’ negligent actions committed while working. If the owner of the truck is different from the driver or trucking company, they may also be partially liable. An attorney can help you determine who can be held responsible.
When Should You Hire a Lawyer for a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
If you were severely injured in a commercial vehicle accident, liability is disputed, or your claim is denied, it is in your best interests to hire a personal injury lawyer. However, hiring one as soon as possible after a collision can prevent you from these situations or at the very least, provide protection. In addition, they will ensure you obtain fair compensation to fully cover your losses.
What Should I Do After a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
The following steps to take after an accident with a commercial vehicle can help you protect your legal rights and claim for compensation.
Get Medical Treatment
Commercial vehicle accidents are often catastrophic. As a result, many victims are immediately transported to the hospital. However, if your injuries seem minor, it is still necessary to be thoroughly evaluated by a medical professional. Medical records linking your injuries to the crash will be vital.
If you are not taken to the hospital, stay at the scene and collect evidence, such as photos and video of vehicles, their final resting positions and damage, the surrounding area and any property damage, your injuries, and any damaged items inside your vehicle. Ask for contact information from every party involved, including witnesses. If you are taken to a hospital, ask a friend or family member to gather evidence for you or hire an attorney.
Contact a Texas Truck Accident Lawyer
Hire an attorney as soon as possible. Once you do, they will immediately begin investigating and collecting evidence. Time is of the essence, as a spoliation letter must be sent to the trucking company and its insurance carrier as soon as possible. This letter notifies the at-fault party that a claim is being filed and warns against hiding, destroying, or tampering with any evidence relevant to the collision. That includes the truck’s black box, which will contain critical information on the truck’s physical condition and the driver’s actions leading up to the accident.
What Kinds of Compensation Can I Recover After a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
Damages typically recoverable in a truck accident claim include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more. Punitive damages are also sometimes available if the case involves a defendant (at-fault party) who exhibited extremely reckless or egregious behavior.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
Texas residents have two years from the date of a commercial vehicle collision to file an injury claim. However, it is best to pursue one as soon as possible so that witnesses and evidence remain available.