Austin Truck Accident FAQs
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) estimates almost 25,000 truck crashes occurred on Texas highways and roads in 2017. This includes more than 400 fatal accidents and more than 3,000 crashes resulting in moderate to severe injuries. Five of those deadly crashes and 137 of those injury-producing accidents took place in the Austin area of Travis County.
If you were injured in a truck accident in the Austin area, you may have the right to recover significant compensation under Texas law. Contact the skilled attorneys at The Law Offices of George Salinas in Austin at (512) 851-1004 as soon as possible to discuss your case.
In the meantime, here are some answers to frequently asked questions about Austin truck accidents:
What Makes a Truck Accident Different From a Car Accident?
Heavy trucks generally weigh at least 20 to 30 times more than the average car. In fact, a fully-loaded semi truck can weigh-in at more than 80,000 pounds. Then a vehicle with such massive size and weight crashes at highway speed, it tends to cause far greater damage, disruption, and injury than other types of accidents. The destruction a heavy truck can inflict on an ordinary car far exceeds that of a typical two-car collision. Truck accidents also frequently involve spilled cargo, further escalating potential harm to other drivers or clean-up crews.
What Are Common Types of Truck Accidents?
Multiple types of crashes might occur when trucks lose control. They include:
- Head on collisions
- Rear end collisions
- Broadside or T-bone collisions
- Underride collisions
- Multi-car pileups due to a jack-knifed truck
- Rollover collisions
- Blind spot collisions
- Lost loads
What Are Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) creates and enforces regulations for the trucking industry. They include measures to prevent some of the common causes of truck accidents, which include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol
- Failure to yield
- Driver fatigue
- Inexperienced drivers that haven’t had proper training
- Improperly loaded trucks
- Mechanical failure due to poor maintenance or a defect
Who Might Be Liable for a Truck Accident?
Because of the greater toll of destruction they cause, truck accidents tend to involve multiple parties. That means that when truck accident victims take legal action for damages, they often name multiple defendants, including:
- Truck drivers. As in any motor vehicle accident, the driver of the truck may bear some responsibility, particularly if he broke traffic laws by using a cell phone, driving under the influence, or driving while excessively fatigued.
- Trucking companies. Many, if not most, trucks on the road are owned by commercial enterprises. Those companies may share liability for an accident if, for example, they failed to maintain the truck, forced a driver to break hours of service regulations, required the use of a cell phone while driving, and or loaded the truck’s cargo negligently.
- Other motorists. Other motorists who drive recklessly might cause a truck accident.
- Truck manufacturers and/or truck part manufacturers. Makers of trucks and truck parts can have liability for an accident caused by a defective truck or truck part.
- State of Texas, Travis County, or city of Austin. If poorly maintained roads lead to a truck accident, government entities might be liable.
The Insurance Company Offered a Settlement for My Truck Accident Injuries. Should I Accept?
Insurance companies do not stay in business by paying every claim that comes their way and they certainly don’t like to pay court-awarded damages. When fault is clear, an insurance company might make a settlement offer to a victim. These initial offers are often attractive but they rarely provide full and fair compensation to victims. Instead, they are a tool for insurance companies to avoid large payouts later on. It’s best to let a qualified attorney handle all communications with the insurance company and discuss any offers with them. An attorney can advise you on the best course of action and can often negotiate a better settlement than the insurance company’s initial offer.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover After a Truck Accident?
If you were injured in a truck accident, you might recoup the following damages from the parties responsible for harming you:
- Medical costs including ambulance and emergency services, surgery, hospitalization, radiology, and medication;
- Future medical expenses such as corrective surgeries, aftercare, long-term health care, and physical therapy;
- Lost wages for missing work as a result of injury and hospitalization;
- Future lost wages when an injury prevents a victim from returning to work; and
- Non-economic losses including pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and other losses that apply to a particular case.
If I Contributed to Causing the Accident, Can I Still Recover Damages?
It depends. Under Texas law, you can recover damages for an accident you partially caused so long as a court doesn’t find you 51 percent or more at fault. Up to that point, you can recover damages even if your actions contributed to the accident. In that case, your damage award will be reduced by the percentage of your fault. So, for example, if you suffered $1,000,000 in damages in an accident for which a court finds you 25 percent at-fault, your maximum damage award will be reduced to $750,000.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Truck Accident Attorney?
Personal injury law firms typically offer free consultations for you to share information about your case with a qualified attorney. In the event that you and the attorney agree to have the attorney represent you, there is generally no up-front payment required. Instead, firms typically handle personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis. This means that your lawyer only recovers fees out of any settlement or court-awarded damages you receive.
Do I Need an Attorney After A Truck Accident? Yes!
A truck accident might permanently alter your life. An experienced truck accident attorney can protect your legal rights and seek the damages you deserve, giving you the time and energy to focus on healing.
If you were injured in a truck accident, contact the experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of George Salinas in Austin at (512) 851-1004 for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.
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