When it comes to car accidents, no state has more than Texas. The same can be said for truck accidents. In one recent year, 621 traffic fatalities involved large trucks in Texas. That’s nearly double the rate of the next highest state, California. These traffic deaths account for a whopping 11 percent of all traffic fatalities in Texas. Over the years, the trucking industry has seen a substantial jump in truck-involved injuries and fatalities. A 40 percent increase in fatalities involved large trucks and buses during a recent eight-year period.
If you or a loved one were in a truck accident, you deserve the maximum possible compensation for your injuries. An experienced truck accident attorney can help you seek what you deserve.
Determining Damages After an Accident
After an accident, money may be the last thing on your mind. Accidents involving large trucks often lead to serious, life-threatening injuries. But while the last thing you want to think about is money, it’s not a topic you can usually avoid. Hospital bills are expensive and unless you have sick time at work, you’re probably not making any income. This is where a personal injury lawsuit can come in. The law allows you to seek damages when an accident results in injury.
The amount of your recovery will depend on a variety of factors but relies heavily on your actual damages. This may include:
- Medical bills: Hospital bills are expensive. Most insurance coverage is not enough to cover the cost of bills associated with a large truck accident. A personal injury claim may be an option that can allow you to recover the cost of most or all of your bills related to your treatment. This may include doctor’s visits, hospital stays, medical transportation, medication, mental health counseling, and rehabilitation.
- Lost wages: Most employers only offer a minimal amount of vacation and sick time. And short-term disability won’t cover your whole salary. In a personal injury claim, lost wages may be available to compensate you for all the time you have missed from work from the day of your accident to the day you return to work. If you cannot return to work, you may receive future lost wages.
- Residential modifications: Serious injuries can interfere with your ability to move safely and comfortably around your house. Spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries can cause permanent disability. If this happens, you may need to make accessibility modifications to your home. This may include wheelchair ramps, handrails, or stairlifts. This is not a cost you should have to carry alone.
- Pain and suffering: Truck accidents come with a big cost, not just financially, but physically and emotionally as well. Often, this pain sticks with you far beyond the closure of the case. The amount of pain and suffering compensation you can seek in your case will depend on the degree of your injuries and how much the pain affects your day-to-day life. This may include physical pain, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment, or loss of companionship.
- Punitive damages: In some cases, the court may award punitive damages. These damages are used as a punishment against the at-fault driver and are only ordered when there are serious aggravating circumstances such as gross negligence.
- Wrongful death: Sadly, far too many accidents lead to fatalities. A wrongful death claim can help the victim’s family recover costs related to their final medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
How to Get What You Deserve
No matter how clear fault seems to be, it’s almost never that easy. Drivers, and especially large trucking companies, like to try to deflect fault. It all comes down to money. The goal is to reduce their liability so they can get away with paying less. The best way to combat this is through evidence.
Most of your supporting evidence will come from the scene of the accident. This may include:
- Pictures of damage;
- Mechanical inspections;
- Witness statements; and
- Video footage.
Your medical record will also play an important role in your case. While your records are important and can say a lot, what you say can also have a big impact on your case. Remember, your medical records are evidence. Be honest about your symptoms. Don’t hide anything or “tough it out” and don’t exaggerate. If the insurance company (or the court) thinks you’re lying, your final award will likely be much less than what you deserve.
While most accidents only involve the drivers and their respective insurance companies, truck accidents can include multiple additional parties. If you have the evidence to file a claim against each party it can increase your settlement. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine what parties may have liability for your accident.
These parties may include:
- The truck driver;
- The trucking company;
- The truck’s owner; and/or
- A parts manufacturer.
The Timeliness of Your Claim
Texas law allows all parties involved in an accident two years to file a personal injury claim. However, that does not mean you should wait that long. The longer you wait to file a personal injury claim, the less likely the insurance company is to take your claim seriously. You will also want enough time to gather solid evidence to support your case. After a truck accident, the best thing you can do is contact a personal injury attorney right away.
Your Injuries Matter
Money is not a fix-all. It won’t take away the pain of your injuries. But this does not mean it is not important. A personal injury claim can help you pay for medical treatment and take time off from work so you can focus on your recovery. Sadly, insurance companies are in business to make money. Their number one priority is their bottom line. Because of this, they will fight to pay as little as possible. Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you. To learn more about your rights and get help seeking what you deserve, contact an experienced truck accident attorney.