No matter how experienced you are as a motorist, driving alongside an 18-wheeler or another large truck can be a nerve-wracking experience. It is not surprising why. Trucks can weigh 80,000 pounds, and their sheer size can contribute to devastating damages and catastrophic injuries when involved in an 18-wheeler accident.
Trucks, including 18-wheelers, are a common sight on our roadways in Texas. If you were injured in an automobile accident involving an 18-wheeler or another large truck in Texas, it is important to know what you should do to seek compensation for your injury and damages.
Recovering Damages After an 18-Wheeler Accident
The information posted on this page should not be misconstrued as legal advice. If you were injured in a truck crash, it is vital to contact an experienced 18-wheeler accident attorney in Texas to discuss your particular case and help you recover damages.
Seek Medical Attention
In most vehicle crashes involving large trucks, victims sustain serious injuries that require emergency care. However, if your injury is not serious or you did not receive medical care at the scene of the crash, it is critical to seek medical attention to document your injuries.
Your injury could have delayed symptoms or may not be immediately apparent due to the rush of adrenaline. It is best to seek medical attention following the crash to diagnose your injury, if any, and to strengthen your personal injury claim.
If you fail to receive medical care immediately after the 18-wheeler accident and file an insurance claim to seek compensation for your injury, the insurer could deny your claim by saying that you are exaggerating the severity of your injury or that it is not related to the accident.
It is also important to gather medical records while receiving medical care. Records of medical care will serve as a critical piece of evidence when recovering damages.
Get a Police and Accident Report
If you were transported to a hospital after getting injured in an 18-wheeler accident, you may not have a police report simply because you could not have waited for the police to arrive. Nonetheless, it is still vital to obtain a police and accident report if the other party was at fault in order to support your personal injury claim.
If you can wait for the arrival of the police following the truck accident, you should avoid saying anything that could be taken as an admission of fault. When speaking with police officers or insurance adjusters, it is crucial to stick to the facts and avoid speculating. Request a copy of the police and accident report.
Under the Texas Transportation Code Section 550.026, drivers are legally required to report their accident to the appropriate law enforcement agency when their accident involves bodily injury or death.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Since Texas is an at-fault auto insurance state, injured persons are required to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company. For this purpose, it is essential to establish fault in order to identify liable parties in your 18-wheeler accident.
In many truck accidents, the injured party can sue both the truck driver and their employer (the trucking company). In other cases, the victim may be able to sue the manufacturer of the truck (if the vehicle or any of its parts were defective and contributed to the crash).
In Texas, an insurance company is legally required to acknowledge a claim within 15 days of receiving it. Then, the company has 15 days to approve or deny the claim. In some cases, the insurer may be allowed an additional 45 days to make a decision, but only after informing the policyholder in writing.
After filing a personal injury claim following your 18-wheeler crash, you will most likely be contacted by the insurance adjuster. It is not advised to sign anything offered by the insurer or agree to provide a recorded statement before you get a chance to consult with a lawyer.
Contact a Houston 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer
Since your truck crash may involve multiple at-fault parties, it is crucial to speak with a lawyer who would help you establish fault in your accident and gather the necessary evidence to recover damages.
In Texas, you must establish the following four elements of negligence to seek compensation for your injury:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care;
- The duty was breached;
- The breach resulted in the crash; and
- The accident was a direct result of your injury.
You will need to collect a lot of evidence in order to establish these elements. You may not be able to gather evidence on your own, especially if you are trying to recover and get back on your feet. For this reason, it is vital to be represented by an experienced truck accident attorney in Texas to help you collect the following types of evidence:
- Photos and videos from the scene
- Video surveillance footage
- The truck driver’s logs
- The truck’s black box data
- Testimony from accident reconstruction experts
- Witness statements
Collecting some of the evidence requires filing motions with the court and submitting subpoenas, which is why you need a lawyer who would investigate your claim, establish fault, gather evidence, and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Link to Featured Image: https://pixabay.com/photos/pipeline-plumbing-pipes-18-wheeler-5292027/
At Johnson Garcia LLP, Houston 18-wheeler accident lawyers help victims of truck crashes to receive compensation for their damages. With over 20 years of combined legal experience, attorneys Daniel Johnson and Juan Garcia are ready to take on big trucking companies to help clients win.