Navigating Commercial Vehicle Accidents with Walker Texas Lawyer
Commercial vehicle accidents are a serious public safety concern due to their potential to cause significant damage and severe injuries. Dealing with the aftermath of such an accident can be a stressful and complex process – from understanding the multiple layers of liability to navigating the intricate insurance landscape. Therefore, victims must equip themselves with the support and expertise of a seasoned lawyer, such as Walker Texas Lawyer.
Commercial vehicle accident claims can be complex. However, with an experienced lawyer, you can hold the truck driver and trucking company responsible for your injuries.
Choosing the right personal injury attorney is crucial in obtaining the compensation you deserve. James Walker, also known as Walker Texas Lawyer, has over 40 years of experience. He will do everything he can for accident victims in Texas.
Walker provides individualized care, free meetings, and only charges if he wins, showing his commitment to fighting for his client’s rights. Talk to Walker Texas Lawyer now if you were in a commercial vehicle accident. He can help you get the money you deserve.
What is a Commercial Vehicle?
Commercial vehicles broadly encompass any vehicle used for business in a capacity beyond personal commuting or for transporting goods or products. This category includes various types, such as:
- Delivery trucks, vans
- Fleet vehicles
- Taxi cabs
- Construction company vehicles
- Buses, including city or school buses
- Garbage and dump trucks or street cleaners
- Corporate cars
- Utility and repair company trucks or vans
- Hazardous waste carriers
- 18-wheelers and other large trucks
What Does it Mean When We Talk About Commercial Vehicle Accidents?
Commercial vehicle accidents refer to collisions or other incidents resulting in damage, injury, or loss involving these aforementioned types of vehicles. Such accidents are incredibly daunting due to the potential for severe damage and injury caused by these vehicles’ imposing size and weight. Statistics show increasing numbers of commercial vehicle accidents each year, with thousands of victims left to grapple with the aftermath of these unfortunate events. The result often includes physical injuries and emotional trauma, coupled with a myriad of financial issues and loss of income, exacerbating the situation for victims.
Moreover, legally addressing a commercial vehicle accident can be more challenging than a standard auto accident. Discrepancies in state and federal laws, different insurance norms applicable to commercial vehicles, and the potential for multiple parties to be involved in the incident complicate the resolution of the case.
Different Types of Commercial Vehicle Accidents: The Many Forms They Can Take
The way a commercial vehicle accident occurs isn’t limited to just one or two scenarios. They can happen in numerous ways, each with its specific concerns and implications, including:
- Jackknifing: A term often associated with semi-trucks, this happens when the vehicle’s trailer swings out, causing the truck to fold at the hinge point, forming a V or L-shape. This can easily cause multiple vehicle collisions, given the large space the truck sweeps in this vehicular moment.
- Rollovers: Given their high center of gravity, commercial vehicles like buses and trucks are susceptible to rolling over, especially when they make steep or sudden turns at high speeds. This leads to hazardous situations, affecting not just the truck or bus involved but other vehicles nearby that might get crushed.
- Underride Accidents: A particularly horrifying scenario, underride accidents occur when a smaller vehicle gets trapped underneath a larger one, often a semi-truck or trailer. The disproportionately higher ground clearance of commercial vehicles can lead to life-threatening situations if smaller vehicles slide underneath in a collision.
- Blind Spot Collisions: Larger vehicles often have more extensive blind spots or “no-zones” where other vehicles aren’t visible through mirrors. Accidents commonly occur when a truck or bus maneuvers without seeing a car in its blind spot.
I have just been in a commercial vehicle accident; what do I do?
If you have been hit by a commercial vehicle, there are steps you can take to protect your legal rights.
First, make sure you are ok. Your health needs to come first. Always call 9-1-1 after an accident. They will help you receive the proper medical attention and assistance.
After you are safe, here is a guide to help you protect your rights:
What To Do If You Are In A Commercial Vehicle Accident
Your actions in the first hours and days after a commercial vehicle accident are critical. We urge you to contact an experienced commercial vehicle accident lawyer immediately after an accident. You need a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident because you want someone with your best interests in mind to represent you. The insurance representatives from the other party do not have your best interests at hand. Also, you to secure all the evidence before it begins to disappear.
The Severity of Injuries in a Commercial Vehicle Accident
In a collision between an 18-wheeler truck and an average car, the latter is, unfortunately, bound to come off worse. The sheer magnitude of a commercial vehicle imposes greater forces in a crash, resulting in more severe injuries to the victims involved. Some common injuries seen in commercial vehicle accidents include:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): The force involved in commercial vehicle accidents can lead to severe head trauma, potentially causing TBIs. These can have long-term or even permanent effects, leading to cognitive issues, memory loss, motor function problems, mood changes, and other serious complications.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Whether it’s whiplash or a more severe injury like paralysis, the spine is particularly vulnerable in high-impact crashes. Damage to the spinal cord can lead to a range of debilitating conditions that could require lifelong care and treatment.
- Fractures: Broken bones are a common result of these accidents, often requiring extensive medical intervention, possibly surgical treatments, to heal properly. In severe cases, victims might deal with lingering mobility issues.
- Death: In the most tragic scenarios, commercial vehicle accidents can also prove fatal due to the catastrophic nature of such collisions.
When Should You Seek Legal Help?
It’s important to seek the advice of a lawyer specializing in commercial vehicle accidents as soon as possible following your accident. You might be contacted by insurance companies quite swiftly after the accident, looking to settle claims at the lowest cost to them.
An experienced truck accident lawyer, such as Walker Texas Lawyer, can guide you through the legal process. They can liaise directly with insurance companies, compile necessary evidence, and help ascertain a fair compensation value to cover your damages, loss of income, and medical bills.
Common Driver Errors That Lead to Commercial Vehicle Accidents
One of the most common reasons behind commercial vehicle accidents is driver error. This can take many forms, including:
- Speeding: Given the size and weight of commercial vehicles, speeding can be particularly dangerous as these large vehicles require longer distances to stop safely.
- Fatigue: Commercial drivers often have tight schedules, forcing them to drive for extended periods with minimal rest, leading to driver fatigue and subsequently making errors on the road.
- Distractions: Using mobile phones, eating, tuning the radio, or any activity distracting the driver from the task of driving can lead to serious accidents.
- Substance Abuse: Although federal laws regulate drug and alcohol use among commercial drivers, instances of driving under the influence still happen, posing extreme risks on the roads.
- Lack of Proper Training: Inadequate training can leave a commercial driver unprepared to navigate complex situations, especially in adverse weather conditions or traffic situations.
Who Bears the Liability in Commercial Vehicle Accidents?
In general, companies are responsible for their employees, who act on the company’s behalf. When a company vehicle is involved in an accident, the driver, the company, or a combination of both may be liable for damages. The driver might be responsible if negligence played a role in the accident. However, the employer may be liable for:
- Negligent supervision
- Negligent hiring practices
- Failure to verify proper licensing/certification
- Untrained or improperly trained drivers
- Failure to maintain vehicle
Additionally, if an employee is driving a company car on personal time, the vehicle’s owner may still be liable. A car owner must use due care when allowing someone to drive their vehicle. They could be liable if the company failed to check the employee’s driving record. Also, if the employer knew the employee had medical or other conditions that impacted the vehicle’s operation, the company could be liable for negligent entrustment of the vehicle.
The Impact of Poor Maintenance
Maintenance plays a critical role in the operation of commercial vehicles. Negligence in maintaining these large vehicles can pose significant road safety threats. Poor upkeep of essential components like brakes, hydraulics, lights, or tires can lead to component failure, resulting in dangerous, potentially fatal accidents. Companies operating commercial vehicles must keep them in safe operating conditions.
Proving Liability in a Commercial Vehicle Accident Case
Winning a commercial vehicle accident case typically requires showing the defendant acted negligently. In legal terms, negligence involves proving four elements:
- Duty of Care: The defendant owed you a duty of care. In vehicle accidents, each driver is responsible for operating their vehicle safely to prevent harm to others.
- Breach of Duty: The defendant failed to fulfill that duty.
- Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty caused the accident.
- Damages: You suffered damages (economic or non-economic) as a result.
Evidence can include, but isn’t limited to, witness statements, truck logs, photos of the accident scene, GPS data, cell phone records, and maintenance documents.
The Walker Texas Lawyer Advantage: Expert Representation for Commercial Vehicle Accidents
When battling the aftermath of commercial vehicle accidents, Walker Texas Lawyer brings significant expertise and a track record of success. The firm has comprehensive knowledge of personal injury litigation, specifically focusing on the unique challenges and variances associated with commercial vehicle accidents.
With a meticulously strategic approach to every case, Walker Texas Lawyer examines a crash’s facets, from driver behavior to vehicle maintenance records and potential manufacturing defects. The firm collaborates closely with many professionals, including accident reconstructionists, medical experts, and life-care planners, to build a robust case and maximize client compensation.
Standing strong against insurance companies, Walker Texas Lawyer aims to prevent victims from getting shortchanged and works relentlessly to secure the highest possible compensation for damages. The firm is well-prepared to take these cases to trial if necessary and committed to achieving the best result for clients.
With a compassionate approach, James Walker understands the emotional, physical, and financial toll a commercial vehicle accident can impose on victims and their families. Walker is committed to going beyond just obtaining compensation, assisting clients with recovery, guiding them through medical treatments, and helping them adjust to life after the accident.
Navigating the aftermath of a commercial vehicle accident can be a daunting endeavor. But, with Walker Texas Lawyer by your side, you can be assured of professional, empathetic, and determined advocacy committed to your cause and rights. Don’t let the complexities of a commercial vehicle accident overwhelm you – let James Walker guide and support you toward obtaining the justice you deserve.