San Antonio Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyers
Accidents Involving Trucks with Flatbed Trailers – Have you been injured in an accident with a flatbed trailer truck? The San Antonio trucking accident attorneys of our firm can help you.
As a large city, San Antonio is a hotbed of activity for trucking accidents and injuries of all variety including accidents involving trucks with flatbed trailers.
Flatbed trailers are generally employed to transport large and massive items that would not ordinarily fit into a normal cargo container. Far too often, these vehicles are used to transport cargo that is even too large for the trailer.
This creates a possibility for a unique type of accident. Most commonly, flatbed trailers can cause accidents whereby the cargo falls off of the trailer and collides with another motorist. Again, these trailers generally transport massive cargo, and such a collision can prove to be devastating with for the occupants of the car unfortunate to collide with the displaced cargo.
In such an event, there may be several potential defendants in the case. Naturally, the driver of the truck and their insurance company will bare some considerable portion of liability in the accident. Additionally, another company altogether may have been responsible for loading and securing the cargo, which would make them a likely defendant as well.
In cases where the cargo fell from the flatbed due to a collision with another vehicle, that vehicle may be liable as well for causing the accident.
Furthermore, if the event that the cargo is forced from the vehicle due to a collision with an overpass, trees, a power line, etc. the parties responsible for designating the driver’s route may also be to blame. Our Texas flatbed and trailer accident lawyers are here to ensure that you receive the compensation deserved. One of Our Most Recent Successful Cases – $1,000,000.00 Recovery – Wrongful Death/Commercial Vehicle Accident(policy limits).
A husband and father of three was killed when the driver of an 18-wheeler veered into oncoming traffic, striking the young man’s vehicle and several others. The defendant was employed by a small construction company that operated only a single 18-wheeler. As such, the defendants were largely underinsured and were not financially solvent.
Furthermore, the defendants had an eroding insurance policy and numerous other parties were intent upon filing claims of their own since the 18-wheeler struck multiple other vehicles. This created the need for an aggressive and rapid response before the other claimants could erode the policy.
Defense counsel made it clear that they wished to litigate the case despite the insurmountable liability arguments that our attorneys presented. They intended to designate a third party as a responsible defendant since the accident happened in a construction zone, even though it was abundantly clear that the construction zone played no role in the crash.
Additionally, the defendants made it clear that they wished to downplay the extent of the damages by virtue of a character assassination on the decedent. Fortunately for our clients, our firm has successfully litigated against the defendant’s insurer in nearly a dozen cases, so the carrier was quite aware of our courtroom capabilities. We presented a sample lawsuit to the defendant’s insurance carrier and informed them that the lawsuit was to be filed the moment that they refused to settle.
Additionally, our attorneys submitted a Stowers’ Demand with a brief window of time for the defendants to respond. We made it abundantly clear that we intended to seek punitive damages and that we would assert the full limits of the carrier’s exposure under the Stowers’ Demand should the carrier not offer policy limits.
The defendant’s attorney adamantly persuaded the carrier to litigate, however, our attorney’s threats of litigation, past track record, and incredibly aggressive pre-litigation actions convinced the insurance carrier to disregard their own attorney’s advice and to settle the case, lest they face our attorneys in court.
Had our clients been represented by virtually any other firm who did not have our specific track record or who would have not recognized that this case required special and immediate attention coupled with an abnormally aggressive stance, the client’s would have certainly been tied up in litigation for years, with the limited supply of funds rapidly depleting since the other claimants who did not need to litigate would have essentially had right of first refusal.
The logical implications of this information is that the light could not have been red for the plaintiff, and it certainly would have been red for the defendant. As a consequence of this information, the case was resolved through litigation.
San Antonio Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyers – Truck Accident Lawyer
Have You or Has a Family Member Been Injured in an area Trucking Accident? Call our firm.
There plenty of lawyers throughout San Antonio who would have no problem accepting your truck accident case, but few have decades worth of experience handling 18-wheeler and other commercial vehicle accident cases.
There is one firm that stands out. The truck accident lawyers at our firm have been handling truck accident cases for the past 20 years and have succeeded in countless cases, many for clients living in San Antonio.
What you may not know is that commercial vehicles come in numerous forms. We have prevailed in trying personal injury and/or wrongful death claims dealing with such things as rock haulers, dump trucks, all manner of construction vehicles, moving vans, buses, tankers, and other types and shapes of commercial vehicles. While there are numerous kinds of commercial vehicles, these types of cases have some similarities:
They tend to be greater and cause far more carnage than normal passenger cars.
Different laws oversee them than regular passenger cars.
The last, but most key, part is they are owned by successful corporations that will mount a strong defense aimed at making sure plaintiffs don’t receive proper compensation.
If you want to fight fire with fire, this isn’t an issue for us. If you want your truck accident case to have its best ability to be victorious, you’ve got to hire a lawyer that has a combination of experience, skills, wisdom and an extensive track record at defeating the opposition in trial or managing to get them to pursue a fair settlement that they usually would have invested plenty of effort in not paying.
If you choose to take our firm to work your truck accident case, you are obtaining 20 years of experience from qualified lawyers who have succeeded in countless truck accident cases (and substantially more personal injury cases overall) over time.
We’ve giving you this information so you’ll learn more about how the case-flow process unfolds in a commercial vehicle accident case, and discover some of the key problems you’ll face in a successful recovery.
How Trucking Accident Cases Work
Overcoming any accident isn’t easy, but there aren’t many accidents that can equal the catastrophic damage created by truck accidents. Commercial trucks operating in San Antonio can surpass 80,000 pounds in weight, so tremendous damages occur when they’re a part of accidents. Because truckers earn their salary through hourly pay, they tend to work countless hours without breaks, causing further problems with concentration and staying awake, plus more accidents, injuries, property damage and occasional fatalities.
With over our 20 years of practice, the truck accident attorneys at our firm have been handling personal injury litigation involving trucks, and we understand that victims will several medical and legal questions they want answers for after they’ve been harmed or had a family member die from a truck accident in Texas. What’s critical here is seeing to it you’re examined by a physician following your wreck. You don’t just need treatment for your injuries but also need to see to it they are documented. If you don’t carry medical insurance or have just enough, we can help you get a doctor who will handle your financial matters and form a payment plan that will factor in your budget.
After your injuries have been looked at, you need to give some thought to your legal duties so you can obtain compensation for the harm that’s been caused to you. The law doesn’t mandate that negligent parties instantly pay you for the injuries you’ve sustained. The victim, who is also called the plaintiff in the legal world, has the responsibility to prove they need assistance. Only an experienced truck accident lawyer gives you the best odds at getting the compensation you deserve. Our lawyers want to make sure you’re aware of your legal options so you can make the absolute best decisions for your family.
This article is intended to provide you insight. Don’t use it as a replacement for the legal expertise of a qualified and experienced attorney when it pertains to the specific details of your case. To learn more about how the law applies to the specifics of your case, call us today.
Why You Should File a Truck Accident Injury Lawsuit
Our San Antonio lawyers have seen first-hand what overwhelming emotional and physical pain is caused by truck accidents. Because of our extensive experience here, we’ve learned that most truck accident victims are cautious about seeking legal action because they don’t like the notion of putting a price on their injuries and the issue leads to them revisiting that horrific memory. While filing a claim is not the most pleasant experience, we’ll observe later in this article that speedy action is crucial to your claim’s success so you have to move immediately after the accident takes place.
There are two things you can achieve when you use a lawsuit to handle the injuries created by a truck accident: the first step is that it allows the injured party to recover from the financial and emotional pain stemming from the accident and it also makes sure those responsible for the wreck are punished for their actions. There’s no amount of money that can delete the damages created by your accident or erase the harm in your psyche, but the truth is that you have incredible financial losses that still exist. The only to make sure your family is headed in a positive direction again after tragedies like these is to receive compensation from who is liable. Chances you’ve probably already missed lots of work because of your injuries, so handling medical expenses for your injuries and repair costs for your vehicle can be near impossible unless you locate the individual or parties who caused your injuries.
The other goal is that a truck accident lawsuit presents the opportunity to shrink the chance of more negligence by punishing those people liable for your accident. People who have lost huge amounts of money in truck accident lawsuits tend to not make the same mistake again. If you want to get someone’s attention, you’ve got to attack their pocketbook.
Common Negligent Causes of Truck Accidents
If you’re attempting to determine who you should sue, the first part is figuring out how the accident unfolded and who was responsible. Many people are involved in goods being transported on a truck, so in numerous truck accident cases for instance, more than one business may have committed some type of negligence that led to or played a part in the truck accident. A veteran truck accident lawyer can rely on previous lessons earned over years of litigating truck accident claims to adequately figure out the cause for your accident and all the parties who are accountable. Any amount of negligent parties could have played a role in your truck accident: the truck driver, the company he/she works for, who made the truck or trailer, the company that mapped out a route for the trucker, the company that loaded the truck, and other third parties. For example:
Truckers – Truckers devote countless hours, day after day, traveling our highways and interstates, and in most truck accident cases, they are ruled liable either somewhat or entirely for the injuries that happen. Truckers cause accidents with negligent behavior like driving under the influence, ignoring the speed limit, floating stop signs, or crazy swerving. In other circumstances, truck accidents occur simply because the trucker is drained. Federal law requires that truckers take mandatory rest breaks, but many truckers ignore these rules so they can meet mandated deadlines established by the company. Studies show that the chances of a trucker being involved in an accident increase after eight consecutive hours of driving, and 20 percent of truckers admitted to falling asleep more than once in the prior month before being surveyed. Whether on purpose or by accident, if a trucker’s negligence led to an accident that caused you to be injured, you can seek a lawsuit against that individual.
Trucking Companies – There’s a term that’s followed in Texas called respondeat superior. What this means is that employers will be faced with major consequences and be ruled accountable for the actions or inaction of its workers. If the trucker’s negligence was the source of your accident, then the trucking company could encounter some kind of punishment. So if a trucker had a slew of previous DUI convictions, and was held accountable for an accident while drunk, then the trucking company would be responsible as well for the injuries resulting from the accident.
What also needs to be noted here is that the trucking company doesn’t have to be negligent on its own to be found responsible for the negligence of its drivers. So as long as the trucker behaves in a negligent fashion, then a lawsuit can be pursued seeking damages from the trucking company. Many times the trucking company is the defendant that damages are sought from anyway, since they have access to considerably more resources than truckers do.
Manufacturers – Trucks and trailers are constructed of countless wires, bolts and other pieces, all woven and fastened together to ensure the vehicle operates safely. If any of these parts fail to work right like they’re supposed to when the truck is operating, then an accident can take place. If this malfunction was a result of a design defect or manufacturing error and a wreck occurs, then anyone harmed in the truck accident has the ability to seek compensation from the manufacturer.
The Company that Mapped the Route – If you travel plenty, you’ll discover that many roads and neighborhoods aren’t set up to deal with trucks and other commercial vehicles. There are bridges, however, with height and weight restrictions in place. To ensure that safety is intact, busy trucking companies will often lean on other companies to map out proper routes for trucks to travel on. If this company maps a route that is deemed to be unsafe and harmful for trucks, then a lawsuit can be pursued against this company.
The Company that Loaded the Cargo – There are times when the company that had the cargo is able to load the cargo in the proper fashion, but there are other instances when they rely on another company for this responsibility. If the company that loaded the cargo did so in a bad manner, this can lead to a wreck that causes numerous injuries that this company would be accountable for. Cargo in trucks is limited to 80,000 pounds, but many companies try to evade this by loading up more goods at a lower cost by ignoring this rule. Weight limits are in place for a purpose because a truck that’s overloaded has a far bigger chance to overturn and create incredible damage when an accident happens.
When the company that loads up the cargo didn’t do so in a proper fashion, the cargo can become loose during transport, which causes a load to shift that topples the trailer and causes an accident with other vehicles. When you involve flatbeds in the picture, cargo that’s poorly loaded can crash onto the road and cause immense havoc for all the vehicles and panicked drivers who are traveling behind the truck.
Other Drivers – A truck may wind up in an accident, but that doesn’t mean you should instantly think the truck or its driver were at fault. Sometimes other drivers disregard their duty to protect the safety of others on the highways and small roads, and a truck accident will occur, which causes further damage and injuries for more motorists. When this happens, victims can seek damages from third parties such as these.
Any of these groups or combinations of several of them could have partially or entirely been the reason for the truck accident that injured you. You need the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer who can discover the cause and all of the possible defendants, so you can receive the compensation you’re owed from all the people who harmed you with their negligent actions.
Prompt Investigation is Important
If you’re trying to compile all the key evidence, figure out who is liable and manage to prove your case in a truck accident, then you’re going to need to make sure a speedy, detailed investigation is conducted. Because lots of parties could have behaved in a negligent manner and played a role in the accident that harmed you, a well-done investigation is critical to pinpoint all of the key parties and their degree of negligence. It will be critical to have evidence to get the jury to rule in your favor and evidence can begin vanishing immediately after any accident. You need to retain a truck accident lawyer and let them begin searching for evidence as fast as they can. Every day you hesitate without hiring a lawyer you believe in causes even further damage to your case because the proof you need to obtain is disappearing – witnesses will move or have problems remembering specific details, videos get damaged or taped over and the accident scene will physically change.
The San Antonio truck accident lawyers at out firm have spent two decades mastering the art of investigating accident cases. Once we’re hired we bolt to the accident, free of charge to clients, so we can locate any evidence that helps us with our client’s case. We’ll do whatever is needed to reach the truth – securing any key vehicles involved, taking photographs, searching for critical video evidence, looking at police reports, taking measurements of the distance between skid marks and points of impact, conducting forensic tests, discovering witnesses and obtaining any other evidence that can later be of us in our trial.
More than likely, you’re probably well behind the efforts and investigation being conducted by the defense. Many times what takes place is the trucking or insurance company sends its investigators to the accident scene right after the trucker reports it. The defense investigators aren’t worried in the least with figuring out how the accident truly occurred; they’re just hoping to obtain evidence that back up the fact your injuries were a result of your own ignorance. If you don’t have your attorneys there conducting their own investigation, you’ll have no idea if any evidence tampering was committed, or if the defense did a proper investigation. If they discover any evidence to back up your alleged negligence, then they can have your insurance claim tossed if they can prove you were totally responsible. Or your damages can be lessened if they can show your negligence was a contributing factor.
One case we dealt with recently illustrates the need for doing a first-rate, in-depth investigation. What happened in this instance was that our firm was retained by the driver of a passenger car after he wound up in an accident at night with a truck. The trucking company was quickly saying our client had been driving without any headlights in his vehicle when the accident happened. Once we joined on as the victim’s legal counsel, our client’s demolished car had already been transported from the accident scene and to a nearby salvage yard. Once our attorneys spotted the car at the junkyard, they quickly noticed that it was without headlights. Our concern immediately moved to our client getting proper compensation, but our investigators discovered that there was a surveillance camera installed in the salvage yard, so they secured some of the video footage. This specific equipment had been designed to record over its memory every 48 hours and we managed to secure it right before it was copied over. Once we saw it, we realized it showed a worker from the trucking company illegally removing the headlights and exiting with them from the junkyard. Later in trial, the trucking company’s defense team was seeking to argue that our client’s car didn’t include headlights. At that moment, we had the actual proof to expose their lies and obtain compensation for our client. If our client had hesitated any long to hire us as his legal counsel, the video would have been useless, any ability to get restitution would have ended and the trucking company would have been able to commit felonious evidence tampering and get away with it.
Our attorneys are consistently encountering lies and deception concerning truck accident cases, so you need to hire a lawyer and allow them to immediately begin a quick and in-depth investigation as fast as possible. Sometimes our investigators are still able to get the burden of proof well after an accident happened, but the faster we begin investigating the better chances we have of obtaining the proof needed to get the compensation you rightfully deserve. Don’t wait any longer in discussing your case with a truck accident lawyer.
Common Obstacles that Plaintiffs Must Overcome
You may have filed an insurance claim following a regular, everyday car wreck, but that doesn’t mean you’re qualified to handle a truck accident lawsuit by yourself. Trucking insurance policies can be valued at 50 times more costly than your normal auto insurance policy. Due to the huge size of trucking insurance policies, litigation to handle truck accidents is far more complex than your regular passenger car case. Plaintiff’s who’ve wanted to save some extra money on lawyer’s fees by handling their own case just end up hurting themselves more with diminished or denied compensation. People who have no legal background, and lawyers fresh out of law school wind up puzzled and frustrated when attempting to file lawsuits after truck accidents because of numerous obstacles: establishing the burden of proof, the size of the insurance policies, self-insured trucking companies and those truckers who resort to lying.
Burden of Proof
There’s nowhere in the law that says the defendant or defendants have to give you a dime after you’ve been injured in a truck accident unless you, as the plaintiff, are able to prove they should. If you want to obtain proper restitution for your injuries, you’ll have to provide substantial, credible evidence for your case. Other types of negotiation may be used to settle a claim, but evidence must be pinpointed to get the defense or insurance to negotiate in good faith. You’ll need to prove each of these four elements of a truck accident case:
Duty – The first part in this process is showing the defendant owed you a duty to maintain your safety by acting in a proper manner. The law has established legal duties for certain circumstances and for each particular group, all contingent on their relationships. When it involves truck accident cases, achieving this part is simple, since every driver has to operate their car in a way that maintains the safety of other motorists, pedestrians and passengers on the road.
Breach – If you’re hoping to prove your case, the next step is showing that the defendant or defendants violated their duty of care you deserved. This typically happens when the defendant endangered others in a way that normal people wouldn’t or by not acting when regular people would be expected to do something. You’ll have to secure evidence that proves a defendant disregarded his or her legal duty of care through action or inaction if you hope to prove this breach of duty. Plus, you’ll also have to hire a truck accident lawyer in San Antonio, TX who can use that evidence and convince a jury to see the defendant or defendants acted in an improper manner.
Causation – Along with showing the defendant or defendant’s violation of a legal duty that affected you, you also need to show your injuries were a direct result of this duty being violated. Because many parties could have played a role or been a factor in the cause of any truck accident, it takes credible evidence to allow a jury to observe a causal relationship was present between the defendant’s violation of his or her obligation to you and the resulting harm that followed. If not, then the defendant can tear your case apart by moving the blame elsewhere for your injuries. Many times, the defendant or defendant’s best way to avoid blame is to aim the responsibility squarely on the victim for causing their own injuries through their poor behavior.
Damages – Once you’ve established the first three parts for a solid truck accident lawsuit, you then need to show the damages the defendant owes for the injuries you’ve incurred. In the legal world, when damages are mentioned it’s not about your injuries or property damage, but are instead referring to the compensation the defendant owes for the harm they’re liable for. The plaintiff can seek damages for such things as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, damaged property and other losses that were a part of the accident.
The toughest part here is that you can’t just ask the court to give you the compensation that’s rightfully yours and assume you’ll get it. You’ve got submit evidence that shows not just your losses but also how you compiled the monetary value for those damages. Much of the time defendants haggle over this amount of compensation asked by the plaintiff and will counter with their own totals for damages owed that will likely decrease the overall fiscal amount of harm caused for the plaintiff. If you’re hoping to prove the defendant intentionally low-balled its estimation, you’ve got to show rock-solid proof that reveals your calculations are absolutely accurate.
What is my case truly worth? Because damages such as pain and suffering, or loss of earning capacity tend to be very subjective and open for debate, compiling damages can be complicated for anyone not used to it. It’s very difficult to determine a price for pain and suffering or attempt estimate lost earning capacity by adding up the total for possible raises and inflation. In court, you’ll only have one chance to compile the amount of equitable compensation you’re rightfully owed. For the past 20 years, our San Antonio semi-truck accident lawyers have been compiling damages, and we have become comfortable enough with cases much like yours to know how to include all your losses and come to estimation on compensation that rightfully provides you with the restitution you’re seeking.
Being unable to show any of these elements means you’re not going to be able to receive compensation for the harm you’ve been inflicted with. You need the help of a truck accident lawyer – especially if you’re going to trial. All our years of litigating truck accident cases has allowed our lawyers to figure out how to form a strong legal game-plan that meets the burden of proof and gets juries to rule on your behalf.
Enormous Insurance Policies
Federal regulations demand that trucking companies purchase huge insurance policies to guard against possible accidents, injuries and fatalities that occur when conducting business with trucks. Due to this, many incorrectly believe they’ll receive immediate compensation and not encounter any issues. The majority of the time, that’s false. Because insurance policies are ruled to be 50 times more valuable than those of regular passenger cars, the insurance companies tend to expend 50 times the resources and energy to guard their trucking policies.
With everything at stake, insurance companies love to use their sneakiest insurance adjusters to handle settlement negotiations. You probably haven’t worked tons of truck accident claims, but these adjusters are the elite in their profession and deal with these claims on a consistent basis. They know how to interact with accident victims, who are still overwhelmed by shock and who quickly trust their insurance agent, then use those details against them to their claims rejected. What happens is they present a fake friendship and try to get the victim to think they’re aiming to get them their compensation – they first have to answer some straightforward questions. They really don’t want to help you; they’re just attempting to jack up company profits by getting your claim turned down. After that, they bombard you with nonstop questions that basically take the same statements, and then re-word them over and over, in an effort to get you to mess up and say it was your fault the accident happened. Once they can get you to slip up and admit responsibility, your claim can get rejected. It’s better to have hardly any interaction with insurance adjusters, so hire an experienced Texas truck accident lawyer and allow your legal team to deal with the harassing questions being launched by insurance adjusters. In fact, we tell our clients not to communicate with any workers from insurance companies without a lawyer there to serve as a shield for your well-being. If you hire our firm, our lawyers will assume control over all the conversations involving the insurance company and protect you from possible confessing your guilt.
Many times aggressive insurance adjusters will seek to get accident victims to surrender their rights to sue in exchange for a small settlement. You want to not have to deal with the stress and uncertainties with a jury trial, but you don’t want to get a settlement that doesn’t adequately assist you for the harm you’ve sustained. Only a lawyer with a consistent track record of success can get the insurance company to accept a fair settlement, since they’re already concerned about losing more money at trial.
The insurance company will also seek to evade liability for your injuries by turning to a skilled defense team that can take advantage of legal loopholes and procedural hurdles that will get some plaintiffs to endanger their chances at receiving compensation. You need the assistance of an experienced truck accident lawyer who can fight back against any attacks coming from defense specialists. Our attorneys have been granted millions of dollars from every well-known insurance company throughout the country, and we’ve learned how to predict every potential trick they may turn to.
Self-Insured Companies Can Be More Treacherous
Instead of purchasing a normal insurance policy, lots of trucking companies set aside a portion of their assets to use for insurance purposes whenever accidents occur. While the federal government regulates the insurance agency, which mandates that all companies be registered, adjusters get licensed and ethical standards be maintained, self-insured companies don’t have to be concerned about these ethical rules. For that reason, self-insured companies have earned a reputation of being unethical and impossible to deal with in negotiations. Many times, if you’re trying to negotiate settlements with self-insured companies, you’ll have to interact with a worker from the company’s headquarters. Because this officer likely gets a portion of their income from some manner of profit sharing, they have enough motivation to get your claim tossed. This officer would be giving you part of their own income if they allowed you to receive the restitution you’re seeking. With their income at the line, self-insured companies tend to put their own interests ahead of the injured victim’s and will resort to such awful behavior as bullying, evidence tampering and even threatening victims.
If a self-insured company has attempted to bully you or get pushy, then you can get them to halt with the assistance of a truck accident lawyer. Once we’re hired, our attorneys can get self-insured companies to conduct themselves in good faith, and even throw out possible legal action if we need to.
Truckers Can’t be Trusted
We always think people are basically inherently decent and trustworthy, but the trucker who hurt you with their negligent actions has plenty of incentive to lie. If the trucker is ruled to have harmed others while driving in a negligent fashion, then that individual is bound to get pink-slipped in due time, if they haven’t been canned already. Moreover, a trucker who’s been ruled negligent will find it nearly impossible to land another job like that with a mark like that on their record. When you throw in the job market and the nature of today’s economy, many basically honesty and well-meaning truckers will resort to lying so they can safely guard their jobs and the chance to take care of their families. To receive the compensation you’re wanting, you’ve got to prove that the trucker was engaged in lying.
Our truck accident lawyers have developed in their ability to investigate and discover the key facts that reveal the trucker to be lying. We’ll hammer away at their credibility with all the key facts we’ve obtained and expose their lies.
In the same fashion that insurance adjusters try to get victims to admit their negligence with an array of questions, our attorneys will seek to construct some questions for the deposition with the purpose of tricking the trucker into confessing his or her own lie. The San Antonio commercial vehicle accident lawyers at our firm have deposed tons of witnesses over a 20 year span, and we’re able to compose questions that expose the truckers attempted lies.
How we Can Help
If you’ve been injured or a loved one died in a truck accident, you need to hire a truck accident lawyer to guard your legal rights and help you obtain the fair restitution you deserve. From our initial documents that are filed to the court’s final decision, our attorneys handle every facet of your case and making sure you’re updated on a consistent basis.
San Antonio 18 Wheeler Attorney : Texas Accident Injury Law Firm
Do You Understand Liability Issues When You are Hurt in a Trucking Accident in San Antonio?
In Texas, and especially in and around San Antonio, we have a lot of modern highways and multi-lane freeways. A lot of 18-wheelers use those highways, tens of thousands of them at least. They haul all types of goods to all parts of the state and country.
Although nine out of ten truckers are never a problem for Texas drivers, what about the remaining 10 percent? Just how good is that driver? How safe is the load they carry? How safe is the 18-wheeler itself? Does it even belong on the road? It’s no wonder you may feel a bit uneasy when an 18-wheeler pulls alongside you at 70 miles an hour on a crowded freeway. This is why accidents, injuries and even deaths are a near statistical inevitability when 18-wheelers are on the road in and around San Antonio and other communities in the area.
If you have been injured in a big rig accident or if a loved one was injured or killed in one, a San Antonio 18-wheeler attorneys at our firm stand ready to help you. We continue to win many judgments for our clients and have litigated hundreds of trucking accidents cases during our 20-plus years of service to injury victims. We understand the pain you suffer and the financial weight you may bear after being involved in one of these horrible accidents.
In spite of your ability to recover from your injuries, your troubles are likely far from over. The difficulties you face in your quest to seek fair compensation for your injuries can be just as arduous as the physical injuries and pain you now suffer from the accident itself. Fighting for a fair settlement, even going to court to secure a fair injury award, often creates even more emotional stress and extends your fiscal problems. This is why we feel it is so important for you to know every one of the legal avenues available so that you can take the right action to win a just and fair restitution for your injuries, pain and suffering, and lost income.
Who Owes You Damages For Your Injuries and Pain From a San Antonio 18-Wheeler Wreck?
If you have been hurt in an 18-wheeler accident, the first thing you must find out is whose fault it is in order to determine who is legally liable for injuries you suffered and your property damage. In a lot of 18-wheeler accidents, many parties may share liability for damages. As often as not, there is more than one defendant. A legal notion in Texas law called “respondent superior” states that employers of those determined to be liable for the wreck their employee causes can be held responsible for the action or inaction of their employee.
In a claim involving an 18-wheeler, a combination of a number of different parties can be responsible, and subsequently held liable for the wreck. This includes the trucker, the company he or she works for, the company that loaded the trailer, the person who planned the truck’s route, and by connection to any responsible party, the insurance company who insured those who are liable.
Another source of liability is relatively new. Over the past few years, with the state outsourcing a lot of road maintenance duties, as well as highway construction to private industry, if a privately-owned company is performing road construction or maintenance and creates hazardous road conditions that cause an 18-wheeler accident in which you are the victim, these companies may also be held liable for a portion, or maybe all, of the liability arising from the accident. All private companies retained by the state to build and maintain Texas roads must document that they are properly insured, or provide a very large liability through a bond.
To win your claim among a surplus of potential defendants, you need an experienced San Antonio 18-wheeler attorney on your side that also has the ability to investigate the scene of an accident to discover who is liable. Naturally, local or state law enforcement agencies investigate all 18-wheeler accidents. In some instances, so does the US Department of Transportation (DOT), especially if a repeat offender of their statutes and laws governing interstate transportation is involved.
Many times those investigations only reveal the primary responsible parties such as the drivers or the company that owns the rig if the 18-wheeler has bad brakes or some other safety violation. But such investigations often fall short of identifying all underlying causes for the 18 wheeler accident, which often reveals every liable party who may have escaped criminal detection. Experienced 18 wheeler accident lawyers and their investigators are the ones who conduct these thoroughly stringent inquiries to identify everyone who is liable. They know how to determine the degree of each responsible party in every 18 wheeler accident. Occasionally our investigations reveal additional criminal facts of the accident that law officials miss. We pass them along to the appropriate agencies for further discretionary action.
Did You Know?
Our firm has been fighting for 18 wheeler accident victims` rights for over 20 years. Call us to discuss your case.
When you are injured in an 18 wheeler accident, your attorney must determine whether the negligent truck driver caused the wreck, if someone else played an important part, or if a mechanical malfunction might be responsible. What if the company that owned the cargo failed to correctly load it or didn’t safely secure the cargo which caused it to break free during transport and topple the trailer? Or, did the route planner negligently send the truck into an area not properly zoned for 18-wheelers? Or maybe flammable chemicals were loaded inside a tanker not rated to carry such dangerous materials and suddenly, unexpectedly exploded, seriously injuring you as you drove alongside it on an inner city freeway.
It is rarely easy to determine immediate fault in an 18-wheeler accident. This is why you benefit in many ways through the experience of a Texas truck accident lawyer who will make sure that every liable party who is responsible for an 18 wheeler accident is held responsible for your injuries, along with the damage to your vehicle, its passengers and other contents.
What Happens if I Choose to Deal With an Insurance Company Myself and Don’t Hire an Experienced Attorney?
A non-attorney has a very hard time accumulating all the knowledge required to effectively negotiate a fair settlement with insurance companies, or successfully represent him or herself in court. Representing yourself is possible, but winning is a very long shot. Litigation in 18 wheeler accident-related injury cases is extremely complex. Inexperienced attorneys have only a slightly better chance than you alone of recovering any reasonable compensation. So why would you even entertain such a foolish idea, especially when tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the table? Would you fix your own pipes or build your own house on a vacant lot you purchased? You likely wouldn’t, and this is one of the reasons why you need the legal experience and investigative power of an attorney to represent your personal injury case from an 18 wheeler accident
Everyone has heard the old adage about the law: “Those who represent themselves have a fool for a client,” but it’s doubly disastrous in any personal injury case, especially one involving an 18-wheeler because the laws and procedures involved are so complex, and the playing field is often tilted in the favor of the trucking companies, their insurance providers and attorneys. Those who oppose you have deep pockets and years of experience at winning these kinds of cases. You need much more than general knowledge of the law to succeed in trucking accident litigation.
Here’s a little secret that few non-lawyers know. Legal knowledge doesn’t make up a third of all the necessary elements for success in personal injury cases. Successful litigation requires thorough knowledge of civil procedure and the ability to develop the perfect strategy necessary to battle the insurance companies and their defense lawyers. Legal novices, by their very definition, don’t have that. Your opponents respect doesn’t hurt either. This is why an experienced and highly regarded, respected San Antonio 18-wheeler attorney who has spent years taking on the insurance companies and their lawyers, and beaten them, is a powerful weapon in your fight for just compensation.
Also, if you have a relative or friend who is a lawyer, even though he or she might be looking out for your best interests and might be inspired to fight hard for your rights when an 18-wheeler accident has befallen you, often, that person might have a difficult time disassociating him or herself emotionally from issues surrounding your case. Personal injury law is often quite intense. A specialized 18 wheeler attorney must be pragmatic, focus solely on the facts of a case and be very cool under fire if you are to be successful. What happens if that friend or relative attorney doesn’t win the case, or accepts a less-than-fair settlement because he knows how badly you need the money now? How will you feel about your friend of relative then? Keep your family members and friends out of your legal business. You will be very wise to remember this when deciding who will represent your 18 wheeler liability lawsuit to your greatest benefit.
Insurance Companies Are Great at Playing the Game of “No”
The federal government requires trucking companies to purchase sizable insurance policies to protect against accidents that occur. You may hold the misguided belief that the trucking insurance compensation process is quick and relative free of surprises so all you have to do is file a claim and wait for that inevitable, and generous, compensatory check.
This is an unlikely scenario. All insurance companies are in the business of taking in premiums and paying out as little as absolutely necessary in claims. Since insurance policies for 18-wheelers involve huge sums of money, much greater than your personal car insurance coverage, the insurance company’s only mission is to keep from paying you fairly, and increase its high profits. So it comes as no surprise that insurance companies deny every claim possible, whenever possible and for as long as possible. They do this by habit. Without the right attorney on your side, collecting a fair settlement from an insurance company is anything but foolproof.
While the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code grants the right for anyone who has been injured in an 18 wheeler accident, or the family of one who was killed to be compensated for the harm done, to seek compensation, the law doesn’t say reimbursement is automatically granted when a victim claims an injury or loss. This is the dirty little secret that insurance companies don’t want you to know until you find out the hard way by having to deal with an out-of-hand denial by an insurer.
You, as plaintiff, must first prove the liability of the party responsible for the accident and the injuries you suffered from that accident. Furthermore, in any liability case, the plaintiff holds the burden of proof. You must clearly show that the money you’re asking for fairly reflects the loss you’ve experienced from those damages and injuries. The insurance company and the lawyers who represent them does everything possible to deny a plaintiff’s claim or argue that the level of restitution you seek is excessive and unreasonable.
The Seedy Side of an Insurance Company: Adjusters Who are Not to be Trusted
Insurance adjusters are often just as dangerous to an accident victim as the defense lawyers who represent their companies. Their goal is to help their employer, not you, plain and simple. They are interested solely in saving their companies money by denying your claim or underestimating the cost of the accident. An adjuster may act like your best friend and constantly assures you that all of your needs are met. Insurance adjusters are very clever. They know you probably have a good relationship with your car insurance agent. So they imitate your “good neighbor” auto agent and ease you into a false sense of security. Often they might innocently try and record you saying something that is later twisted into sounding like your admitting liability and destroy your chance to receive fair, or any, compensation. The trucking company’s insurance adjuster gets paid to deny or hinder your claim. Remember, insurance companies are in business for themselves, not you. Some unscrupulous adjusters even convince uninformed personal injury victims, often deceptively, to sign away the legal right to sue in exchange for a small settlement that never comes close to compensating the victim’s injuries or other losses from an 18 wheeler accident
Corporate insurance adjusters and defense lawyers love nothing more than to find a victim who tries to represent his or herself. They know how easy it is to lead a novice around by the nose. The behavior of insurance adjusters alone should be proof-enough of why you need an aggressive 18 wheeler accident lawyer who knows how to combat the tactics of the insurance companies and win your fair settlement. Only the history of success of an experienced San Antonio 18-wheeler attorney with our firm will combat unscrupulous insurance adjusters and frighten their insurance company employers into a fair settlement, or beat them in court if they don’t.
Insurance companies are even prepared to fight injury claims before the accidents even occur. They have experienced attorneys on staff, or permanent retainer. They’re just waiting to take on personal injury claims. They specialize in cases like yours and know every trick to tilt the case in favor of their insurance company employers. Insurance defense lawyers race to the scene of an accident as soon as it happens and begin investigating to build a case against you while you are still deciding whether or not you even need to hire a lawyer. If you have been injured in an accident involving an 18-wheeler, you mustn’t hesitate in finding a Texas 18 wheeler accident law firm to help you. You only get one bite at the apple, and once it’s lost, there are no do-overs.
Don’t Make the Fatal Mistake of Trusting a Trucker in an 18 Wheeler Accident
With so much at stake, chances are you cannot trust the truck driver to tell the truth if he or she causes an expensive accident. If truck drivers are found to be liable for an accident, not only will they be fired, it could become very difficult for them to land a new job after costing his or her previous employer enormous damages due to his or her negligence. Sometimes trucking companies will make the driver the “fall guy” and fire him outright. Then they cover themselves of true responsibility, or their negligence that caused the accident.
If this isn’t the driver’s first wreck behind the wheel of an 18 wheeler, it’s possible to lose either his state trucking drivers license, or his DOT certification, which means the (former) truck driver has to find a new line of work. With the high unemployment rates in the United States, the temptation for that driver to lie, cheat or behave dishonestly to save their job is too great since that driver now risks losing the paycheck that supports his or her family.
After suffering an injury in an 18 wheeler accident in which the driver of the truck claimed that our client was driving with his lights off at night, our investigators quickly examined the scene. They discovered a security camera outside a convenience store that was pointed directly its parking lot and the accident scene behind it. The video clearly showed our client’s headlights shining brightly. We proved that the truck driver boldly lied. Witnesses and defendants can lie and or callously misrepresent critical facts in trucking accident cases. The lawyers with our firm know how to uncover the lies, and counter them with the truth to stop witness misrepresentations. Over the past 20 years, we have conducted hundreds of 18-wheeler accident investigations to get to the bottom of the case, and won for our clients’ fair and just compensation by shining the light on the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Self-Insured Truck Companies Represent a Sinister Threat to Your Just Compensation
Some trucking companies protect against personal injuries from accidents by reserving a percentage of their assets to pay accident claims, instead of purchasing a coverage policy from an insurance carrier. And though federal and state governments monitor the insurance industry, licenses adjusters and hold insurance companies to ethical standards as best it can, no such regulations exist for self-insured trucking companies. Seeking compensation from these “self-insured” firms, or self-insured independent truckers, can be far more difficult, and as chaotic, as finding justice in the Old West.
You will pursue settlement with an officer of the company, not an insurance adjuster. This company officer’s salary is typically tied directly to company profits. Any amount paid to you for an injury comes directly out of the company coffers, which means that when the company’s officer compensates you, he or she is literally taking money out of their own pocket. This is why we’re not surprised when a self-insured company officer stoops to any means to deny your claim, which protects the company’s assets. Self-insured companies (as well as independent truckers) have been known to willfully destroy damning evidence, bribe witnesses, and even intimidate their victims, sometimes physically. There have been times when those intimidation attempts were directed at our clients. This is why every time our attorneys are hired against a liable self-insured party; the first action we take is to prevent anyone with the company from behaving unsuitably toward our clients. Often, we are forced to demand that they completely refrain from communicating with our clients unless one of our attorneys is present.
Your Best Chance After an 18 Wheeler Accident is With Experience on Your Side
Only after trying hundreds of cases can a lawyer learn the intricacies of developing the right tactics for success at trial or in negotiations with insurance companies in an 18 wheeler accident. Most people, and many inexperienced attorneys, don’t know the proper way to answer interrogatories, prepare demand packets, and conduct sophisticated depositions which get to the bottom of liability for the accident that caused your injuries and pain. Experienced attorneys know how to conduct sophisticated accident investigations or respond to lists of admissions. You need somebody who knows how to do all of this, and forcefully represent your interests.
Insurance companies only agree to fair settlements if you are protected by an attorney with a history of success in court. While insurance companies and their lawyers are eager to take on non-lawyers and inexperienced attorneys, they fear us. When we file a claim, the insurance companies usually see the wisdom of settling with our clients for a fair amount. They want to avoid a trial, especially if they know you have a strong case. And from a fair settlement, our clients can resume living their lives again because we’ve negotiated that compensation on their behalf.
What Should You Do Now?
You need to take steps to preserve the evidence in your case now, and to act quickly. You must hire a lawyer to begin investigating the accident scene immediately. Every moment that you wait, evidence is becoming stale, witnesses’ memories fade, or their stories’ can “mysteriously” change. The accident scene also becomes altered either by the passing of time, or because your opponents do it themselves. Physical evidence that proves your case also might begin to “mysteriously” disappear. As soon as we are hired, our firm begins a thorough investigation of the accident scene to uncover the right evidence that proves liability of the truck driver, the trucking company and any other third-parties. We inspect all the vehicles involved, clearly survey the accident scene, measure distances, hunt for photographic and video evidence and assemble it all to clearly prove your case. We leave no stone unturned to uncover all the evidence that proves your claim beyond reproach.
For example, we were once hired by the families of two men who were involved in a terrible accident with a big rig. After the initial accident, the truck’s trailer was stretched across the unlit road on a moonless night. Only the taillights of the trailer hear the shoulder of the highway were visible to oncoming drivers. Our clients rounded a curve and unknowingly smashed into the trailer. One man died at the scene. The other was left fighting for his life.
The force of the collision ripped off the roof of the vehicle, killing the driver and critically injuring the passenger. The next day we were hired, flew to the scene of the accident and begin investigating that same day. Our client’s car had already been towed to a salvage yard by the time we arrived. After examining the vehicle, we noted its strange lack of headlights. Finding this odd, our investigators spotted a security camera on the premises and we asked to view the video. It showed an official of the trucking company illegally removing the headlights. When the company tried to claim our client had been driving a car without headlights, we produced the video that caught them red-handed. You can guess who won this case. But what you don’t know is that both law enforcement officials and the US Department of Transportation found this video very interesting. And you get a better idea of what we mean when we say that evidence can sometimes “mysteriously disappear.”
If the love ones of these two men drove down the road, minding their own business when tragedy found them, had waited any longer to hire us, this crucial evidence would have been gone forever, because the salvage yard’s surveillance system didn’t save its video for more than two days. And we can’t think of a stronger reason why victims of tractor-trailer accidents need to find an 18-wheeler attorney now, so the investigation can begin while the case, and evidence, is still fresh. Lies and missing evidence can cripple your legal right to fair compensation for an 18-wheeler accident from the moment it happens only if, by inaction, you allow it.
We Can Help You Recover Your Life After an 18-Wheeler Accident
The best way for a victim in a big rig accident to ensure full compensation is to find assistance from an experienced San Antonio 18-wheeler attorney who knows how to clearly prove the defendant’s undeniable liability, and then win equitable damages.
San Antonio 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer
Attorney Discusses Your Legal Options After You’ve Been in an Accident with an 18 Wheeler or Semi-Truck
The wide open spaces of the Lone Star State are crisscrossed with major and minor transportation routes for both Texans and the businesses that keep Texas humming. We’re shipping goods all over the state and to all points throughout the rest of America. That means there seem to be as many 18-wheelers on the roads around San Antonio as there are cars.
With thousands of tractor trailers driving across the country in a short amount of time, and drivers logging long miles staring at the road as it passes by, accidents, injuries, and even deaths are a statistical inevitability.
If you have been injured in an 18-wheeler accident, or if a loved one was killed in a San Antonio semi-truck wreck, our 18-wheeler accident lawyers are here to help you. Over the past 20 years, we have litigated hundreds of trucking accidents cases, and we empathize with the pain you have suffered. We can help. We also want to inform you of the challenges and difficulties you are facing as you seek compensation. We want you to know about the legal venues available so that you can take the right action to achieve just restitution for your 18 wheeler accident injury.
The semi trailer 18 wheeler accident lawyers at our firm would like to take some time to explain some of the basics of a semi trailer 18 wheeler accident case, such as whether you have a valid claim, the purpose of semi trailer 18 wheeler accident litigation, naming the defendants in your case, the two ways to win a claim, investigating the facts, obstacles to your claim, and why you should hire a lawyer to help you with your litigation.
Who Is At Fault for a San Antonio 18-Wheeler Accident?
Truckers, trucking companies, manufacturers, companies that load trucks, and companies that plan routes are only a few of the many individuals or entities which may cause a wreck. In order to hold the responsible party accountable and collect fully for your losses, it’s important to identify all of the parties who were at fault for causing your accident.
First, there are the 18-wheeler drivers themselves. Truckers are among the parties most frequently responsible for causing accidents because of the nature of most wrecks. Their actions often directly cause wrecks. Sometimes, truckers are merely careless, reckless or incompetent. They may speed, roll through stop signs, ignore traffic warnings, ignore traffic conditions, or make illegal turns.
When their own driving errors lead to accidents and injuries, the truckers themselves may be held responsible for their carelessness in a personal injury civil suit. Sometimes, a tractor-trailer accident does not result from ordinary carelessness or recklessness. Truckers can cause accidents by driving without getting enough sleep. Did you know that, by law, truck drivers are required to take periodic rest breaks and keep track of their stops in records? That, combined with the tight deadlines and demands truck drivers often face, can be a recipe for disaster. Some truckers are faced with impossible deadlines or with compensation systems which value speed over proper safety precautions.
Sometimes, there is so much pressure that these drivers may skip their rest breaks and falsify their log books. This happens way too often as many lawsuits and undercover press operations have discovered. There was one study which showed that around one of every five long haul truckers admitted to having fallen asleep at the wheel at least once in the month preceding the study. Truckers who skip their breaks and spend more than eight hours at a time behind the wheel double their likelihoods of being involved in wrecks, according to studies conducted by such organizations as the National Transportation Safety Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Whether the 18 wheeler driver in your case was careless or fatigued, you may be able to name him or her as a defendant in your lawsuit if their actions can be proven to have led to your wreck.
When multiple parties contribute to causing an accident, all of them may be named as defendants in your lawsuit. Finding the right defendant or defendants is not always a simple proposition or a straightforward challenge in Texas truck accident litigation. This is because so many entities may play a role in preparing a truck to make deliveries, and there are so many people on the road.
Trucking companies may be held responsible for accidents through either direct or indirect liability. A trucking company is directly liable for causing an accident if the trucking company did something negligent which ultimately led to a wreck. If a trucking company was supposed to have kept its fleet in good working order, but failed to repair the brakes on one of its trucks, the trucking company may be able to be held directly liable for any resulting injuries.
In other instances, trucking companies do nothing wrong themselves, but may still be held indirectly liable for an accident. Employers are responsible for the on-the-job actions of their employees. This is the case even if the employer didn’t endorse the employees’ conduct. It’s the case if the employer didn’t know about the employees’ conduct, or otherwise did nothing wrong itself. In trucking accident cases, the legal doctrine of “respondeat superior” usually allows a plaintiff to hold a trucking company liable for an accident caused by a trucker.
Logistics companies that plan routes may also be to blame for wrecks if an 18 wheeler collides with an environmental obstacle that it didn’t have sufficient room to clear, such as a low overpass for a tall truck, or a narrow road for a wide load. The fact is that these heavy trucks can’t go on all of the roads that your car can. Weight, cargo, and height restrictions limit trucks from traveling certain bridges, tunnels, and roads. Individual truckers almost never make up their routes as they go along. If the roads that an 18 wheeler travels are unsafe for semi trailer truck traffic and an accident results, the company that planned the route may be named as a party to a lawsuit.
Cargo Loading Companies
Truck loading companies are usually different companies than the companies that own trucks, and these companies may be held responsible for accidents that result from improperly loaded, incompetently loaded, or overloaded cargo. Sometimes it’s the case that the individual responsible for loading an 18 wheeler will do a careless job, and the cargo won’t be properly secured to the trailer. Cargo can come loose during the truck’s travels and fall onto the roadways. This is a major hazard.
Truck cargo of any size that ends up lying in the middle of the road can create a serious danger for other driver. Sometimes, companies responsible for loading trucks overload trailers and that creates its own hazard. By law, most trucks may only be loaded to 80,000 pounds but many companies, however, can and do cram more than 80,000 pounds onto a trailer in order to deliver more goods without the added cost of making additional trips. They are putting money over safety because overloaded trailers have a tendency to tip over. If overloaded or improperly secured cargo resulted in your accident, the company that loaded the truck may be held responsible.
Sometimes, manufacturers may be liable for causing wrecks if their defective products lead to accidents. Occasionally, truck parts leave the factory with manufacturing defects or design flaws which make the parts unsafe for use. In order for a truck to operate safely, its critical components must be working properly.
For example, if a tire is defective, an 18 wheeler runs the risk of rolling over or losing control. Or, if a brake fails, it can cause a wreck. If a strap designed to hold cargo in place is flawed, cargo could fall from the trailer onto the roadway and cause the wreck or the driver to lose control. If a manufacturer’s error caused your accident, you may be able to sue the manufacturer for damages.
Should You Represent Yourself?
Sometimes self-representation is okay in a car accident. An 18 wheeler wreck is a very different thing, though. The stakes are bigger. Many other complexities pop up in truck accident cases that don’t present issues in ordinary car accident claims. Why? Because often times, there are larger amounts of damages and more money on the table. Even sophisticated and business-savvy accident victims can’t be expected to pursue their own claims, but our San Antonio 18-wheeler accident lawyers have seen it all before and know how to navigate these challenges. Here are just a few of the unique challenges of litigating an 18 wheeler accident claim.
High-Dollar Trucking Company Insurance Policies
The federal government requires trucking companies to purchase sizable insurance policies to protect against the inevitable accidents that occur. The insurance company is in business to make money, not help you. Trucking companies purchase high dollar insurance policies from insurance companies, but these policies are not like the policies in relation to what you know of car insurance policies. They are worth about 50 times more money than an insurance policy on a typical passenger car. In other words, insurance companies stand to lose much more money when they pay a claim under a truck insurance policy than in comparison to paying a claim for a passenger vehicle accident. Since insurance policies for 18-wheelers involve huge sums of money, the insurance company’s main focus is to keep from paying you adequately so it can retain as much profit as possible.
Experienced Trucking Accident Insurance Adjusters
Thus, they are willing to spend much more money and resources defending against paying these claims in court. They will bring to bear their very finest insurance adjusters. Anyone who has ever been involved in a car accident knows what adjusters do. They do all they can to deny your claim or offer you as little money as possible in compensation for your injuries. However, elite adjusters that handle the more expensive truck accident claims do it on a much larger and aggressive scale. They got to where they are by developing a reputation for being tough on accident victims. They intend to be tough on your claim too.
They have aggressive tactics. They will call accident victims repeatedly to ask them questions about the wreck, to discuss what seem like irrelevant details and to just “touch base.” Though their questions may appear innocent and well-intentioned on the surface, they are seldom conducted with your best interests in mind. They’re usually designed and calculated to get you to admit something that could be used against you by getting you to tell them something that could be taken out of context. They could make it sound like you’re saying that you aren’t really hurt or that you caused the accident. You can expect your words to be recorded and come back to haunt you. There’s only one good way to deal with insurance adjusters, and that’s not to deal with them at all. Instead, have your lawyer take their calls. When they can’t speak to the accident victims that we represent, they don’t even have the opportunity to ask our clients things that could be damaging to their cases.
Experienced Defense Attorneys
Moreover, these insurance companies keep aggressive defense lawyers on staff or on retainer, and call them into action as soon as a wreck occurs. They begin building a case against you even before you’ve decided whether or not to pursue a claim against them. Because they specialize in insurance defense law, these lawyers know many loopholes in the law that can be used to deny the claims of accident victims who don’t understand the law as well as they do. If you try to file a lawsuit on your own, chances are that these attorneys will be successful in having your claim dismissed on some technicality.
Investigating an 18-Wheeler Accident
Then there’s the matter of evidence. As we said, they go to work gathering evidence immediately. Do most people even know what evidence would be relevant in an 18 wheeler accident case? You need to have someone examine the evidence to see if you have a case. An investigation will allow you to determine who caused your accident and if there is more than one party.
A professional investigation allows accident victims to gather the evidence that they need to prove the defendant’s liability in court. That’s how court cases work best for the plaintiff. Jurors don’t want to be told how to decide. They want to make up their own minds after seeing photographs, hearing 911 call recordings, holding bits of defective tires, seeing improper loading manifests, seeing the driver’s employment and drug test results, and otherwise evaluating evidence that you collect during your investigation. Evidence isn’t a luxury or a bonus; it’s what you’ll need to bring to court if you want to win you case and get compensated for your losses.
Many times, based on initial evidence, it won’t be obvious who was at fault for causing an 18 wheeler wreck. Many individuals on the road, including other drivers and pedestrians, may have played a role in causing a crash and they may be partially liable. In other cases that we’ve seen, the mistake which ultimately leads to an accident occurs behind the scenes as the 18 wheeler is being loaded or maintenanced. Until we conduct a thorough investigation, there’s no sure way to know who should be named as a defendant a defendant in your lawsuit.
We look for the evidence you’ll need to win your case or to make the other party offer you a settlement commensurate with your losses and damages. We are experienced at getting what is needed to convince a jury. Our professionals record measurements, take pictures, talk to witnesses, perform forensic testing, gather police reports, find video surveillance footage, examine wreckage, and collect evidence in a way that makes everything we gather for your case admissible in court.
Our 18 wheeler accident law firm knows how to conduct a strong investigation. They can help determine who caused your injuries and how to get the evidence you’ll need to hold all of the defendants accountable for what they’ve done. It’s standard procedure for us to visit the scene of the accident in nearly every truck accident case that we handle, no matter how far away.
Why Contacting Legal Help ASAP Can be Vital After a Texas Commercial Trucking Accident
We once had a case in which our client was being blamed for causing a collision with an 18 wheeler. The other side argued that our client was at fault for driving without headlamps installed on his vehicle. Our lawyers went to the salvage yard where our client’s car had been towed to see if there was any truth to the defendant’s story. Sure enough, our client’s car was missing its headlamps.
But we believed our client. We weren’t satisfied with what we found. So we went to the salvage yard owner for the yard’s video surveillance footage. The tapes were scheduled to be erased later that day. We got to them just in the nick of time. On the tapes, we saw that the defendant had visited the salvage yard and taken our clients’ headlamps from his car. After that, we had no trouble proving that the defendant had tampered with the evidence and that his defense was a sham.
In this case, if our client had called us even a day later, the tapes which turned out to be so critical to his case would have been destroyed. He would have certainly lost his case and someone would have gotten away with a horrible miscarriage of justice. The bottom line is it’s best to start your investigation as soon as you can. Our lawyers can usually prepare a strong case, even if we aren’t contacted until several months after an accident occurs. However, the strongest cases are usually built when we’re contacted as soon as possible. We recommend that you don’t delay in contacting a lawyer for assistance.
Another Obstacle: Trucking Companies That Are Self Insured
When seeking compensation from a self-insured trucking company, you’re likely going to benefit from the assistance we can offer. This is where you really don’t want to go it alone. If you’ve been in an accident with a trucking company that is self-insured, then instead of dealing with an insurance company, you’ll be dealing directly with a trucking company.
Some trucking companies protect against personal injuries from trucking accidents by reserving a percentage of their assets instead of purchasing a standard policy from an insurance carrier. The federal government monitors the insurance industry, licenses adjusters and holds insurance companies, to uphold certain ethical standards. No such regulations limit self-insured companies, so seeking compensation can be far more difficult.
You’ll be negotiating directly with the company’s officers if the trucking company involved in your accident was self-insured. Dealing with the officers of a self-insured trucking company can be far worse for an unrepresented plaintiff. What we’ve often seen is that the amount of an officer’s salary usually depends directly upon the self-insured trucking company’s profits. What that means is, if an officer elects to pay your claim, the chances are that his paycheck will take a direct hit. In other words, such an officer may have a vested interest in seeing your claim severely lessened or completely denied. Unlike an insurance company’s adjusters who are professionals bound by a code of ethical conduct, no such guidelines restrict the conduct of a self-insured trucking company’s officers. These people have been known to tamper with evidence, threaten accident victims, and harass witnesses in order to avoid paying claims.
What Happens When The 18 Wheeler Driver Lies?
For truckers, driving is their livelihood. If they get a reputation for accidents, negligence or incompetence, they won’t work anymore. Who would want to hire someone who has million dollar accidents? So you can bet that when there’s a wreck, many truckers who are found responsible for causing wrecks are fired. They know this. That’s why truckers will sometimes lie in order to avoid responsibility and maintain their livelihoods. In so doing, they will frequently blame accident victims like you for causing wrecks, or will look to pin blame onto any other party that may have been involved in the commercial trucking accident.
You run the risk of losing your claim if the trucker in your case is lying and you can’t prove otherwise. That’s why it’s absolutely critical to be able to expose the trucker’s lies for the judge and jury. The 18-wheeler accident lawyers at our firm can help you validate a truck driver’s story. We’re often able to uncover enough evidence to prove that the trucker’s story doesn’t add up. If we can find the overwhelming contradictory evidence to the trucker’s prevarication, the judge and jury are unlikely to believe the trucker. When the hard evidence isn’t enough, we use depositions to get to the truth that the trucker is trying to cover up. We’ll grill the trucker in your case to get him to come clean before your trial.
Why You Should Consider San Antonio Truck Accident Litigation
For starters, when you hire an attorney who brings a personal injury lawsuit against a defendant in an 18 wheeler accident, it gives injured accident victims the potential to recover financially for their losses. The losses following truck accidents are frequently financial, too. Accident victims will likely face high medical bills and repair bills following a wreck. If a truck accident victim is unable to return to work while recovering from injuries, these bills can mount up due to the combination of lost wages and medical expenses. Filing a lawsuit against a defendant can help you with the financial aspects of your recovery. Getting paid by the party responsible for an accident goes a long way in helping a victim and his or her family get back on their feet again.
No one will volunteer to pay you money. If you want to recover, you’ll need to fight for your rights and you’ll need an experienced advocate on your side like our 18-wheeler accident attorneys.
There’s a second reason to file suit – punishing the guilty party and ensuring that they take steps to ensure that no one else gets hurt as you and your family did. When you file a Texas personal injury lawsuit against the individual or entity that caused your accident, your injuries won’t be suffered in vain. You’ll be punishing the responsible party, and holding that party accountable for their actions. If they suffer enough in court, this may diminish the likelihood that the party will make similar mistakes that put other families in danger in the future.
Trial and settlement are the two ways you can win your claim and get compensation for your damages. While the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code provides the right for someone who has been injured in a trucking accident or the family of someone who has been killed to seek compensation for the harm done, the law doesn’t say compensation should be handed over whenever a victim claims an injury. The plaintiff must first prove the liability of the party responsible for the accident and the injuries that were inflicted as a result of the accident.
Furthermore, the plaintiff holds the burden of proof for demonstrating that the compensation requested fairly represents the damages suffered. The insurance company will do everything it can to deny the plaintiffs claim or debate the level of restitution sought. The best way for a victim to ensure full compensation is to find assistance from an 18 wheeler accident law firm with attorneys who know how to prove liability and determine equitable damages, or can work to convince the defendant to offer a fair, out-of-court settlement to the plaintiff.
In a settlement, the plaintiff and the defendant avoid the need for trial by negotiating and reaching an agreement without the assistance of a judge or jury or the cost of a trial. Usually this means the defendant voluntarily agrees to pay the plaintiff a particular sum of money and, in exchange for the money, the plaintiff promises not to sue the defendant in the future for more money for injuries that resulted from the same accident.
Accepting a good settlement offer is highly beneficial to an accident victim, but you don’t want to accept a bad settlement. When you elicit and accept a fair settlement offer, you’ll usually get your money much faster than you would have had your case gone to trial, and accepting a fair settlement offer means avoiding the uncertainty that’s always present when you entrust the fate of your claim to a panel of randomly selected jurors. But there’s a problem: getting a good settlement offer from a defendant usually isn’t easy and typically requires the assistance of an 18-wheeler accident lawyer like the attorneys at our firm .
Defendants won’t want to pay you anything unless they know you have a sure case that will cost them more if they go to court and may stand to lose the case before a judge and jury. In addition to whatever they have to pay, they are out court costs, attorney’s fees, or other costs. Because of this, they’re rarely motivated to volunteer to pay you money in a voluntary settlement unless they’re nervous that they will lose if they face you at trial. So, naturally, the best way to make a defendant nervous is to have strong evidence and a lawyer with an excellent reputation on your side.
A fair warning though about settlements: When they’re offered before you have a lawyer, don’t even think about accepting them. The defendant in your case may try to convince you to accept a bad settlement offer, and while a good, earned settlement can benefit accident victims, bad settlements, also known as unmediated settlements, can permanently strip you of your legal rights. They require you to give up your ability to sue the defendant for what your case is really worth.
Defendants hope that you’ll accept small amounts of fast cash that they dangle in front of you in full satisfaction of their liabilities. They may claim that their offer is all that you’re entitled to or the best that you’re going to get. This is a lie perpetrated upon unsuspecting victims who are likely in need of quick cash and may be in a vulnerable position. If the defendant in your case offers you a settlement and you haven’t hired a lawyer, chances are that they’re trying to dupe you. An experienced San Antonio 18-wheeler accident lawyer can tell you how much your case is worth and help you evaluate whether the defendant’s offer is truly fair. Be sure you speak with a lawyer before you give up any of your legal rights.
The Trial Process for an 18-Wheeler Wreck
If you go to court, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof at trial to prove that the defendant should be held responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. If the burden of proof isn’t sufficiently met, the defendant in a case wins by default and you receive nothing. It’s this heavy burden placed on a plaintiff’s shoulders that makes it true that you don’t want to represent yourself in court under any circumstances, and this is especially true in cases as complex as truck accident litigation.
You need a strong trial strategy, a compelling body of evidence presented in a way that it won’t get thrown out, and a lawyer experienced with the tactics defense lawyers use in these kinds of truck accidents. You have to have both evidence and trial strategy that prove the four elements of a truck accident claim in a compelling way that convinces a jury and the judge.
Making Your Case in Court
In court and in a trial, we say you have to “prove” duty. Proving duty means showing that the defendant in your accident owed you some particular duty of care to act in a way that wouldn’t cause you harm. The duty of care that people owe to protect others is dictated by the law. It depends largely on the circumstances of the situation at hand and on the relationships between the parties themselves.
The second element to prove of your claim is what we call “breach.” Once you’ve proven what duty of care the defendant owed, we’ll need to show that the defendant’s conduct breached that duty of care in the accident. This is where a lot of the physical and record evidence comes into play, whether we’re talking about the trucker, the trucking company, or a third party. Now you’ll have to show that the defendant was negligent in some manner. This is an important step to proving the defendant’s liability. To prove breach, you’ll need to present evidence to the court regarding precisely what the defendant did or failed to do. Then,
the jurors will decide whether the defendant’s actions were severe enough to constitute a breach of the duty of care that he owed you.
Proving the third element, causation, means proving that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of your injuries. As you saw, many parties have a hand in preparing an 18 wheeler for the road and there can be many individuals on the road at the time an accident occurs. Consequently, multiple parties may have had varying degrees of liability for a semi-truck wreck in San Antonio.
Finally, you must prove your damages. The term “damages” refers to the money that the defendant will pay you if you win your case before the jury and judge. You may be entitled to collect damages for injuries such as pain and suffering, medical bills, repair bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and other losses you may have suffered as a result of your accident.
It isn’t enough to simply ask for reimbursement; you’ll need to prove what you’re entitled to. This involves calculating the total amount of your losses. It means bringing evidence of your injuries to court to support your calculations. The defendant will assert that your demand is an inflated sum and essentially amounts to a request for a handout. To prove the defendant’s calculations are merely last-resort attempts to avoid his legal responsibility, you need evidence to support your demands. Calculating damages is frequently no simple task for non-attorneys or even inexperienced lawyers.
Finally, it’s often a challenging task for non-attorneys to put a price tag on ambiguous intangible losses such as pain and suffering. Calculating loss of earning capacity can be another obstacle for the inexperienced. Damages for loss of earning capacity are designed to compensate a plaintiff for the wages he won’t be able to earn in the future as a result of being unable to return to his job after an accident. In the event that damages for lost earning potential are sought due to a debilitating injury, you also need to account for factors such as the time value of money and promotions and raises that the victim would have received had he been able to continue to work.
You need more than legal knowledge of trucking accident laws to succeed with trucking accident litigation. Actually, legal knowledge comprises only about 20 percent of the expertise required for success in personal injury cases. More importantly, successful litigation requires knowledge of procedure and the strategy necessary to battle the insurance companies and defense lawyers. Insurance companies will only agree to a settlement that benefits you if you are protected by an attorney with a history of success in court. Our San Antonio 18 wheeler accident law firm has won hundreds of cases against nearly every major insurance company in the country.
Call our San Antonio 8-Wheeler Accident Lawyers . We Can Help.
Protect yourself and your case. You need to hire a lawyer, so he or she can begin investigating the accident scene. For every moment you wait to find representation, evidence is beginning to spoil, witnesses’ stories are changing, the scene of the accident is changing, and evidence is disappearing. Our San Antonio 18 wheeler accident law firm has 20 years experience handling personal injury litigation in 18-wheeler accident cases. Call us today. We can work to uncover evidence proving the liability of the truck driver, the trucking company, or any third parties involved in your San Antonio 18-wheeler wreck. We inspect all the vehicles involved, measure the distance from skid marks to the point of impact, hunt for photographic evidence, and catalog all the evidence we find. We take every measure to uncover any evidence that might help prove your case. With two decades of experience in helping injured victims of 18-wheeler accidents and bereaved families of fatal semi-truck wrecks in Texas, our firm has the experience, knowledge, and reputation that can help you and your family through this difficult time toward a better tomorrow.
One of Our Most Recent Successful Cases – $150,000.00 Recovery – Automobile Accident (Nerve Damage)
San Antonio Truck Accident Lawyer
Our Attorneys Can Help If You’ve Been Injured in an Accident with a Commercial Vehicle
Commercial trucks are a constant companion to all drivers on the roads in and around San Antonio, Texas. Traveling down I-35, I-10, Loop 1604, or Loop 410, 18-wheelers are an integral part of American society, especially in regard to major shipping and receiving cities like San Antonio.
Without the services and goods that commercial truck drivers provide, Americans’ quality of life would suffer. Unfortunately, 18-wheeler accidents are a common occurrence that can severely affect a victim’s quality of life. With the sheer number of commercial trucks on the roads today, coupled with legislation that allows drivers to spend up to 11 hours driving per day, semi-truck wrecks often have a high probability of occurring over time. When issues like drowsy driving or drunk driving are a factor, 18-wheeler collisions are even more likely to occur, and more likely to result in severe personal injury or death.
Our truck accident law firm offers this article to further inform you about the dangers of trucking accidents in San Antonio, the legal issues involved in 18-wheeler wreck cases, the rights of an injured victim or a bereaved family, and the legal options that an aggrieved party may pursue in the aftermath of a commercial trucking accident. The Texas 18 wheeler wreck lawsuit attorneys at our firm bring 20 years of relevant experience to every trucking accident case they take on. Through these many years of helping victims of trucking accidents and family members of victims who have lost their lives due to fatal trucking accidents in Texas, our truck accident lawyers have the knowledge and experience to help you seek compensation for your injury or loss while working to see justice served against those responsible for the Texas truck accident.
Who’s Responsible for an 18-Wheeler Wreck in Texas?
One of the first issues that any affected victim of a semi-truck wreck wants to know is who’s responsible for the wreck. The answer to that question is seldom as easy as pointing a finger to an alleged negligent truck driver. There are many distinct ways that an 18-wheeler wreck resulting in injury or death is drastically different from a passenger-vehicle only wreck causing injury or death. The issue of liability is one the of the distinctive differences between these types of accidents. For example, an otherwise normal car crash is often the fault of one driver. Consequently, an injured victim can sue the driver for any incurred damages. While there are certain instances where a victim may be able to pursue legal action against other liable entities, this is not the norm for auto accident cases.
Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies
However, trucking accidents in Texas often involve multiple parties. When a negligent truck driver is responsible for a wreck, both the trucker and their employer can be held civilly liable for the results of a tractor-trailer crash in San Antonio, or anywhere else in Texas. Even though the trucking company was not directly involved in the accident, they will bear vicarious liability for the accident due to the legal notion of “respondeat superior.” Latin for “let the master answer,” this legal doctrine in Texas law holds that an employer is held liable for the negligent actions of an employee so long as such actions occurred in the course of their employment. Such liability exists with an employer regardless of whether or not the employer was specifically negligent in any way. Further complicating legal matters in the aftermath of a Texas trucking accident, a liable trucking company will, more often than not, also hold a substantial insurance policy on their fleet. Consequently, an 18-wheeler accident personal injury case or wrongful death lawsuit will likely involve three defendants from the very outset: a truck driver, a trucking company, and a trucking company’s insurer. Specific cases must be constructed against each unique entity so that an aggrieved party can stand to
receive fair compensation for their injury or loss.
Cargo-Loading Companies, Route-Planning Companies, Product Manufacturers
On the other hand, some semi-truck accidents are not the fault of a truck driver. For instance, some trucking companies utilize the services of other companies in order to accomplish specific work-related tasks. An outside cargo-loading company may be used to both load and secure cargo onto a truck. If such loading is performed negligently, or cargo is not properly secured, and an 18-wheeler rollover accident occurs resulting in injury or death, whether to the truck driver, a truck passenger, or a person in another vehicle, the cargo-loading company can be held liable for the accident. Route-planning companies are also routinely used by commercial trucking companies. If a truck driver follows a prescribed route and strikes an environmental hazard, or suffers an accident due to following the route, the mapping company could bear liability for the wreck. Furthermore, a product liability lawsuit may be brought against a product manufacturer if a mechanical issue, caused by a defective product, leads to an injury accident or a fatal 18-wheeler accident. However, if a faulty part contributes to an accident, the entity tasked with proper maintenance of the truck may be held liable. Such an entity may or may not be the trucking company itself.
Assessing Liability Requires an Exhaustive Investigation
Regardless of who may be ultimately responsible for a semi-truck accident, a thorough investigation must be made into the accident site in order to determine who the liable parties are. Liability cannot be properly assessed without the work of such an investigation, especially in regard to 18-wheeler accidents that are likely to have multiple liable parties. Lesser experienced attorneys with little to no experience in trucking accident cases may not know what to look for in an 18-wheeler accident site, or even know to look for the possible involvement of other parties that may not have been directly involved in the wreck. Our truck accident lawyers have two decades of experience in 18-wheeler accident cases. With investigative resources at their disposal, the team at our firm will work hard to ensure that all liable parties are identified so that they can be held accountable for the injury or loss they’ve caused you. Discovering the liable parties is an integral part of any civil action since each liable party will be held responsible for awarding their fair share of compensation to an injured victim or a bereaved family should an aggrieved party receive a favorable outcome to their legal pursuit.
The Involvement of Insurance Companies in San Antonio Commercial Truck Accidents
As previously stated, an 18-wheeler accident is likely going to involve the trucking company’s insurer. Texas commercial trucking companies are required to purchase insurance coverage for their fleets and drivers. However, unlike insurance policies that cover passenger vehicles, trucking insurance policies are quite large. In fact, such policies can often be worth 50 times more than an insurance policy that covers a passenger vehicle. Trucking insurance policies must valued so high due to the amount of damage that 18-wheelers can accomplish in a wreck. Property damage, personal injury, and death are all-too-common results of semi-truck accidents in Texas. Consequently, a trucking insurance policy must be able to cover the expenses of even the most costly of accidents.
The Consequences of High-Dollar Trucking Insurance Policies
Such a high-dollar insurance policy may inadvertently lead an injured victim to assume that their expenses will be fully taken care of in a short amount of time. In other words, since the insurance policy is capable of covering the victim’s incurred financial losses, then the insurance company, a victim might assume, will gladly award them just compensation for their injury or loss. Unfortunately for the victim, this scenario seldom occurs. It is actually due to the high-dollar nature of these insurance claims that an insurance company will work as hard as possible in order to not be held ultimately liable for the payoff of the claim. Despite some appearances, an insurance company is a business that exists to turn a profit. Such progress can often be made by seeing large-sum claims denied or severely diminished, regardless of an aggrieved party’s real need for proper compensation for their injury or loss.
Insurance Adjuster Tactics Following a Texas 18-Wheeler Collision
When an insurance company is on the line to resolve a claim brought by a victim of an 18-wheeler accident, they will likely send their most veteran insurance adjuster to work the claim. Such an adjuster is seldom if ever anything similar to your own neighborhood auto insurance agent. With years of hardening experience on their side, such an insurance adjuster’s goal is often single-minded: to save their company as much money as possible. To this end, they will employ certain tactics meant to see a claim wholly dismissed or greatly decreased. For example, an aggressive insurance adjuster may interrogate a victim of an 18-wheeler accident, asking repeated questions in slightly varying ways. While it may appear that they’re simply trying to dig to the truth of an accident scene, such an interrogation is often used as a means for an insurance adjuster to use a victim’s words against the victim. Through such inquisitive prodding, an adjuster may be able to get a victim to inadvertently admit to a degree of liability for an accident. If even a small degree of liability can be passed from their client to the victim, a substantial decrease in the amount of possible compensation awarded to a victim can be incurred. If more than half of the liability for a semi-truck wreck can be found to have existed with a victim, a victim’s claim can be completely denied. In such instances, it can be vital toward a victim’s rights that they have proper legal counsel, like our San Antonio Texas truck accident lawyers, that can ensure that they’re not being taken advantage of by an aggressive insurance adjuster.
When a trucking insurance adjuster is not able to stake liability onto another party, they may attempt to offer a victim an unmediated settlement. Such a settlement is often woefully short of the true value of a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit. In other words, this type of unmediated offer is seldom commensurate with the actual incurred financial losses of a victim of an 18-wheeler accident. It is a shrewdly calculated move on behalf of the insurance company to make quick and cost-efficient work of a trucking accident insurance claim that could result in their company losing millions of dollars. Such an offer is meant as an enticement of sure, quick money to an injured victim or a grieving family. It may even be offered in the immediate aftermath of an 18-wheeler collision, when an aggrieved party may still be in shock or otherwise emotionally distracted, so that an adjuster can catch a victim off-guard. These types of settlements are often offered in return for a victim signing away their rights to pursue any legal action. When such an offer is accepted and a victim has voluntarily signed away their rights, there is little to nothing that any attorney can do to help that victim seek further legal action. If you have been approached by an insurance adjuster with a settlement offer, enlisting the help of an experienced Texas trucking accident attorney is in your best interests, as such a truck wreck lawyer can look over any offer and inform you as to whether or not it is a fair offer for your incurred financial losses.
Highly Experienced Defense Attorneys in Commercial Trucking Accident Cases
In addition to the challenges that insurance adjusters can pose to 18-wheeler accident cases, such adjusters and trucking companies will likely have experienced defense attorneys on-call that are ready to descend onto a semi-truck accident site. Such defense attorneys may be able to respond to an 18-wheeler accident site quite quickly, so quickly, in fact, that an injured victim may not have even had time to consider contacting their own legal representation. One of the ways to ensure that your rights are being protected is to contact a truck accident lawyer in San Antonio following the immediate aftermath of a wreck so that someone on your side can conduct a thorough investigation into the accident scene. Furthermore, experienced defense attorneys that work 18-wheeler accident cases will often be quite aggressive in the pursuit of winning a case. You will likewise need a legal ally on your side that can argue just as aggressively, on your behalf, against such defense lawyers.
Difficult Truck Drivers and San Antonio Trucking Accidents
Another common challenge in seeking legal action against a negligent truck driver for an injury truck accident or a fatal truck accident in Texas is the fact that some truck drivers, when faced with the possibility of losing their job, will lie about their involvement in a wreck. In our two decades of experience in helping victims of Texas 18-wheeler accidents, we’ve heard nearly every truck driver story imaginable. Through careful depositions and thorough investigations, we’re often able to get to the truth of an accident scene in order to verify a truck driver’s story. Our firm works hard to ensure that relevant evidence and eyewitness testimony is obtained so that a strong and robust case can be constructed against any and all negligent parties.
Self-Insured Trucking Companies in Texas
While all Texas trucking companies must carry some form of insurance, truck companies in Texas are not required to purchase such insurance from an insurance company. Some trucking companies choose to set aside a portion of their assets to be used as insurance in the event of a truck accident resulting in injury or death. However, these self-insured truck companies can sometimes resort to rather unethical behavior due to the fact that they do not have to maintain the standards that are in place for traditional insurance companies. Such unethical behavior can occur when a victim suffers from threats, a witness to an accident is badgered, or evidence is deleted, removed, or otherwise altered in order to skirt liability. Our firm has assisted victims in the past who have been mistreated in these ways by a self-insured trucking company. When such mistreatment occurs and our Texas trucking accident attorneys get involved, we will pursue legal measures in order to get the negligent trucking company to begin acting ethically so that our client no longer has to suffer from the unfair advantages a self-insured trucking company often creates for itself. Had these past clients contacted us before attempting to seek action against these companies on their own, we likely could have saved them from much wasted time and frustration.
Can I Represent Myself in an 18-Wheeler Accident Case?
After reading this article, we hope that the answer to this question is self-evident. There are often an incredible number of fluctuating variables involved in a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death civil suit in connection to an 18-wheeler accident the results in injury or death. Who’s liable? How many liable parties are there? To what degree is each party liable for the results of the accident? How will an investigation on my behalf be conducted? What are my damages? Is the insurance adjuster telling me the truth? Should I accept this settlement? What have defense attorneys found? Is the truck driver lying? What happens if I go to court? These are just a few of the many questions that must be answered in order for effective legal action to be taken against a liable party. Inexperienced lawyers and non-attorneys simply do not have the proper experience and knowledge to be able to purposefully pursue legal action against those responsible for their injury or loss. Furthermore, proper trial experience and an attorney’s earned reputation are two factors that can be instrumental toward the success of a civil suit. Our truck accident lawyers have a respected reputation after working for the last 20 years to help victims of 18-wheeler accidents in Texas and throughout the country. While the team at our firm works to secure fair out-of-court settlements for their clients so as to save them from the added expense of time and money that is associated with the trial process, we also has an extensive history of courtroom experience that makes us a formidable foe to any defense attorney.
Next Steps if You’ve Been in a San Antonio 18-Wheeler Wreck
First, preserve evidence. Semi-truck accident sites are often some of the most wreckage-strewn and complex accident sites imaginable. Preserving evidence means contacting a truck accident lawyer that can work to investigate an accident site in order to ensure that no relevant evidence is lost due to the passage of time or the unethical behavior of a liable party. Consequently, the sooner that you’re able to contact a San Antonio truck accident attorney, the more likely it often is that such evidence can be located so that a robust case can be constructed against any and all liable parties. When our firm is hired to assist a victim of a tractor-trailer wreck in San Antonio, we will inspect each vehicle involved in the accident, take accident scene measurements, search for surveillance video or photographic evidence, take depositions, find witnesses, and extract information from data-logging devices. Essentially, we will do what is necessary in order to fully investigate an accident site so that each liable party can be discovered and held accountable for their negligent behavior.
The importance of quickly contacting our firm following an 18-wheeler wreck cannot be overstated, as the following story shows. A past client was involved in a tragic 18-wheeler wreck that caused him severe personal injury and also resulted in the death of a passenger in his car. Our client was the driver of a passenger vehicle that suffered an underride accident when his car was forced underneath the trailer of an 18-wheeler that was attempting an unusual and hazardous turn at night. We were contacted to lend our help shortly after this devastating accident occurred. We flew to the scene of the accident to inspect our client’s car, which had been towed to a local junkyard. Once there, we noticed that his headlights were completely missing. We were able to secure surveillance video footage that showed a representative from the negligent tricking company visiting the junkyard and removing our client’s headlights. With this evidence we were able to help our client when the defense attempted to press liability onto him due to his car’s lack of headlights. We later learned that the surveillance video that had been so instrumental in connection to this devastating 18-wheeler accident case was set to delete itself shortly after we had viewed it. Had our client not contacted us quickly, and had we not been able to respond in kind, vital evidence may have been lost. This is but one story of many that we could share in regards to the necessity for quick movement in the aftermath of an injury trucking accident or fatal 18-wheeler accident.
Our San Antonio 18-Wheeler Accident Law Firm Can Help You
If you have been injured due to a commercial trucking accident in San Antonio, you likely have merit in seeking compensation for your injury, that can assist you with issues like past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages, through a personal injury lawsuit. If you have suffered the loss of a loved one due to a fatal commercial truck wreck, you likely have merit in seeking compensation and pursuing justice for your loss through a wrongful death lawsuit. While certain challenges will exist that are unique to each type of civil lawsuit, the issues presented in this article are likely to be present in any legal action sought against a negligent party responsible for an 18-wheeler collision in Texas. Consequently, an aggrieved party can likely stand to benefit from the legal help of an experienced San Antonio truck accident lawyer. Should you have further questions about your legal options, contact our firm toll-free. A legal professional is available to talk to you at any time of the day, on any day of the week. Through our free legal consultations, we can help inform you about your possible legal next steps. If you’re able to proceed with seeking legal action, we can help you start that process so that you may be able to receive fair compensation for your injury or loss. With 20 years of relevant experience in Texas trucking accident cases, we know we can help.
San Antonio Truck Accident Lawyers : Semi-Truck Wreck Attorneys in Texas
Do You Understand Liability Issues When You are Hurt in a Trucking Accident?
We have a lot of modern highways and multi-lane freeways in and around San Antonio. And a lot of tractor trailer rigs use those highways, tens of thousands of them at least. They haul all types of goods to all parts of the state and country.
And though nine out of ten of them are never a problem for Texas drivers, what about the remaining 10 percent? Just how good is that driver? How safe is the load they carry? How safe is the 18-wheeler itself? Does it even belong on the road? It’s no wonder you feel a bit uneasy when an 18-wheeler pulls alongside you at 70 miles an hour on a crowded freeway. This is why accidents, injuries and even deaths are a statistical inevitability when 18-wheelers are on the road in and around San Antonio and surrounding communities.
If you have been injured in a big rig accident or if a loved one was injured or killed in one, the truck accident lawyers at our law firm are always ready to help you. We have won numerous judgments and litigated hundreds of trucking accidents cases for our clients during our 20-plus years of service to these injury victims. We understand all-too-well the pain you suffer and the financial distress that is now a part of your life after suffering in one of these horrible accidents.
But aside from your ability to recover from your injuries, your troubles probably continue. This is because your mission to seek fair compensation for your injuries is often just as challenging as the physical injuries and pain you have suffered from the accident itself. You must fight for a fair settlement. You might even have to file a lawsuit to secure a fair injury award that you deserve. And this creates even more emotional stress as you fight for fiscal justice. We believe it is very important for you to understand every legal avenue available to you, so you can take the proper action to win the most fair restitution for your injuries, pain and suffering, and the income you have lost (and might continue to lose) from a big rig accident that is not your fault.
The Damages For Your Injuries and Pain From an 18-Wheeler Wreck Can Be Immense
If you have been hurt in an 18-wheeler accident, the first thing you must find out is whose fault it is in order to determine who is legally liable for the terrible injuries you suffered and your property damage. In a lot of big rig accidents, many parties could well be liable for damages. In many cases, there is more than one defendant. An applicable legal precedent in Texas personal injury law is called “respondeat superior.” It states that employers of those are liable for the wreck their employee causes are by legal-definition, every bit as responsible for the action or inaction of their employee.
In an accident injury claim involving an 18-wheeler, a combination of a number of different parties can be responsible, and subsequently held liable for the wreck. This includes the trucker, the company he or she works for, the company that loaded the trailer, the person who planned the truck’s route, and (by connection to any of the responsible parties) the insurance company who insured those who are liable.
Another source of liability is relatively new. The past few years, what with the state outsourcing a lot of road maintenance duties and other highway construction projects to private companies, a privately-owned company that is performing road construction or maintenance and creates hazardous road conditions that cause a big rig accident in which you are the victim, the company may also be held liable for a portion, or maybe all, of the liability arising from the accident. And in order to secure these lucrative road construction and maintenance contracts, all private companies retained by the state must document that they are properly insured, or provide a very large liability a bond.
To win your claim among a surplus of potential defendants, you need an experienced San Antonio truck accident lawyer on your side that also has the ability to investigate the scene of an accident to discover who is liable. Now you certainly know that local or state law enforcement agencies also investigate big rig accidents. And in some instances, so does the US Department of Transportation (DOT). This is especially true if a repeat offender of federal statutes and laws governing interstate transportation is involved.
Many times those agency investigations only reveal the primary responsible party such as the driver, or maybe the company that owns the rig if the 18-wheeler has bad brakes or some other safety violation. But agency investigations often fall short of identifying every underlying cause for accident, which could reveal more liable culprits who may escape criminal detection. Experienced tractor trailer rig accident lawyers and their investigators conduct these much more stringent investigations to identify everyone who is liable. Our Law Office and its’ panel of veteran investigators know how to determine the degree of each responsible party in every big rig accident. At times our investigations reveal additional criminal facts of the accident that public investigation officials miss. When that happens, we pass this information along to the appropriate agencies for further discretionary action.
When you are injured in a tractor trailer rig accident your attorney must determine whether the negligent truck driver caused the wreck, or if someone else played an important part, or if a mechanical malfunction or some other defect had a hand in the accident.
What if the company that owned the cargo failed to correctly load it or didn’t safely secure the load which caused it to shift or break free during transport and topple the trailer? Or, did the route planner negligently send the truck into an area not properly zoned for 18-wheelers? Or maybe flammable chemicals were loaded inside a tanker not rated to carry such dangerous materials and suddenly, unexpectedly exploded, seriously injuring you as you drove alongside it on an inner San Antonio freeway.
It is seldom easy to determine immediate fault in a big rig accident. This is why you stand to gain in many ways through the expertise of San Antonio truck accident lawyers who will make sure that every liable party who is responsible for an 18 wheeler accident along is held responsible for your injuries, in addition to the damage to your vehicle, its passengers and other contents.
What Happens if I Represent Myself Against an Insurance Company Without an Experienced Attorney?
A non-attorney is going to have a very difficult time accumulating all the knowledge in a short time that is necessary to effectively negotiate a fair settlement with insurance companies, or successfully represent you in court. And representing yourself is an option. But actually winning is a very long shot. Litigating big rig accident-related injury case is extremely intricate. Inexperienced attorneys have only a slightly better chance than you have by yourself to recover any reasonable compensation. So why would you even entertain either of these misguided ideas, especially when huge amounts of money are on the table? Why would you consider hiring anything short of a successful personal injury lawyer with the expertise and investigative power to represent your claim against those who caused a tractor trailer rig accident that injures or disables you, or causes the death of a loved one?
We all know the old saying that. “Those who legally represent themselves have a fool for a client.” But it’s doubly disastrous in any personal injury case, especially one involving an 18-wheeler. The laws and procedures involved are so complex, and the playing field is clearly tilted against you. The trucking companies, their insurance providers and attorneys have deep pockets and years of experience at winning these kinds of cases. You need the biggest “legal gun” you can find in order to succeed in trucking accident litigation.
Legal knowledge in-and-of itself accounts for maybe a third of all the necessary elements for success in personal injury cases. Successful litigation requires thorough knowledge of civil procedure and the ability to develop the tailor-made strategy that is so necessary to battle the insurance companies and their defense lawyers. Inexperienced personal injury attorneys, or worse, you yourself, don’t have that. Having your opponents respect is also an important element to victory. This is why an experienced, highly regarded and respected San Antonio truck accident lawyers who have spent years taking on the insurance companies and their lawyers, and beaten them, are a most-powerful weapon in your fight for just compensation.
Also, if you have a relative or friend who is a lawyer, even though he or she might be looking out for your best interests and might be inspired to fight hard for your rights when an 18-wheeler accident has befallen you, often, that person might have a difficult time disassociating him or herself emotionally from issues surrounding your case. Personal injury law is often quite intense. A specialized truck accident lawyer must be pragmatic, focus solely on the facts of a case and be very cool under fire if you are to be successful. What happens if that friend or relative attorney doesn’t win the case, or accepts a less-than-fair settlement because he knows how badly you need the money now? How will you feel about your friend of relative then? Keep your family members and friends out of your legal business. You will be very wise to remember this when deciding who will represent your 18 wheeler liability lawsuit to your greatest benefit.
Insurance Companies Make Their Money by Saying “No” to Folks Like You
The federal government requires that trucking companies purchase sizable insurance policies to protect against accidents when they occur. And many of you are probably under the impression that trucking insurance compensation is quick and relative free of surprises. So all you have to do is file a claim and wait for that expected, and bighearted, compensatory check.
If you believe that, someone has some swamp land they want to sell you. All insurance companies are in the business of taking-in premiums and paying out claims with an eyedropper, if that. Since insurance policies for big rig trucking companies involve huge sums of money, the insurance company’s sole mission is to keep from paying you fairly. In so doing, they increase their already high profits and pay out those big dividends to their investors. So it comes as no surprise that insurance companies deny every claim they can, whenever possible and for as long as possible. They do this simply because they can. Without the right attorney on your side, collecting a fair settlement from an insurance company is virtually impossible.
While the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Codes grant the right for anyone who has been injured in an 18 wheeler accident, or the family of one who was killed to be compensated for the harm done, that doesn’t mean reimbursement is automatically granted when a victim claims an injury. Insurance companies want you to think they’re on your side, until it’s time to pay. Then you find out the hard way by having to deal with an out-of-hand denial by an insurer.
You, as plaintiff, must first prove the liability of all responsible parties for the accident and the injuries you suffered from it. What’s more, in any liability case, the plaintiff holds the burden of proof. You must clearly show that the money you’re asking for fairly reflects the loss you’ve experienced from those damages and injuries, after you prove liability, which isn’t always easy. The insurance company and the lawyers who represent them, does everything possible deny a plaintiffs claim, or argue that the level of restitution you seek is excessive and unreasonable, or that the accident was caused by you. And often, they’ll try and prove all three, because if they can prove only one, they’re off the hook. And you get stuck.
Insurance Adjusters Who are Not to be Trusted are a Powerful Weapon Against You
Insurance adjusters are just as dangerous to an accident victim as the defense lawyers who represent their companies. They help their employer, not you: plain and simple. They do this by saving their companies money by denying your claim or underestimating the cost of the accident, by any means necessary. An adjuster behaves like a long-lost best friend and bends over backwards to convince you that all of your needs are met. Then they turn around and stab you in the back. Insurance adjusters are very clever. They act like your “good neighbor” auto insurance agent and create a very false sense of security. Often they innocently try and record you saying something that is later twisted into sounding like your admitting liability and destroy your chance to receive fair, or any, compensation. The trucking company’s insurance adjuster and the insurance companies they work for are in business for themselves, not you. Some unscrupulous adjusters will even try to deceptively convince uninformed big rig accident victims to sign away the legal right to sue in exchange by flashing a small settlement that would never come anywhere close to compensating them for injuries or other losses from an 18 wheeler accident.
Corporate insurance adjusters and defense lawyers love nothing more than to find a victim who tries to represent his or herself. They easily lead a novice down the primrose path of ultimate defeat. The underhanded behavior of most insurance adjusters alone should be proof-enough of why you need an aggressive personal injury attorney who knows how to combat the tactics of the insurance companies and win your fair settlement. Only the history of success of an experienced the San Antonio truck accident lawyers with our Law Office will combat unscrupulous insurance adjusters and frighten their insurance company employers into a fair settlement, or beat them in court if they don’t.
Insurance companies are even prepared to fight injury claims before the accidents even occur. Their attorneys are either on staff, or permanent retainer. They’re good, and just waiting to take on personal injury claims. They specialize in cases like yours and know every trick in the book. Insurance lawyers race to the scene of an accident and begin investigating to build a case against you while you are still trying to figure things out. This is why you mustn’t hesitate in finding a Texas 18 wheeler accident law firm to help you. You only get one bite at the apple. Once it’s lost, there are no do-over’s.
Trusting a Trucker to Tell the Truth in a Big Rig Accident is a Grave Mistake
With so much at stake, you cannot always trust the trucker to tell the truth if he or she causes an expensive accident. If truck drivers are found to be liable for an accident, not only can they be fired, it could become very difficult for them to land a new job after costing his or her previous employer enormous damages due to his or her negligence. Sometimes trucking companies will fire him outright and make the driver the “fall guy.” Then they try to cover themselves of respondeat superior, or their direct negligence that caused the accident.
And if this 18 wheeler driver has been in previous accidents, it’s possible to lose either his state trucking drivers license, or his DOT certification, which means this now former trucker has to find a new line-of work. And with high unemployment in the U.S., the temptation for that driver to lie, cheat or behave dishonestly to save their job can be too great to ignore since that driver risks losing the paycheck that supports his or her family.
After suffering an injury in an 18 wheeler accident in which the driver of the truck claimed that our client was driving with his lights off at night, our investigators quickly examined the scene. They discovered a security camera outside a convenience store that was pointed directly its parking lot and the accident scene behind it. The video clearly showed our client’s headlights shining brightly. We proved that the truck driver boldly lied. Witnesses and defendants can lie and or callously misrepresent critical facts in trucking accident cases. The lawyers with our Law Office know how to uncover the lies, and counter them with the truth to stop witness misrepresentations. Over the past 20 years, we have conducted thousands of 18-wheeler accident investigations to get to the bottom of the case, and won for our clients’ fair and just compensation by shining the light on the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Self-Insured Truck Companies Represent a Sinister Threat to Your Just Compensation
Some trucking companies protect against personal injuries from accidents by setting aside a percentage of their assets to pay accident claims, rather than purchase a coverage policy from an insurance carrier. And though federal and state governments monitor the insurance industry, license adjusters and hold insurance companies to ethical standards as best it can, no regulations exist for self-insured trucking companies. Seeking compensation from these “self-insured” firms, or self-insured independent truckers, can be far more difficult, extremely chaotic.
You most-likely will be forced to attempt to settle your claim with an officer of the company instead. Typically, this company officer’s salary is tied directly to company profits. Any amount paid to you for an injury comes directly out of the company coffers, which means that when the company’s officer decides on your compensation he or she is literally taking money out of their own pocket. So we’re never surprised at how low a self-insured company officer might stoop to deny your claim and protect the company’s assets. Self-insured companies (and independent truckers) have been known to willfully destroy evidence that proves your claim, bribe witnesses, and even intimidate their victims, sometimes physically. Before they hired us, some intimidation attempts were directed at our clients. This is why every time our attorneys are hired against a liable self-insured party; the first action we take is to prevent anyone with the company from behaving unsuitably toward our clients. Often, we are forced to demand that they completely refrain from communicating with our clients unless one of our attorneys is present.
As a Big Rig Accident Victim, Your Best Chance is With Experience on Your Side
Only after trying hundreds of cases can a lawyer understand, and use the intricacies of personal injury law to develop the perfect battle plan for success in negotiations or at trial against insurance companies in an 18 wheeler accident. Most people, and many inexperienced attorneys, don’t know the proper way to answer interrogatories, prepare demand packages, and conduct sophisticated depositions to get to the bottom of liability for the trucking accident that caused your injuries and pain. Experienced attorneys know how to conduct complicated accident investigations and respond to lists of admissions. Somebody who knows how to do all of this knows how to forcefully represent your interests.
Insurance companies only agree to fair settlements if you are protected by an attorney with a history of success in court. While insurance companies and their lawyers are eager to take on non-lawyers and inexperienced attorneys, they fear us. When we step-in the insurance companies often see the wisdom of settling with our clients for a fair amount. They want to avoid a trial, especially if they know you have a strong case. And from a fair settlement, you can resume living your life again after we’ve secured that compensation on your behalf.
OK, What Do I Do Now?
You need to take steps to preserve the evidence in your case now, and to act quickly. You must hire a lawyer to investigate the accident scene immediately. Every moment that you wait, evidence is becoming compromised, witness memories fade, or their stories’ “mysteriously” change. The accident scene also becomes altered either by the passing of time or maybe your opponents do it themselves. Physical evidence that proves your case can also begin to “mysteriously” disappear. As soon as we are hired, our Law Office begins a thorough investigation of the accident scene to uncover the right evidence that proves liability of the truck driver, the trucking company and any other third-parties. We inspect all the vehicles involved, clearly survey the accident scene, measure distances, hunt for photographic and video evidence and amass it all to clearly prove your case. No stone is unturned to uncover all the evidence that proves your claim beyond a shadow of a doubt.
In one example, we were once hired by the families of two men who were involved in a terrible accident with a big rig. After the initial accident, the truck’s trailer was stretched across the unlit road on a moonless night. Only the taillights of the trailer hear the shoulder of the highway were visible to oncoming drivers. Our clients rounded a curve and unknowingly smashed into the trailer. One man died at the scene. The other was left fighting for his life.
The force of the collision ripped off the roof of the vehicle, killing the driver and critically injuring the passenger. The next day we were hired, flew to the scene of the accident and begin investigating that same day. Our client’s car had already been towed to a salvage yard by the time we arrived. After examining the vehicle, we noted its strange lack of headlights. Finding this odd, our investigators spotted a security camera on the premises and we asked to view the video. It showed an official of the trucking company illegally removing the headlights. When the company tried to claim our client had been driving a car without headlights, we produced the video that caught them red-handed. You can guess who won this case. But what you don’t know is that both law enforcement officials and the US Department of Transportation found this video very interesting. And you get a better idea of what we mean when we say that evidence can sometimes “mysteriously disappear.”
If the love ones of these two men drove down the road, minding their own business when tragedy found them, had waited any longer to hire us, this crucial evidence would have been gone forever, because the salvage yard’s surveillance system didn’t save its video for more than two days. And you can’t think of a better reason why victims of tractor-trailer accidents need to find the right San Antonio truck accident lawyers now, so the investigation can begin while the case, and evidence, is still fresh. Lies and missing evidence will certainly cripple your legal right to fair compensation for an 18-wheeler accident from the moment it happens only if, by inaction, you allow it.
We Can Help You Recover Your Life After an 18-Wheeler Accident
Did You Know?
Our San Antonio Texas attorneys have won hundreds of 18 wheeler accident cases. Call us today to discuss your case.
The best way for a victim in a big rig accident to ensure full compensation is to find assistance from an experienced San Antonio truck accident lawyers who knows how to clearly prove the defendant’s undeniable liability, and then win equitable damages
Our Law Office has over 20 years experience handling personal injury litigation in 18-wheeler accident cases. If you or a loved one has been in a trucking accident, we use every bit of our expertise to assure that you receive fair compensation for the injuries and pain you have suffered. We’ve helped deliver millions of dollars to hundreds of accident victims in Texas. So if you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking accident in San Antonio or anywhere in the area, let an experienced accident lawyer win the best compensation possible for you.