Pasadena is a hub for Texas’ trucking industry, having the highest truck activity in the state. Pasadena also has one of the fastest-growing population in America. Many of the truck drivers enjoy their profession because of the wages as most trucking companies pay per mile. As such, the drivers are highly motivated to work fast and efficiently while trying to deliver as many loads as possible.
But this aspect of how the trucking industry runs might encourage unsafe driving attributed to things like excessive work hours. If you or a loved one have been injured in a road accident caused by a trucker, you should get in touch with our experienced Pasadena truck accident attorneys here at Gomel & Associates. Call our car accident firm today to set up a free consultation to discuss your claim today.
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Why Consider Hiring A Truck Accident Lawyer?
It, at times, can be hard figuring out what to do to protect yourself and your family when an 18-wheeler strikes you. The incident can have you discombobulated, but you should think of the situation as you would a typical road accident. That means you need to ensure you and those involved in the accident are safe as you reach out to the police and emergency medical response team. You then should get in touch with the best truck collision attorney who will handle all legal aspects of the case. We at Gomel & Associates recommend that you take the following measures after you are involved and injured in a truck-related accident.
You should make sure that certain evidence is preserved that can be used in your case. Such evidence can include damage to the vehicles, the trucks’ onboard computer data, debris, and skid marks. Our team of legal experts will respond quickly to handle compensation for the injuries sustained as well as wrongful death. By having our trucking collision attorneys handling the matter as soon as it happens, you will have better chances of facing the trucking company and insurance providers to ensure you get fair compensation for your injuries and losses.
Keep in mind that many companies in the trucking industry have quick response teams they dispatch to the scene within a few hours after it happens. Therefore, you need to ensure that you are on an equal footing when it comes to how you also respond to the incident.
If the truck-related crash results in devastating injuries or wrongful death, the investigating team will assess the scene thoroughly, documenting everything as they take measurements and pictures. In situations where the accident had no catastrophic outcomes, a detailed analysis of the scene of the collision will be done. Nevertheless, we recommend that you take photos of the incidents using your phone if you can. Take pictures of all the vehicles involved making sure you capture their last resting positions, skids marks on the road, and any debris where they lay after the impact.
The accident reconstruction experts hired by the trucking company or insurance provider will be tasked with finding anything that can be used to place liability for the incident on you. That is why documenting the scene by taking photographs is one of the most effective ways of combating this defense method. Moreover, the lawsuit you file against the trucker and his or her employer will be less complicated if you have an experienced trucking accident lawyer handling the matter soon after the incident occurs.
The condition of your vehicle before it was involved in the accident will be a factor considered during investigations. If it has a defect that might have contributed to the collision happening, then you should be aware that this might influence the outcome of your case. Nevertheless, you should speak to your lawyer before repairing your car or having it totaled if the damages are too extensive to fix.
What Steps Should You Take When Involved In A Truck Accident?
While you might get different advice on what you should do when you are involved in a collision with an 18-wheeler, much to the information might see you react a bit too late. Fortunately, we always recommend that people stay informed regarding the steps to take to ensure they protect themselves and their families after being part of a truck accident.
Stay at the Scene
Never leave the scene of the accident least you are accused of a hit-and-run, which is a serious offense. When you are in the vicinity of the incident, you can bring others who are involved to safety if you can offer such assistance. It also helps you take note of everyone involved as well as potential witnesses.
Call 911 to inform the police and emergency response teams of the accident. Ask someone else to make the call if you do not have a phone.
Check on the Other Individuals in the Truck Accident
You should assess yourself to determine if you are injured and then check on other people that were involved in the accident.
Document the Incident With Your Cell Phone
Try to capture as many details of the accident as you can. It can be video footage or pictures of the vehicles, injuries sustained, road conditions, debris, skid marks, nearby landmarks, and road signs.
Collect the Contact Information and Names of Witnesses
You should talk to the people that saw what happened and note down their names and contact information. They can be individuals that can be witnesses for your case that will back up your claims by stating and supporting the facts of how the accident occurred.
Go for a Medical Checkup
You should not downplay the need to visit the hospital and get checked, even if you think your injuries are minor.
Injuries like internal bleeding and a bump to the head might not show any immediate symptoms, but they can have fatal impacts. That is why you should go to the emergency room for a complete assessment of your health and get treated as needed. Moreover, the medical reports will serve as proof of your injuries and the costs of treatment.
Your lawyers will use the medical reports and bills when trying to determine the amount to ask for when filing the lawsuit against the trucker and his or her employer. Keep in mind that if you fail to go for the medical exam soon after the accident, the trucking company can use that information to say that your injuries were not that severe; thus, your claim is not justified.
Keep Details of the Incident to Yourself
Avoid speaking about the incident or sharing details of the accident on social media. Any statements that you share can be used against you and your case.
Please note that you do not have to meet all the things mentioned above for you to prove that the truck driver was responsible for the accident. The reason for this might be because you sustained severe injuries that rendered you unconscious or unable to talk with witnesses or document the incident. You also could not have had a phone with you at the time, or it had been damaged in the accident. If that is the case, then you can prove liability in other ways.
What Is Needed To Prove Your Injury Case?
Besides the things discussed above, like photos, video footage, and medical records, your lawyers will also help you gather other elements that will be crucial for your case and play a significant role in helping you win the lawsuit.
For instance, we can request for video captures by cameras that were within the vicinity of the accident, like in the case of an intersection where there are traffic and security cameras.
At Gomel & Associates, our legal experts will request the trucking company to avail is records for them to review and see if there are any discrepancies they can use to prove a failure on the part of the trucking company when it comes to ensuring they have competent drivers. They will go through their documents to find if the drivers are qualified and test before being hired, and whether their vehicles receive proper maintenance servicing. Other documents such as shipping and receiving records, as well as the driver’s logbook, might be useful in your case.
An experienced truck accident attorney will also request to have access to the vehicle’s computer data to retrieve information that could be used in your case. Moreover, we also will collect the police reports for additional information that will be supporting the evidence gathered for your lawsuit.
If need be, we could bring in accident reconstruction specialists who will retrace the events that transpired. Their investigations and subsequent findings could be used as evidence. Nevertheless, you should note that the trucking company and insurance providers also hire these professionals to try and find anything that will help shift the blame for the incident away from the drive and onto you.
In the investigations that your automobile accident lawyers will do, they will also try and find out if the trucking company and insurance providers broke any state or federal rules.
Remember that your vehicle will also be part of the evidence needed for your claim case. That is why we recommend that you talk with your truck accident lawyer before you decide to repair or scrap the car. We will be expected to present the condition of your vehicle as evidence that supports your claim.
The truck involved in the collision will also be considered as vital evidence in the matter. Trucking companies know this, and that is why they, at times, rush to fix up the damages as fast as they can. But if you hire a reputable and experienced truck injury attorney early enough, the lawyer might be able to obtain an injunction from the court that bars the truck company from missing with evidence before it is presented in the court.
Make sure that you keep all bills and receipts for payments of any services you get that are related to the accident. They could include hospital expenses, auto repair bills, car rentals, medication costs, among other expenses. You should keep these receipts are proof of the costs you have incurred because of the accident.
You also need to monitor the process of your health during and after treatment. Did your injuries cause significant pain and cause your health to deteriorate? Did you miss work because of your injuries? The doctor’s notes and other documents related to your treatment will be used as proof of what you went through and the validity of your claim.
How Does A Commercial Truck Accident Settlement Work?
An accident involving a commercial truck is a matter that should be handled by an experienced trucking accident attorney. Our legal experts here at Gomel & Associates can handle the case without having to go to trial. Still, if negotiations fail to yield favorable results, then we will ensure that the matter has its day in court, and you are awarded full compensation for your injuries and losses.
When you come to us for help on such legal issues, we will not charge you anything until we have successfully helped you win the case and receive your payment. That means our attorneys will offer their services on a contingency basis. Moreover, they will never accept a settlement offer on your behalf without seeking your approval for it, meaning you need to agree to the amount offered and the negotiated terms.
We guarantee that everything we do will be done with your best interests at heart. Our truck accident attorneys will work aggressively to ensure your injury claim case is resolved in the most favorable way possible. Our first approach will be the out-of-court settlement that eliminates the hassles of going to trial. If the negotiations fail, then the case will be handled before a judge or jury.
How Long Will The Trucking Lawsuit Last?
In most situations, an out-of-court settlement will see the case resolved within the shortest time possible. But if this fails, the case will end up in court, and the time involved in resolving the matter when it goes to trial can vary widely.
We, nonetheless, guarantee that your truck accident attorney will work aggressively towards resolving your case and you getting a favorable outcome.
What Is The Average Settlement Amount In A Truck Accident Case?
It is prudent to point out that the settlement awarded can differ for each case because each case has unique factors. Nevertheless, many of the trucking accidents we have come across tend to see the victims awarded hundred to thousands of dollars and even mover a million dollars.
Given the nature of their line of work, trucking companies are expected to have commercial insurance coverage that protects them from wrongful death and third-party injury and property damage claims following an accident. In most cases, the insurance policies have liability coverage of $1 million.
At Gomel & Associates, our truck accident lawyers will do everything legally possible to obtain a high payment that covers your pain and loss. We shall be aggressive when asking for money to cover your physical disability, mental suffering, emotional anguish, present and future medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity. We can even seek compensation for the wrongful deal of your loved ones that died after being involved in the accident.
If the driver is found liable for extreme negligence resulting in the accident, your lawyers can seek punitive damages or exemplary damages. They will be compensation that goes beyond the financial losses you suffered and will serve as a type of punishment for the driver’s negligence and also a warning for others that will act similarly.
Our primary objective when we start our investigation is to determine who to hold responsible for your injuries. The responsible party might be the trucker, the employer, the company’s fleet maintenance and parts supplier, or the manufacturer of the vehicle in question. Our investigation will try to find out who acted recklessly or negligently, and their actions led to the truck causing an accident.
Other parties that and potentially be responsible for the accident include those who mapped the route for the driver and fail to account for terrain and unsafe weather conditions. It can also be the loading services provider who failed to properly secure the load onto the truck, and this result in a spilled load, or the vehicle rolling over.
In instances where the manufacturer or fleet maintenance, servicing, and parts suppliers are to blame for the truck causing the accident, we shall be taking into consideration things like defective gears, lights, or breaks, among other physical components of the vehicle.
How Soon Do I Need To File My Truck Injury Claim?
File your truck injury claim is subject to the statute of limitations that dictates how long you have to file your case after the date of the accident. Failure to meet the set deadline will disqualify any attempts you make towards suing those responsible and seeking compensation for your injuries and losses.
In the state of Texas, you have two years from the date of the incident to file your case. You should not wait for your injuries to fully manifest, and you subsequently accrue medical bills for you to submit your lawsuit. You should consider hiring an experienced and reputable injury attorney soon after the accident and let them handle the legal side of things on your behalf. They will file your claim within the stipulated period as per the statute of limitations in Texas.
Should I Consider Hiring A Lawyer Even If I Am At Fault?
Whether you shoulder half the blame for the truck accident, it is wise to consider hiring a reputable lawyer to help you recover some compensation. In Texas, such a matter will be subject to what’s known as the “modified comparative fault.”
Under this law, we shall be arguing your case based on proportionate responsibility that qualifies you to recover damages you incurred after being involved in a collision with a big rid. However, our truck accident attorneys might have a tough time if your fault is determined to be more than 50%.
That means the amount awarded to you will be proportional to your degree of liability for the accident. If your fault is 30%, then the settlement you receive will be less than 25% of the blame you shoulder. Therefore, if the damages are valued at $100,000, you will get $75,000.
If your fault is determined to be more than 50%, then you will not qualify to recover anything. The law states that you cannot be paid for any damages attributed to an accident if you should more than half of the blame for the incident. Get in touch with us if whether you believe you are liable for the truck collision happening or not; let us help determine where your fault lies and if you can recover damages.
Some Of The Common Causes Of Large Truck Accidents
Many of the accidents that happen in Pasadena, TX that involve big rigs are attributed to driver failures. Some truckers have the propensity of driving reckless, some have a thing for tailgating, and others want to rack in the hours and thus fall asleep behind the wheel because they are fatigued. In some cases, there are truck drivers who are taking medication, and others drive while intoxicated.
Issues of driver fatigue can be linked to the employers pushing the drivers to work overtime or demanding that they meet unrealistic delivery deadlines. Such trucking companies place profits over the safety of their truck drivers, meaning they ignore the industry’s regulations that state the number of acceptable work hours a trucker should abide by when driving.
Some trucking companies do not train their drivers to ensure they are current on all standards of their industry. They might even fail to do adequate background checks before hiring their drivers. In other instances, the drivers might be qualified but might be distracted while driving and cause an accident. We also have come across cases of truckers that were driving while intoxicated on alcohol or drugs.
Sleep apnea might be a problem for some truckers. The issue can be associated with fatigue due to unrealistic deadlines or even being overweight.
Highway hypnosis is another common cause of many truck accidents in Pasadena and across the country. It is an issue linked to long hours or monotonous driving on the highway, causing the driver to be less focused and engaged in the driving. As a result, the driver will have a lessened ability to react adequately to sudden emergencies.
Talk Our Pasadena Truck Accident Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one is injured in an accident that involves a large commercial truck, you should file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your damages. However, you should be aware that settlements for this kind of case can prove to be a daunting undertaking, especially if you are not working with a reputable and experienced truck collision attorney in Pasadena.
While fault for the accident is something that will be factored into the case when determining the compensation to be awarded, other things will also have to be considered. Thorough investigations can help you avoid shoulder any blame and recovering your damages. You will improve your chances of getting the best outcomes if you call Gomel & Associates today to know which steps you should take. Call our Pasadena car accident attorneys today and schedule a non-obligatory consultation and case review.