If you’ve been injured in a wreck that involved a large truck or other commercial vehicle, you need a seasoned truck accident lawyer to fight for your right to be fairly compensated. Call Joe Brad Brock in Corpus Christi today for a free consultation.
Large trucks and commercial vehicles make up a significant portion of the vehicles on our Texas roads and highways. When accidents happen with these massive trucks, the damage to the trucks and the other passenger vehicles involved can be catastrophic due to the massive size of most big rig trucks. Commercial truck drivers have an increased risk of experiencing accidents because of their long work hours, driver fatigue, sleep deprivation, impaired visibility at night, and zoning out during nearly 12-hour long drives.
When a commercial truck accident happens in Corpus Christi, the damages are often extensive, with an increased chance of life-threatening injuries and death. You may have suffered major injuries like spinal cord damage or a traumatic brain injury that will lead to lost wages and impairments that prevent you from ever working the same job again. Even if your injuries were not severe enough to cause lifelong disabilities, you may have endured injuries that require long-term medical treatments.
After a serious truck accident, you may be dealing with the emotional trauma related to being injured in such a violent and unexpected accident. No one should have to go through these things without legal guidance. Call attorney Joe Brad Brock, a skilled Corpus Christi truck accident lawyer with decades of experience in personal injury cases. Call today to find out if you are eligible to receive compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
Your Go-To Guide After a Truck Accident
The very first thing you need to do after a major truck accident is to check yourself for serious injuries like bone fractures, spinal injuries, and head trauma. Make sure you are not bleeding out, and if you are, apply pressure. Try to move out of harm’s way, but move cautiously if you suspect bone fractures or spinal cord damage. Moving the wrong way could worsen these injuries.
Call 911 as soon as you can. Once you have yourself in a safe position and if you can walk, check on anyone else at the scene. Do what you can without accidentally causing further damage while waiting for the paramedics and police to arrive. When they do arrive, explain what happened. Try to write down your recollection of the accident as soon as you are able. You will want to ask for a copy of the police report later on.
Seek medical attention immediately. Many accident injuries can go unnoticed for hours or days. When you find the opportunity, take pictures with your phone of your injuries, the accident scene, and any damages to your vehicle. This serves as vital evidence for your accident claim.
Call attorney Joe Brad Brock as soon as you are able to explore your legal options following a serious semi-truck accident. Attorney Joe Brad offers free consultations for people who have suffered injuries as a result of another person’s negligence.
Unique Legal Aspects of Commercial Truck Accidents
Commercial trucks come with additional legal factors to consider since they are regulated by trucking companies. For one, the trucking company employer may be held liable for what happened due to poor maintenance of the truck or inadequate work conditions for the truck driver. Common commercial truck employer liability problems include:
- A lack of federal safety guidelines for their drivers
- Pressuring or forcing truck drivers to drive longer hours
- Poor truck maintenance (can lead to faulty brakes, lights, and tires)
- Not having yearly inspections conducted
- Hiring untrained or inexperienced drivers
Truck drivers may be pushed to drive despite safety hazards. Anyone who is forced to drive for over 12 hours runs the risk of being involved in an accident. Trucks that are not properly maintained will break down at the wrong time and could be dangerous. Being aware of all of this can help you target who to file the lawsuit against after the accident.
Attorney Joe Brad Brock can answer any questions that you have about your Corpus Christi truck accident to determine whether the negligence of the truck driver or his employer can be held responsible for the injuries and damages you sustained as a result of your accident. Call today to discuss the specifics surrounding your accident.
Types of Truck and Commercial Vehicle Accidents We Handle
At the Law Offices of Joe Brad Brock, our Corpus Christi truck accident attorneys handle every type of truck and commercial vehicle accident. We have handled cases involving:
- Sanitation trucks
- Dump trucks
- Flatbed trucks
- Moving trucks
- Box trucks
- Tanker trucks
- Utility trucks
- Concrete mixers
- Wide load trucks
- Hydrovac trucks
- Package delivery trucks and vans
- Auto haulers
- Winch tractors
- Septic trucks
Types of Commercial Truck Driver Negligence in Texas
There are also instances where the truck driver may act with negligence. Identifying the type of negligence that caused your auto accident is an important aspect of your claim. The most common types of Texas truck accident causes are listed below:
- Drowsy Driving (from long work hours, sleep deprivation, driving at night)
- Drugged Driving (alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription medications)
- Truck Malfunctions (defective parts, poor truck maintenance)
- Reckless Driving (tailgating, shifting lanes too quickly, turning too soon, speeding)
- Cargo Shifting
- Distracted Driving (texting, using an electronic device, eating, looking for something on floor)
- Tire Blowouts
- Traffic Law Violations (running red lights or stop signs, turning at the wrong time)
- Unsafe Driving during Bad Weather (rain, sleet, ice, snow)
Attorney Joe Brad Brock is prepared to analyze the facts of your accident to determine what negligent actions resulted in your injuries. The goal is to prove negligence on the part of the responsible parties through the collection of relevant evidence and documentation. This could mean a drug test for the truck driver, reports of long work hours, evidence of improper truck maintenance, or witnessing a traffic law violation. Attorney Joe Brad Brock will leave no stone unturned as he works to build a rock-solid personal injury claim.
Types of Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents in Corpus Christi
The massive size of most semi-trucks can lead to severe injuries after an accident with one or more vehicles. Depending on the types of injuries you suffered and the severity of your injuries, you could be eligible for additional compensation. Some of the more common truck accident injuries are:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Third-Degree Burns
- Bone Fractures
- Soft Tissue Injuries
- Internal Ruptures or Bleeding
- Traumatic Amputations
- Collapsed Lungs
Of all these injuries listed above, TBIs and spinal cord injuries are the most serious and are responsible for major life changes in victims who sustain those types of injuries. Since TBIs involve damage to the brain, people with this injury might have to live with a variety of complications for the rest of their lives. TBIs can result in:
- Concentration problems
- Memory deficits
- Attention difficulties
- Impaired movement or sensation
- Changes in mood like depression or anxiety
- Communication problems with speech or understanding speech
- Lost mental skills (i.e., math, reading)
- Major personality changes (can disrupt social relationships)
Spinal cord injuries may not come with as many possible symptoms, but they can cause significant disruptions in other areas:
- Loss of movement
- Loss of sensation
- Lost bladder or bowel control
- Unable to breathe on own
Complete spinal cord injuries come with a lower recovery rate and tend to result in a complete loss of movement, sensation, and function below the site of the injury. This can lead to a life of constant dependency on others for basic care needs. Going through this kind of ordeal may be one of the most distressful and challenging experiences to go through. Incomplete spinal cord injuries leave hope for partial recovery, but usually with years of intense medical interventions.
Whiplash, TBIs, and internal ruptures are common examples of injuries that often go unnoticed. Any of these may worsen without proper care. This is why seeking medical attention after a truck accident is important for your well-being. Do not hesitate to call attorney Joe Brad Brock today if you suffered any of these injuries in a serious truck accident.
Different Types of Truck Accidents
There are several different types of truck accidents to be aware of in Corpus Christi and throughout the state of Texas. Differentiating between these and the types of damages each accident can cause can help you further organize your accident claim:
- Rear-End Collisions: This accident happens when a truck crashes into the back of your vehicle. Considering how massive some trucks are, this can lead to serious vehicle damage and injuries. Whiplash is one of the most common injuries.
- Head-On Collisions: A head-on collision occurs when a driver enters a highway or one-way street from the wrong side and crashes head-first with an oncoming vehicle. Head-on collisions can also take place when a driver crosses the centerline. When a passenger vehicle is struck head-on by a commercial truck, the outcome can be catastrophic or even fatal. In fact, 31% of all fatal commercial truck accidents in 2018 were head-on collisions. These types of accidents commonly involve drivers who are either distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Jackknife Accidents: When the trailer or semi-truck moves to the side due to a sudden stop or slippery road conditions and part of the truck collides with your vehicle. This may result in major damage to the side of your vehicle.
- Rollover Accidents: Trucks will often roll over to their side after losing control, which can smash several cars at once if any vehicles are on the side of the truck.
- Underride Accidents: If a truck suddenly hits the brakes in front of you, then you may not have enough time to stop. Many people in this situation find themselves losing control and sliding underneath the massive semi-truck. This runs a high risk of death.
- T-Bone Accidents: When a truck impacts you on the side after running a stop sign or red light.
- Front-End Collisions: When a truck veers into the wrong lane, a head-on collision is likely and often results in death.
- Merging Accidents: Since semi-trucks have multiple blind spots, there is a chance that they unknowingly side-swipe other cars while changing lanes. If this happens on an elevated highway or bridge, the side-swiped cars could be thrown down a hill or into a river.
- Underride Accidents: This type of accident involves a big rig that stops without warning, which causes the much smaller passenger vehicle or pickup truck to slide underneath the trailer of the massive truck. These accidents often result in death.
- Cargo Spills: Regardless of what type of freight the truck is transporting or to where it is being transported, every payload on every truck has to be properly secured in order to prevent it from shifting during transit, which can lead to uneven weight distribution, or falling off the truck. Truck freight is also required to meet federal safety guidelines. For instance, federal safety requirements state that goods, such as heavy machinery, require the use of special shipping restraints. If a truck’s freight was improperly or poorly secured, it could prove that whoever was responsible for loading the truck did not adhere to the FMCSA’s safety rules.
Truck Accident Statistics in Texas
Truck accidents are very common in Texas due to the high ratio of trucks to other vehicles on our roads. Here are some statistics for Texas truck accidents from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):
- Around 694 traffic fatalities in 2017 from large truck accidents
- A total of 103 fatal single-vehicle accidents involving large trucks
- 453 multiple-vehicle accidents involving large trucks
- About 19.64 fatal large truck accidents per million Texas residents
The Texas Department of Transportation and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) listed other truck accident data:
- Serious Injuries from Commercial Truck Accidents: 1,376
- Commercial Vehicle Accident Fatalities: 536
- Large Truck Fatalities: 98
- SUV/Pickup Fatalities: 1,191
- Total Commercial Vehicle Accidents: 37,515
How Long Will My Corpus Christi Truck Accident Lawsuit Take?
Although there is no specific timeline that all Texas truck accident cases go by, the claims process is as follows:
As soon as the freight company’s insurer finds out about the accident, a team of investigators will be immediately dispatched to the scene where they will collect evidence and speak with witnesses. This is so they can begin developing a strong defense against any wrongful death or personal injury claim brought against them
If you were injured in a truck accident, you need to reach out to a qualified Corpus Christi truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after the crash. This gives your attorney time to gather and index any relevant evidence, file any necessary paperwork, and counter the insurance company’s efforts.
Additionally, you should never give the insurance company a recorded statement until you have spoken to an experienced lawyer. They will try their best to pressure you into doing so, including using underhanded tactics such as telling you your claim will not be valid if you don’t do as they say. This is simply not true. You should refer any and all requests for communication to your truck accident lawyer and let them handle it.
It is, or should be, common knowledge that insurance companies treat accident victims who have strong legal representation very differently than those who do not. Those who choose to forego representation are often mistreated and taken advantage of, often without them even being aware of the situation. Where serious truck accidents are concerned, the insurance company likes to make early contact with the victim and pressure them to accept a settlement that pays pennies on the dollar. This is just one reason why working with an experienced truck accident lawyer is in your best interest.
No matter how nice and empathetic the insurance adjustor may seem, their goal is the same in every situation: to minimize payouts as much as possible in order to increase their company’s profit margins. What is best for you and your family does not even factor into the equation. This is another reason that hiring a commercial trucking accident attorney is crucial to the outcome of your case. Don’t roll the dice on your truck accident claim and your financial future. Contact the Law Offices of Joe Brad Brock today.
Filing a Lawsuit
To receive full and fair financial compensation, truck accident cases involving serious injury or wrongful death must often go through some degree of litigation. A trial looming incentivizes most insurance companies to re-evaluate their settlement offer rather than face a jury. Truck accident litigation can take time to resolve, especially if damages and/or liability are being called into question.
How Will Safety Violations Impact My Truck Accident Case?
Due to the hazards that tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles pose to others on the roadway, freight companies and their operators must comply with the local, state, and federal safety regulations that govern the trucking industry. These regulations cover everything from the number of consecutive hours a driver can be on duty in a single day to the background checks that freight companies are required to conduct on new drivers and the maintenance and inspections they have to perform on their vehicles.
This governing body of laws is known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. They can provide a strong foundation for your case against the truck driver or their employer if their violation caused your accident.
Some of the most frequently violated regulations that lead to serious trucking accidents are:
- Hours of Service: FMCSA regulations prohibit commercial truck operators who transport interstate commerce from driving for more than 11 total hours in a 24-hour period. They are also required to maintain logbooks that record how long they have been on duty, how long they have been behind the wheel, and the number of hours they have been off-duty in the last 24 hours. These logbooks allow the freight company to make sure their operators are in compliance with federal statutes and ensure they are getting enough rest to not drive while fatigued.
- Truck Maintenance: Drivers and their employers must have their trucks inspected regularly, and ensure they are properly maintained, and safe to operate. Federal laws require the freight company to maintain up-to-date records of all repairs, routine maintenance, and safety inspections.
- Hiring and Training: Freight companies are required to conduct thorough background checks on and supply comprehensive training to all new drivers before they begin driving. After a driver has been hired, federal statutes require the parent company to monitor their driving record on a yearly basis and provide continued safety training.
- Alcohol and Drug Use: Commercial truck operators are not permitted to use or be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while they are driving or within 8 hours of being on duty. Freight companies must also drug test all new drivers and conduct random drug and alcohol tests on no less than 50% of their drivers every year.
- Driving While Fatigued/Sleep Disorders: Federal law prohibits commercial truck operators from driving if fatigue or illness is preventing them from operating their vehicle in a safe manner. The freight company must monitor the alertness of its drivers by reviewing the operator’s daily electronic logs, schedule, and hours of service. If the operator is or could become drowsy while driving, federal laws require the company to take them off the road until they have rested for between 10 and 36 hours.
Our firm has successfully represented many Texas commercial truck accident victims. Our Corpus Christi truck accident attorneys have a keen understanding of the state and federal regulations that pertain to the commercial trucking industry, as well as the schemes freight companies and their insurers employ to sidestep liability for an accident. We know the most effective methods of uncovering evidence that proves your case, and never accept a settlement offer that is less than you deserve.
Who is Liable For a Commercial Truck Accident in Texas?
Depending on the unique circumstances of your accident, common potentially liable parties include:
- The Driver: If a truck operator was negligent in their duty of care and that negligence caused an accident, you might be able to bring a claim against them.
- The Freight Company: In many instances, the freight company is also held accountable for their employee’s actions, so your claim could also include the company for whom the driver works.
- A Vehicle or Parts Manufacturer: If the accident was the result of a mechanical failure or a malfunctioning part, you could have a claim against the manufacturer.
- An Individual Loader or Loading Company: Any person or company who loads freight onto trucks is beholden to strict industry rules. If any of the regulations regarding the size, weight, width, height, and length restrictions of each truck were not heeded, and this disregard caused an accident, you most likely have a valid truck accident claim.
- A Government Entity: If a state or local government agency or a contractor acting under the authority of the agency was negligent in their upkeep or maintenance of the road on which your accident occurred, and this neglect caused or contributed to your truck accident, they could be held liable.
- Third Parties: There could be any number of third-party workers or companies to whom work was outsourced. If their negligence caused or contributed to an accident, then they can be held liable.
How Much Compensation Can I Receive After My Truck Accident in Texas?
The amount of compensation you could receive after a truck accident depends on how severe your injuries and damages are. Injuries that cause you to miss work due to hospital treatments or at-home recovery may qualify you to attain compensation for lost wages. Compensation for pain and suffering is usually awarded when your injuries were severe, painful, and created significant distress in your life.
Medical bills and medication costs will determine how much you will be compensated for your medical expenses. If you lost a loved one to the truck accident, then you could be eligible for additional compensation to cover emotional distress and funeral costs. Property damages to your vehicle, including car repair costs, may also be covered.
What Damages Am I Entitled to After My Truck Accident?
Although each case is different, there are certain types of damages that Corpus Christi truck accident victims are commonly eligible to receive. Injured truck accident victims are generally entitled to seek financial compensation for:
- Current and projected medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Long-term or permanent disability
- Permanent scarring/Disfigurement
- Loss of or reduced earning capacity
In the event that a commercial truck accident results in wrongful death, certain surviving family members could be eligible to pursue damages for the death of their relative. These damages include:
- Burial and funeral or cremation costs
- Loss of financial contribution to the household
- Loss of support, care, maintenance, counsel, and advice
- Loss of household services, such as cooking, cleaning, and childcare
- Loss of companionship, love, society, and comfort
- Loss of expected inheritance
Along with a wrongful death suit, specific surviving family members can also bring a survivor claim to collect financial compensation for the medical bills, physical pain, and emotional trauma their family member experienced prior to their passing.
Lastly, Texas law permits truck crash victims and their families to seek punitive damages in instances where a defendant’s willful, wanton, or egregious actions caused or contributed to the accident. Since the standard for punitive damages is much higher than it is for compensatory damages, truck accident victims without legal representation are almost always unable to recover them.
Texas’ Civil Statute of Limitations
Pursuant to Texas law, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits, which includes truck and commercial vehicle accidents, is two years from the accrual date. In other words, you have two years from the cause of action to file a lawsuit. If you fail to meet this deadline, you will be time-barred from refiling or collecting any financial compensation at all, regardless of the severity of your damages.
How is Negligence Proven in a Texas Truck Accident?
In order for a Corpus Christi, Texas truck accident claim to move forward, the plaintiff must prove that four specific elements existed at the time of the accident:
- Duty: The respondent owed a duty of care to the claimant. That is to say, to act as a reasonable person would have under the same or similar circumstances.
- Breach: The respondent breached this duty.
- Causation: The respondent’s breach resulted in harm to the claimant.
- Damages: The harm done to the plaintiff included the accrual of damages,
What happens if you partially contributed to the accident? This is known as contributory fault, and depending on where you live, the law has multiple ways of addressing it.
Comparative Fault and Proportionate Responsibility
Contributory fault laws vary a great deal from state to state. Doctrines include comparative fault, contributory negligence, proportionate responsibility, 50% comparative fault, and others. The most widespread comparative fault standard is the 51% rule. Texas abides by this doctrine which is referred to as proportionate responsibility. Under this doctrine, the plaintiff is not eligible for recovery if they are found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident. They are eligible if they are 50% at fault or less.
For example, let’s say that Fred and Jason are in a truck accident between the two of them. The jury determined that Fred sustained $20,000 in damages but also found him to be 50% at fault for the collision. Under the state’s proportionate responsibility standard, Fred can only recover $10,000 (50% of $20,000) because he was less than 51% responsible for the accident. If Fred had been found 25% liable for the truck accident, he would have been able to recover $30,000 (75% of $20,000).
Texas also makes it possible for trucking accident victims to recover punitive damages if the truck operator or freight company is found to have committed gross negligence in causing the collision. Punitive damages are meant to penalize the at-fault party for egregious conduct, such as driving under the influence, drowsy driving, improper training, distracted driving, and other dangerous driving behaviors.
Although it is not uncommon to see grossly negligent conduct in truck and commercial vehicle accident cases, these damages are much harder to recover.
How Can a Corpus Christi Truck Accident Lawyer Help Me?
Trying to recover after a truck accident is challenging. Trying to figure out how to file a lawsuit and deal with an insurance company is going to make it an uphill battle. If you were injured in a truck accident, you should strongly consider contacting an experienced lawyer who is able to:
A skilled attorney can assist you in figuring out the party or parties responsible for your injuries and how much you may be entitled to based on each person’s percentage of fault.
Gather and Organize Evidence
Your truck accident lawyer will know how to gather all relevant evidence as expeditiously as possible. This includes the names and contact details of eyewitnesses as well as the other parties involved in the crash, police reports, medical records, and proof of damages.
Negotiate a Fair Settlement
A qualified Corpus Christi truck accident lawyer will also know how to calculate the overall value of your case is worth and skillfully negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure you receive fair financial compensation. After establishing liability, your lawyer can help you prove negligence, which will strengthen your personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim.
How Can I Maximize My Compensation After a Corpus Christi Accident?
To ensure you receive the best medical care possible and are able to provide for your family, recovering maximum financial compensation for your injuries and damages is paramount. In order for your claim to succeed against the freight company and its insurer, however, you must take immediate action in order to protect your rights. This can be accomplished by:
- Calling 911 and reporting the crash. Once the responding officer arrives, they will perform an investigation and begin drafting a formal report. This report will be used by your lawyer and opposing counsel.
- If you can safely do so, take videos and pictures of the accident scene. Make sure you write down the truck’s number plate along with their driver’s license numbers, the truck’s Department of Transportation number located on both sides of the truck, the freight company’s insurance details, and the names and contact details of any bystanders.
- Seek immediate medical attention, even if you think you are unharmed, or your injuries are fairly minor. A lot of truck accident injuries are not immediately obvious until they worsen considerably injuries may not be noticeable over the next few days or weeks. Not only will this prevent an invisible injury from getting worse, but your medical records can help your attorney prove that your injuries were a direct result of the truck accident.
- When talking with anyone about the accident, law enforcement, insurance representatives, or anyone else, keep to the facts. Do not ramble, and do not speculate about liability. Above all else, never, ever give a statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- Follow your doctor’s treatment plan and do not miss any of your appointments. The insurance carrier will use absolutely any failure to obey your doctor’s treatment plan as a golden opportunity to downplay the severity of your injuries.
- Do not try to negotiate with the insurance company on your own. Contact the law office of Joe Brad Brock as soon as possible.
Our Corpus Christi truck accident attorneys have been successfully representing injured truck accident victims throughout the state for decades. We know the financial and physical consequences that truck and commercial vehicle accidents can have on victims and their families and pride ourselves on our client-centered focus.
Should I Accept The Adjustor’s Settlement Offer?
Never sign the release of all claims forms without first consulting with a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer.
As previously stated, the freight company’s insurance company will do just about anything to limit their exposure. You need a strong and assertive legal advocate by your side who can help you seek the maximum amount of financial compensation.
A release of all claims form, also known as a liability waiver, is a contract that establishes the resolution of each party’s differences and dismisses their claims. In other words, it absolves the at-fault person or persons, along with their insurance companies of any liability. Once you, the plaintiff, sign the form, you will be unable to pursue any further compensation, even if you find out you need additional surgery or that you have been left with a lifelong disability.
The more the insurance company suspects your case is worth, the harder it will push to resolve the matter as quickly as possible and avoid properly compensating you for future medical treatments or a permanent handicap.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Corpus Christi Truck Accident Lawyer?
Most personal injury attorneys operate on a contingency fee. That means you pay no hourly fees or out-of-pocket expenses. Instead, your lawyer will receive a percentage of any settlement award or jury verdict they win on your behalf. In addition to making personal injury law accessible to everyone regardless of socioeconomic status, it also allows clients to feel confident that their attorney is working as hard as possible to achieve a successful outcome.
Do I Need a Truck Accident Lawyer in Corpus Christi?
Auto insurance companies and trucking companies will often find any way they can to avoid paying you compensation. You do not have to stand for this. Let Joe Brad Brock help you construct a powerful truck accident claim that gives you the amount of compensation you need to recover fully.