Injured in an accident caused by a truck or 18-wheeler? You need the best legal representation
In our experience as truck accident attorneys helping hundreds of accident victims get the compensation they deserve, you need the right information right now. If you've been involved in an accident with a truck or large commercial vehicle, then you need to know some things right up front.
Trucking companies often choose to prioritize profits over the safety of their employees and over the safety of everyone else on the road. That can mean the truck accident you were just in may have been caused by the trucking company's negligence or safety failures in addition to those of the truck driver. If you have been injured or if you've lost a loved one because of a reckless trucker, you need to know what the truck driver was doing at the time of the wreck, if the trucking company had violated any safety rules, and if the trucking company knew of and condoned their employee's dangerous behavior.
Truck accident cases are different than car accident cases
First, it is important to know that cases involving accidents with trucks, 18-wheelers, delivery trucks and commercial vehicles are different than car accident cases. The laws and regulations that apply to these vehicles are different than the laws for regular cars.
Truck drivers and trucking companies must follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) safety regulations. These trucking regulations are designed so that if every rule is followed by every company, your chances of getting hurt or killed are very low. Every company is expected to incorporate their own safety rules on top of the industry and state rules. Trucking companies are encouraged to exceed these trucking safety rules to make sure that we are safe when we share the road with their vehicles.
These truck safety regulations are extensive because they address a number of important issues, including:
- Truck driver qualifications
- Training, background checks, and hiring qualified drivers
- Supervision of drivers
- Drug and alcohol testing
- Accident reporting
- Restrictions on the use of cellphones and mobile devices
- Mandated rest periods and hours of service
- Penalties for violations by drivers and trucking companies
- Removing drivers from the roadway if they have too many violations
- Checking the medical history of drivers to make sure they won't be a danger to themselves or others on the road.
Recent changes to the federal trucking regulations have included additional restrictions on the use of smartphones and cellphones behind the wheel. Drivers cannot hold or reach for a mobile device while driving, although the use of hands-free devices is still allowed.
While safety rules are designed to keep us safe, truckers and trucking companies don't necessarily follow them. Our investigations into 18-wheeler wrecks have shown that when truckers break safety rules, they do so because the trucking company turns a blind eye or even encourages the truckers to break the rules. This is not uncommon. These trucking companies falsely believe that violating the safety rules is less expensive than following the rules.
The truth is that studies have shown that companies that follow safety regulations actually save money because lawsuits cost them more in the long run. Our experiences reflect this fact.
Why you need our experienced truck accident attorneys on your side immediately
Trucking companies tend to hire lawyers with significantly more experience defending trucking cases. These lawyers are familiar with the special laws and regulations that cover truck drivers and trucking companies, giving them yet another advantage in the legal process.
Many lawyers accept car accident cases. However, not many lawyers have experience handling truck accident cases, especially those involving significant injuries. Unlike most lawyers, our Houston law firm has the experience, resources, and reputation to take on the largest, most sophisticated trucking companies in the world. At our firm, we have handled hundreds of accidents involving 18-wheelers, commercial trucks, and company vehicles.
Hiring the right firm for your claim can make all the difference in the world. Very few firms know how to prevent you from getting tricked into a lowball settlement. Even fewer firms have the expertise and the experience to properly investigate your case and find out exactly who broke what regulations as well as find out when, where, why, and how they were broken.
We know how to examine the truck driver's cellphone records and confirm that they were indeed using their phone at the time of the accident instead of paying attention to the road. We know how to find out if a truck driver is actually qualified and has a safe driving record. We understand what evidence from the crash investigation helps prove your claim. We know all the trucking companies' tricks and traps and how to protect you from them. We know what to look for in our investigations and how to prove whether or not the trucking companies also violated the safety rules. We know how to hold both the driver and the company accountable in court.
The bottom line is that the right firm can make or break your case. When you hire our firm, we will ensure the company and driver are held accountable for their dangerous behavior. We will get you the help you need to move forward past this traumatic event and get you the compensation you deserve.
The top 5 tricks trucking companies resort to when they are sued
Trucking companies don't play fair when you file an injury or wrongful death claim. After a wreck, the only job of the trucking company, its insurance company, and its lawyers is to protect their bottom line. They get to work immediately to minimize your claim. Paying you the compensation you are legally owed is the last thing they want to do.
In case after case, we see trucking companies, their insurers, and their lawyers use these same five tricks over and over again to try to avoid paying you a dime:
- You or your family will be contacted by the trucking company’s insurance adjuster after the accident. This person will act like he or she is helping you and ask you to give a recorded statement. The adjuster typically says something along the lines of, “we just need to do this so we can cut you a check and settle your case for you.” Beware. This is a trick. The company actually has no interest in what you have to say, unless it helps their position. Their goal is to trick you into saying something that will harm your case. The adjuster contacts you as soon after the accident as possible, generally at a time when you probably have not had the opportunity to hire your own lawyer. The adjuster is trained to get you to talk about your accident in a way that hurts your case. They know you’re vulnerable at this point. What they don't know is that you know your legal rights, including that you are not legally required to give a recorded statement for them to proceed with processing your claim.
- The insurance company will try to lowball you by offering you a very low amount to settle your case. This is another common trick. They know you are most likely missing work, hurting for cash, and worried about your future. Don't take the money and don't sign anything without consulting a lawyer first. Insurance companies never offer to pay fair amounts on an injury claim if there isn't a lawsuit on file. They are trying to take advantage of you because they know as soon as you hire a lawyer, your chances of getting the compensation you deserve skyrocket.
- Trucking companies often destroy or alter evidence after a crash. We see companies attempt to destroy or alter evidence in many of our cases. For example, shortly after a crash, the trucking company destroys or alters the driver's logs to show their driver was not driving while fatigued. Or they destroy the driver's qualification file, which shows they were not qualified to be driving the 18-wheeler. Another common practice is to destroy the post-crash alcohol and drug tests that show their driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Trucking companies will tell the truck driver not to go get the required post-crash drug and alcohol test. We have found that the trucking company or their insurance company will tell the driver to not get tested if they think the driver was impaired at the time of the wreck. They know that violating the post-crash drug and alcohol test rule is a lesser fine than the fine for employing a driver who was impaired at the time of the accident.
- The trucking companies and their lawyers know that justice delayed is justice denied. They will try every litigation trick in the book to push the trial of your case further and further down the road. They will say they need more time to get all the information they need for their case. They will say their lawyer is on vacation. They will say the expert witness they hired is not available for a month. Their list of excuses goes on and on. Whether you are speaking with the truck driver’s employer or the trucking company’s insurance agent, you may find that you’re running into a lot of delays, dead ends, “red tape,” and serious frustration—and it’s probably not a coincidence. Hopefully, you have a lawyer who knows how to battle the trucking companies and push for your case to be tried fairly in a reasonable amount of time.
Trucking companies have large insurance policies
Each state has minimum limits for the amount of insurance that must be carried by drivers of personal vehicles. Commercial vehicles and 18-wheelers also have mandatory minimum insurance limits. However, the minimum amount of insurance for 18-wheelers and commercial vehicles is typically much higher than the insurance limits for personal vehicles. In Texas, for instance, the minimum insurance limit for personal vehicles is only $25,000, while commercial vehicles and 18-wheelers may be required to have at least $500,000 or even $1,000,000 in insurance.
Because commercial vehicles and 18-wheelers are required to have higher insurance limits, the insurance adjusters and lawyers working on these claims tend to be more sophisticated. For example, when a crash happens involving an 18-wheeler truck, often the insurance adjusters and/or lawyers will go to the scene of the accident within hours to start their investigation. This gives them a huge head start in the legal process.
What is the statute of limitations for filing a truck accident lawsuit?
The deadline to file your truck accident claim varies from state to state. In Texas, accident victims have two years to file a truck accident lawsuit. We recommend that accident victims and their loved ones contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a truck accident for several reasons. The first reason is that the trucking company will get to work immediately to make your claim go away. They are counting on you not knowing your legal rights as well as having to focus on recovering from the wreck. They know they have a head start and use it.
The sooner you consult with an attorney, the sooner you can protect your legal rights as well as the value of your claim. Your attorney will be able to force the trucking company to save every piece of evidence and bring in experts to conduct an independent investigation. The longer you wait, the more opportunities the trucking company has to make the truck, the truck driver, and all the evidence disappear.
How our experience as truck accident attorneys benefits you
When you hire our firm, the trucking company's insurance adjusters and lawyers will know that you are serious about protecting your legal rights. The insurance companies keep careful records of law firms that they go up against. They know which law firms they should fear and which law firms they do not need to fear. Our law firm has a long, well-deserved reputation of winning these types of cases, and when you hire our law firm, you are getting our decades of experience on your side.
Another benefit to you is the settlement amount offered from the insurance company. When they evaluate how much money to pay in a settlement, one of the things they look for is whether the law firm has a history of winning large settlements. When you hire our law firm, the insurance companies know from the very beginning that they aren't going to be able to "low ball" you or offer you a small settlement. With some other law firms, the insurance companies may believe that they can offer you a smaller settlement than you deserve.
Waiting to hire a lawyer can hurt your case and your financial recovery
While you may believe the insurance company is "working with you," that is usually not the case. In fact, insurance adjusters are trained to treat you nicely, to lead you to believe that they want to pay you a fair settlement, and to convince you not to hire your own attorney.
In any serious accident case, it is almost guaranteed that the insurance company and its lawyers will get to work immediately. The trucking company will even send its own investigators to the crash site. At the accident scene, the insurance adjusters and lawyers will take photographs, measurements, and talk to the police officers and witnesses in an attempt to get a "leg up" on the legal process. They know that you are focused on your injuries, getting proper medical care, or getting your car fixed - not a legal case - and knowing this gives them a huge advantage early on.
That's one reason it is almost never a good idea to wait to hire a law firm in a serious truck accident case. By waiting, you are giving the insurance company and lawyers a chance to improve their odds in a court case to your disadvantage.
We help you level the playing field and protect your legal rights after a truck accident
By hiring our law firm immediately, you can level the playing field. When you hire our law firm, we get to work immediately. We obtain the police report, we take witness statements, and we recreate the accident using scientific and engineering experts. We get to work before evidence is lost or witnesses disappear or forget what happened. By gathering evidence immediately, we are able to put your case on the fast track to a fair settlement. A settlement that is controlled and dictated by you, not by the insurance company.
Call now for a free consultation: 877-724-7800
We handle truck accident cases on a nationwide basis. We have handled cases against the largest trucking and insurance companies in the world, and won. Call us now to talk to a lawyer and get a free consultation to discuss your case and your legal rights.