The physics of trucking accidents often cause life-altering injuries or fatalities because of the massive weight difference between tractor-trailers and passenger cars. When a tractor-trailer (big-rig, semi-truck, 18-wheeler, commercial vehicle, etc.) is fully loaded, it might exceed 80,000 lbs. or in excess of 25 times the weight of a typical automobile. The gigantic length and weight of large trucks mean they are more difficult to control.
Semi-truck accident statistics reveal the magnitude of the risk posed by negligent truck drivers and trucking companies indifferent to public safety. There were over 500,000 trucking accidents in the U.S. during a recent one-year period that resulted in over 100,000 serious injuries and 5,000 fatalities.
Common Causes of Fort Worth Trucking Accidents
While there are a wide variety of causes of trucking accidents in Forth Worth and throughout Tarrant County, some of the most common factors that contribute to trucking accidents include the following:
- Improperly secured or overloaded big-rigs
- Failure to perform mandatory maintenance
- Poorly planned routes
- Trucking company negligence in screening, hiring, training, or retaining drivers
- Defective or poorly maintained tires (e.g. improper tire pressure)
- Fatigued drivers disobeying hours of service (HOS) rules
- Inadequate screening for the medical fitness of drivers
- Unperformed safety inspections
- Negligence in adjusting driving to road and traffic conditions
- Distracted truck drivers (e.g. cell phone use)
- Lack of attention to large truck blind spots (“no zones”)
- Drug or alcohol impairment
- Faulty parts, systems, or trucks
What a Forth Worth Trucking Injury Attorney Can Do for You
Some victims of trucking accidents assume that these collisions are nothing more than car accidents that involve an exceptionally large vehicle. This may lead one to presume that any personal injury attorney can provide effective legal representation in a trucking accident lawsuit. However, the complexity of trucking accident litigation makes it essential to work closely with an experienced Fort Worth trucking accident attorney. Unique issues that complicate trucking accident litigation include the following:
- Complex matrix of federal and state laws and regulations
- Trucking industry practice of altering or falsifying driver log books that track maintenance and driver fatigue
- Substantial litigation resources of trucking companies that include emergency response teams, which can be rapidly dispatched to a commercial truck accident site
- Trucking companies repairing big-rigs involved in collisions eliminating physical damage useful to accident reconstruction experts
- Commercial carriers deleting black box data that may provide critical evidence on driving practices, driver fatigue, and maintenance issues
Because of unique issues involved in tractor-trailer accidents in Texas, those who suffer severe injuries in big-rig collisions should retain an experienced trucking accident lawyer with an established record of substantial verdicts and settlements against trucking companies. Our commercial trucking accident lawyers have extensive knowledge of the regulations governing intrastate and interstate trucking, including federal regulations promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Our dedicated Fort Worth tractor-trailer accident attorneys also are thoroughly familiar with trucking industry tactics aimed at distorting and destroying evidence. Our law firm often sends “spoliation” letters to trucking companies, which indicate that the vehicle involved in the collision, as well as the data stored on the tractor-trailer data recorder, must be preserved because it is the subject of litigation. We may even file a motion to obtain a temporary restraining order to preserve critical evidence. If the trucking company does not comply, we have the ability to seek sanctions against the trucking company to preclude certain evidence and/or force the company to pay monetary sanctions. Given the risk of the trucking company or driver destroying or manipulating evidence, trucking accident victims should seek prompt legal advice.
Experienced Trucking Accident Lawyers for Catastrophic Injury Claims
When you are injured in a North Central Texas trucking accident, it is imperative that you seek medical attention immediately. Tractor-trailer collisions may result in catastrophic injuries. Delays in obtaining diagnostic testing and medical treatment might compromise your prognosis and create ambiguity regarding the cause of your injuries in a subsequent personal injury lawsuit. If you are the victim of a trucking accident in Tarrant County, you may suffer a range of significant injuries, such as:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Injury to vital organs
- Loss of extremities (amputation)
- Head injuries including a traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord or disc injuries
- Paraplegia and quadriplegia
- Wrongful death
These types of devastating injuries may result in long-term disability and staggering medical costs. The financial implications of a trucking accident can magnify the physical and emotional hardships caused by a big-rig collision. An experienced commercial truck accident lawyer can assist you in seeking a broad spectrum of types of compensation that include:
Economic damages: Medical and hospital expenses, lost salary and wages, future diminished income, vehicle repair, and funeral/burial costs (wrongful death)
Non-economic damages: Pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, loss of consortium, emotional distress, and punitive damages (gross negligence cases)
Truck Accident Lawyers in Fort Worth, TX
When you’re riding in a passenger car and are involved in an accident with a large-sized commercial truck, the results can be devastating. These vehicles’ size, weight, and momentum mean that passenger cars typically suffer significant damage.
While accidents involving trucks may seem like they happen often, there is no question that these events are preventable. Unfortunately, trucking companies sometimes put profits ahead of human lives by allowing their fleets to remain on the road even after identifying safety issues with their drivers or equipment.
If you experience a Fort Worth truck accident involving a commercial vehicle, you need legal representation before talking to insurance adjusters or signing documents. Our Fort Worth truck accident attorneys at Fulgham Hampton Law Firm want you to know that we will fight for every penny you deserve, and we back our claims with extensive experience in large-scale handling cases.
We can provide you with peace of mind knowing that justice is on your side while handling every aspect of your case. Contact Fulgham Hampton Law Firm today for an initial consultation by calling us at (817) 697-4400 or filling out our contact form.
Do You Need a Truck Accident Attorney?
Your typical car accident isn’t as severe as one involving a truck. Injuries are more likely with semi-truck collisions, and insurance companies may try to offer you less than what your case is worth.
If you work with a truck accident lawyer in Fort Worth, after an initial review of the details of your case, they can tell you whether it’s strong enough to go forward at all.
The lawyers at Fulgham Hampton Law Firm will fight for everyone involved in the accident, including passengers and pedestrians. If any other parties are responsible for what happened, we will ensure their negligence comes to light.
Without legal representation after a truck accident, you may not be able to hold accountable those responsible, and you could jeopardize your right to compensation.
An attorney with experience can aid in investigations, help you find medical care, and help you get your doctor to file your records on time. Start the process of securing legal representation as soon as possible after a truck accident.
At the law office of Fulgham Hampton Law Firm, we understand how difficult it can be to recover from injuries sustained in a truck accident. That’s why we’re committed to helping our clients get the fair and just compensation they deserve.
We have more than years of experience handling these cases, and we know what it takes to get results. If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, call us today for a free consultation. You may be entitled to damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. Don’t wait – contact us now!
What Should You Know Before Selecting a Fort Worth Truck Accident Attorney?
Selecting the right attorney is crucial because many firms do not specialize in truck accident cases. Our Fulgham Hampton Law Firm has successfully represented thousands of clients after car accidents, including those involving semi-trucks.
It would be best to look for a firm experienced in dealing with insurance companies and negotiate on your behalf to get the best offer possible.
Don’t forget about the physical demands of representing yourself after an accident. Trucking companies are notorious for giving low-ball offers to victims if they try to fight these corporations by themselves.
An attorney at our firm will handle all negotiations, including court appearances or representations, before any mediators. That way, you don’t have to worry about anything except healing from your injuries.
Your lawyer needs to know your state laws regarding personal injury claims involving commercial vehicles because the regulations in this area tend to favor the insurance companies.
These cases can be complicated, and trucking corporations often try to evade financial responsibility for damages caused by their negligent drivers. An experienced attorney will help you get the compensation you deserve after a semi-truck accident. Here are some questions to ask potential truck accident attorneys:
How many years have you represented clients in truck accidents?
Although new attorneys can be just as successful, you want someone who has a lot of experience in this field.
Do you have experience negotiating with insurance companies?
Truck accident cases tend to be more complex than your average car accident case. The lawyer you choose should have experience dealing with the intricacies of these cases and getting results for their clients.
How many trials have you had in truck accident cases?
No one wants their case to go to trial, but it’s good to know that your potential attorney is experienced and prepared for that possibility.
What is your fee structure?
Some attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means they only get paid if they win your case. Others may charge by the hour or require a retainer. It would help if you were comfortable with your attorney’s fee structure before hiring them.
What Kind of Compensation Can You Receive After a Texas Truck Accident?
Many factors determine the exact amount of compensation you can receive after a trucking accident, including your injuries and lost wages. In many cases, the most critical factor is the “Comparative Fault” rule applied in Texas.
Being in a comparative fault state means that all responsible parties are responsible for their percentage of fault in causing the accident. Under this rule, you may recover damages from any party whose negligence contributed to your injuries.
Our attorneys have successfully represented clients who have suffered injuries in accidents involving various commercial vehicles. We’ve won multiple kinds of truck accident damages, including:
- Medical cost reimbursement
- Permanent disability payments
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lost income and benefits
- Pain and suffering damages
- Death benefits for the family of a victim killed in a truck accident
You and your family can recover many other types of damages after a truck accident case. If you suffer an injury, it’s essential to contact an experienced attorney who can help you get the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.
Truck accidents are very different from car accidents, where some motorists don’t always have a policy with high enough limits. Because of the severity of damage in a semi accident, truck companies’ coverage is much higher than insurance coverage for passenger vehicles.
Thus, it would help if you worked with an attorney that will fight for all the compensation you deserve.
How Do We Represent Your Family After Fatal Truck Collisions?
If you have lost a loved one in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, it may help you know that people with experience are standing beside you. Our law firm understands the pain of losing someone special due to negligence, and we will stand with you throughout your process of mourning while helping you pursue compensation.
Families can suffer even more when trucking companies are not appropriately held accountable for their negligent drivers’ actions. They must now figure out how they will move on without their family member, as well as how they’re going to cover medical bills for the funeral, pay off any debts the deceased person left behind, and live day-to-day without them around.
We understand that recovering maximum financial restitution after a fatal crash is not the only thing you or your family wants. But, by filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible parties, you may be able to receive money damages that can help with some of the expenses and financial difficulties mentioned above.
For fatal accidents, our attorneys regularly recover damages for:
- Burial expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Medical bills paid for the deceased
- Loss of companionship from the family left behind
- Loss of inheritance
In some cases, you can file a lawsuit against anyone whose negligence caused your loved one’s death. It’s common to file a claim against other drivers, trucking companies, and even manufacturers responsible for vehicle design or maintenance defects.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident with a commercial truck, our law firm can help. We have successfully represented clients in many truck accidents and are prepared to fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. Contact Fulgham Hampton Law Firm today for a free consultation.
What Are Typical Injuries After a Truck Accident?
Commercial truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries due to the size and weight of the vehicles involved. Some of the most common injuries our clients suffer include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Brain or head injuries often have devastating and long-lasting effects after a truck accident. They can start as mild concussions but progress into permanent disabilities, leading to lifelong medical care.
Neck And Back Injuries
Because of the size and weight of commercial vehicles, you are more likely to suffer neck or back injuries after a truck accident. These can lead to long-term disability if left untreated.
Some victims lose limbs in accidents involving commercial trucks. Loss of a limb can make it difficult to return to work, and the victim may need ongoing medical care for the rest of their life.
Broken Bones and Fractures
The size and weight of big rigs also mean a higher risk of broken bones and fractures in truck accidents. Victims can end up with broken facial bones, arms, legs, and ribs.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The jolting force of a truck accident can cause spinal cord injuries, leading to permanent paralysis from the waist down.
People can suffer severe burns when a truck accident leads to fire in some cases. Because fuel tanks can rupture easily in semi-trucks, the risk of suffering a burn injury is high.
Seatbelt and Airbag Injuries
Seatbelts and airbags can help protect you in a truck accident, but they aren’t guaranteed to prevent injuries. Victims who do not adequately buckle up and those with defective parts in their vehicle can suffer severe head or neck trauma due to their accident.
Fatalities are also not uncommon in truck accidents. If you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, we can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party.
We understand that being in a car accident is confusing and frightening, especially if you have suffered injuries. Our lawyers will work hard to help you understand the legal process and what compensation may be available for your losses. We will fight aggressively on your behalf so that you can focus on your recovery.
How Common Are Truck Accidents?
Very common. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) keeps statistics on truck accidents across the country. In 2019, roughly 119,000 large trucks were involved in crashes that caused injuries. More than 5,000 trucks were involved in fatal crashes.
There is evidence that truck accidents are more common in Texas than in other states. We certainly have many trucks coming into the state from Mexico, as well as arriving from all other states in the nation. With so many trucks on the road, accidents are bound to happen.
What Are The Most Common Commercial Trucks?
The most common trucks on the road are:
- Tractor-trailers, also called semis and big rigs
- Moving vans
- Sanitation vehicles
- Fuel trucks
- Dump trucks
- Refrigeration vehicles
- Flatbed trucks
- Tanker trucks
- Cement trucks
- Garbage trucks
If you were hurt by any large truck, please contact our law firm.
Can I Receive Compensation If I Was Injured As A Pedestrian?
Yes. Not all truck accident victims were riding in motor vehicles when they were hurt. We see many accidents downtown. They pull up to stores at all hours of the day to deliver goods or pick up items for transport. It is easy for a trucker to strike a pedestrian in an area with heavy foot traffic.
Pedestrians often suffer horrible injuries, even if hit at a low speed. Please contact our lawyers to review your legal case.
Is The Trucking Company At Fault For My Accident?
They might be. Trucking companies are usually at fault in two situations. First, if their employee injured you negligently, then trucking companies might be liable under the doctrine of “vicarious liability.” In Texas, this legal rule makes employers automatically liable when their employees injure someone while working. There is a commonsense reason for the rule. Employers have deeper pockets and can pay out more compensation than low-paid workers. Since the trucker was furthering the employer’s business when they hit you, it makes sense that the employer pays.
Second, trucking companies might independently be liable if they were negligent. For example, a trucking company might have engaged in:
- Negligent hiring—failing to perform background checks or require a mandatory physical and clean drug test.
- Negligent supervision—failing to provide proper training to truckers or perform drug testing after accidents as required by law.
- Negligent maintenance of the fleet—putting dangerous vehicles out on the road and refusing to make necessary repairs.
If a trucking company is at fault, they must pay you compensation.
Who Do I Sue If A Defective Part On The Truck Caused My Accident?
You can sue the manufacturer of the part or the truck manufacturer. They have legal liability for putting dangerous products in the stream of commerce. Every part of a truck must be working smoothly for a big truck to be safe.
Most defects are caused by faulty designs or some error in the manufacturing process. For example, the truck manufacturer might have used weak screws to hold parts together. If the screws snap, someone could be hurt if the truck becomes unmanageable. We always analyze whether we can add a truck manufacturer as a defendant. It helps if we can inspect the vehicle, often with an expert witness or engineer who knows what to look for.
Defective design or manufacture is different from negligent maintenance. When a product is defective, it is dangerous as soon as it leaves the factory. Some well-built trucks, however, are dangerous because their owners don’t perform necessary maintenance. In that case, the owner or its mechanics are to blame.
What If I Was Hit By A Driver For A Mexican Company?
You can still seek compensation for your injuries. Texas personal injury law applies to all accidents which happen inside the state. It doesn’t matter if the driver or the trucking company is from Mexico.
Of course, there are some challenges to suing a foreign company. This is another reason to work with an experienced Fort Worth truck accident attorney. Foreign companies have agents in the state we can serve with legal paperwork.
Will I Have To Go To Mexico To Litigate My Claim?
That is highly unlikely. If the accident happened in Texas, a Texas court has jurisdiction over the case. Essentially, jurisdiction means a court has the power to hear your lawsuit. A company in Mexico might try to get the court to transfer your case to Mexico. In our experience, Texas judges rarely agree since the evidence (and you, the victim) are here in Texas. Companies in Mexico are aware they could be sued here in the United States for their accidents.
What If I Was Hit In A Different State?
You might have been traveling when you got into a truck accident. For example, you might have been visiting friends or family in Arizona when a truck hit you on the highway. In these situations, there may be a question of where a lawsuit should be brought. Often, the state where the accident occurred is the best place. But in other situations, it might be here in Texas, especially if the truck company is located here and you live here.
In any event, you should hire a Fort Worth attorney to help you. Contact Fulgham Hampton today to speak with an experienced truck accident attorney.
Can I Hire A Fort Worth Truck Accident Lawyer If I Live In A Different State?
It makes sense to hire a local attorney if you were injured here in Texas. Even if you live out of state, the odds are high that your case will be handled by a local court. We also know the large Texas trucking companies and can represent you in negotiations for a fair settlement.
Who Is Responsible For A Tire Blowout Accident?
It depends. Tire blowouts are very dangerous. A large truck might be unstable after a blowout and mow down innocent people on the road. These are some of the different entities which might be liable:
- The tire manufacturer, if there is a defect with the tire.
- The truck owner, if they knew a tire was underinflated or defective but did nothing to fix it.
- A mechanic, if they performed a poor repair on a tire.
- The truck driver, if they exceeded the speed limit or engaged in other dangerous driving which put stress on the tire.
- The government, if a defect on the road caused a tire to blow.
Our Fort Worth truck accident attorneys fully investigate tire blowout accidents to uncover why the tire exploded. We can then hold this party responsible for the collision.
What Is A Jackknife Accident?
A tractor-trailer has two parts—the tractor, where the driver sits, and the trailer with the goods inside. They are joined at a joint, which we call a “coupling.” This coupling allows the trailer to swing in either direction, like the blade of a folding knife.
In a jackknife accident, the tractor swings out at an angle. Consequently, the trailer can slam into vehicles in nearby lanes or even pedestrians on a sidewalk. There are many reasons for jackknife accidents, such as unbalanced loads in the trailer or the tires losing grip on the road. Sometimes driving too fast leads to a jackknife. We will carefully review your accident to determine the cause.
Why Do Tractor-Trailers Roll Over?
Rollovers are a particularly dangerous type of accident. A trailer stuffed with goods could roll and land on your vehicle. Many people suffer serious injuries in these accidents, which are often fatal.
A tractor-trailer should not roll over if it is properly driven and the cargo is safely loaded. Common reasons for this type of accident include:
- Fast turns. Trailers have high centers of gravity, and they are prone to tipping around corners at high speeds.
- Improperly secured loads. If they shift, then the truck becomes unstable.
- A driver who briefly nods off might “jerk” the wheel sharply to avoid drifting off the road and into oncoming traffic. This sudden movement can lead to a rollover.
- Malfunctioning brakes. The brakes must work properly to bring the big rig to a comfortable stop. When they malfunction, the truck can stop too suddenly, leading to a rollover.
What Is An Override Accident?
In this type of collision, a truck rides up over a vehicle in front of it. These accidents often happen near intersections where a truck cannot stop in time. To determine fault, we need more facts. In many situations, the truck driver is liable for the accident. He might have nodded off or been distracted and not hit the brakes in time. However, a car driver could also be blamed if they cut off the trucker.
Who Is Responsible For My Underride Accident?
In this accident, a smaller vehicle usually slides under the trailer and is wedged underneath there. Injuries are often severe. The edge of the trailer can peel off the roof of a car, leading to fatal injuries. These are horrifying accidents.
Responsibility depends on the facts. If you were driving too closely to the truck and slid under, you might be partially at fault. However, truck drivers often cause these accidents when they pull out in front of someone.
Do Trucks Need Guards On Their Trailers?
Federal law requires that trailers have a guard on the back. This guard prevents an underride accident and is a key piece of equipment. If a truck is missing a guard, the truck owner is probably liable for any injuries.
Many safety experts want guards on the sides of trailers. After all, a car can easily slide under the side. Unfortunately, federal law does not yet require side guards.
Can Truck Drivers Use A Cell Phone While Driving?
Yes and no. Under federal guidelines, truck drivers can use “hands-free” devices, such as cell phones. The cell phone needs to be mounted close to the driver—not so far that he has to stretch. It also must be operated by only pushing one button. A voice-activated cell phone is an example.
Federal law clearly prohibits using a device you hold in your hand. Both truck drivers and their employers face fines for breaking this law.
Nevertheless, a trucker might still be distracted while using a hands-free device. Research shows motorists remain distracted up to a half minute after a phone call or text. We can sue a trucker who is distracted due to cell phone use.
How Do I Know If The Trucker Was On The Phone Before Hitting Me?
Our Fort Worth truck accident lawyers could subpoena the driver’s cell phone records. These records will show when the driver was on the phone. We can request cell phone records during the discovery phase of litigation.
What Is The “Black Box” In A Truck?
Modern trucks usually have electronic logging devices which continuously record information about the truck. The media calls them “black boxes” because that is the term used for airplanes. The devices on trucks are similar. By consulting the black box, we can find out certain information about the truck before the crash, such as:
- Tire pressure
Many companies use them as a cost-saving measure. They can more closely monitor their drivers. These boxes are also a big help in many accidents because they establish what actions the truck driver took.
How Do Underinflated Tires Cause A Crash?
Underinflated tires represent a real risk. For example, a tire without adequate pressure increases the risk of a blowout. A truck can immediately become unstable as a result.
Big trucks also take longer to stop when tire pressure is low. A truck driver might rear-end a car stopped in front of it if the tire pressure gets too low.
Ultimately, truck drivers and their employers are responsible for ensuring the tire pressure is adequate. However, if a tire defect contributes to underinflation, the tire manufacturer could be responsible.
Are Old Tires Safe To Use On Big Rigs?
Not really. Older tires are more prone to cracking, which means they can blow up on a driver. Unfortunately, many trucking companies try to save money by reusing tires. They might recap them or add new tread. These recycled tires pose a serious risk of exploding. If you were hurt in a blowout accident, our attorneys investigate to check whether the trucking company used old tires.
Do Trucking Companies Drug Test Their Drivers?
Yes. The federal government requires that employers perform a drug and alcohol test before employing any driver. They also must test their drivers in other situations, such as if they have a reason to suspect the driver is impaired. Federal law also requires random testing.
Federal law requires testing after some accidents:
- Accident with a human fatality
- Accident with a bodily injury requiring immediate treatment from the accident, if the driver was cited by authorities
- Any accident which requires a tow off, if the driver received a citation
Drug testing is also mandatory before a driver can come back on duty after a suspension for failing a drug test or refusing to take one.
Should Truck Drivers Be Suspended For Failing A Drug Test?
Yes. The state should take their license away from them if they are arrested for a DUI. Even if not arrested, any failed drug test warrants a suspension under federal regulations. A driver cannot get back on duty until they go through a process that requires a clean drug/alcohol test.
Do Truck Drivers Have To Take A Physical Exam?
Yes. A physical exam is required before a trucking company can hire a driver. Exams are also required every 24 months. In particular, doctors are looking for medical conditions which might make it dangerous for someone to drive. Think of something like sleep apnea, which could cause a driver to fall asleep behind the wheel.
There is a definite shortage of truck drivers, and some trucking companies cut corners by not requiring physical exams. These companies are responsible if their trucker crashes due to a physical condition.
Can Truck Drivers Drive All Night?
The government doesn’t tell truckers when they can drive. However, federal “hours of service” requirements limit the total number of hours they can drive. There are different rules depending on whether the driver transports people or goods.
For example, a trucker who transports goods must obey the following hours of service rules:
- Can only drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- Cannot drive past the 14th consecutive hour on duty.
- Must take a 30-minute break after driving for 8 hours.
- Cannot drive more than 60 hours in 7 days or 70 hours in an 8-hour period until taking 34 consecutive hours off duty.
Trucking companies are constantly pressuring the federal government to loosen these requirements. Our Fort Worth truck accident lawyers stay on top of all proposed changes which affect public safety. For example, trucking companies managed to revise the rules. A trucker can extend their driving window by two hours if they encounter bad weather.
When Should I File My Texas Truck Accident Lawsuit?
Texas has a statute of limitations that gives injured victims two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in court. If a loved one died in a truck accident, you have two years from the date of death to sue. There might be some narrow exceptions to these deadlines, but please do not count on them. Instead, meet with an attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible.
What Happens If I File My Lawsuit Too Late?
The defendant will probably ask the judge to toss your case from court. And judges will do just that. You won’t be able to file once the deadline has passed, so you should not expect to receive any compensation.
Contact us today. Our Fort Worth trucking accident lawyers can help get your case filed in an appropriate court on time.
Are Older Truck Drivers More At Risk of Crashing?
Yes, some evidence supports this conclusion. For example, CBS News did an investigation in 2016 into the trend of trucking companies employing older drivers. There was a definite jump in the number of accidents involving drivers aged 70 or older. Indeed, from 2013 to 2015, over 6,600 accidents involved elderly drivers in a mere 12 states.
Trucking companies are facing a shortage of eligible drivers. There is pressure to have experienced drivers continue to drive past their retirement age—sometimes well into their 70s and beyond! Older drivers pose certain risks, such as delayed reflexes and the risk of having a medical event while behind the wheel.
Can The Trucker Blame Bad Weather For The Accident?
Possibly. Truck drivers are not in control of the weather. If a sudden freezing rainstorm hits Texas, the truck driver might slide into oncoming traffic and cause a crash. We need to carefully review the facts before determining whether the trucker is still at fault.
Of course, drivers must use reasonable care when out on the road. Sometimes, this means a trucker should pull over if road conditions are bad. A trucker who drives in icy conditions is taking an unacceptable risk.
How Do I Prove Poor Maintenance Caused My Crash?
Trucking companies must inspect and maintain their vehicles. Sadly, maintenance is sometimes performed poorly, or trucking companies neglect to have regular inspections. Under FMCSA Regulation 396.11, a trucking company must keep accurate inspection records for all vehicles.
We can prove poor maintenance in a few ways. For example, we might:
- Request copies of all inspection and maintenance reports. If a trucking company doesn’t have them, this is some evidence the truck was not maintained.
- Subpoena maintenance records from the mechanics who work on the truck.
- Submit questions for trucking company executives to answer under oath, asking how often their trucks were inspected or repaired.
- Inspect the truck to see if there is evidence of poor maintenance.
Can People Under 21 Drive a Big Rig?
Yes. They have always been able to in Texas, provided they didn’t haul across state lines. The federal government regulates interstate trucking, and for decades they have prohibited anyone under 21 from driving. However, the trucker shortage has led the federal government to give the green light to a pilot program for under 21 drivers. They must still be at least 18 and will serve two probationary periods. They cannot transport passengers or hazardous materials. We aren’t sure how popular this program will be, but we are sure more under-21 drivers will be behind the wheel.
How Much Compensation Will I Receive If I Was Partially To Blame?
We would need to know the full extent of your injuries, as well as how much of the accident was your fault. In Texas, you can receive compensation so long as you are not more at fault than the other defendants. Put differently, you can be up to 50% to blame but not more.
Let’s say you suffered $100,000 in damages in your accident:
- If you were 25% at fault, you would receive 75% of your damages, or $75,000.
- If you were 50% at fault, you would receive half, or $50,000.
- If you were 51% at fault, you would receive nothing because you are more at fault than the defendant.
Can You Reduce My Percentage Of Fault?
We try. After accepting a client, we fully investigate what happened, including any mistake you might have made behind the wheel. We also attempt to figure out who else contributed to the wreck. Once we know the facts, we work to minimize your own contributory fault. You can expect the trucking company and its insurer to maximize your degree of fault since that would limit how much they payout.
What Makes Me Partially At Fault For My Truck Accident?
Usually, you will bear some of the responsibility if you are negligent. There are many examples of negligence, including:
- Distracted driving
- Driving while texting
- Failing to yield
- Failing to use a turn signal
- Illegal lane change
- Driving while fatigued
- Impaired driving
Discuss what happened leading up to the accident with your attorney. Our consultations are confidential.
Who Decides If I Am Partially At Fault For My Fort Worth Truck Accident?
If your case goes to trial, a jury would decide your percentage of fault. However, most cases settle, and you never see the inside of a courtroom. With a settlement, the insurance adjusters will try to determine each side’s degree of fault. They will imagine how a jury will analyze the evidence.
Fault is often a contested issue. You might think the driver is completely at fault, but he might think you are totally to blame. When cases go to trial, it is often because each side cannot agree on dividing fault.
What If The Truck Driver Has No Money To Pay A Settlement?
Fortunately, in Texas, you can hold the driver’s employer automatically liable for the accident. This is called “vicarious liability.” Essentially, an employer is automatically on the hook to pay compensation when one of its employees negligently injures someone while working. If the trucker fell asleep or was speeding, then the employer may end up paying you compensation.
In every truck accident case, we ask, “Is the driver primarily responsible for this accident?” If the answer is yes, we ask, “Was the trucker working for an employer when he hit you?” If the answer to this question is yes, then the employer has vicarious liability.
Do I Really Need To Hire A Lawyer?
In our experience, yes. There is usually a lot of money in play with truck accidents. Your injuries are probably very severe, with high medical bills and substantial lost income. Your pain and suffering could also be immense. The last thing you should expect is that a truck company or its insurer will give you a fair settlement. They have a different goal—protecting their bottom line.
The only person looking out for your best interests is your own lawyer. Reach out to Fulgham Hampton to speak with a Fort Worth, TX truck accident lawyer today.
Can I Give A Recorded Statement To The Insurance Company?
You should wait until you hire an attorney. Of course, there comes a time when you will need to share your side of the story. Unfortunately, the insurance adjuster might begin digging for information to use against you in a claim. Because Texas recognizes comparative fault, you won’t receive any compensation if you were more than 50% at fault for the wreck. Some insurance adjusters try to get you to admit to driving negligently or in a distracted fashion. These admissions could sink your case.
At a minimum, some degree of fault on your part will reduce the amount an insurer pays. We encourage you to have a lawyer by your side when speaking with the insurance companies. We can clarify any confusing statements you might make—and protect your ability to get fair compensation.
When Is It Too Early To Call A Fort Worth Truck Accident Lawyer?
It’s never too soon! At Fulgham Hampton, our legal team will immediately get to work protecting your legal rights to compensation. Of course, this doesn’t mean we’ll immediately file a lawsuit. It does mean we will start doing the legwork to build up your claim for compensation the right way.
By reaching out quickly, you get a seasoned advocate who can help guide you through the claims process. For example, we identify which medical records and bills to keep showing your losses. We can also help you document your pain and suffering.
Is An Earlier Investigation Important?
Yes! And Forth Worth trucking companies know this. Often, they have a paid investigator at the crash scene within an hour. This person quickly begins collecting evidence to help the trucking company understand what happened. Sometimes an entire team of investigators descends on the accident scene!
It is vital to perform an early investigation:
- Evidence can disappear from the crash site if not collected. For example, the debris field will get cleaned up so it doesn’t impede traffic. But this field can help us understand how an accident happened, so it helps to document it with pictures or video.
- Witnesses to the accident can disappear if no one gets their names. For this reason, it’s helpful to quickly identify them and ask for their contact information.
- The truck driver can dispose of evidence. Was the trucker drinking before the crash? He could quickly get rid of his beer bottles soon after the collision.
- Road conditions change. The weather or some defect on the road could have contributed to your wreck. You obviously want to document them and not wait a week or two.
Sadly, few truck accident victims have an investigator on their team. If you call an attorney quickly, however, we can get to work on your case immediately.
Will My Truck Accident Settlement Be Larger Than A Car Accident Settlement?
They usually are—but not always. The amount of compensation you receive depends on the facts, such as the severity of any injuries and whether you could work. Because big rigs are so large, they often cause devastating injuries. But it’s possible that someone injured in a car accident could also suffer terrible injuries and receive a big settlement.
I Can’t Afford A Doctor—What Do I Do?
You need prompt medical attention so that your injuries do not worsen. Without proper treatment, even a moderate injury could snowball into something permanent. If you win your truck accident case, the defendant must pay you compensation. But that could take months. In the meantime, you need care, and you need it now. How do you pay for it?
If you have health insurance through a job, you can use that to pay for immediate care. If you have medical payments insurance, you can tap into it to cover some initial healthcare costs. You might also use a credit card or pay out of pocket.
If you have no money to pay for health care, you still have options. A doctor might help you on a “lien basis.” Essentially, the doctor provides treatment but waits to get paid out of your settlement. Not every doctor provides care on a lien basis, but we can help you find someone if you contact us immediately.
Where Are A Truck’s Blind Spots?
Many accidents are caused because a motorist was in a blind spot. A big rig driver could have pulled into another lane but crashed into a driver coming up from behind in a blind spot. There are four blind spots you should be aware of:
- The front of the truck. Because big rigs sit up high, the driver cannot see about 20 feet in front of the cab. This is why they cannot stop if you cut them off.
- The left-hand side. There is a small blind spot on the left-hand side of the truck, which covers about one lane.
- The right-hand side. The blind spot on the right is much larger—it extends across two lanes. For this reason, you should never pass a truck on the right because the driver might not see you. If the truck tries to pull off the highway, for example, he could drive right over your vehicle.
- The back. There is another large blind spot in the back of about 30 feet. If you tailgate, you risk an underride because the driver won’t know someone is behind him. This blind spot also matters for pedestrians who might see a truck backing up downtown and run behind it. You are at risk of being run over.
How Do I Drive Safely Around Big Rigs?
Safe driving begins with knowing where the four blind spots are on the truck and avoiding them. If you need to pass a truck, do so safely by using your horn. Many people only use horns to show anger by honking aggressively at someone who annoys them. But cars include horns for a different reason—they are an easy way to let someone know where you are when in a blind spot.
Also, follow all the rules of the road. That means passing legally and safely, driving at a safe speed, and not tailgating. If you see a dangerous big rig out on the road, try to get the phone number. It’s usually printed on the back of the trailer. You can pull over to the side of the road and call the company or call the police.
What’s The First Thing I Should Do After A Truck Accident?
With a car accident, we would say immediately stop. But with a truck accident, odds are you aren’t going to be able to drive anywhere.
The most important step is to get medical care for someone who is hurt. Even if you feel okay but a little shaken up, someone else in your car could have a life-threatening injury. Ask if anyone in your vehicle needs an ambulance and call one.
Likewise, if several cars were involved, get out and ask other motorists if they need an ambulance. Of course, if you can’t move, ask someone to help you by calling emergency services.
Should I Request Any Information From The Truck Driver After A Wreck?
Yes. We recommend getting the following information:
- Driver’s name and contact information
- Driver’s license information
- The contact information for the driver’s employer
- Insurance information for both the truck driver and the trucking company
You should share similar information with the truck driver since you can expect the trucking company will want some way to contact you.
Should I Call The Police After A Truck Accident In Fort Worth?
Yes. You should report accidents to the authorities. Texas law requires that you report accidents. There are sensible reasons for doing so. A police report helps show when the accident happened. Also, the police can identify witnesses and do some basic investigative work, saving you from doing so if you are injured.
My Cousin Is A Divorce Lawyer—Can He Help Me?
Probably not. Truck accidents require deep knowledge of laws related to trucking. In Texas, trucking companies are regulated by both federal and state law. These regulations are very detailed and hard for someone without experience to understand. This is true even of lawyers who might excel in different areas of law. It’s best to hire someone who has handled many truck accident cases. They will understand how the facts of your case fit in with the law.
Should I Accept This Settlement And Request More Money Later?
No! That is the absolute worst thing you could do. Let us explain why.
When a truck company or insurer offers a settlement, it comes with strings. Here is a big one: in exchange for the settlement money, you give up your ability to sue them again for the same accident. The legal document you sign will probably be called a “release of liability.” This is a legal agreement you are entering.
A release of liability is a part of virtually every settlement agreement. Don’t let the insurer claim it isn’t! By signing this document, you give up the ability to sue them later for more compensation. If you came back a year later with more medical bills, they would tell you to take a hike. And if you were to go ahead and sue anyway? They will show the judge the release you signed as part of your settlement. A judge will then dismiss your case, and you will receive zero extra compensation.
You cannot sign a settlement agreement without having an experienced attorney look at it first. Your settlement must be fair because once you sign, you are giving up your rights.
Should I Take Pictures After A Fort Worth Truck Accident?
Yes, if you can move around. Pictures help us “see” an accident. If your case goes to trial, a jury will have no idea what your accident scene looks like. Photographs help paint a picture, so they feel like they understand what happened.
We recommend you get pictures of the following:
- All sides of your vehicle.
- All sides of the truck which hit you.
- The debris field that is scattered around the accident scene.
- Any skid marks on the road caused by the crash.
- Anything which contributed to the accident, such as a missing stop sign or tree limbs hanging over road signs.
You can use your cell phone or ask someone to use theirs to take these pictures. However, we don’t recommend taking a person’s picture unless you have their permission.
The Trucker Appears Drunk—What Do I Do?
You should try to document this. The truck driver might have bloodshot eyes, or you smell alcohol on his breath. He might be stumbling around or have slurred speech.
- First, ask other people at the scene if they notice the driver appears drunk. They can testify to that effect later.
- Second, check if he throws a beer bottle in a ditch or if there are bottles in the cab of his truck. If possible, you could get a picture. Or you can at least show them to another witness who can testify to this effect.
- Third, mention to the police officer who arrives that you think the driver is drunk. The officer should investigate and possibly request a chemical test from the driver.
- Fourth, you should tell your attorney, who will notify the trucking company. They should test their driver anyway after most accidents.
Driving while impaired is dangerous. You are helping protect public safety by getting drunk drivers off the road. At the same time, you strengthen your case for maximum compensation.
What Are Punitive Damages, And Can I Receive Them?
Punitive damages are sometimes possible in truck accident cases. In most cases, the damages you receive are compensatory. In other words, you will receive money to make up for medical expenses and lost wages incurred in the truck crash.
Punitive damages are different. They are designed to punish defendants for particularly bad conduct. They also serve as a warning to others to avoid making the same mistakes.
In Texas, punitive damages are only available for fraud, malice, or gross negligence. In our experience, you might get punitive damages for gross negligence if a truck driver was intoxicated or on drugs. You might also get them if a trucking company forged records to put dangerous drivers and/or trucks on the road.
We always analyze whether we think punitive damages, also called “exemplary damages,” are available. You need clear and convincing evidence the defendant’s actions were sufficiently wrongful. And we seek them when the facts warrant it.
Are Punitive Damages Capped In Texas?
Yes. A jury can’t award any amount they want. Instead, Texas limits them to the following:
- If you received no economic damages, you cannot receive more than $200,000 in punitive damages.
- If you did receive economic damages, then punitive damages are capped at two times your economic damages, plus your non-economic damages (like pain and suffering), for a maximum of $750,000.
For example, your truck accident case might result in $100,000 for economic damages in medical bills and lost wages. You receive $150,000 for pain and suffering. In this example, the maximum you can receive is 2 X $100,000 plus $150,000, or $350,000 in total. If your economic damages were $400,000, the maximum you could receive in punitive damages is $750,000.
Remember, a jury might award less. These numbers represent the maximum a jury can award you.
What Is The Average Settlement For A Texas Truck Accident?
Because accidents are so different, discussing an “average” provides little real information. It is best to schedule a consultation with our Fort Worth truck accident lawyers to review the specifics of your case. Based on what we hear, we can discuss possible settlement ranges.
Can I Receive Compensation For A Pre-Existing Injury?
You might—if your truck accident made the pre-existing injury worse. For example, you might have sprained your back playing flag football a couple of months ago. When a big rig slams into your car, your back injury is aggravated. If so, you can hold the defendant responsible for the increase in pain and disability you have suffered.
But what happens if the accident didn’t make your injury worse? In that case, you can’t blame the truck driver for your injury. You can only receive compensation for a pre-existing injury if the accident aggravates it.
Do I Have To Go To Physical Therapy For My Injuries?
If a doctor recommends rehab or physical therapy, then you should go. Any accident victim in Texas is under a duty to minimize their damages. This means taking reasonable steps to reduce your financial losses, including your medical bills. Receiving timely treatment is one way to mitigate your damages. Taking advantage of all medical care is another way. Rehab can help get you back on your feet and restore lost function. If you don’t go, the truck company can blame you for the severity of your injuries.
Will The Defendant Have To Buy Me A New Car?
Probably not. Property damage is calculated by asking how much it costs to put the property back to its condition right before the crash. Let’s say you were driving a 2009 Chevy with plenty of rust on it. The car might be worth only $2,000. If it gets totaled in a crash, the defendant will replace it. That means paying you $2,000 or what your car was worth. The defendant doesn’t have to buy you a new vehicle.
However, if you were driving a new Lexus when it was totaled, then you might get the purchase price because it was new when wrecked.
To get a decent idea of how much you are owed, look at the Kelly Blue Book values. They are a good guide to estimating the value of your car damage.
What Is A Loss Of Consortium Claim In Texas?
A loss of consortium claim is brought by certain family members of a truck accident victim who suffers a serious injury. Brain damage, paralysis, and other injuries of that magnitude do more than reduce the victim’s quality of life. They also impair the familial relationship. After a serious accident, you might lose the care and companionship you were accustomed to. If your spouse was injured, you might stop being romantically intimate.
A loss of consortium claim tries to compensate the spouse for these impairments. Of course, no money can make up for the changes to your relationship. But money is what the defendant can give you.
We see loss of consortium claims most often involving injured spouses. Please contact a truck accident lawyer today to review.
How Much Can I Receive For Pain And Suffering?
Pain and suffering damages are non-economic. All this means is that we don’t normally use dollars and cents to measure them. By contrast, you can easily calculate your lost wages. If you make $500 a week and miss 7 weeks of work, you have lost out on $3,500 in income. Other economic damages, like medical bills, are also easy to calculate. We just look at the bill or receipt.
With pain and suffering, there is no bill. Instead, we must use our judgment to determine a fair amount. If your case goes to trial, a jury will decide how much money to give you. In a sense, no financial award can compensate for physical pain and suffering. Who wouldn’t want their old body back? But a truck accident settlement can only get you money as compensation.
Based on our experience, we have a decent idea of how much you can get. Generally, the more disruptive your injuries, the more you will probably receive. Someone who is paralyzed is suffering more than someone with a temporary broken bone. But many seemingly “minor” injuries cause great suffering. Facial disfigurement, for example, might lead to isolation and depression.
How Long Will My Case Take?
Some cases can be resolved in less than a year, while others can take years to resolve. For example:
- If fault for the accident is in dispute, your case could take longer to settle.
- If your injuries are serious, you might wait longer to settle so you fully understand how much your medical care costs.
- If you seek a large amount of compensation, the insurance companies might fight the claim harder, which can slow down a case.
Everything depends on the unique circumstances of your case.
How Can I Speed Up My Case?
The best way to speed up a case is to get your attorney all the information they request on time. For example, your lawyer might want to see copies of your medical bills or pay stubs. Provide them promptly. Sometimes, you need to sign a piece of paper so your lawyers can access confidential medical information. Please ask any questions you have and then follow through.
How Do I Receive My Settlement?
When each side reaches a verbal agreement, you will review the settlement agreement with your lawyer. You should only sign on the dotted line when you fully understand and agree with all aspects of the settlement.
The defendant’s insurance company will probably write a check to your attorney. He or she then deducts their fee (as agreed in the fee agreement) and other costs. If there is a lien on the settlement, your attorney pays those liens. Then your lawyer sends you the remainder as your settlement.
Most personal injury settlements are lump-sum payments. If you are interested in an installment settlement, talk with your attorney.
What If I Don’t Agree With My Settlement?
As the client, you decide whether to settle. Your attorney can offer his expert opinion on whether the proposed settlement represents the best possible outcome. Ultimately, however, the client calls the shots. You shouldn’t sign a settlement agreement unless you are comfortable with it.
Are There Risks To Going To Trial?
Yes. Trials take longer and are usually more stressful. You might need to testify at trial and talk about embarrassing information about your life. For this reason, many clients are happy with a settlement.
If you go to trial, there is always a risk you might lose and receive no money. With a settlement, you are guaranteed to receive some money—even if it is not as much as you had dreamed. Of course, any settlement should be fair. Your attorney is a good resource for discussing your concerns. However, your attorney cannot decide to settle for you—that choice is yours.
Can My Child Receive Compensation For A Fort Worth Truck Accident?
Yes. Children have rights to compensation, just like adults. Different rules apply to them, though. For one thing, minors cannot file lawsuits. They also cannot sign contracts that are legally binding, so they cannot negotiate their settlement and agree to it.
Parents can bring lawsuits on behalf of their children. But this doesn’t mean that parents gain access to all the money a child wins in a lawsuit or receives as a settlement. For example, parents can typically receive compensation for the child’s medical bills since they are responsible for them. But parents don’t have a right to money paid for a child’s pain and suffering and similar losses.
That money goes into a trust account and is held in the account until your child reaches age 18. At that point, your child is an adult, and the money is theirs. Parents sometimes want access to the funds early, but they must ask a judge for permission.
Our firm has brought lawsuits for parents who have injured children. Judges supervise this process more closely than they do if only an adult is injured.
Will A Truck Driver Lose His Job For My Accident?
He certainly could. If the driver was intoxicated or violated federal regulations regarding service hours, then the driver is very dangerous. The federal government sometimes prohibits drivers from operating in interstate commerce. That recently happened with a truck driver in Nevada who was arrested for DUI twice in a couple of weeks. The federal government declared him an “imminent hazard” and forbade him from driving across state lines.
Often, a lawsuit helps shine a light on trucking companies. A little investigation reveals major problems with falsified records or lack of training or supervision. In this way, you protect the public interest by pursuing compensation for your injuries. If no one held truckers or their employers accountable, accidents would explode in number.
Fort Worth Trucking Accident Attorney
One bad truck wreck can cause serious injuries and death to many victims. Fulgham Hampton personal injury lawyers have experience with complex cases involving these larger commercial trucks. Have you or a loved one been injured in a truck accident in Texas? Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer at Fulgham Hampton to determine who might be liable and how to receive maximum compensation and justice.
How Fulgham Hampton Law Firm Can Help You After a Truck Accident
If you suffer an injury after a truck accident, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. At our law firm, we have successfully represented clients in many different types of truck accidents and are prepared to fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
We will work with you to build a case that proves the other driver’s negligence and holds them accountable for your injuries. We will show that they were careless, did not follow the law, or even intentionally caused the accident.
Our lawyers have a successful track record of winning verdicts and settlements in truck accident cases. We know how to build a strong case and get results that exceed our clients’ expectations.
Don’t hesitate to call because of a fear of the costs involved – we offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis. Therefore, you won’t pay us anything up-front, and there is no obligation to use our services as we will not get paid until you do.
Start by Contacting a Truck Accident Lawyer in Fort Worth
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident with a commercial truck, our law firm can help. We have successfully represented clients in many truck accidents and are prepared to fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Speak to an Experienced Fort Worth Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney Today
At FH Law Group, we tenaciously pursue the maximum recovery for injury victims in Fort Worth and the surrounding areas of Tarrant County. Contact us today for a FREE consultation at (817) 697-4400 or visit our website.
The Fulgham Hampton Law Group legal team of injury lawyers provides you with skilled litigators that have tried over 100 jury trials in Texas with expertise in matters ranging from car accident cases, complex cases with insurance companies and skilled settlement negotiations. Our injury lawyers are here to help you navigate the complex legal system and make important decisions to ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries.
Our legal team of personal injury lawyers has over 45+ years of experience and over 100 jury trials in Texas. Our personal injury attorneys have a stellar reputation for dealing with insurance companies, negotiating favorable settlements with insurance companies, providing a thorough and prompt investigation and fighting to make sure you receive all the compensation your entitled to under the law.
We Get Results
Once you entrust us with your case, we commit to you and your cause and work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. Because we limit the number of cases we accept, our injury attorneys and staff are able to focus on your case and commit the time and resources necessary to achieve the best possible result. We promise you that your case will be handled with compassion and the personal attention and detail you deserve!
Working with this firm was the right decision. From start to finish, everyone knew me by name, treated me respectfully, and gave my case the required attention. Communication was clear and responses were prompt. Not to mention a great outcome. Definitely recommend.Todd S.
The best car accident lawyers you could possibly find in fort worth! They really take care of you and make sure you get the best settlement you could hope for. You will not be disappointed if you work with these people. Super nice and they really care about your situation! Thank you!Kate H.
Excellent customer service throughout the entire process. I would highly recommend this firm. Although ALL of the interactions with the office staff were amazing, hopefully you will get the pleasure of working with Rachel. She was so helpful, kind and professional.Wendi S.
Professional, responsive and helpful. contacted Jeff's on the referral of a friend and not only has every contact with the office been prompt and courteous thanks to Trish and Rachel, Jeff has been a great help. He patiently listened to my explanations and asked me questions to better understand my need, things other attorneys have not done prior to him. He got me answers to issues I had approached me with.Obiora E.
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