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About Texas Trucking Accident and Injuries

Truck accident injuries are among the most serious of the many different types of injuries encountered in Texas vehicle accidents. Compared to injuries sustained in a car or motorcycle accident, truck accident injuries are often more severe and catastrophic. This is owing to the truck's sheer size and weight. Dilapitating injuries prohibit patients from regaining their pre-accident health or condition. In addition to causing extreme pain, these injuries can have long-term effects on a victim's ability to walk, think, and live a normal life after the occurrence. Examples of such injuries include damage to the brain and spinal cord that make up the central nervous system.

According to a Texas Department of Transportation report, 613 people died, and 1,471 people were seriously injured in Texas truck accidents in 2019. Most critically injured individuals in truck accidents require immediate and extensive medical attention. Medical treatments such as X-rays, M.R.I.s, surgeries, CT scans, and lab tests can cost hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars. The state civil court system allows victims and all affected parties in truck accidents to hold liable parties accountable for their damages and recover compensation for their losses.

What are Some Common Injuries from Truck Accidents?

Truck accidents in Texas can cause various injuries, including brain injuries, traumatic orthopedic injuries, internal injuries, psychological problems, and wrongful death.

  • Head injuries. Head injuries include a broad spectrum of injuries to the scalp, skull, brain,  underlying tissue, and blood vessels in the head. Depending on the severity of the damage, head injuries are sometimes known as Traumatic Brain Injuries(TBI). TBIs involve sudden physical damage to the brain. The condition arises when an item penetrates or strikes the skull. 

    Truck accidents are a significant source of traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions and blunt head trauma. Traumatic brain injuries can affect how the brain functions, processes information, and interacts with emotions. Although TBIs are not always fatal, they can induce cognitive impairment and loss of physiological functions.

  • Traumatic orthopedic injuries. These injuries cause considerable harm to the body's musculoskeletal system. They are injuries to the body's bones, muscles, ligaments, nerves, tendons, and connective tissues. Traumatic orthopedic injuries include:

    • Burns: Many people in Texas truck accidents suffer severe burns due to the accompanying fire and explosion. They also get friction burns when they brush up against hard surfaces like the inside of a vehicle or the pavement. Burns are notoriously difficult to treat, and surgical intervention may be required. Some burn patients may even require cosmetic surgery to remove or cover scars caused by their injuries.
    • Bruising and contusions: Even if it is not immediately visible, most persons engaged in a truck accident will almost certainly sustain some form of bruising. Bruises and contusions are rarely fatal and, if appropriately treated, will heal in a relatively short period.
    • Spinal injuries: Spinal cord injuries are among the most serious injuries that may occur in a truck accident. These injuries occur when the spinal cord is cut or damaged. They have the potential to cause complete or partial paralysis depending on the severity of the damage. The inability to walk is a typical complication of these injuries. More extreme cases can result in quadriplegia, a disease in which a person loses the ability to move all of their limbs.
    • Lacerations: Truck accidents can result in significant lacerations and puncture wounds due to shattered glass and sharp metal. These injuries leave scars that can cause persons to seem disfigured either momentarily or permanently. Facial lacerations are the most severe because they are visible.
    • Amputation: Amputations are surgical operations in which limbs are removed. As a result of the collision and other factors, truck accident victims may have their limbs severed or crushed. Treatment and recovery may require one or more amputations.

  • Internal injuries. These types of injuries involve internal body organs. Internal injuries are not always evident after a truck accident, and postponing treatment might lead to serious medical complications or death. Internal organ injury is commonly caused by blunt force trauma or penetrating trauma. Blunt force trauma occurs when a part of the body collides with the vehicle at high speed or with enormous force. Penetrating trauma occurs when an object enters the body and tears holes in the blood vessels, muscle, and other internal organs. Internal injuries include:

    • Broken bones: A victim's body may collide with other parts of the vehicle or the road, putting their bones under extreme stress and strain. When the bones are subjected to so much stress that they fracture or break. Although broken bones are seldom permanent or life-threatening, certain fractures may require surgical intervention to be repaired. Some patients may also require hardware, such as pins or screws, to help their bones heal. Broken bones in trucking accidents most commonly affect the legs, hips, hands, and wrists.
    • Internal bleeding: This type of injury occurs when delicate and vulnerable internal organs are cut or crushed. Following a truck accident, the stress imposed on the body may cause internal organs to be injured, bleed, or even burst. If they are not to become life-threatening, they must be treated as soon as possible. Common internal injuries in truck accidents include liver damage, kidney injury, and punctured lungs.

  • Psychological problems. Psychological injuries arise from an especially scary or upsetting encounter, such as a truck accident. Following such emotional trauma, it is possible to have issues functioning or coping regularly. Such conditions include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. Someone who has gone through this may be terrified to drive or ride in a car. Sleeping problems or nightmares are also possible in this condition. 

  • Wrongful death. Wrongful death occurs when a truck accident kills a person. Each year, large commercial vehicles are responsible for many road fatalities. Nonetheless, when a person is killed in a trucking accident, a wrongful death attorney can assist the deceased's family to seek restitution by filing a wrongful death lawsuit for financial compensation. This can help the surviving family acquire funds to cover burial expenses, medical costs, financial support, income loss, and even the pain and emotional suffering that comes with a loved one's death.

Individuals who experience severe injuries may require extensive rehabilitation to regain their physical and cognitive abilities, which might take years. Treatment may include physical, medical, cognitive, occupational, and even speech therapy. 

What Types of Costs Can I Recover for Treating Trucking Accident Injuries?

Damages are monetary judgments awarded to truck accident victims to compensate them for their losses and injuries. The amount of damages or compensation awarded is determined by various factors, including the severity of the injuries and the financial losses incurred. Individuals who suffer severe injuries in truck accidents typically face medical bills in the millions of dollars throughout their lives.

Furthermore, they are likely to incur more financial losses due to their incapacity to work throughout their recovery or ever again. As such, they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and other damages.

Affected parties are often entitled to two damages: economic and non-economic damages. 

Economic Damages

Economic damages are those that can be quantified or documented. Examples include:

  • Medical bills: Truck accident victims are entitled to compensation for surgery, doctor's visits, hospitalization, physical therapy, medicines, and other medical treatments required to treat their injuries.

  • Property damage: This covers the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged vehicles and the cost of replacing any personal items that were destroyed in the truck accident.

  • Wage losses: Suppose victims are permanently disabled or their earning capacity is considerably reduced due to their injuries. In that case, individuals may be entitled to compensation for loss of earning ability to reimburse them for current and future wage losses.

Non-economic Damages

Non-economic damages are compensation for losses that are not quantifiable in monetary terms. They are difficult to define and cannot be assigned a definite dollar amount. Depending on the circumstances, plaintiffs may require the assistance of a truck accident attorney to establish the value of this portion of their claim. This is because calculating the available compensation requires a thorough understanding of the law. This form of compensation might include the following:

  • Pain and suffering: These benefits are meant to compensate victims for the pain and suffering they have undergone due to their injuries and throughout their medical treatment.

  • Mental anguish: Victims of truck accidents who suffer from anxiety, depression, insomnia, or other emotional distress and injuries may be eligible for mental anguish compensation.

  • Loss of consortium: Loss of consortium damages are intended to reimburse affected parties for their injuries negatively impacting their relationships.

  • Disfigurement: If the injuries are serious, they may result in lifelong scarring or disfigurement. Individuals are entitled to compensation for bodily and psychological suffering sustained due to the accident.

In wrongful death lawsuits, the truck accident victim dies due to the injuries sustained in the collision. An experienced wrongful death attorney can help to recover the victim's pre-death damages and the personal losses of family members.

Punitive Damages

According to Section 41.003 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, punitive or exemplary damages are awarded to chastise or penalize the responsible party for their gross negligence rather than to compensate the victim for their loss. Gross negligence is defined as a defendant's total disregard for another party’s safety. It is considered gross negligence when a defendant knows that their actions are likely to be harmful but chooses to proceed regardless, with a purposeful disregard for the safety or well-being of others. For instance, a truck driver or trucking company may be considered extremely negligent if they fail to follow the rules and regulations of the road.

After a truck accident in Texas, a party seeking punitive damages must show that the defendants (such as the truck driver or trucking company) were negligent and careless about the safety of others. They must also demonstrate that their carelessness was the fundamental cause of the truck accident and ensuing damage.

Where do Payments for Injuries That Resulted from a Truck Accident Come From?

Because Texas is an at-fault state, any party determined to be at fault in a truck accident must bear the costs of the resulting injuries and property damage. However, establishing who is at fault in a Texas truck accident is a complicated process involving several parties. As a result, to get compensation, the victim and their legal team must determine who is responsible for the accident and their injuries. They must also show that the aforementioned party was directly or indirectly liable for the truck accident.

Several parties might be liable, including:

  • Truck driver: Texas truck drivers who participate in a negligent activity that causes an accident, such as speeding, driving whileh drunk, driving while fatigued, or participating in other unsafe behavior, may be held responsible for a truck accident.

  • Trucking company: If the truck driver was an employee of the trucking company, the trucking company might be held vicariously liable for the truck driver's recklessness. The trucking industry may also be liable for placing unrealistic expectations on truck drivers, prompting them to drive when tired. If the company failed to educate its drivers or failed to inspect and maintain their trucks, they might be held responsible for the crash.

    Furthermore, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Regulations, eliminates the distinction between independent contractors and employees. This legislation considers all truck drivers, regardless of employment status, to be employees of trucking companies. As such, if the driver operates within their scope of responsibility, the employer (i.e., the trucking company) is accountable for any errors made by the driver.

  • Truck manufacturer: Accidents caused by mechanical defects or malfunctioning equipment may result in the manufacturer being held accountable.

  • Cargo company: The company in charge of loading the commodities onto the vehicle may be held accountable if the cargo is overloaded or inadequately loaded, increasing the chance of the cargo sliding off the truck or causing an accident.

Given the complexity involved, it is possible that no reimbursement will be made right away and that the victims would initially be responsible for the costs of their medical treatment. Nonetheless, it is critical to keep meticulous records of all medical expenses as the case progresses. This will allow them to request the proper amount of economic damages and will also help to ensure that all the related bills are paid when the final settlement is received.

Texas Modified Comparative Fault

Truck accident victims may also be liable for accidents that caused their injuries. Texas uses a modified comparative fault rule, which means that both parties can be held partially accountable for a truck accident and the resulting damage. The jury must determine how much each defendant's and plaintiff's negligence contributed to a truck accident in which both parties were liable.

Following that, the total amount of damages awarded will be reduced according to the plaintiff's share of fault. If the victim is found to be more than 50% at fault for the truck accident, they will be denied compensation. As a result, the plaintiff may be liable for some or all of their medical expenses, depending on how much they contributed to the accident.

What Type of Evidence do I Need to Collect or Present in a Trucking Accident Claim?

Obtaining the highest amount of compensation available following a truck accident is mostly dependent on the amount and credibility of the evidence presented. Truck accidents cause significant property damage, necessitating large monetary settlements. As a result, liable parties may be unwilling to accept fault and make a fair settlement offer. Hence, liable parties may refuse to compensate victims who do not have sufficient proof.

Establishing negligence is the most important step in obtaining compensation following a truck accident. Affected parties cannot file an accident lawsuit against a truck driver or a trucking company unless they can demonstrate negligence and liability.

Some of the evidence required to prove negligence may include:

  • The police report: The police report is a significant piece of evidence in every accident case. Because the police are usually the first to arrive at the accident scene, they are in a better position to offer information about what happened. Through the information they supply, they often establish the context for proving negligence.
  • Data derived from black boxes: All big commercial trucks are equipped with electronic monitoring systems as standard equipment. These devices, sometimes known as black boxes, are similar to those found in airplanes and are used to collect data about the journey. In truck accidents, they record critical information like the vehicle's speed at the time of impact and when the brakes were used.
  • Data from an electronic logging device: Electronic logging devices record how long the driver drove the truck without stopping. This can be useful in determining if the truck driver and the trucking firm violated any safety rules or regulations.
  • Dashcam and surveillance footage: Surveillance footage can help determine whether or not the driver took precautions to prevent an accident. It might also reveal whether or not the motorist was preoccupied during the crash.
  • Photographs of the accident site: Photographs of the accident scene may be instrumental in proving liability and demonstrating negligence. They can help truck accident attorneys and professionals reconstruct the events that happened in the seconds preceding the crash.
  • Repair, maintenance, and inspection records: Trucking companies have a habit of cutting corners when maintaining and repairing their fleet. If the trucking company's maintenance records show that the truck was not kept in a safe condition, the trucking company's liability may be proven.
  • Expert witness testimony: It is possible to use expert testimony to show carelessness and decide who is liable for an accident. Accident reconstruction experts, as well as automotive components specialists or mechanics, may be involved.

After proving liability, plaintiffs must demonstrate that they have suffered losses. It is critical in this procedure to demonstrate to the responsible parties and the court (if applicable) how much money the victims lost as a result of the crash and the injuries they sustained. Important evidence that may be used to prove damages include:

  • Medical records: These documents include information about a person's medical history. They help determine the nature of the injuries and how they may affect the victim's life and future.
  • Financial records: Because many people are unable to work as a result of a truck accident injury, their financial resources might become strained. Financial records such as tax returns, pay stubs, receipts, invoices, and other important financial documents can assist in proving financial losses.

It is critical to preserve as much evidence as possible after a catastrophic truck crash. This entails seeking medical attention and following a prescribed treatment plan. Failure to comply with these standards may result in liable parties contesting the claim to avoid liability. Affected parties can also protect and preserve evidence following a truck accident by serving a spoliation notice on the trucking company and other parties involved.

Spoliation is the deliberate destruction of evidence. Hence, a spoliation letter is an official communication to all parties, informing them of the accident lawsuit, and urging them to keep any evidence related to the legal claim. The spoliation letter defines the types of evidence that must be kept, such as black box data or information from an electronic logging device. If liable parties fail to preserve the evidence, they may face hefty penalties and punishments in court.

What if My Pain After a Truck Accident Was Delayed?

In Texas, victims who experience delayed injuries from a truck accident may be entitled to some compensation. It is often challenging to evaluate the extent of injuries sustained in a truck accident because some injuries are not visible or detectable from the outside. Examples of such injuries include internal bleeding, concussions, organ damage, and other internal injuries. Symptoms of these injuries may not appear for several hours or days after the accident, even though the occurrence caused them. This is especially common after a traumatic incident because adrenaline can momentarily mask discomfort.

Hence, whether or not a person involved in the truck accident looks to be in excellent health immediately following the collision, they might still suffer some injuries. As a result, it is vital to see a doctor as soon as possible after a truck accident and to monitor one's health in the days and weeks that follow. This will help ensure that latent damage is not left untreated and that a strong association between the accident and one's health is established.

Prompt medical attention can assist a doctor in assessing the injuries and initiating treatment as soon as possible, perhaps preventing more severe symptoms or even saving the victim’s life if they suffered a life-threatening injury. If there is a link between the truck accident and the delayed injury, it is crucial to establish that link. A skilled truck accident attorney may be able to help obtain compensation by gathering as much evidence as possible to show that the truck accident was the cause of the delayed injuries.

What is Emotional Trauma After Truck Accident?

Texas truck accidents can have long-term physical and mental consequences for the individuals affected. Because being involved in a truck accident is often interpreted as a near-death experience, the brain undergoes a considerable amount of stress, causing victims to suffer a range of acute or chronic psychological consequences and emotional trauma. These emotional reactions can be as serious and as severe as physical injuries, and just as hard to heal. While there is a readily apparent course of treatment for bodily harm, mental trauma can be difficult to diagnose – making a recovery significantly more challenging.

Common emotional injuries include:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD follows a traumatic event such as a truck accident. It can affect an accident victim in numerous ways, causing victims to have trouble sleeping or relieving their experiences through nightmares. It can also have unpredictable effects on a victim’s perceptions of and reactions to reality. These symptoms can be debilitating and cause the sufferer to become avoidant, withdraw socially, and isolate themselves from their family, friends, and work. Hence, the psychological impact of an accident must be studied and factored into the overall course of treatment after a truck accident. 

  • Anxiety

Anxiety is commonly accompanied by emotions of nervousness, dread, or panic. Survivors that feel tense, nervous, or afraid in situations where they would usually feel at ease may be suffering from post-crash anxiety.

  • Depression

Depression presents itself in various ways, the most frequent of which are a loss of interest in the world and a sense of alienation from daily life and loved ones. Victims may experience acute depression or frustration following a major truck accident.

  • Phobias

Individuals involved in truck accidents may become afraid to get behind the wheel for fear of being involved in another disaster. Amaxophobia, also called ochophobia or motorphobia is a type of phobia that makes people afraid of driving or riding in a car. Phobias may make living a normal life impossible.

Overall, resolving emotional and mental health difficulties may take as much time and work as recovering from a physical illness. Therapy and medication can help affected individuals to get their lives back on track. 

Whiplash is a type of neck injury that may be sustained in a truck accident. It occurs when the head suddenly snaps forward or backward on the neck, like a whip cracking. It causes the muscles and ligaments in the neck to be pushed beyond their normal range of movement. Though whiplash is most common in rear-end accidents, it can result from almost any type of crash. Common whiplash symptoms can include the following:

  • Chronic headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Shoulder pain
  • Weakness or numbness in the arms.

Although whiplash is not considered a severe injury, it can cause long-term problems and complications. Whiplash may persist for long periods and may cause victims to miss work and require long-term physical therapy. 

How do I Get Compensated for My Trucking Accident Injuries in Texas?

Any individual or entity injured in a Texas truck accident has the constitutional right to hold the negligent party liable for the crash and claim compensation for the losses they suffered. To enforce their rights under Texas law and collect the maximum compensation they deserve, they may file a truck accident lawsuit.

What are the Steps to Take in a Personal Injury Claim?

A truck accident claim is a type of personal injury lawsuit that entities initiate if they were hurt in a truck accident and it was someone else's fault. It is the formal process of recovering compensation from the other party who was responsible for the injury. Before filing a truck accident claim in the appropriate Texas trial court, claimants (plaintiffs) must ensure that they have a valid lawsuit. A valid claim constitutes:

  • A negligent party, usually the defendant, that breached their duty of care by engaging in careless or reckless conduct.

  • A negligent act that caused a personal identifiable injury. This may include physical injuries, damages to the plaintiff’s car, or even psychological injuries traceable to the accident.

  • Compensable damages or losses incurred because of the injuries.

If the claim constitutes these vital elements, the affected party may then follow these steps to file a truck accident lawsuit:

  • Contact an attorney: The first step in bringing a personal injury claim for most accident victims is hiring a truck accident attorney. While the claimant might not require a lawyer to represent them in court, their chances of success are substantially more significant if they have professional representation. It is advisable to work with an attorney who is not only experienced in personal injury claims but one who has successfully handled similar truck accident claims. It is also essential to ensure that their attorney of choice has a proven track record in the courtroom in case the lawsuit requires a trial.

  • Collecting evidence and documenting the extent of injuries: After hiring a personal injury lawyer, the claimant may focus on recovering while their attorney investigates to gather evidence supporting the claim.

  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit or negotiating a settlement: Many Texas truck accident cases are settled without trials. When presented with overwhelming evidence of negligence and the extent of the victim's injuries, defendants are usually eager to settle. A lawsuit settlement implies that the matter is concluded before the court decides on it. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the claimants have the option of suing.

  • Trial verdict: If a truck accident case goes to trial, a jury (or judge) will review the evidence and arguments from both sides before rendering a verdict. The losing side may decide to appeal the ruling in the appellate court, but the trial court’s decision is final.

How Long do I Have to File a Truck Injury Claim?

In Texas, there is a statute of limitation on the amount of time an injured individual has after suffering injuries in a truck accident to bring a case in the state's civil court system. This time restriction is two years from the date of the accident. As a result, victims of a truck accident have a two-year window in which to file a case. If they do not comply with the time restriction, the Texas civil court system will most likely dismiss their case, and their opportunity to file a truck accident lawsuit would be lost.

However, the Texas statute of limitation is shorter if the defendant is a municipality, government agency, or employee. In case a government entity or employee is responsible for causing injury, claimants must file a formal claim with the liable government unit. This claim must be filed within six months of the crash and should include an accurate description of the time and place of the collision, a summary report of what happened, and a description of the injury. 

Navigating Texas truck accident rules and obtaining good settlements requires experience and know-how. This is where experienced truck accident lawyers step in. Enlisting the services of an attorney that understand the laws and statutory rules for personal injury claims in Texas is crucial because only then can the claimant get the compensation they deserve.

What Issues to Consider When Instituting a Trucking Accident Claim?

Before filing a truck accident lawsuit, it is essential to understand that pursuing justice can be a challenging task. Trucking companies can afford to hire highly qualified personal injury attorneys because of their financial capabilities. It is not advisable to confront them without legal assistance. As a result, while every victim has the right to file a claim, hiring an expert accident attorney has a significant influence on the case's chances of success. The victim should choose a competent attorney, especially one with the abilities and resources to fight with such companies.

What to Know When Negotiating an Insurance Settlement After a Trucking Accident Injury in Texas?

Texas truck accidents cause expensive damages that require substantial compensation of millions of dollars. Liable parties might be reluctant to admit liability and offer a fair settlement. Because of this, they will fight aggressively to deny or reduce their liabilities in any way possible. After truck accidents, victims are advised to avoid accepting settlement offers in a hurry. They may quickly receive what looks like a generous settlement offer from the truck driver’s or trucking company’s insurance company. In most cases, such offers are usually far too low, and by accepting them, the accident victims give up their rights to seek full compensation.

Furthermore, when liable parties refuse to accept responsibility, recovering compensation may take longer than usual. Victims of truck accidents are advised to ensure proper documentation of all costs incurred due to their injuries in such cases. Some negligent drivers and their insurance companies may aggressively deny responsibility for a truck accident, requiring the victim to file a lawsuit. The documented evidence will help build a viable claim. 

Do you need a truck accident lawyer? Consult the best truck attorneys in Texas by searching online for terms such as "truck accident attorney near me" or "personal injury lawyer near me". You may also use the state and local bar associations' directory to find qualified accident lawyers and law firms in Texas.