Roadways in San Antonio, TX are full of big rigs and 18-wheelers. Texas has more miles of road than any other state and as a result, we also have more commercial truck accidents than any other state. Truck accidents are one of the leading causes of serious roadway injuries and fatalities. In spite of the high number of accidents, however, each case is different and deserves personalized attention and a distinctive approach.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor-trailer collision, you may need legal help from a San Antonio truck accident lawyer. A dedicated personal injury attorney can fight diligently for the maximum possible compensation that you need and deserve for your losses. En Español.
There are various types of truck accident cases. The most common include:
Truck wrecks can happen for a number of reasons, including some of the most common contributing factors such as driver error, fatigued driving, careless driving, reckless driving, drunk or drug-impaired driving, and speeding. Merging improperly into a lane, failing to check blind spots, and following too closely can also cause a serious truck crash. Trucking companies can be held accountable for negligent hiring practices, faulty truck maintenance, having defective brakes, or faulty vehicle maintenance, in general, are other potential causes of truck accidents.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and other regulatory agencies have regulations that require truck drivers and companies to maintain detailed driver records and logs. Part of our investigative process includes ensuring that these are preserved for review to help determine fault. This includes:
A San Antonio truck crash attorney could help the injured party seek compensation for the full measure of damages they have sustained. Under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 16.003, a claim for compensation must be filed within two years of the date of the truck wreck. The injured individual can recover compensation for their:
The injured party may also be entitled to monetary damages as compensation for their mental anguish, emotional distress, disfigurement, scarring, disability, loss of consortium, and loss of life’s pleasures or enjoyment of life. Depending on the facts of the crash and the egregiousness of the conduct, a jury may deem it proper to award punitive damages to the injured person in addition to the other forms of compensation noted above.
Punitive damages are a classification of damages that may be granted when the behavior of the defendant driver or other at-fault party is found to constitute gross negligence. These damages are intended to dissuade others who may engage in like misconduct in the future while punishing the current defendant for flagrant wrongdoing.
One defining element in truck collision cases is that there is frequently more than one party legally responsible for the injured person’s damages. In addition to the truck driver, parties such as the truck company owner, and the individual, company or entity employing the driver of the truck may also be found at fault.
Likewise, if the truck wreck was caused by excess or improperly loaded cargo, the cargo company and any third parties involved in loading the big rig may also be responsible for the claimant’s injuries.
A seasoned lawyer in San Antonio can investigate the full details of the collision and collect vital evidence such as road markings, scene accident photos, witness statements, and the incident crash report to identify all parties who could be liable for what happened.
State law acknowledges that sometimes an injured party is partially to blame for their injury. They might have played a role in causing a truck accident, or their post-crash behavior might have aggravated their injuries. Negligent truck accident victims are eligible to collect damages as long as other negligent parties were primarily responsible for their losses.
Texas follows a doctrine called modified comparative negligence, or proportionate responsibility. Courts will apportion blame among the parties in a personal injury lawsuit, and a plaintiff who is more than 50% responsible cannot collect damages from anyone. Plaintiffs who hold less than half the blame could collect damages from other parties whose proportion of fault exceeds their own.
When a lawsuit comes to trial, a jury will award the plaintiff a certain amount of damages. If a plaintiff bears partial responsibility for their losses, the Judge will reduce the award accordingly. For example, if the jury awards $100,000 in damages to a plaintiff who was 20 percent at fault in the crash, the plaintiff could collect only $80,000. Insurance adjusters could use the proportionate responsibility rule to try to limit a claimant’s recovery before trial. A savvy accident attorney could fight to ensure that any settlement offer reflects a fair allocation of responsibility.
Sometimes truck accident victims have claims against the state or a local government. This situation could arise if a government-owned vehicle was involved in the wreck, or if a government worker who was on the clock was driving an involved vehicle. If inadequate road maintenance, faulty traffic control devices, or poor road marking were factors in causing the accident, a local government could be responsible.
An injured person may bring a claim for personal injuries against the state or a local government, but some special rules govern these claims. Most importantly, the two-year statute of limitations does not apply when the government is a defendant. If Texas is a potential defendant, a plaintiff’s lawyer must submit a notice of claim to the appropriate state agency within six months of the crash. If the City of San Antonio is the defendant, a claimant has only 90 days to file the notice.
Governments also limit the damages a person could collect in a personal injury lawsuit. If Texas is the defendant, damages are limited to $250,000 for bodily injury per person, and $500,000 per incident. When a local government bears some responsibility for a wreck, damages are capped at $100,000 per person for bodily injury and $250,000 per incident.
Accidents involving commercial trucks can be devastating due to the size and weight of the vehicles and the amount of force and speed usually involved. If you’re not prepared to handle such a situation, it can make it even worse.
A San Antonio truck accident lawyer can handle every detail pertaining to your case so you can focus on recovering from your injuries and moving forward with your life. An experienced attorney can help you hold a negligent truck driver and company accountable for their actions. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more about how an attorney can help you with your case.