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What Causes Truck Accidents? And Who Pays if I Get Injured?

  1. What Causes Truck Accidents?
  2. Breaking Down the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents
  3. Who Is at Fault for My Truck Accident?
  4. What is my truck accident claim worth?
  5. Where Do I Start?
  6. Will Adams Law Firm: Demanding Fair Compensation for Injured People in Katy, TX

What Causes Truck Accidents?

After a serious commercial vehicle or truck accident, you and your loved ones may be asking, “How did this happen?” Unfortunately, that’s not always an easy question to answer. And it’s a good bet that the truck driver (and the company that employs them) might give a very different explanation than you would.

Truck accidents are often complex, with multiple contributing factors. That can make it difficult for injured passenger vehicle occupants and their loved ones to get the compensation they deserve from the responsible parties.

If you’ve been injured (or a loved one was killed) in a truck accident, it’s important to identify the root causes and back them up with solid evidence. In this blog, we’ll outline some of the most common causes of truck accidents, and explain how an experienced attorney can help you keep the truck companies accountable and fight for fair compensation.

Breaking Down the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents

First, it’s important to distinguish between critical reasons for truck accidents and contributing factors. This distinction will impact your compensation and help determine who is at fault.

Critical Causes of Truck Accidents

In short, the critical cause of a semi truck accident is any final decision, act, or incident that made the accident inevitable. It usually occurs immediately before the crash and is often a direct result of negligence on the part of the truck driver, passenger vehicle driver, or sometimes both.

Examples of driver-related critical causes include:

  • Speeding or reckless driving
  • Making an illegal turn or other unsafe maneuver
  • Failing to check for traffic when pulling out or changing lanes
  • Distracted driving (eating, checking a phone, fiddling with the radio, etc.)
  • Driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs
  • Falling asleep at the wheel

Not all critical causes of truck accidents can be attributed to driver error, however. Sometimes the critical cause is environmental—for example, unsafe road conditions, poor weather conditions or visibility, or improper signage or signals.

The critical cause may be also related to equipment or mechanical failure, particularly when large commercial trucks are involved. Tire blowouts, brake failure, power steering failure, and other issues relating to the semi truck itself may be responsible.

Contributing Factors to Truck Accidents

Sometimes, the critical cause alone can fully explain the accident. But quite often in commercial truck cases, there are also several contributing factors lurking under the surface. Although they may not have been the direct cause of the accident, contributing factors can still indicate careless disregard for safety on the part of the truck driver, trucking company, or other parties.

Some common examples of contributing factors to large truck crashes include:

  • Driver fatigue due to excessively long hours on the road, pressure to meet impossible deadlines, or skipping mandatory breaks
  • Negligent employment practices on the part of the trucking company (for example, hiring underqualified drivers or retaining drivers with multiple safety violations)
  • Poor driver training
  • Improper loading of the truck (making it more susceptible to crashing)
  • Other regulatory compliance failures on the part of the truck driver or company

Who Is at Fault for My Truck Accident?

Each truck accident is unique. Just as there may be multiple contributing factors to an accident between large trucks and passenger vehicles, there may be multiple parties who share some degree of the fault.

Like other kinds of personal injury incidents, fault in a truck accident case is based on the legal concept of negligence. In order to share in the fault, you must show that a responsible party:

  • Owed you a duty of care (e.g., following posted speed limits and other rules of the road, taking reasonable actions to avoid collisions, etc.)
  • Violated that duty of care
  • Caused harm to you (“damages”) as a result of that violation

Potentially liable parties in a commercial truck crash case might include:

  • Negligent truck driver. The trucker might personally be at fault if they were operating the truck in an unsafe manner.
  • The employer of the truck driver. The commercial vehicle company is responsible for the actions of the drivers they employ. They must also follow strict state and federal regulations regarding hiring, training, and more. However, they often cut corners in the name of pursuing profit.
  • Equipment manufacturer. If the crash was caused by faulty tires, brakes, or other equipment due to a fundamental design flaw, the manufacturer may be considered negligent.
  • Maintenance company. Tractor trailers and other large trucks and commercial vehicles need to be inspected and maintained regularly. If the maintenance team ignored critical safety issues or performed sloppy repairs, they could be responsible for the crash.
  • Cargo loader. If a semi truck is loaded improperly, truck handling may be compromised and the trailer may be prone to tipping over.
  • Bar or restaurant. If the truck driver has been drinking, and was knowingly overserved, the establishment that overserved them may bear some of the legal responsibility.
  • You. A jury may find that the driver of a passenger car may share in the responsibility if they were also driving in an unsafe or negligent manner.

Why Liability Matters

Identifying all the liable parties is an important step for a couple of major reasons.

The first is the doctrine of comparative negligence. In Texas, if you are found to be more than 50% at fault for your accident, you cannot receive any compensation—even if you’ve suffered serious injuries and the commercial truck driver was also negligent. And if you are found to be partially responsible but at 50% or less of the total blame, your compensation will be reduced by your share of the fault.

The second is about applicable insurance policies and coverage limits. When a heavy truck collides with a small passenger car, the resulting injuries are often catastrophic. You may rack up hundreds of thousands in medical bills. However, the truck driver’s personal insurance coverage may not provide a nearly high enough limit to compensate you fairly.

On the other hand, trucking companies (and other corporate entities) tend to have much higher liability limits on their insurance policies.

Identifying all the potential sources of fault and insurance coverage may be necessary to maximize the amount of compensation you can actually collect.

An experienced legal team will help you navigate the complexities of a truck accident case and ensure you are fairly compensated by all parties involved. We will look at all angles of the case, including the driver’s personal fault, the fault of the trucking company, and even how the maintenance or support companies may share in the blame.

“Will treats his clients with great kindness and compassion. He fully understands the pain and injustice each victim is going through. This compassion and understanding allows Will to prosecute your case to the fullest. Will is tenacious in pursuing what he feels is the correct settlement for his clients.”

- B & ES – Dallas, TX

“Will, Chris & Sarah. K and I just want to thank you so much for everything you’ve done for us and our family. Throughout this process you have kept us informed and been patient with us (especially me) as we navigated through unchartered territory. Putting things in your hands allowed Karl and I to focus on him getting better.”

- SC – Katy, TX

“Hi Will, I just wanted to take a minute and let you and your wonderful staff know just how much we appreciate each one of you! All of you have been so great to us. Y’all have always answered any and all questions immediately and never left us hanging or wondering about anything. All of you have made this.”

- SB – Katy, TX

"Dear Sarah, you are the best legal assistant in the history of such creatures of legend and lore. (And Brian is in the tribe too) Do take a copy of this email to your next annual performance review... you have raised the bar. Thank you for all your help!"

- AM – Houston, TX

"I wanted to thank you both for a job well done and for an outcome that far exceeded my expectations. I appreciated your expertise and your thoroughness of preparation, as well as keeping me informed of the possible outcomes at each major point.Will, I think that Chris did an excellent job and wanted to bring that to your attention."

- MJ – Katy, TX

What is my truck accident claim worth?

When personal injury lawyers calculate your truck accident claim’s settlement value, they focus on “damages.” These are the financial, physical, and emotional losses that you suffered as a result of the wreck.

Depending on your situation, your truck accident damages might include:

  • Medical bills, both now and in the future
  • Medical equipment that you need, like wheelchairs, lifts, or a TENS unit
  • Lost income and reduced wage-earning capacity
  • The cost of repairing or replacing damaged property
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Punitive damages

As you can see, calculating a fair settlement amount can be an exceptionally complex process, particularly when estimating future medical expenses or putting a “price tag” on more subjective loses like emotional anguish or reduced quality of life. And if you accept a settlement offer that ultimately proves to be too low, you have given up your right to seek more compensation later.

That’s one more reason why working with an experienced attorney makes so much sense and can provide peace of mind for injured individuals and their families.

RELATED POST: What Is My Truck Accident Claim Worth in Katy, Texas?

Where Do I Start?

The nature of the trucking industry is to focus solely on profit—not necessarily the welfare of employees or other innocent drivers.

While there are laws in place to protect you from these corrupt and dishonest companies, actually winning a lawsuit against a large trucking conglomerate requires patience in uncovering evidence, tracking down leads and holding all parties accountable.

These companies have deep pockets and experienced legal teams working hard to aggressively fight claims and reduce the amount they have to pay to injured claimants. Unfortunately, they also sometimes stoop to hiding or destroying evidence that complicates their case—for example, truck computer data that shows a driver was speeding and failed to hit the brakes before the impact.

An experienced truck accident attorney can help discover and preserve evidence, identify any and all true causes of the accident, and get fair compensation for your sustained injuries or loss. We are familiar with the laws that can be leveraged in your favor, as well as the games the trucking companies try to play to avoid paying up.

Don’t try to take on a trucking company alone. We are here to help and will spend as much time as necessary to bring you justice.

Will Adams Law Firm: Demanding Fair Compensation for Injured People in Katy, TX

If you need help seeking fair compensation against a trucking company after an accident, please don’t wait to call us. We have decades of experience helping injured people and holding commercial truck drivers and companies accountable in the Greater Katy Area and across Texas.

To request a free consultation with an experienced, aggressive truck accident lawyer, call our office at 1-800-559-0593, or fill out our simple online contact form.

 

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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