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Dallas Truck Accident Lawyer

Collisions with big rigs are unfortunate outcomes of having to share the road with commercial trucks. Thousands of large trucks move through Texas every day, playing a vital role in the state and national economies. The country needs roadway transportation of cargo, but it often comes at the expense of other drivers. If you or a loved one has been in a recent truck accident, contact Dallas truck accident lawyers at Fielding Law. The trucking company or another party may be legally responsible for paying your damages.

How Can Fielding Law Truck Accident Attorneys Help?

Crashes involving semi-trucks can be frightening and extremely damaging. You may never fully recover from your injuries and face a lifetime of medical bills and lost opportunities. No two truck accident cases are the same. The factors in a claim can vary greatly. It is important to retain an experienced truck accident lawyer in Dallas to maximize your chances of obtaining a settlement award or verdict in your favor.

When you retain an attorney from Fielding Law, you enjoy immediate peace of mind. You will no longer have to handle the varied and complex aspects of your claim alone. We will talk with trucking insurance companies for you, take over settlement negotiations, and help you file a personal injury claim. Our experienced team understands the unique details, requirements, and deadlines involved in trucking accident cases. We will help you every step of the way, beginning with a free initial consultation.

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Truck Accident Resources in Texas:

Compensation You Can Seek After a Truck Accident

When a truck collides with a small vehicle, the damages and injuries can be expensive. In Texas, you have the right to seek compensation for these damages if the other driver was negligent.

  • Medical Bills

    • Medical expenses mount up rapidly after any car accident, especially if the accident involved a truck. You may have expenses relating to transportation in an ambulance and emergency room expenses. If you need hospital care, the expenses for the hospital often run well over $1,000 per day. Further doctor’s visit will increase your costs, and any specialists will cost more.
    • Often after a serious accident, you may require assistance with medical treatment at home. In-home healthcare adds to your expenses. Additionally, prescription medication can often be very expensive as well. You may pursue compensation for all medical expenses after an accident.
  • Lost Wages

    • The recovery process after an accident can take weeks, months, or even years. During that time, you may be unable to work or limited in the work you can do. Employers are not in the habit of paying employees who cannot work. Those lost wages represent mortgage payments, car payments, payments for utilities, and all the basics of life. While you are out of work, those bills continue to come without regard for the fact that you are recovering from a serious injury.
  • Rehabilitation Costs

    • To regain the health and use of your body that you had before the accident, you will likely need rehabilitation. Physical therapy experts can help you regain the use and control of injured limbs and muscles. Their expertise naturally comes with a cost – well worth it for you to regain your health, but it’s not an expense you should bear alone if someone’s negligence caused your injury.
  • Pain and Suffering

    • Injuries, especially the serious injuries often sustained in a truck accident, are often catastrophic. In such cases, Texas law provides accident victims the right to seek compensation for the pain and suffering they experience after injury from another’s gross negligence. While money cannot take away your suffering, it can ease your mind about the future and the future of your family.
  • Mental or Emotional Pain

    • In addition to the physical pain a trucking accident caused, you may well have suffered extreme mental and emotional suffering as a result of your injury. Often after a truck accident that results in a serious injury, victims suffer mental trauma similar to the symptoms of PTSD. Nightmares, lost sleep, and feelings of extreme anxiety when riding in a car are not uncommon for those who have endured the significant trauma of a serious accident involving a truck.
  • Statute of Limitations

    • After most auto accidents in Texas, you have only two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. After your truck accident, you may take time recovering from your injury, trusting the insurance company will eventually do the right thing and offer you fair compensation for your injuries. However, if you wait too long, you may forfeit any compensation the law would entitle you to have. Even if your case merits compensation, you may be unable to claim any damages simply because you filed the claim too late.

Additionally, if your claim is against any government municipality in Texas, you may have as little as one year to file your claim. Claims against certain city or other smaller municipalities can reduce the time to file a claim even further.

To protect your rights, it is advisable that you begin the process of getting legal counsel as soon as possible after your truck accident. A free consultation can apprise you of any possible compensation and advise you what steps you need to take to begin securing the compensation.

Types of Trucking Accidents

At Fielding Law, we have helped dozens of truck accident victims recover for their medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and property damage. We have handled numerous cases and seen all types of trucking accidents. In our experience, we’ve learned to recognize several types of truck crashes that occur more than others. The size, shape, weight, and capabilities of big rigs make them susceptible to certain crashes, including these five:

  • Jackknife

    • The trailer swings out at an angle to the cab, locking the truck up and often causing rollovers. A jackknife accident can occur when a truck driver uses the wrong braking technique down a hill or around a curve. Truckers have no control over jackknifed trucks.
  • Rollovers

    • A large truck may turn onto its side if the driver loses control, yanks the wheel, or trips the truck on a curve or pothole. Trucks that rollover can crush or collide with other vehicles and cause pileups.
  • Rear-end collisions

    • These crashes are especially dangerous for smaller vehicles, as the large truck can exert a great amount of energy as it collides into the back of a car. Truck drivers must maintain ample driving distance and brake adequately to avoid these types of crashes.
  • Blind spot accidents

    • The great lengths of trucks result in major blind spots for drivers. Other motorists must take care not to drive for extended periods of time in these “no zones” or run the risk of trucks merging on top of them. Truck drivers must carefully check mirrors, signal their intent to merge, and do so slowly to allow time for other motorists to move.
  • Lost loads

    • Trucking companies must obey federal rules when it comes to cargo securement. Disobeying these rules or loading a truck negligently can lead to deadly lost loads on the roadway. Cargo falling out of a truck can strike other vehicles and cause major accidents.

During driver training, there are certain braking and maneuvering methods that truckers learn to avoid common types of accidents. Failure to carry out these techniques in emergencies can result in preventable crashes. Other common causes include driver incompetence, driver distraction, drowsy driving, badly loaded trucks, unsafe roadways, poor vehicle maintenance, and vehicle part defects. Obtaining compensation for your truck accident comes down to assigning fault and proving someone else’s negligence.

Causes of Truck Accidents

Some of the most common causes of tractor-trailer accidents include:

  • Driver errors

    • Truck drivers must hold themselves to a higher duty of care on the road than other drivers. Drivers who speed, make aggressive maneuvers, or operate their vehicles without adequate rest or under the influence of drugs or alcohol can easily cause catastrophic accidents. Drivers must also possess the necessary training and skill to navigate sharp turns, changing road conditions, and inclement weather. If an accident occurs due to poor training, the driver’s employer will likely face liability in any subsequent lawsuits.
  • Poor maintenance

    •  Since tractor-trailers drive more often and for longer distances than standard passenger vehicles, they require more thorough and consistent maintenance. If a maintenance technician fails to properly service a vehicle and causes an accident, the employer will likely incur liability for the resulting damages.
  • Faulty parts

    • Truck manufacturers and part manufacturers must ensure their products are safe for normal use, contain adequate instructions and safety warnings, and perform as advertised. If a defective part causes an accident, the plaintiff may need to pursue a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
  • Road hazards

    • Large trucks lack the maneuverability of smaller passenger cars. Damaged roads, debris, and other hazards are harder to avoid in a large tractor-trailer. If poor road conditions cause a truck accident, the local agency or municipality responsible for maintaining the road may face liability for the resulting damages.

Liability in Truck Accidents

Large truck accidents can easily cause catastrophic and fatal injuries. The most common injuries in these accidents are fractures, head and brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and internal damage. When a truck impacts a smaller vehicle, it can crush or completely obliterate it. Passengers inside the lighter vehicle are at high risk of serious injuries – much higher than the truck driver. As an injured victim in a trucking accident, a main step toward obtaining compensation for your serious damages is assigning liability for the wreck.

Trucking companies typically rent their fleet vehicles and use independent contractors as drivers. In the past, these practices safeguarded the companies from liability for accidents. The drivers were their own employers, and the company didn’t own the vehicles. Today, however, federal law has cracked down on trucking companies evading accident liability. Now, injured victims can almost always hold the truck company responsible for crashes that the truck or its driver caused in some way.

You may hold the company liable for a crash in the event of driver negligence, lack of truck maintenance, poor training, failed parts, lost loads, and many other common causes. The company will be vicariously liable for the actions of on-duty employees. It will also cover damages if the company failed to uphold one of its many duties. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has hundreds of rules in place for trucking companies, drivers, and others in the industry. Breaking any of these rules, resulting in an accident, could come down to company liability.

There is always the chance that a third party is legally responsible for a trucking accident. For example, if a third motorist ran into the truck, making it crash into you. Third parties may include other drivers, pedestrians, and product manufacturers. If a truck suffers a tire blowout, brake failure, or other problem because of a defective vehicle part, victims may have claims against the product manufacturer. There may be more than one defendant in your particular truck accident claim. Assigning fault and finding the company at fault is just one way an attorney can help you with a claim.

How to Prove a Truck Accident Claim

In Texas, the civil court system gives injured truck accident victims a way to recover their damages. While you can file your claim with the trucking company’s insurer, you may also take your claim to court. A trial may be necessary if the insurance company denies your claim or tries to offer you less than your actual damages. There are four main elements necessary to prove a truck or other car accident claim during a personal injury trial:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care
    • The truck driver and trucking company owe certain duties of care to others on the roadway. It is the company’s responsibility to ensure reasonable safety of its drivers and other roadway users.
  • The defendant breached his/her/its duty
    •  An act of negligence, recklessness, or lawlessness may be a breach of duty if it goes against accepted standards within the trucking industry. Proof of a breach may come in the form of electronic logging devices, eyewitness accounts, or driver histories.
  • The defendant caused the accident
    • The defendant’s breach of duty must have caused the crash, or at least been a major contributor. If the defendant was negligent but something else caused the accident, you likely could not hold the defendant liable. An experienced attorney can investigate and help determine the cause of an accident.
  • You suffered damages
    • You must have proof of real damages, such as personal injuries, medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering that the crash caused.

Proving a truck accident claim can be difficult depending on the circumstances of the crash. You may need to enlist help from expert witnesses such as doctors or professional truck drivers, as well as tap into the driver’s phone records or electronic logging device. Recreating the crash can also help explain how it happened to a judge or jury. An experience auto accident attorney can make all these tasks much easier for injured victims. If you have any doubts regarding your recent truck accident lawsuit, or need help filing a lawsuit, call one of our personal injury lawyers in Dallas today (214) 661-1537. 

Commercial Vehicle or Company Vehicle Accidents

Commercial and company drivers make their way through Dallas daily, delivering shipments, transporting people, and driving to business meetings. One small, careless act on the roadway is enough to cause a serious accident and injuries.

When commercial and company vehicles cause accidents, drivers, employers, and/or vehicle manufacturers may face liability. Fielding Law represents individuals in cases involving all types of commercial and company vehicles.

What Are Commercial and Company Vehicles?

Commercial vehicles include all vehicles companies use to transport passengers and products. They include buses, taxis, delivery vans, 18-wheelers, limousines, ridesharing vehicles, and other vehicles used for commercial enterprise. Company vehicles, on the other hand, are owned by the company and are provided to employees for business activities. Typically, these are passenger vehicles such as cars, pickup trucks, and vans.

In personal injury claims, company vehicles fall into a slightly different category because drivers are acting as employees when accidents occur. Instead of holding the driver of a company vehicle accountable, those injured may pursue claims against the company for its failure to train and oversee driver activities.

Commercial vehicle accident claims, on the other hand, involve professional drivers who must be licensed to operate these specialized vehicles. Because of the size and weight of commercial vehicles, professional drivers must use an elevated level of care when driving to avoid accidents.

These and other nuances set commercial and company vehicle claims apart from standard vehicle claims. After an accident involving a commercial vehicle, you may need the support of a Dallas car accident attorney to navigate insurance matters and secure adequate compensation for your losses.

Steps to Take After a Commercial Vehicle Accident

Companies that employ commercial drivers and offer company cars to employees hold commercial-level auto insurance to cover liability claims in the event of an accident. Ideally, a company insurer would offer fair compensation to injury victims. Unfortunately, many companies and insurers continually look for ways to keep premiums low and generate maximum profitability. The initial offer you receive may not provide adequate financial support for your losses.

To protect your ability to recover after a commercial vehicle crash:

  • Stick to the facts
    • Texas operates under a modified comparative fault rule, which can affect your ability to recover if you are more than 50% at fault for the accident. Until you speak with an attorney, focus on relating the unbiased facts of the incident to law enforcement officials, insurers, and others.
  • Record the situation
    • If you are able, use a smartphone or tablet to record the accident scene, the surrounding environment, vehicle damage, and your injuries. Photos and video recordings serve as powerful evidence in accident claims.
  • Keep everything related to your accident
    •  Create a file to store medical expense receipts, Explanations of Benefits, transportation receipts, property damage information, and other details. You deserve full compensation for your injuries, and a clear record of your losses will help your attorney fight for your rights.

Trucking Accident Statistics in Texas

Texas is a major contender in the national commercial trucking industry. It boasts major highways and thruways that truckers travel to get from one side of the country to the other. Texas employs more truck drivers than all other states in the nation, with 175,780 drivers. Dallas is one of the most heavily employed regions, with about 34,000 registered large-truck drivers. You can’t drive on Texas’s major highways and many rural roads without seeing at least one big rig. Accident facts for the state and country are as follows:

  • In 2015, there were 4,050 large trucks involved in fatal crashes around the United States. There were about 87,000 injury accidents involving large trucks the same year. About 60% of fatal large truck accidents occurred on rural roads.
  • In 2013, Texas had the highest number of large-truck fatal accidents of all states in the country, with 493. There were 381 fatalities of occupants in other vehicles and 111 occupants of large trucks (also the highest in the nation).
  • In 2016, there were 403 large trucks/semi-trailers in fatal crashes in Texas. Urban roads accounted for 115 of these accidents, while rural roads accounted for 288. There were more large-truck crashes in the state than truck, van, bus, and police vehicle accidents in 2016.
  • The most common causes of trucking accidents in Texas are truck driver fatigue, improper truck maintenance, equipment failures, distracted drivers, speeding, unsafe driving practices, inadequate training, and roadway defects.

Texas will continue to be a mainstay in the national trucking industry. The numbers of registered large trucks in the state is on the rise and will only increase further as consumer demands for goods grows. You cannot avoid driving alongside large trucks while navigating through Dallas, Fort Worth, and other major Texas cities, so educate yourself about these crashes to lower your risk of becoming a victim.

What Clients say about us:

“Michael and Mitchell are both excellent attorneys who know the ins and outs of personal injury law. And they are dedicated to their clients. They listen, answer questions and take the extra steps necessary to maximize the value of your claim. I would recommend Fielding Law to anyone.” -MATT MARTINEZ