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How Does Compensation Work For Texas Truck Accidents?

San Antonio truck accident lawyer explains how the system works in Texas

Truck accidents involving large commercial vehicles such as semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, delivery trucks, and oil tankers often occur in Texas, particularly on major highways such as I-10, I-35, and I-37 in San Antonio and other large cities throughout the Lone Star State.

When these collisions occur, victims of truck accidents are typically entitled to financial compensation for their losses. However, securing this compensation can be far more complex than it might initially appear. The process often involves navigating complex legal and insurance claim issues, which can be difficult for crash victims without proper legal guidance.

As such, if you were injured or a loved one died in a crash with a heavy commercial vehicle, it’s essential to understand your legal rights. An experienced truck accident lawyer from our San Antonio law firm can help identify all potential sources of liability, negotiate with insurance companies, and, if necessary, advocate on your behalf in court to ensure that you receive the full compensation you deserve.

How common are commercial truck accidents in Texas?

Texas records more commercial truck accidents than any other state in the country. According to data from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Texas averages over 12,000 accidents involving tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, oil tankers, delivery trucks, and other commercial vehicles each year. These crashes often result in hundreds of injuries and more than 500 fatalities annually, with some years seeing as many as 600 deaths.

For comparison, California often ranks second in the number of commercial truck accidents and related fatalities. Based on data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Texas typically reports about 60 percent more commercial truck accident deaths than California.

Is Texas an at-fault insurance state?

To understand how compensation works for truck accidents in Texas, it's essential to know that Texas operates under an at-fault insurance system. In this system, the party responsible for the accident is also responsible for covering all related expenses. This approach contrasts with the no-fault insurance systems in some other states, where injury victims receive compensation regardless of who caused the accident.

This means that in Texas, if a truck driver or any other party is at fault for your collision, they are liable for all resulting costs. You should not have to bear any financial burden for expenses related to your accident, from medical bills to lost wages.

How much is my truck accident claim worth?

Determining the value of a truck accident claim is complex and involves several factors. Generally, you should be compensated for all your accident-related expenses, but the process often involves significant negotiation about what exactly should be covered.

Frequently, the party responsible for the accident (e.g., the trucking company and/or their insurance provider) may attempt to limit their financial liability, potentially leaving you with substantial out-of-pocket costs.

Here are some factors that can significantly impact the value of your truck accident claim:

  • Severity of Your Injuries: More severe injuries typically result in higher compensation due to increased medical costs, longer recovery times, and a greater impact on your overall quality of life.
  • Recovery Time: The length of time it takes for you to recover affects compensation, as longer recovery can lead to higher medical bills and prolonged income loss.
  • Type of Medical Care Received: The cost of medical treatment you require (emergency care, surgery, rehabilitation, long-term care) can vary greatly and significantly influence the claim's value.
  • Ability to Return to Work: If your injuries prevent you from returning to your previous job or working at all in the future, you may be entitled to compensation for lost earning capacity.
  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation often includes an amount for pain and suffering, which covers the physical and emotional distress caused by the accident.
  • Impact on Quality of Life: If the accident results in permanent disabilities or a change in lifestyle, you may receive compensation for these long-term effects.
  • Punitive Damages: In cases where the at-fault party's actions were particularly reckless or egregious, punitive damages might be awarded to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future.

Again, if you've been injured in a truck accident, consulting with a truck accident attorney can help ensure that your legal rights are protected and that you pursue all available avenues for a fair and full financial recovery.

Who’s liable for a commercial truck accident?

Truck accidents often involve multiple liable parties, making them more complex than other motor vehicle accidents. Depending on the specifics of your truck wreck, the at-fault parties could include:

  • Truck Driver: If the accident was caused by the trucker’s actions, such as reckless driving, speeding, fatigue, or violation of traffic laws, the driver could be held liable.
  • Trucking Company: The company that employs the truck driver may also be liable, particularly if they failed to enforce proper driving practices or hired a driver with a checkered past (e.g., a known history of traffic violations or accidents).
  • Loading Company: If improper loading of the truck’s cargo contributed to the accident, such as causing a rollover or imbalance, the company responsible for loading the truck might be held accountable.
  • Maintenance Providers: If a maintenance issue caused the accident due to negligence in routine checks and repairs, the service provider tasked with maintaining the truck could be liable.
  • Trailer Owner: If the 18-wheeler’s trailer was defective or improperly maintained, the trailer owner could also be responsible, especially if these issues contributed directly to the accident.
  • Truck Parts Manufacturers: If a defect in components like brakes or tires contributed to the accident, manufacturers of faulty truck parts can be held liable.
  • Insurance Companies: Insurance providers for the truck driver, trucking company, and other involved parties may also bear financial responsibility for covering damages from the accident.
  • Government Entities: Poor road conditions or inadequate signage can sometimes contribute to a truck accident. In such cases, local or state government entities responsible for road maintenance and safety might also be considered liable.

Each of these entities may share responsibility for the incident, and identifying all liable parties is crucial in ensuring full compensation. An experienced attorney can help you identify all potentially liable parties and hold them accountable for your losses.

A truck accident lawyer can fight for the maximum compensation you deserve

The stakes are often high in truck accident claims, as the damages involved can be substantial, ranging from severe physical injuries to significant financial burdens due to medical expenses, lost income, or even the death of a loved one in a fatal truck wreck.

Given that the trucking company and its insurance providers will have experienced lawyers working to protect their interests, it is crucial for you to have legal representation to level the playing field.

It’s also important to act quickly because the trucking company controls much of the evidence, such as the truck driver's logs and vehicle maintenance records, which can be critical in proving your case.

Our truck accident attorneys at The Herrera Law Firm in San Antonio know what’s at stake. That’s why we are here to help. For years, we have successfully helped accident victims demand the justice and accountability they deserve. The key to our success is our drive to succeed. We never take anything for granted. We do the work that needs to be done to build the strongest possible legal case because we know that “winning isn’t luck; it’s knowing how to fight.”

Get the law firm that gets results. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation. Our office is located on West Commerce Street in San Antonio, and we handle truck accident claims throughout Texas.

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