Trucking is a massive industry in Texas. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, trucking supports over one million jobs in Texas. While trucking helps support our local economy, this industry has a dark side. Using 2020 data, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identified Texas as leading the nation in truck fatalities.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in Garland, Texas, you may wonder if you have any right to a truck accident claim. The skilled litigators at Harley Law Firm are here to help. Our Garland truck accident lawyers have fought on behalf of clients like you for fair compensation against negligent truck drivers and companies. Contact us today.
What Is Considered a Truck?
Tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler, and semi are terms that describe large commercial trucks. For our purposes, a truck is a large-scale vehicle regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), primarily carrying and transporting items. The FMCSA regulates vehicles engaged in interstate commerce with a gross vehicle weight of 4,537 kg (10,001 lb) or more. Even if the truck doesn’t leave the state of Texas, it’s still regulated by Texas law, which adopted FMCSA regulations. Our Garland truck accident attorneys can explain how the definition of a truck under federal and state law might come into play in your accident claim.
Common Truck Accident Causes
It is vital for truck drivers to receive adequate training and for the trucks themselves to be in the best possible condition. If a truck or driver has a problem, it becomes an issue of public safety.
The common causes of truck accidents include:
- Driving under the influence;
- Driving while fatigued;
- Distracted driving;
- Failure to properly secure the load;
- Failure to maintain the truck in good working order; and
- Speeding, reckless driving, or other traffic violations.
Although a driver’s error is often the cause of a truck accident, trucking companies may be equally at fault. Sometimes they cut corners and fail to maintain a truck to save on their bottom line. Our Garland truck accident lawyers will investigate the details of your case to determine who may be at fault.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Injuries in truck accidents can range dramatically. Some common injuries from truck accidents include:
- Broken bones,
- Seat belt or airbag-related injuries,
- Internal injuries (i.e., damage to an internal organ),
- Abrasions and lacerations, and
If someone you love died as a result of a truck accident, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of them. Speak with our Garland truck accident attorneys to learn more about a potential wrongful death claim.
Truck Accident Liability
Most truck accident cases use negligence standards to prove truck accident liability. To prove negligence against a driver or trucking company, the injured party must show:
- Duty—for example, the truck driver owes you a duty to drive safely, and the truck company owes a duty to keep their trucks in good repair;
- Breach of duty—the driver breached that duty when they drove exhausted or under the influence, or the company failed to maintain the vehicle;
- Causation—these failures caused your injuries; and
- Damages—you suffered harm as a result.
Truck drivers and trucking companies have special regulations that apply to them, given the scale of their vehicles. For example, drivers cannot operate a truck when they are sick or fatigued. If a driver drives while sick and the trucking company knows it, both parties may be liable for damages if there’s an accident.
Compensation Available in Truck Accident Cases
Individuals injured in truck accidents may be entitled to compensation from the responsible parties. Texas law allows for injured parties to recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are relatively easy to calculate and include:
- Medical bills and costs,
- The costs of repairing or replacing a damaged vehicle,
- Lost wages from missing work due to injuries, and
- Lost future income while recovering from the injuries.
Non-economic damages are not as easy to calculate because they are highly personalized. Non-economic damages include things like emotional distress or loss of enjoyment of life.
A court could award exemplary damages if the responsible party’s conduct was particularly bad or reckless. Exemplary damages punish the responsible party rather than compensate the injured party for their losses.
If the injured party is partially at fault, Texas law reduces their compensation in proportion to their percentage of fault. For example, if you were 10% at fault for the accident, a court would reduce your damages by 10%. Plus, you can’t recover anything if you are found to be more than 50% responsible.
Our Garland Truck Accident Lawyers Will Fight for You
Investigating a truck accident case takes knowledge of federal and state law and an eye for detail. You have to deal with truck insurance companies and negotiate against teams of lawyers who will try to reduce your truck accident settlement. You do not have to do this alone. Our lawyers at the Hartley Law Firm are experienced with Texas truck accident cases and aren’t afraid to stand their ground against aggressive insurance lawyers. Contact us today.