Truck Accident Lawyer in El Paso
Any truck used by a business regularly for work purposes or to carry commercial goods is known as a commercial truck, and most of these types of vehicles are the largest vehicles on roads all over the United States. Texas is a hub of commercial activity, which makes large trucks extremely common, and accidents involving these vehicles can be devastating for all parties involved, which is why working with an experienced El Paso truck accident lawyer becomes so critical.
The most recent statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicate that 510,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks included 4,479 fatal crashes and 114,000 injury crashes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) further report that of the 4,014 people killed in large truck crashes, 68 percent were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, 16 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists, and only 15 percent were the truck occupants.
Truck Accident Liability in El Paso, TX
Any truck accident immediately becomes a very complex matter for a victim to resolve because so many different parties could bear liability for a crash. You will want to retain legal counsel without delay simply to help determine exactly which party can be held responsible for your accident.
It is possible that any one of the following parties may bear liability for your wreck:
- A truck driver — A great many 18-wheeler accident cases involve some kind of truck driver negligence, so the driver is often the prime suspect when it comes to determining liability. The major problem with holding a truck driver accountable, however, is most drivers do not have great financial resources, so they are not likely to be the best targets of lawsuits seeking significant damages because they may not have the ability to pay large judgments. Truck drivers can become liable for any violations of the law, driving while distracted, or operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- The truck owner — When a truck accident is the result of some kind of improper maintenance, it may be the owner of the truck who is liable for the factors contributing to the crash that were their responsibility. A truck owner may be responsible for caring for brakes, replacing tires, and other general maintenance needs. A truck owner is rarely the truck driver themselves and may not even be the trucking company operating the truck. Assorted federal regulations govern the inspection and maintenance of trucks, meaning that truck owners could be liable for failure to adhere to these rules.
- The company responsible for hiring the driver — Certain third parties may have been responsible for the hiring of truck drivers, and any failure to make sure a driver met the necessary qualifications can result in the hiring company possibly being liable for damages in a truck accident. In some cases, the trucking companies themselves were responsible for hiring their own drivers, but it is also possible that a separate entity was responsible for the hiring.
- A loading company responsible for putting cargo on the truck — Certain crashes may involve the cargo that was on a truck, and loaders who do not properly inspect their cargo or secure it properly can become liable if boxes or other equipment falls off and damages other vehicles or causes injury. Again, FMCSA imposes strict cargo securement rules, so failure to abide by these rules can create liability for a cargo loading company.
- A manufacturer that built the truck — When a truck accident stems from some kind of defective part on the truck, then liability could involve a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the faulty part. The defective part could be inherent to a new truck or could be a replacement part that was installed by a maintenance provider.
- Maintenance companies or mechanics — The parties responsible for caring for large trucks can bear liability for motor vehicle accidents when they do not properly care for trucks. When companies take shortcuts in caring for trucks, possibly for financial reasons, it can create liability for that maintenance provider.
- State or local governmental entities responsible for maintaining roads — One complicated avenue for recovery could involve some kind of governmental agency being responsible when a truck accident stems from an unsafe road condition for which the agency had a duty to either correct the condition or at least warn road users about possible dangers.
Types of Common Truck Accidents in El Paso City
Large truck accidents can fall into all kinds of different categories. No two crashes are ever the same, so every single accident is going to involve its own unique set of factors.
Some of the most frequent kinds of truck accidents may include, but are not limited to:
- Rollover Accidents
- Jackknife Accidents
- Rear-End Collisions
- Head-On Collisions
- Side Impact or T-Bone Collisions
- Sideswipe Accidents
- Override Accidents
- Underride Accident
- Wide Turn Accidents
- Left or Right Turn Accidents
- Blind Spot Accidents
- Lane Change or Merging Accidents
- Tire Blowout Accidents
- Intersection Accidents
- Trailer Accidents
- Hazardous Material Spills
- Work Zone or Highway Construction Crashes
- Multiple-Vehicle Accidents
- Brake Failure Accidents
- Lost Cargo Accidents
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Keeping in mind the complex determination of liability in a truck accident case, establishing the actual cause of a truck accident can also be somewhat tricky. While many people can have strong suspicions about the causes of truck accidents, actual causes could end up being completely different.
These kinds of complexities demonstrate why hiring an attorney becomes so critical because a lawyer is going to know how to investigate a truck crash and determine exactly what happened.
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Truck Driver Fatigue
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
- Distracted Driving
- FMCSA Hours-of-Service (HOS) violations
- Reckless or Aggressive Driving
- Running Stop Signs or Stop Lights
- Improper Lane Changes or Turns
- Failure to Yield Right of Way
- Truck Defects
- Improper training
- Lack of proper safety equipment
- Tire Blowouts
- Inclement Weather Conditions
- Potholes or Other Dangerous Road Conditions
El Paso Truck Accident Common Kinds of Injuries
Large truck crashes have significant potential to cause a wide range of injuries of varying severity. Even people with minor injuries can still be entitled to financial compensation, but those who suffer more severe injuries requiring many months or even years of additional medical treatment and rehabilitation will usually need financial help.
All victims of truck accidents have to be sure to get proper medical attention as quickly as possible following an accident because some injuries can have delayed symptoms, and visiting a doctor too long after an accident can make it more difficult to have your injury claim covered. When you immediately see a doctor after your crash, you will establish a medical record proving the severity of your injuries that were the result of a crash by another’s negligence.
Common kinds of injuries in truck accidents may include, but are not limited to:
- Fractures or broken bones
- Sprains and strains
- Herniated discs
- Joint damage
- Permanent nerve injuries
- Back injuries
- Knee injuries
- Leg injuries
- Neck injuries
- Arm injuries
- Internal injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Closed head injuries
- Skull fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Burn injuries
Large truck accidents can also increase the chances of a person dying because of injuries they suffer in the crash. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.004 establishes that a wrongful death claim is for the exclusive benefit of a surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased, but an executor or administrator of an estate can bring an action when none of those people begin an action within three months of death and do not object to the executor or administrator bringing the claim.
Damages in Truck Accident Cases
There are two common kinds of damages in truck accident cases, economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages refer to actual financial losses a person suffers that can be proven, while noneconomic damages are intangible losses relating to physical or mental harm that does not have a financial value.
Economic damages may include:
- Property Damage
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
- Rehabilitation Expenses
- Costs of Long-Term Care
- Physical Therapy Costs
Noneconomic damages can include:
- Emotional Distress
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Mental Anguish
- Physical Limitations
Punitive damages are a third kind of damage that are less frequent than economic and noneconomic damages. Under the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, punitive damages are known as exemplary damages and can only be awarded as a penalty or punishment and are not for compensatory purposes.