Life can be divided into before and after. Hopefully, this schism happens gleefully, with a wedding, birth, or other good tidings. However, sometimes a chance encounter can have devastating consequences, shattering normalcy and leading to a life haunted by pain. The statistics are alarming. Every fifteen minutes, a United States driver is killed or seriously injured in a collision caused by an 18-wheeler, big rig, or semi-truck. Of the nearly 500,000 collisions that occur annually, roughly five thousand will result in death. Motorists who survive are often plagued with physical and mental injuries that prohibit them from enjoying life’s bounty. Once fully appreciated, the physical and mental freedom can be restricted or even eradicated because of a few seconds of neglect on the road.
The impact of a truck accident deepens for the unprepared. A barrage of complications arises when filing an accident claim. Trucking companies and insurers have extensive experience handling injury claims from crashes involving drivers. In many cases, the insurance companies will put pressure on victims to accept lump-sum settlements that are set tragically low. The monetary compensation does not come close to undoing the damage done. The complexity of commercial truck accident claims necessitates an experienced personal injury lawyer and team to allow victims to navigate the complicated legal process and find justice.
Finding a team that works with you to champion your truth is vital. A good firm will provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case through an initial consultation. The client is the nucleus of the story, and every strong firm should be laser-focused on helping their client reclaim justice by digging deeper into the life of the plaintiff. This means painting a detailed picture of his or her story before, during, and after the tragic collision. As a collective, your law team will gather evidence, negotiate with the insurance companies, and file all forms or notices. Your team of law professionals will aggressively and passionately advocate for your best immediate and future interests by applying years of experience at each juncture of your case trajectory.
Different Standards for Commercial Drivers
Although U.S. driving has somewhat subsided after the pandemic, there were nearly 228.2 million licensed drivers in the United States. Of those drivers, 3.36 million truck drivers were employed in 2020. These professionals hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). They are held to a higher standard when operating any type of motor vehicle on public roads. The numbers become more profound when we zero in on our Texas highways. According to TX DOT, there have been 1 729 traffic fatalities on TX roads so far this year. Dallas County alone has accounted for 136 of them. More than one trailer or trailers carrying tucks with tanks or hazardous materials carry a special endorsement.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in Dallas recognizes that truck drivers are some of the most dangerous vehicles on the roads. That is why the standards are high. Including hours of service that determine drive time behind the wheel in a single ride, drug and alcohol testing with a lower limit for blood alcohol content with a previous DWI charge, and cell phone usage. Time is of the essence, and your lawyer and team will band together quickly to preserve evidence from the trucking company to ensure these essential criteria are upheld.
Catastrophic Injuries and Damages
The potential tragedy of commercial vehicle negligence cannot be overstated. The average commercial truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, rendering the physics of a potential impact severe. Unfortunately, the ramifications of these collisions can follow victims and their families throughout their natural life. Daily activities such as picking up groceries or house cleaning can become a cumbersome burden. A good night’s sleep is often a challenge as victims of 18-wheeler accidents can be plagued by emotional distress resulting in nightmares or terrors as their brain attempts to negotiate the tragic event. Every aspect of a motorist’s life after the collision must be taken into consideration when reaching a fair compensation.
An experienced lawyer can fight for justice beyond the client’s immediate needs. There are economic damages that need compensation, including but not limited to; the cost of current and future medical treatment, lost wages from missed work, repair, and treatment of the plaintiff’s vehicle, loss of future earnings if the plaintiff is no longer able to work in the capacity he or she once had and home modifications and medical equipment. There is also non-economic devastation that must be resolved through a fair offer, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, and post-traumatic distress from disfigurement. These damages are more subjective and necessitate expert scrutiny to be sure a fair settlement is agreed upon. A knowledgeable 18-wheeler attorney can help understand the full scope of economic and non-economic damages.
Injuries resulting from a collision can be massive. Drivers and their companion passengers have been badly harmed with injuries including severe bodily damage to the neck, hips, ribs, torso, and spine, traumatic brain and head injuries, broken bones, seatbelt and airbag injuries, paralysis, spinal cord injuries, severe damage to internal organs, burn injuries and lacerations. A moment in time can completely alter life, which needs to be accounted for.
Sadly, there is a drastic increase in the likelihood of a collision with a commercial vehicle being fatal. In this instance, the family of the deceased person could choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit that could hold the driver of the commercial vehicle and their hiring company accountable. A solid law office will work tirelessly to ensure that the burden hurled upon the family who suffered this tragic loss is softened and the likelihood of another family grappling with another misfortune are less.
Kastl Law, P.C. has a client-centered focus with a team driven to represent the residents of Texas in their most vulnerable times. Please contact us for a professional consultation. We are honored to work hard for you.