San Antonio Truck Accident Attorney Protecting the Rights of Truck Accident Injury Victims
If you are injured in an accident with a commercial truck in or near the San Antonio area, let San Antonio truck accident lawyer Matthew S. Norris investigate the accident, determine who was at fault, and help you obtain the full compensation amount you need and deserve.
If you are injured because a truck driver was negligent, you are entitled by Texas law to full compensation for all of your medical costs – from the moment you’ve been injured until you are healed and no longer require treatment.
How Can You Obtain Compensation for a Truck Accident Injury?
Injured victims of negligence are also entitled to compensation for lost wages and for all other injury-related losses and expenses. However, to obtain that compensation, you will have to prove that you were in fact injured, and you’ll also have to prove that someone else’s negligence was the cause.
It’s an understatement to say that truck accident claims can be complicated. Truck accident claims can involve multiple parties and often more than one insurance company. If you’ve sustained a spinal cord injury or a traumatic brain injury, or if you’ve lost a limb to amputation after a truck collision, you’ll need the maximum available amount of compensation for long-term care. Attorney Matthew S. Norris will uncover all potential sources of compensation, hold the negligent parties accountable, and fight aggressively for your rights and your compensation.
When a Truck Collides With Your Vehicle, Who is Liable?
When a large truck is involved in an accident, even if the truck driver was clearly the at-fault driver, it may still be difficult to determine who is responsible for the damages. If you are injured in a crash with a commercial truck, you will need to consult promptly with the right Texas truck accident attorney.
One of the initial steps that your lawyer will take will be to determine which party or parties has legal liability for the crash. How is liability determined after a truck collision? Can your personal injury attorney in San Antonio hold a truck company – or anyone else – liable for the negligence of a truck driver?
What is Vicarious Liability?
Liability for a truck accident may sometimes be assigned to a person who wasn’t driving or even to someone who wasn’t involved in the collision. It’s called “vicarious liability.” When a company-owned truck is involved in a crash because the driver acted negligently, the company may be deemed liable for damages through vicarious liability. Whether vicarious liability applies to a particular truck collision hinges on the answers to these questions:
- Was the driver an independent contractor or a trucking firm employee?
- Did the collision and negligence happen in the course and scope of the driver’s duties?
- Was the negligence intentional or unintentional?
Employers, including trucking companies, can be deemed liable for an employee’s negligence but not for an independent contractor’s negligence. If a truck driver is an independent contractor, and that contractor injures someone, vicarious liability may not apply.
What Are a Truck Driver’s Job Duties?
Defining what constitutes a truck driver’s job duties – and what is and isn’t within the course and scope of those duties – may not be easy. Several factors must be accounted for, including but not limited to:
- the driver’s job description
- the time and place where the negligence happened
- the freedom and discretion a driver has
- the nature of the negligence and the driver’s intent
Here’s an example that might help. If a truck driver on his or her delivery route collides with your vehicle, the driver’s employer – if there is one – may be deemed liable because the driver was acting within the scope and course of his or her employment duties.
But if the same driver leaves work, drives the employer’s truck to a shopping mall, and crashes into your vehicle in the mall’s parking lot, the driver was not functioning within the course and scope of his or her employment duties, so the employer has no liability.
Who Else May Be Liable for Truck Accidents?
Commercial trucks have more insurance coverage than automobiles, so if you’re permanently disabled or catastrophically injured in a truck crash, you may actually be able to recover the full compensation amount that you need and deserve.
When a personal injury claim is filed after a truck collision, often more than one defendant will be named. Contractors, subcontractors, leasing companies, truck manufacturers, and a number of other parties may also share liability for truck collisions and personal injuries.
If the cargo on a truck was not properly loaded, if the tires or brakes were manufactured defectively, or if the truck is maintained improperly or neglected entirely, more than one defendant may be named in an injury claim and pursued for compensation.
How is the Liability for Truck Accidents Determined?
Determining who’s liable for a truck crash requires scrutiny of the police accident report, medical and toxicology reports, and any available photos, video, and witness statements. In some situations, a personal injury lawyer may seek the help of an accident reconstruction specialist.
If multiple defendants are named, a claim may not be easy to settle out of court, and the injury victim may need to take one or more defendants to court while settling privately with one or more other defendants.
It all sounds quite convoluted, but if you’ve been permanently disabled or catastrophically injured in a truck accident, a claim with multiple defendants may provide you with the complete compensation you’ll need for years of medical treatment and care.
If You Were Partially At Fault, Can You Still File an Injury Claim?
Another factor to consider is whether you were partially at fault for the collision. Texas is a “modified comparative fault” auto insurance state, so if you had any of the blame for your truck accident and injury, your recovery is reduced by that percentage. If you were more than fifty percent at fault for a truck accident, you would be barred from recovering any compensation in Texas.
Let’s say that a truck driver is intoxicated, driving at thirty miles per hour over the posted speed limit, and the driver crashes into your vehicle while you are speeding at five or seven miles per hour over the limit. A jury could decide that you were not at fault and order payment for the full amount of compensation you seek.
However, since you were speeding, a jury could also decide that you had fifteen percent (for instance) of the responsibility for the accident. In this case, your personal injury claim might prevail, but if you sought $100,000 of compensation, that figure would be lowered by fifteen percent to $85,000.
What Evidence Will Be Used to Prove Your Personal Injury Claim?
Unlike most automobiles, commercial trucks are equipped with several devices that may offer added insights into an accident. We can know, for example, how long the driver worked without taking a break and how fast the truck was moving when the accident happened. Most commercial trucks today are equipped with “black boxes,” GPS devices, and inclinometers.
The black box (also known as an Event Data Recorder or EDR) records a variety of information, such as how fast a truck was moving, when the brakes were used, and how long the driver had been working without taking a break. A GPS can pinpoint the truck’s exact location moments before the accident, and an inclinometer can indicate the slope at which the truck was moving.
Together, these devices often provide enough information for an accurate reconstruction of the accident. Other items, such as driver log books, weigh station and loading dock reports, witness statements, and post-accident alcohol and drug tests may also become important to the investigation of a truck accident and the determination of liability.
It’s Important to Consult an Attorney After a Texas Truck Accident
If you’ve read this far, you understand how complicated a personal injury claim arising from a truck accident can be. As an injury victim, you may also have to deal with an insurance company that might try to dismiss your claim by denying it, blaming the accident on you, or offering you the lowest possible settlement amount. If there are multiple defendants and more than one insurance company involved, the complications increase – all while you are trying to recover from your injuries and simply return to your normal daily routine.
Take a deep breath and relax. At the Law Office of Matthew S. Norris, our legal team will handle every aspect of your truck accident injury claim. We move quickly to gather and preserve important evidence, and we will negotiate for you with the insurance company. Texas personal injury attorney Matthew S. Norris will build the strongest possible case on your behalf.
You have two years to take legal action if you are injured in a truck accident in this state, but don’t wait two years after an accident – or even two weeks – to schedule a consultation with attorney Matthew S. Norris. Evidence – and memories – can deteriorate quickly, so contact our offices as soon as you’ve been examined by a medical professional after a truck accident.
Your first consultation at the Law Office of Matthew S. Norris is offered at no charge and with no obligation, and you owe us nothing unless and until we recover a settlement or jury verdict on your behalf. To learn more or to begin the personal injury process, call our law offices in San Antonio at (210) 549-7633.