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Houston 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer

Large trucks can be dangerous. Thousands of people are involved in 18-wheeler accidents yearly, often suffering life-long injuries. Victims can endure life-threatening and even fatal injuries due to the massive size and extreme force that comes with big rigs and 18 wheelers. Any vehicle going up against one of these enormous tractor-trailers could be demolished in the collision.

If you or someone you love has suffered catastrophic injuries or been killed in a truck accident, consult a legal professional. Hold the liable party accountable to the fullest extent of the law with help from an experienced Houston 18 wheeler accident lawyer at Sutliff & Stout. Our truck accident law firm has extensive experience handling cases like these and will only stop at something to get our clients the financial compensation that is rightfully theirs. When you want to get the most out of your claim but need help figuring out where to start, contact our office for a free consultation.

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    Why Go With Sutliff & Stout?

    Choosing the right Houston truck accident lawyer to take on your case can be overwhelming when so many options are available online. When you select Sutliff & Stout, you work with a legal team with multiple office locations across Texas. Our truck accident lawyers do not only cover trucking accident claims but also advocate for victims of:

    • Car accidents
    • Motorcycle wrecks
    • Medical malpractice
    • Slip and falls
    • Bicycle accidents
    • Pedestrian accidents
    • Work Injuries
    • & dozens of other injury types

    With over 50+ years of combined legal experience, Sutliff & Stout attorneys have recovered more than $1 billion for our clients. We are proud to be board-certified for Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. If you need an 18 wheeler accident lawyer you can count on, turn to the legal experts at Sutliff & Stout.

    18 Wheeler tipped over on it's side following an accident

    When to Call Our Houston 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyers for Help

    You may only sometimes be sure whether hiring an 18 wheeler accident lawyer is in your best interests. It is not uncommon for injury victims to be hesitant to call a truck accident attorney for help. Victims commonly worry that they will be accused of filing a lawsuit frivolously. After everything you have been through, such accusations can be emotionally devastating and offensive. When scouring the internet wondering whether you have the right to act against those responsible for causing your injuries, it is essential to consider whether someone else is at fault and how significantly the accident has affected your life.

    You may be unable to tell in the aftermath of the accident if someone else is to blame. Although you may suspect the truck driver who hit you was at fault, this may not always be true. This is where an experienced 18 wheeler accident lawyer will become critical. Gathering evidence to support your claim has to be done in a timely and careful manner. Our legal experts have the training to know where to look and how.

    You may also have concerns that your injuries need to be more severe. However, it is crucial to remember that no law states you do not have the right to compensation if your injuries are not life-threatening, catastrophic, or fatal.

    No matter what type of injury you were diagnosed with, as long as your injuries have substantially affected your life, you may be entitled to compensation for your suffering. This impact does not need to be physical but can also involve severe emotional trauma, distress, and astronomical financial losses.

    Ultimately, the best way to find out whether you can recover compensation for your damages is by calling our office and speaking with an experienced truck accident attorney. We are here to listen to you tell your story. After evaluating the circumstances of your case, we can give you a better idea of which legal options are most suitable.

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    Common Types of 18 Wheeler Accidents in Houston

    Establishing liability and negligence is one of our top priorities when you hope to recover compensation for your damages. To do this, your personal injury lawyer will need to examine the type of truck accident involved in the collision and the cause of the crash. This way, we can identify the parties who are ultimately at fault. Commercial trucking accidents can take several forms. Some of the most common types of 18 wheeler accidents our injury attorneys see in Houston include:

    Other Types of Accidents Include:

    • Sideswipe accidents
    • T-bone accidents
    • Highway accidents
    • Accidents at intersections
    • Tire blowouts
    • Reckless driving accidents
    • Underride accidents
    • Blind spot accidents
    • Lost load accidents
    • Pedestrian/truck accidents
    • Bicycle versus truck accidents
    • Garbage truck accidents
    • Construction truck accidents
    • Fatal truck crashes
    • Box truck accidents
    • Pick-up truck accidents

    These are only a few examples of the types of truck accidents our clients have been involved in. If you were injured in any other type of truck crash, we still may be able to help you recover maximum financial compensation. Do not hesitate to contact our 18 wheeler accident lawyers to find out whether you have grounds for a claim.

    Top Causes of Houston Truck Accidents

    As we previously mentioned, figuring out the cause of your Houston 18 wheeler wreck is a top priority. This is the only way your claim can be successful. Under the worst conditions, commercial truck crashes can happen for many reasons. However, some of the most common causes of these collisions include:

    • Distracted driving, including cognitive, visual, and manual distractions
    • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
    • Overserving or selling alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated
    • Improperly secured road construction zones
    • Massive or dangerously deep potholes
    • Failure to properly secure truck cargo
    • Driving at unsafe speeds
    • Failure to check blind spots before making turns or changing lanes
    • Failure to use a turn signal
    • Failure to yield to the right of way
    • Truck driver inexperience
    • Driving while fatigued
    • Failure to stop at traffic lights or stop signs
    • Failure to replace or install street signs
    • Failure to ensure road markings are not faded and clear
    • Lack of crosswalks and stop signs
    • Malfunctioning or defective traffic lights
    18-Wheeler on Fire in a Highway
    18 Wheeler Involved in Accident with Small Car

    There is also the risk of semi truck vehicle parts malfunctioning.

    Nearly any type of auto part has the potential to malfunction at any given time. Some of the most common motor vehicle parts known for contributing to critical or fatal truck accidents include:

    • Airbags
    • Engines
    • Tires
    • Steering columns
    • Brakes
    • Transmissions
    • Gear shifts
    • Fuel tanks
    • Break lines
    • Windshields
    • Alternators
    • Exhaust systems
    • Windshield wipers
    • Ignition switches

    If any of the previously mentioned conditions caused your commercial truck accident, you may still have the right to reimbursement for your damages. You can find out how much your case could be worth when you contact a respected Houston tractor trailer accident lawyer at Sutliff & Stout for a free consultation.

    Who is Liable for Your Texas 18 Wheeler Accident Injuries?

    After your personal injury attorney has thoroughly investigated how the 18 wheeler crash occurred, we will have a better idea of who is responsible for causing the accident. It is common in truck accident claims with the insurance company and civil lawsuits for multiple parties to share liability. Here are some of the parties most frequently sued for truck accident damages

    The Trucking Company

    You might think the truck driver is the primary at-fault party. However, this is less frequent than you may think. Although truck drivers share liability for many semi truck collisions, which we will discuss below, trucking companies are most frequently at fault. There are several reasons for this.

    One of the top causes of commercial truck accidents is drowsy driving. Truck drivers often work long hours and wind up too tired to operate the big rig safely. Unfortunately, they are often pressured into working longer hours than they are physically or legally allowed.

    It may surprise you to learn that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has implemented many rules and regulations regarding overseeing commercial truck operations and transportation.

    Some of the most notable include work-hour regulations. Here, the FMCSA states that truck drivers can only work a maximum of 15 consecutive hours. They must then have at least eight consecutive hours off before starting a new shift.

    Over seven days, truck drivers are only allowed to operate the big rig for a maximum of 70 hours. However, since this means the trucking company would lose money, they often force and encourage their truck drivers to violate these rules and regulations. When they do so, they can contribute to collisions caused by drowsy driving.

    It is important to note that violations of hours of service regulations are not the only reason trucking companies are held accountable for 18 wheeler accidents. Trucking companies are also responsible for the actions of their truck drivers.

    If they failed to do their due diligence before hiring a truck driver, and it turns out the truck driver has a history of negligence or misconduct, the trucking company could be partially at fault for the victim’s damages. Hiring inexperienced truck drivers, failing to conduct drug testing, and failing to review potential truck driver’s driving records are some of the most common ways trucking companies cause tractor trailer accidents.

    Additionally, trucking companies must ensure their big rigs are safe and in good working order. When they fail to conduct unnecessary safety inspections, make repairs, get recalled parts fixed, and retire dangerous 18 wheelers, the trucking company could be ultimately responsible if defective truck parts cause an accident.

    Truck Drivers

    Truck drivers are held to a higher standard than other motorists. Most drivers carry a standard Class D driver’s license. However, truckers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate an 18 wheeler. Truck drivers use commercial vehicles significantly larger than other vehicles on the roadways.

    For this reason, truck drivers are obligated to drive as safely as possible and ensure the truck they are driving is in good working order. When they fail to uphold this obligation, they can be sued for the victim’s damages after a car accident.

    For example, it is common knowledge that drunk driving is against the law and one of the top causes of car accidents. Generally, individuals can face drunk driving charges when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels reach .08% or greater. However, truck drivers can face criminal drunk driving charges when they are found to be operating or in control of an 18 wheeler with a BAC level of .04%.

    Truck drivers who fail to conduct necessary safety inspections, drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, commit traffic violations, or otherwise fail to uphold their duty of care are often held accountable when their negligence causes catastrophic injuries and deaths.

    Understanding Grounds for a Truck Accident Case

    For any truck accident lawsuit to be successful, the grounds for a personal injury claim must be met. This often requires truck accident lawyers to prove the elements of negligence are met and that the victim has suffered significant and impactful injuries.

    The Elements of Negligence Must Have Been Met

    In all personal injury lawsuits, attorneys must demonstrate that the elements of negligence were met. The elements of negligence are as follows:

    • Duty of care – The accused liable party must have owed the injured victim a duty of care, meaning they had an obligation to keep the victim safe or out of harm’s way.
    • Breach of duty – The accused liable party must have made a decision, failed to make a decision, or otherwise violated their duty of care.
    • Causation – The accused liable party’s actions must be the proximate cause of the truck accident victim’s injuries or subsequent damages.
    • Damages – To qualify for compensation, the truck accident victim must have suffered significant physical injuries, substantial financial losses, or extreme emotional distress.
    Red 18 wheeler travels down the highway

    Your Truck Accident Injuries Must Be Significant 

    Your injuries do not need to be life-threatening to recover compensation after a tractor-trailer wreck. However, they do need to have significantly affected your life. Perhaps you had to have your limb amputated and can no longer care for yourself physically. Maybe your initial injury was seemingly minor, but the effects have prevented you from completing daily living tasks, enjoying activities you previously loved, or maintaining solid relationships with friends or family.

    Some examples of truck accident injuries our clients have sued for include:

    Hip Injuries

    Whiplash

    Penetrating brain injuries

    Traumatic Brain Injuries

    Burn Injuries

    Spinal Cord Injuries

    Internal Bleeding

    Broken Bones

    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

    Other injuries include:

    • Soft tissue injuries
    • Neck injuries
    • Concussion
    • Contusions
    • Abrasions
    • Deep lacerations
    • Joint injuries
    • Muscle injuries
    • Septic shock
    • Herniated discs
    • Back injuries
    • Facial trauma
    • Loss of limbs
    • Bone fractures
    • Organ failure
    • Puncture wounds
    • Road rash
    • Penetrating brain injuries
    • Anxiety disorders
    • Dental injuries
    • Second impact syndrome
    • Knee injuries
    • Shoulder injuries

    This is not a complete list of all the injuries possible after a crash with a big rig. If you are dealing with any other type of injury that was not included in the list above, do not give up on your case.

    Connect with one of our knowledgeable 18 wheeler accident lawyers in Houston to determine whether you have met the criteria for legal action and how much your case could be worth.

    What to Do if You Are Accused of Partial Liability

    One of the most common ways liable parties attempt to avoid culpability for their victim’s damages is by blaming the victim for causing the accident. Though this may shock you, it happens far more often than you think. The state of Texas has implemented a modified comparative negligence system.

    Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 33.001, if you are more than 51% responsible for causing the accident, the court system will prohibit you from recovering compensation for your damages.

    If your portion of blame is less than that, you can still receive an award. However, that award will be reduced to reflect your percentage of responsibility. For example, if you were not wearing your seat belt when a distracted truck driver hit you, the judge or the jury might find you 10% at fault for your traumatic brain injuries.

    If the jury awarded you $5 million for your damages, you could expect your $5 million award to be reduced by 10%, or $250,000, leaving you with a final payout of $4,750,000.

    How Houston 18 Wheeler Accident Victims Are Compensated

    You can recover compensation in multiple ways after being involved in a tractor trailer accident.

    Filing a Truck Accident Claim With the Insurance Company

    One of the most common ways to get your costs covered after a truck accident is by filing a claim with the insurance company. Texas follows fault-based insurance laws, so you will file a lawsuit against the liable party’s insurance policy instead of your personal insurance policy.

    Damages Insurance Can Cover After an 18 Wheeler Accident in Texas

    Many truck accident victims are surprised to find insurance does not fully cover their damages at times. Bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage only cover medical bills and vehicle repair expenses. Every other way your life has been affected by the accident is not considered in most truck accident cases.

    Filing a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Civil Court 

    Since insurance is rarely enough to cover an 18 wheeler accident victim’s damages, filing a truck accident lawsuit against the liable party is often the next best option. You may also need to file a personal injury claim if the at-fault party does not have an active insurance policy or sufficient coverage in place.

    Yellow 18-Wheeler Driving Down a Highway in the Desert

    Potential Recoverable Damages When You File a Personal Injury Claim

    You can recover specific types of damages through your truck accident lawsuit. A combination of economic and non-economic damages, also called compensatory damages, will be carefully evaluated and quantified by your attorney. Examples of recoverable damages include:

    • Physical pain and suffering
    • Disfigurement and skin scarring
    • Costs of rideshares or rental cars
    • Loss of future potential earnings, wages, and employee benefits
    • Emotional distress
    • Apprehension, shock, anticipation, indignity, and fear
    • Hospital bills, co-pays, ambulance bills, medical treatment, future medical care, reconstructive surgery, and any other injury-related medical expenses
    • Loss of consortium
    • Professional reputational damages
    • Loss of household services
    • Vehicle repair or replacement fees

    These are only a few examples of damages you could possibly recover when you take action against the at-fault party. You can learn more about how much your 18 wheeler accident insurance claims and civil lawsuits are worse when you meet with your personal injury attorney to discuss your damages in extensive detail.

    Houston 18 Wheeler Accident FAQ

    Not every truck accident case goes to trial. In fact, most 18 wheeler accident cases are settled before you ever have to step foot in a courtroom. However, there are several instances in which you may need to bring your case to trial if you hope to get the most out of your claim.

    One of the primary reasons truck accident victims try to avoid going to court is because they believe they can recover the compensation they are entitled to by filing a claim with the insurance company.

    However, since many insurance companies are profit-focused, they will unlikely compensate you without putting up a fight. Insurance adjusters have been known to go to great lengths to reduce payouts and deny even the most deserving of truck accident claimants. Not only are you at risk of being taken advantage of by the insurance company, but the guilty party may not have insurance coverage in the first place.

    With insurance coverage, you can file an insurance claim if you have purchased your own no-fault insurance coverage. Even then, if you file a lawsuit against your no-fault insurance policy, the insurance company will increase your rates when your policy renews so they can recoup what they paid you in your settlement.

    For this reason, it is always a good idea to plan to go to trial. That would be ideal if you can get a fair and reasonable settlement from the insurance company or liable party is willing to compensate you for your damages without being ordered to do so by a judge.

    You can avoid going to trial and start to move forward with your life. However, often it is only when your case returns a favorable verdict with the judge and jury that the responsible party is compelled to compensate you.

    Suppose you are the parent or legal guardian of a child who was severely injured in an 18 wheeler accident. In that case, you will be relieved to know that you can file a personal injury lawsuit on their behalf. You are under no legal obligation to do so at this time, however, as the statute of limitations may be temporarily paused until your child reaches the age of 18.

    Of course, since your child likely has significant medical expenses due to the crash, it may be in your best interests to move forward with a personal injury claim for them without waiting.

    This way, you can cover their medical expenses and set them up for future financial success by obtaining full compensation for their emotional distress, physical pain and suffering, and other related economic and non-economic damages.

    You do not have an unlimited amount of time to file your truck accident lawsuit in Texas. According to the Texas personal injury statute of limitations under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Section 16.003, you only have a maximum of two years from the accident date to file your lawsuit.

    If your personal injury claim is filed after this expiration date, you may be time-barred. Even if the court system is sympathetic to your complaint, they will have no choice but to bar you from proceeding with a civil lawsuit.

    We understand that the statute of limitations timelines need to be clarified. If you hope to avoid being prohibited from recovering the compensation that is rightfully yours, getting an experienced and knowledgeable 18 wheeler accident attorney to take on your case is essential.

    Your lawyer will ensure your claim is filed well within the deadline so you do not have to worry about these legal details impacting the outcome of your case.

    It is not uncommon for truck accidents to cause fatal injuries. If you are the surviving family member of someone who has passed away in a devastating Texas truck accident, you may have the right to pursue a wrongful death claim.

    The decedent’s surviving spouse, adult children, parents, or personal representative can file a wrongful death action against the at-fault party. A wrongful death claim is essentially a personal injury lawsuit filed on behalf of the deceased.

    The burden of proof is based on a preponderance of the evidence, unlike criminal court, where guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If your wrongful death claim is successful, your family could be awarded compensation to punish the liable party for their conduct and get justice for your deceased relative.

    Suppose you are interested in learning more about whether you can file a wrongful death lawsuit for a fatal truck accident. In that case, it is essential to contact our office quickly, as the statute of limitations is two years from the decedent’s death in wrongful death claims.

    Claims Process in Houston

    The 18 wheeler accident claims process in Houston can be intimidating. You may feel especially overwhelmed while you are still recuperating from your injuries. We understand that you have questions and need answers.

    For that reason, we have compiled a quick FAQ composed of some of the top questions surrounding personal injury claims and insurance filings in Houston below. It is possible we should have covered your question on this page. If this is true for your case, do not hesitate to contact our Houston truck accident attorneys to discuss your specific concerns further.

    White 18-Wheeler Driving in Backroads

    Get Help From an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Today

    Your semi truck accident injuries may substantially impact your life for the foreseeable future. The at-fault party should cover your costs while you focus on recuperating. Although your injuries and emotional trauma may be long-lasting, there is no reason you should end up in financial ruin.

    The experienced Houston truck accident lawyers at Sutliff & Stout are ready to fight for your rights. Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation as soon as today when you call our office or complete our convenient contact form.

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