Since 2016, Texas has ranked first in the country every year for the most large truck crashes. In 2019, Texas had more tractor-trailer accidents than Colorado, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Arizona, Mississippi, and Nebraska combined - totaling 685 fatalities. In 2018, 305 truck drivers involved in fatal semi-truck accidents tested positive for at least one drug.
When you’re injured in an accident that isn’t your fault, you’re most likely frustrated and overwhelmed with everything that you need to do. This becomes more intense if you were injured by a driver of an 18-wheeler or other type of commercial driver.
Insurance companies are difficult to deal with, even during the best of circumstances. The insurance companies that represent semi-truck accidents are much more difficult and obstinate than most. They know what you’re entitled to, and they don’t want to pay it. Their job is to pay out as little as possible to make claims go away and save the company money. They deny, delay, and defend every single point in hopes that you eventually give up.
When you’re injured in a semi-truck accident, you’re entitled to the following damages, and more:
When you're injured in an accident, you're entitled to recover the amount of past and future medical bills. When health insurance gets involved, they get reduced rates by the medical providers. Right now, if bills have been paid, the amount given to a jury at trial is the amount paid, not the amount charged. If the bills have not been paid, then the full amount charged is submitted to the jury because that is the amount that you still owe and will likely owe in the future. It’s a seemingly small rule that can be the difference in hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Senate Bill 207 seeks to change all of that. If passed, the bill would limit your recovery for medical bills to the "market value” of the services received, and not what you actually owe to the doctors and hospitals. The likely affect is that doctors may have to spend more time in courtrooms defending their billing practices than treating the injured parties. Eventually, they may start refusing to treat people that have been injured in accidents at all!
Senate Bill 207 has not been passed yet, but it is definitely something that all Texans need to keep an eye on!
One thing you can do either way: get an attorney to deal with the insurance company on your behalf. This is especially true with 18-wheeler accidents. When the insurance company isn’t making an offer that’s fair, you can – and most likely should - file a lawsuit. This must be done before two years pass. Lawsuits filed for semi-truck accidents have multiple options for defendants (people who are at fault).
When you’re injured because of someone else’s negligence, you’re entitled to sue them for your damages. This isn’t always as easy as it sounds. For instance, while you can sue the driver who hit you, you likely won’t recover unless they had insurance at the time of the wreck.
With 18-wheeler accidents, things can get complicated because you have several options. You want to be sure to exhaust each and every one of them before you settle your case.
The most obvious defendant is the driver. The driver of the accident was likely an employee for the company. He or she was the one who acted negligently, and that negligence was why you got injured. You can sue the driver for their negligence. If they were grossly negligent, you can also sue them for punitive damages and extra compensation for yourself.
When you sue the other driver, the insurance carrier for the company will step in and defend them. However, it’s important to sue the driver personally. The driver will be expected to be deposed and testify at trial.
You might be able to sue the business for injuries sustained in the accident, but you need to speak with an attorney to know for sure.
On June 16th, Gov. Abbot signed Texas House Bill 19 into law much to the determent of injured Texans everywhere. The bill significantly limits the amount of evidence that attorneys can get from trucking companies when their employees cause accidents. Not only that, but it forces injured parties to spend the time and money on two separate lawsuits. The first one against the truck driver and – if they win – they might be able to pursue a lawsuit against the company itself. The law goes into effect later this year on September 1, 2021.
If you have full coverage, you will likely have Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage. This coverage exists in instances where the at-fault insurance policy is not large enough to cover your damages. If you file a lawsuit, you can include your own carrier as a source of recovery.
These are the basic sources to go after when injuries are caused by semi-truck accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, most, if not all, personal injury attorneys offer free consultations. Call a personal injury attorney today! Located in Austin, Texas, you can reach McKinney Vos at 512-457-8991 or visit us online.