Houston Rear-End Truck Accident Lawyer
If you were rear-ended by a commercial vehicle in Houston, you may be dealing with painful injuries and wondering how to make ends meet if you’re too hurt to work. If the crash was not your fault, you have the right to demand money for your losses by filing a personal injury claim with the help of a knowledgeable truck accident attorney.
At Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC, our Texas truck accident lawyers are ready to help you seek justice and fair compensation if a negligent truck driver or trucking company caused you harm. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options in a free initial case review with no upfront costs.
Common Causes of Rear-End Accidents
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, over 150,000 large trucks were involved in crashes in a recent year. It is estimated that rear-end collisions constitute nearly 20% of commercial truck accidents. Here are some of the most common causes of rear-end crashes:
- Distracted driving – Drivers who are focused on phone messages, passenger conversations, or other distractions frequently crash into the backs of other vehicles because they do not have their full attention on traffic.
- Driving under the influence – Intoxicated drivers are significantly more likely to cause rear-end accidents because alcohol and other drugs tend to cause problems with depth perception, spatial awareness, and reaction time.
- Drowsy driving – When drivers are excessively fatigued, they can cause devastating rear-end accidents by failing to brake in time to avoid hitting stopped traffic.
- Reckless driving – Reckless drivers who speed, race, lane weave, and tailgate often fail to leave themselves enough time to react to sudden changes in traffic, which can substantially increase the likelihood of rear-end wrecks.
- Aggressive driving – Violent rear-end accidents can occur when aggression boils over into road rage.
- Driver error – Drivers who are young, inexperienced, or confused may contribute to rear-end collisions by failing to yield the right of way, monitor their blind spots, or signal their intent before turning or merging.
- Defective vehicle parts – When critical car or truck parts such as brakes, wheels, or steering systems are poorly manufactured or maintained, they can fail and contribute to rear-end crashes caused by loss of driver control.
- Poor road conditions – Poor road conditions such as inadequate drainage, large potholes, insufficient lighting, or missing traffic signs can cause rear-end crashes by leading to loss of driver control or confusion.
Common Injuries Sustained in Rear-End Truck Accidents
When a truck crashes into the rear end of another vehicle, the violent transfer of energy can leave vehicle occupants with catastrophic injuries. Some of the most common types of injuries to occur in rear-end truck accidents include:
- Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Facial injuries and dental trauma
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Neck and shoulder injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Arm, elbow, wrist, and hand injuries
- Dislocated and fractured bones
- Partial or total paralysis
- Abdominal injuries and internal bleeding
- Amputation and loss of limbs
- Soft tissue strains, sprains, and tears
- Bruises, lacerations, and puncture wounds
- Thermal, chemical, and friction burns
- Leg, knee, ankle, and foot injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Other emotional and psychological injuries
- Wrongful death
Who Can Be Found at Fault for Rear-End Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents tend to be significantly more complicated than standard car accidents due to the sheer number of parties involved. There are usually many different entities invested in the operations of a commercial truck, and any of them can share in the liability for a truck accident.
Any of the following parties may be at fault in a Houston rear-end truck accident case:
- The truck driver – The driver may be at fault if they were distracted, drowsy, impaired, or otherwise negligent in causing the crash.
- The trucking company – The company that hired the driver can be held vicariously responsible for the driver’s actions. Trucking companies can also be liable for hiring unqualified drivers or failing to keep their trucks in good shape.
- A cargo loading team – A cargo loading team can be at fault if a loss of control accident occurred after the cargo team overloaded a truck or failed to balance or secure cargo in the truck’s trailer properly.
- A repair service provider – A truck mechanic, maintenance provider, or repair shop can be responsible if a defective truck component that should have been identified, repaired, or replaced contributed to the crash.
- A truck parts manufacturer – If the failure of a truck component contributed to the crash, a manufacturer could share fault if it designed, assembled, labeled, or distributed the component in a negligent manner.
- A government agency – If egregiously bad road conditions contributed to the accident, the government agency responsible for maintaining local roads could be at fault.
Recoverable Damages from a Rear-End Truck Accident
The term “damages” refers to the compensation you can recover for your losses in a personal injury case such as a rear-end truck accident lawsuit. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical bills for the treatment of your accident-related injuries
- Lost wages from missed time at work
- Projected losses in future earning potential
- Pain, suffering, and lost quality of life
- Repair or replacement costs for damage to vehicles and other property
- Incidental costs of traveling to and from medical appointments
When you suffered severe injuries in a truck accident, a lawyer can:
- Answer your questions and explain your legal options in a free consultation.
- Conduct an independent investigation of the accident to uncover valuable evidence and determine who was at fault.
- Calculate a fair estimate for the value of your claim and demand full compensation for your losses.
- Communicate with insurance adjusters and other parties on your behalf.
- Negotiate aggressively during settlement talks
- Take your case to court, if necessary.
If you were rear-ended by a semi-truck in Houston, the attorneys of Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC, can help you get back on your feet and fight for the best outcome possible in your case. Contact us today to discuss the details of your situation in a free initial case review.
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How much is my truck accident injury case worth?
It’s difficult to say how much your truck accident case might be worth until an experienced truck accident lawyer has investigated the crash and evaluated the facts of your case. But you can get some idea of what your case might be worth by examining all the different kinds of losses you are eligible to receive through a personal injury lawsuit.
These losses include things like:
- Any medical bills related to the accident, including any future treatment you may require
- Your lost wages or other incomes resulting from the accident
- Your reduced ability to work because of a long-term or permanent disability from the accident
- Your pain and suffering from your injuries
- Your emotional distress caused by the accident
- Your personal property that was damaged in the accident
Do I need to hire an attorney after a truck accident?
There is no law requiring you to hire a truck accident lawyer after a collision involving an 18-wheeler, semi-truck, or other commercial vehicle. However, not hiring an experienced truck accident attorney is generally a bad idea, especially if you’ve been severely injured.
If you are recovering from severe injuries and have missed work due to a truck accident, seeking compensation from the at-fault party can be challenging without professional legal help. Your focus should be on recovering from your injuries and getting medical treatment. While you take care of yourself, a truck accident attorney can handle the legal legwork.
Hiring a lawyer is also crucial to maximizing your claim. You only have one chance to recover the money you need and deserve. If you try to seek compensation alone and don’t have the proper legal training, you risk being taken advantage of by the other party’s insurance company. With an experienced injury lawyer fighting for you, you’ll have a better chance of maximizing your claim and getting the money you need to move on from the crash.
How is fault determined in a truck accident?Fault in a truck accident is based on the legal concept of negligence. Negligent behavior includes actions or inactions that fall short of the duty of care drivers owe to everyone else on the road. Evidence of negligence can come from many sources, such as information in the police report, photos, witness statements, black box data, toxicology reports, expert accident reconstruction, and more.
What damages can be recovered?
There are three broad categories of compensation (also known as “damages”) you can recover in a personal injury lawsuit. They are:
- Economic Damages: Your direct financial losses resulting from the accident, such as your medical bills and lost wages
- Non-Economic Damages: Losses you have suffered that do not have a specific dollar value attached, such as the pain from your injuries and emotional trauma from the crash
- Exemplary or Punitive Damages: Additional compensation awarded by a judge or jury to punish negligent parties for particularly reckless or intentional behavior
Who can be held liable in a truck accident?
The parties who are most commonly found liable in truck accident cases are:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- Truck maintenance crews
- Cargo loaders
- Vehicle or parts manufacturers
Who is liable when the driver’s medical condition causes a truck accident?It depends on the nature of the driver’s medical condition. If a truck driver has a sudden medical emergency that was not foreseeable or preventable, they likely cannot be held liable. However, if the driver had a known medical condition and failed to take steps to prevent an accident, they could be responsible for the crash.
How long does the entire truck accident settlement case typically take?Truck accident cases generally take longer than car accident cases because there may be multiple liable parties, so you might need to file numerous claims. There also might be several injured parties, particularly if the crash involved multiple vehicles, which could complicate things. Most truck accident cases take at least several months before you settle, and it may be even longer if your case goes to trial.
Is there a statute of limitations in a truck accident lawsuit? What is it?In most cases, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit in Texas.
What if I’m partly at fault for a truck crash?If you are partly at fault for a truck accident, you may still be able to recover compensation for your injuries. In cases where multiple parties share responsibility for an accident, Texas uses a form of comparative negligence to determine who will receive compensation. That means as long as you are not found to be more than 50 percent liable for an accident, you could still recover partial compensation for your injuries. If you are found partly responsible for an accident, your payment will likely be reduced by your percentage of fault.
What if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?If you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage through your auto insurance policy, you can file a claim with your own insurance company to seek compensation for your injuries. You may also be able to file a claim against the trucking company or another liable party. Finally, you may still be able to file a personal injury lawsuit and claim compensation from the other driver’s assets.
How is a truck accident different from a car accident?
Some of the ways that truck accidents are different from car accidents include:
- More severe injuries
- Higher medical bills
- More liable parties, which means you may have to file multiple claims to recover compensation
- Higher insurance limits on trucks—usually at least $1 million—mean insurers may put up a tougher fight
How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?The truck accident lawyers at Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC work on a contingency fee basis. That means you do not have to pay any fees upfront, and you will only have to pay your attorney if they help you recover compensation for your injuries. Contingency fees mean everyone who needs access to the legal system can afford a personal injury lawyer.