Houston Truck Accident Lawyer

Tractor trailers, semi-trucks, and various other commercial vehicles are essential to the economy of Texas and the United States. The drivers of these large vehicles are responsible for safely navigating their delivery routes and completing their deliveries on time while adhering to many industry regulations. Most drivers in Texas encounter commercial trucks on the road with no issues. However, truck accidents can and do happen in the Houston area and typically have devastating effects on those involved.

Most commercial vehicles traveling on Texas roads are larger and heavier than most standard passenger vehicles. Larger commercial trucks are also less maneuverable than smaller vehicles and more vulnerable to certain road hazards and driving conditions. Therefore, when a truck accident occurs, it’s vital for those involved to determine how it happened and who is responsible.

Stevenson & Murray is a team of experienced Houston truck accident attorneys who have helped many past clients recover from the effects of commercial truck crashes. If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident that someone else caused, you must speak with an attorney as soon as possible about your best options for defense. Our team can carefully evaluate the details of your recent truck accident and help you determine your best options for legal recourse.

Our Houston Personal Injury Law Firm Is Here to Help

Trucking Accident

Although the commercial transportation industry is highly regulated, serious accidents still occur. There are state and federal regulations that determine the number of hours a driver can work per day. Other regulations include the speed of the trucks, the size and distribution of loads, and the required vehicle safety checks. These regulations should protect the motorists that share the road with commercial trucks. When there are routine violations of these regulations, then it is almost inevitable that an innocent person will be injured or killed. Our attorneys understand how a truck accident can impact your life. After a truck accident, your injuries could cause you to experience severe physical pain. Medical treatment costs could place you and your family under significant financial strain. Our attorneys will help you cope with your truck accident injuries by pursuing a fair resolution of your case.

At Stevenson & Murray, we will step in quickly to protect your legal rights after an accident. Often times, the trucking company and their insurer will act immediately to limit their legal exposure. Insurance adjusters will attempt to obtain statements from accident victims that are later used to challenge a personal injury claim. You should avoid making any statements after an accident without first consulting with an experienced attorney. At our firm, we know the tactics that truck companies and insurance providers will employ when trying to avoid accident liability. Our attorneys will keep you from making errors that could negatively impact your settlement offer. We have a long history of handling complex settlement negotiations and litigation arising from truck accidents. By contacting our Houston truck accident lawyers, you will receive legal advice designed to help your personal injury claim succeed.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Texas

Truck accidents can occur for a number of reasons. In Texas, the most common causes of truck accidents include:

  • Improper load. Trucking companies must load cargo properly. If the cargo was not loaded properly, it might shift in transit or even fall from the truck and hit other vehicles. Specialized forms of cargo will also require very specific loading methods, such as smaller vehicles, construction materials, timber, and oversized loads.
  • Poor maintenance. Like any vehicle, large semi-trucks can break down. Regular maintenance can prevent issues that affect the safe operation of the truck. Poor maintenance can cause issues such as tire blowouts. Trucks drive much longer distances than normal vehicles and require more maintenance.
  • Inadequate training. It takes a lot of training to operate a large commercial truck. Therefore, drivers must receive specific certifications and proper training; otherwise, they are not fit to operate a semi-truck. Therefore, all trucking companies must ensure their drivers possess the necessary training and experience to handle their commercial vehicles safely in a wide range of traffic situations.
  • Negligent hiring and retention. Trucking companies may sometimes hire drivers with a history of safety or criminal violations. Companies may also retain drivers with a history of crashes or other violations. Both business practices put other motorists in harm’s way. If a trucking company failed to verify a driver’s background and the driver causes an accident, the trucking company could face vicarious liability for the incident due to their negligent hiring practices.
  • Reckless or negligent driving. Truck drivers may be directly responsible for a crash due to reckless driving, such as speeding or driving under the influence of drugs. Additionally, drivers may also cause crashes when they violate hours of services rules, which stipulate how long drivers can operate. Drivers who push themselves too far while fatigued may not only face liability for violating hours of service violations, but their employers may incur liability for failing to enforce these policies.
  • Defective auto parts. The various parts in commercial trucks can suffer from manufacturing or design flaws. Like with regular passenger vehicles, some defects may increase the risk of an accident. A Houston truck accident attorney can help you determine whether a manufacturer bears liability for your recent accident due to a faulty part.
  • Distracted driving. Truck drivers may become distracted while operating their commercial vehicles and cause accidents. It’s also possible for a third party to cause a distracted driving accident with a commercial truck that leads to multiple other drivers sustaining injuries. Distracted driving is the most reported cause of all motor vehicle accidents in the United States annually.
  • Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. If a commercial truck driver consumes alcohol or drugs before operating their vehicle, they can not only cause a devastating accident, injuring themselves and others but also face loss of their commercial driver’s license and criminal prosecution under Texas’ DUI laws.

Truck accident claims are typically far more challenging to resolve than most standard personal injury cases. This is not only because these incidents are generally much more damaging than most passenger vehicle accidents, resulting in astronomical damages for most victims, but also because of the complexities of liability in these cases. More than one party can bear fault for your recent truck accident, and navigating the legal proceedings required to reach a successful conclusion can be very difficult.

Proving Liability for a Truck Accident

If you believe another party’s negligence caused your recent truck accident, you must prove they violated a duty of care in the situation in question that directly resulted in your damages. Conversely, you may need to prove they acted with an intentional desire to harm, with clear disregard for others’ safety, or in willful violation of Texas law in any way. Again, your Houston truck accident attorney will be an invaluable asset for establishing fault in your truck accident claim.

Physical evidence from the accident scene can be invaluable for proving exactly how a truck accident unfolded. Your legal team could consult an accident reconstruction expert who can review the police report, photographs from the scene of the accident, and the scene itself to determine the physics in play, potentially revealing liability. Witness testimony is also often crucial to many Texas personal injury claims. Your Houston truck accident attorney can assist you in identifying any parties who saw your truck accident happen. Their accounts could support your case and help you ensure the defendant’s accountability.

You may need to prove that a truck driver willfully violated their duty to operate their commercial truck responsibly. Your case may also require proving a distributor failed to load the truck correctly or that the trucking company failed to perform an appropriate background check on the driver who caused the accident. Some truck accident claims revolve around proving the liability of negligent third parties. Every truck accident claim involves unique variables, and it is essential to find an attorney capable of addressing those in your case.

How Much Do Houston Truck Accident Lawyers Cost?

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a truck accident someone else caused, it is natural to wonder how you can hold them accountable. Working with an experienced Houston truck accident attorney significantly improves your chances of success with any legal action you take in response to a truck accident. Still, many people believe that legal representation would be prohibitively expensive. The reality is that legal counsel you can trust is more accessible than you might expect when you choose Stevenson & Murray to represent you in a truck accident claim.

Truck accident lawyers, including us, take cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you do not owe fees unless we successfully recover compensation. By using contingency fees, truck accident lawyers can represent people from all walks of life. We believe justice should be available to everyone.

Our Houston personal injury law firm also offers free consultations. If you have any questions about Texas truck accident laws or your situation, then you can contact us at no cost. A free consultation is an opportunity for you to meet with a potential attorney and evaluate whether you feel you can trust them with your case. During your consultation with our firm, we will answer any preliminary legal questions about your case and let you know whether you have grounds for a claim. We aim to help every client recover as fully as state law allows.

Who Is Potentially Liable for My Texas Truck Accident Injury?

The key to recovering compensation after a truck accident is proving negligence. You must be able to determine who is responsible for causing your injuries. The different parties who may be liable include:

  • The truck driver. In most truck accidents, the truck driver is at fault. Large trucks often carry thousands of pounds of cargo, making them extremely heavy and difficult to maneuver. Due to the truck’s weight, drivers must be properly trained and supervised. They must also remain alert and free of any alcohol and drug consumption. In most cases, the trucking company can be held liable for any damages caused by a driver. Therefore, it is common for a truck company to carry a substantial liability insurance policy.
  • The truck company. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that over four thousand trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2016. Truck drivers were at fault for many of those accidents. However, the truck company is the entity that owns the truck. It is tasked with hiring, training, and supervising its employees. Truck companies also have a responsibility to maintain and inspect each truck. If the truck company fails to perform any of these tasks, it could be liable for your injuries.
  • The truck manufacturer. After hiring an attorney, they will likely conduct an accident investigation. An automotive expert may determine that a malfunctioning truck part helped cause the accident. Examples of vehicle defects include a defective tire or faulty brakes. If a negligent truck manufacturer was at fault for the accident, you have the right to pursue compensation. Our attorneys will help you file a product liability claim against the truck manufacturer.
  • A third party. Another driver near the truck involved in your crash may be responsible for the accident. Many vehicle accidents involve more than two vehicles, and the large size of most commercial trucks means they can collide with multiple vehicles if the driver loses control.

Aside from the tremendous damages they can cause, another factor that makes truck accidents more challenging than standard passenger vehicle accidents is that liability often falls to more than one party. The legal concept of vicarious liability applies when an employer bears fault for their employee’s actions. Again, your Houston truck accident attorney will be invaluable for identifying the defendants bearing fault for your damages.

Resolving your truck accident claim will require assigning fault to each party involved in the case. When multiple defendants bear fault for a truck accident, each will receive a fault percentage based on their level of liability. They may agree on these fault percentages through private settlement negotiations, or a judge may assign them if they litigate their case. It is also possible for a plaintiff to bear partial responsibility for their claimed damages.

Comparative Fault in Texas Civil Suits

Like many other US states, Texas upholds a modified comparative negligence statute. This means that when a plaintiff is found to be partially responsible for causing the damages they are claiming in a civil action, they lose a percentage of their case award equal to their percentage of fault. However, if the plaintiff’s fault does not exceed the defendant’s, the plaintiff can still recover compensation.

Truck accident cases are likely to involve multiple parties. For example, if a drunk driver in a passenger vehicle collided with a truck next to you and resulted in your accident, but an investigation reveals you were speeding at the time of the crash, this could amount to partial liability. The drunk driver would absorb most of the fault for the accident, and the truck driver may also face liability if they did not handle the situation correctly. Ultimately, there are many ways for a complicated multi-vehicle accident case to unfold, and you need legal counsel you can trust to address the unique variables of your case. It’s relatively common for defendants in civil suits to allege comparative fault in an effort to reduce their liability for plaintiffs’ damages. If you are accused of contributing to causing the truck accident that injured you, your Houston truck accident attorney will be an invaluable asset for minimizing your comparative fault and/or disproving false accusations of comparative negligence.

Stevenson & Murray strives to maximize each client’s compensation, often requiring countering claims of comparative fault that may diminish their recoveries. Our team can consult with expert witnesses such as accident reconstruction experts, engineers, medical professionals, and other specialists if necessary for our client. Expert witness testimony can provide valuable insights into the root causes of a truck accident, help a plaintiff prove the full scope of their damages, and contribute to a personal injury claim in various other ways.

Why Should I Hire a Texas Truck Accident Attorney?

Since truck accidents are often more complex than motor vehicle accidents, hiring an experienced attorney becomes especially important. Factors like driver impairment and speed should be investigated in order to determine liability. In addition, there are other reasons for hiring an attorney after a truck accident. They include:

  • Investigating the driver’s work history. An attorney can investigate the driver’s work history and determine if he or she received the required training. If the driver did not receive the proper training, then the truck company can be held liable.
  • Determining how cargo was loaded onto the truck. If the truck was carrying cargo, an attorney would determine how it was loaded. He or she will also determine who was responsible for loading the truck. If the cargo was improperly loaded, then you may be able to determine negligence.
  • Knowing the state and federal regulations of commercial trucking. There are federal regulations that help shape the commercial trucking industry. There are also state regulations that influence truck company procedures. A truck accident attorney will know the specific regulations that apply to your case.
  • Understanding the relationships between various entities. In many cases, personal and professional relationships exist between owners, maintenance technicians, shippers, and drivers. Unfortunately, people often cover for one another and do not reveal the full truth. By understanding these personal relationships, your attorney will have a better shot at determining liability in your truck accident case.

Your Houston truck accident attorney can provide several important legal services at the outset of your recovery efforts and guide you to a positive result. For example, you could have grounds to file an auto insurance claim against the driver who caused your accident. Texas upholds a fault-based system for resolving car accidents, so any driver who causes an accident is responsible for the resulting damages. A truck driver, their employer, or a third party responsible for your accident may carry auto insurance, but it may not be enough to completely compensate your losses. Additionally, dealing with insurance companies on your own can be very frustrating.

An experienced Houston truck accident attorney will determine whether auto insurance is likely to come into play in any capacity in your recovery efforts. A successful auto insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s policy may provide some initial relief from your damages. In addition, an attorney can handle interactions with insurance company representatives on your behalf until you receive a suitable claim settlement.

Once you have exhausted any available insurance coverage to relieve your damages, your Houston truck accident attorney can then assist you in building a civil suit against the driver who caused your accident. A successful auto insurance claim in Texas can potentially cover some of your vehicle repair costs and initial medical expenses if you were injured, but serious accidents are likely to require further legal recourse.

Commonly Reported Injuries in Texas Truck Accidents

Serious physical injuries are possible in any motor vehicle accident. However, the large size of most commercial trucks means that those involved are far more likely to sustain grievous physical injuries when these vehicles have accidents. Many truck accident victims in Houston report injuries like bone fractures, lacerations, facial injuries, burns, and traumatic brain injuries. Many victims’ injuries entail long-term or permanent medical complications. Truck accidents are also terrifying and traumatic experiences, often causing victims to experience psychological disturbances that may persist beyond recovery from their physical injuries. Therefore, you must seek medical care as soon as possible after any motor vehicle accident, even if you think you only suffered minor injuries. Prompt medical care can rule out potentially life-threatening injuries that haven’t manifested noticeable symptoms yet. In addition, your medical report of your injuries will be crucial for holding the defendant accountable for associated medical expenses.

While it may be possible to resolve minor accidents with nothing more than insurance, any accident involving serious physical injuries is likely to demand professional legal representation for the plaintiff. Attempting to meet the demands of your case while recovering from serious physical injuries would be incredibly difficult. Your legal team can provide ongoing support as your proceedings unfold, helping you maximize the outcome of the legal proceedings following your accident.

The team at Stevenson & Murray takes our clients’ injuries very seriously. When you choose our firm to represent you in a Houston, TX, truck accident claim, we can consult with your doctor to fully ascertain the scope and severity of the injuries you suffered. Your injuries could easily lead to expensive medical bills and further losses from the inability to work until you recover. A truck accident can very quickly create a compounding series of financial problems for the victim, and they will also struggle with the physical pain of their injuries. We help our clients recover compensation for the immediate and future medical expenses their injuries entail as well as recovery from any other damages their accidents cause.

Damages and Compensation for a Truck Accident in Houston, TX

The personal injury laws of Texas enable the plaintiff in a truck accident case to seek full repayment for all the economic losses they sustained because of the defendant’s actions. The plaintiff must prove the defendant acted negligently, with clear disregard for the safety of others or with harmful intent, and directly caused the plaintiff’s claimed losses. Economic damages that could be available in your truck accident claim include:

  • Medical treatment costs following your accident. Many truck accidents cause catastrophic and life-threatening injuries that demand emergency treatment. The defendant is responsible for any medical care you require to address the injuries you sustained in the accident.
  • Long-term medical expenses. Many victims of truck accidents suffer permanent harm from their experiences. If the defendant in your truck accident claim caused any level of permanent disability or a medical condition that will require ongoing treatment, they are responsible for all projected medical costs your situation entails. These damages may include the cost of physical therapy, mental health treatment, or ongoing rehabilitation that the victim requires to reach maximum medical recovery.
  • Lost wages. Many victims of serious motor vehicle accidents cannot work until they recover from their injuries. Some may be able to work but only in limited capacities. If your truck accident forced you to miss work, the defendant is liable for the income you couldn’t earn during your recovery.
  • Lost future earning potential. Some victims of truck accidents sustain injuries severe enough to prevent them from returning to work. If the defendant caused any permanent damage to your earning capacity, they are responsible for the future income you could have earned if they had not injured you. An experienced attorney will be necessary for accurately calculating the future income you would have reasonably expected to earn had your accident not occurred.
  • Property losses. Your vehicle was likely damaged or destroyed in your recent truck accident. The at-fault driver’s auto insurance may cover some of these losses, if available, but any outstanding property damage can be listed as an economic loss in your personal injury action. When a car is a total loss and cannot be repaired, the plaintiff can typically expect to receive full compensation for the actual cash value of the vehicle plus the value of any personal belongings inside the vehicle lost in the accident.

Victims of serious motor vehicle accidents often sustain broken bones, facial and dental injuries, lacerations, internal organ damage, and traumatic brain injuries. Crushing injuries, spinal cord damage, and other permanently damaging injuries are also possible, especially in large commercial truck accidents. Beyond the economic impact of these incidents, victims’ experiences are often traumatic and painful. The economic impact of a truck accident may be extreme, but state law acknowledges that the traumatic and painful nature of a plaintiff’s experience is a compensable loss in a personal injury claim. Accordingly, Texas law allows a plaintiff in a civil suit to seek compensation for non-economic damages to reflect the severity of their experiences.

Pain and Suffering in Houston Truck Accident Claims

The plaintiff in a Texas personal injury case has the right to claim non-economic damages from the defendant. These pertain to physical pain and mental suffering. Plaintiffs also have the right to claim compensation for “mental anguish,” which Texas law differentiates from “pain and suffering.” Under both designations, plaintiffs have the right to seek compensation for the physical pain, mental suffering, emotional distress, and psychological trauma caused by the defendant’s actions.

In Texas, a multiplier method is used to calculate suitable pain and suffering damages for the plaintiff. Their attorney will calculate the total value of all their economic damages and then multiply this amount by one to five to reflect the severity of their client’s experience and condition following the incident. For example, if you are claiming $100,000 in economic damages for injuries that are likely to heal completely with time and appropriate treatment, your attorney may seek one to two times this amount in pain and suffering compensation on your behalf. On the other hand, if you developed a permanent disability from your accident that will permanently impact your ability to earn income and live independently, your attorney would be more likely to multiply your economic damages by four or five to reflect the scope and severity of your accident’s impact on your life.

Maximizing the recovery you obtain from your truck accident suit requires an accurate calculation of your economic losses and careful consideration of what appropriate non-economic damages would be in your situation. A Houston truck accident attorney is an invaluable resource in this situation, and the team at Stevenson & Murray can help you increase your recovery beyond what you initially expect to obtain from the defendant. In addition, we can consult with medical experts who can prove the severity of your injuries and the long-term complications you face, substantiating your claim for pain and suffering compensation.

We may also need to prove that the defendant broke the law or acted beyond the scope of typical negligence, which may entitle you to further compensation in the form of punitive damages at the judge’s discretion. As the name suggests, punitive damages are not aimed to be compensatory to the plaintiff but instead aim to punish the defendant. The amount a defendant pays in punitive or exemplary damages in a Texas personal injury suit hinges on the severity of their behavior, their overall financial status, and the impact of their actions on the plaintiff.

Dealing With Insurance Companies After Truck Accidents in Texas

An insurance claim is typically the first step toward recovery for any motor vehicle accident victim in Texas. The state’s fault-based insurance laws dictate that any driver who causes an accident with another driver is liable for the other driver’s damages. The liable driver may be a truck driver, employer, or a third party. A Houston truck accident attorney can make it much easier to deal with the insurance company representatives of the party responsible for your accident.

You have a limited time to file an auto insurance claim after an accident, and with your attorney’s help, you can significantly streamline the claim determination process. Once an insurance company recognizes that a claimant has legal representation, it will be more inclined to handle the claim as efficiently as possible. Your attorney will ensure the insurance company’s offer is suitable. In addition, if there are any disputes regarding the coverage available from the at-fault driver’s insurance, or if your claim is unfairly denied or delayed by their insurance carrier, your Houston truck accident lawyer can resolve these matters on your behalf.

What to Expect From Your Houston Truck Accident Attorney

A good attorney takes time to learn as much as possible about the details of their client’s case. For example, your Houston truck accident attorney must review the details of the police report from the accident. This may help them identify witnesses whose statements could support your case and other variables that help you establish fault for your damages.

While you recover and focus on your personal obligations, your legal team can address the many procedural requirements of your case, filing all necessary paperwork and documentation with the court on time and without errors or omissions. When you choose Stevenson & Murray to represent you, you will have decades of professional experience behind your claim and access to reliable counsel and support when you need it most. In addition, our team will carefully examine the evidence and records pertinent to your case to help you determine the best legal strategies for recovering your losses.

Our firm understands the stress and uncertainty that the economic impact of a serious accident can have on the victim and their household. We can streamline your case proceedings, ensuring no administrative red tape hinders your case’s progress and guiding you to a positive outcome. Most truck accident claims end in settlement, but if a defendant is unwilling to compromise or denies their liability, we are prepared to represent you in active litigation.

When insurance comes into play after a motor vehicle accident, your legal team can handle any necessary correspondence with the insurance company and ensure they offer a fair and reasonable claim settlement. In addition, if you encounter any unethical or bad faith treatment from the insurer, or if the at-fault driver does not have adequate insurance for your damages, your attorney will be invaluable in pursuing further legal recourse to enhance your recovery.

Ultimately, every personal injury case poses unique challenges to every client, but a case can also present distinct opportunities. A good lawyer can help you take full advantage of these variables to improve the quality of your final recovery. Stevenson & Murray helps each client accurately calculate claimable economic damages before determining suitable pain and suffering compensation for their experience. Our goal is to help you recover as much compensation as Texas state law allows for personal injury claims.

Houston Truck Accident Lawyer FAQs

Q: How Soon Should I Hire a Houston Truck Accident Attorney?

A: Whenever you intend to file a civil action against another party in Texas, it is always best to consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible, ideally before you take any formal legal steps against the defendant. Connecting with a Houston truck accident attorney immediately after the accident ensures evidence is as fresh as possible and that witness testimony is as reliable as possible. This also gives your attorney more time to accurately calculate your damages and ensure the defendant is held fully accountable for their actions.

Q: Will I Need to Go to Court to Resolve My Truck Accident Claim?

A: Most personal injury claims filed throughout the United States each year end in a private settlement. As long as the parties involved in the case are willing to compromise, they can potentially resolve their case in a relatively short amount of time. However, if settlement isn’t possible because liability is contested or the case involves multiple defendants, the plaintiff may need to prepare for litigation.

Q: Can a Truck Driver Go to Jail for Causing a Truck Accident?

A: If any defendant caused a motor vehicle accident through intentional misconduct, clear disregard for the safety of others, or a blatant violation of Texas law, they are very likely to face criminal prosecution in addition to civil liability for any victim’s damages. Your Houston truck accident attorney can advise you as to how criminal proceedings against the defendant may interact with your recovery efforts.

Q: How Much Is My Truck Accident Claim Worth?

A: The average person should be able to calculate immediately recognizable losses from a truck accident, such as the cost of repairing their vehicle, lost income from the time they could not work, and the cost of treating their injuries. However, they may struggle to assess the full range of long-term or permanent damages their situations entail. Your Houston truck accident attorney can provide an estimate of the total potential value of your claim.

Q: Is It Worth Hiring a Houston Truck Accident Attorney?

A: It is technically possible to file and even win a civil suit without an attorney but doing so is incredibly challenging. You would need to meet strict procedural rules and court filing deadlines while suffering in the aftermath of your accident unassisted. You would also be likely to settle for less than an experienced attorney could secure on your behalf. However, even after accounting for the cost of your contingency fee, the right attorney can significantly improve the outcome of your case.

Truck Accident Injury? Contact Our Houston Truck Accident Lawyers Today

Even though truck drivers undergo rigorous training, they do not always follow the rules perfectly. When this happens, the likelihood of an accident occurring dramatically increases. Our Houston truck accident lawyers will help protect you from any negligent party that tries to skirt responsibility. We will seek to hold them accountable and secure you a reasonable financial settlement.

If you suffered an injury due to a truck accident, then call Stevenson & Murray today at (713) 622-3223 and schedule a consultation. You can also contact us online and tell us about your case. We promise to take your claim seriously and look forward to meeting with you soon.