What to Look for in a Cypress Truck Accident LawyerChoosing an experienced truck accident attorney is imperative in recovering the compensation you deserve. Undoubtedly, you will contact several attorneys to find the one you think will get you the compensation you deserve. When comparing truck accident attorneys, look for:
- Experience: Truck accidents are not the same as passenger vehicle accidents. In most cases, the driver is not the only person or entity responsible for damages caused by an accident; thus, a case often has two or more defendants. Additionally, truck accidents often cause catastrophic injuries that could change the victim’s life. The attorney needs to have experience working with medical professionals and determining dollar amounts for long-term or permanent medical expenses and loss of earning capacity. Make sure the attorney you choose has extensive experience representing truck accident victims.
- Results: A Cypress truck accident attorney should have extensive negotiations and litigation experience. While you might hope to settle your case, sometimes insurance companies are stubborn. We aggressively work on the settlement negotiations, but when an insurance company refuses to settle for a fair and reasonable amount, it forces us to litigate to help you recover a fair and reasonable amount for your injuries and other damages. Because we prepare for settlement negotiations just as we are going to trial, converting a case to litigation is nearly seamless.
- Trust: Working with an attorney you do not like or feel you cannot trust can jeopardize your case. If an attorney’s personality clashes with your personality, it could lead to the attorney doing less than his or her best when representing you. Always choose an attorney you feel comfortable with. Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Attorneys have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and a 4.9 out of 5 stars on Avvo.
How a Cypress Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help YouOften, accident victims believe they can save money by settling their cases themselves. However, that is rarely the case. Insurance companies do not like to pay claims since every claim they pay cuts into their profits. Insurance companies will do anything to deny your claim or justify offering you a pittance that might not even cover your medical expenses. Our team can help you recover the compensation you deserve by:
- Investigating the accident quickly. Evidence tends to disappear through unintentional and intentional destruction. We start working on gathering evidence as soon as possible.
- We help you get the medical treatment you need.
- We retain expert witnesses to help prove your case, especially if doctors expect your injuries to turn into long-term or permanent disabilities.
- Our Cypress truck accident team maximizes your award recovery by negotiating attorneys’ fees and costs into your settlement or asking for enough to cover our fees in a trial. This is over and above what we ask for to cover your expenses and other damages.
Causes of Truck AccidentsOne of the most important things for a trucker in his or her job is to get loads delivered on time. Late loads affect the revenues of truckers and trucking companies. While truckers have to abide by state and federal regulations, sometimes they break them. Over-the-road truckers can only drive so many hours before they have to take a break or stop for the day. They must also abide by speed limits. Electronic logbooks tell inspectors and companies how fast a trucker was driving and when the trucker stopped for federally mandated breaks. State and federal inspectors can sideline a trucker who breaks the rules. Even when a truck driver follows the rules, he or she could make mistakes. And sometimes, an accident is not the trucker’s fault. Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, including legal prescription drugs.
- Driving while distracted.
- Reckless and/or aggressive driving by the trucker or another vehicle could cause a truck driver to crash into you.
- Speeding and/or excessive speeding.
- Poorly maintained trucks. The company is usually responsible for keeping trucks in good repair. However, an owner/operator is responsible for the maintenance of his truck.
- Equipment failure. Just because a company or owner/operator keeps the truck perfectly maintained does not mean it can fail. Parts manufacturers could sell defective parts. Sometimes, you cannot tell if a part, such as a computer or a sensor, is defective by looking at it. In these cases, the parts manufacturer must pay for damages caused by an accident. In other cases, a truck or trailer might have a factory defect, in which case, the manufacturer shares responsibility for damages.
- Improperly loaded cargo. If the driver does not load his or her own truck, the loaders could share in the responsibility for the accident. However, in most cases, the driver could also share in the responsibility because it is the driver’s job to ensure the load is properly balanced and tied down.
- Poor hiring policies. When a company does not vet a driver well enough, it could hire a very inexperienced driver or someone who has a list of wrecks and poor driving under his belt.
- Violation of state and federal regulations, including hours-of-service regulations.
- Inclement weather.
- Poorly maintained roads.
How Trucking Regulations Could Affect Your CaseState and federal regulations for truckers are in place to keep other drivers safe. Tractor-trailer trucks weigh up to 80,000 pounds fully loaded. When the trucks are oversized, they could weigh in at 100,000 pounds or more. The size and weight of a truck are what cause catastrophic accidents. The court could deem a trucker who broke a state or federal regulation grossly negligent because the driver knows the rules but intentionally breaks them. Some of the rules and regulations include:
- Abiding by the hours-of-service regulations.
- Inspecting, maintaining, and repairing trucks. An unsafe truck is not allowed on the road unless a crooked inspector allows it or a driver avoids an inspector.
- Misrepresenting a driver’s qualifications, such as not showing proof of a commercial driver’s license or telling a potential employer that he has more experience than he has, that driver could cause a traumatic accident.
What Do I Do After a Truck Accident?In some cases, you might suffer severe injuries, so that you shouldn’t move as you could cause more injury to yourself. However, if you can move, you should take several steps after a truck accident to help document your injury case. While the police will document the accident, you should also document the accident. If the police miss something, you’ll have it. After a truck accident:
- Call first responders and check on others involved in the accident.
- Obtain the driver’s contact, insurance, CDL, and registration information.
- Take a photo of the truck’s license plate.
- Take photos of the accident scene from all angles.
- Take photos of any damage to the road and property near the accident scene.
- Obtain contact information from all witnesses. You can also ask witnesses what they saw.
- Allow the emergency technicians to check you over.
- Give the police your statement. Before signing the police report, read it carefully to ensure the police officer wrote your statement accurately.
- Even if you have minor injuries, you should accept a ride to the hospital in the ambulance. This is the starting point of documenting your injuries. If you choose not to ride in the ambulance, you should go to the hospital immediately when the police release you from the scene.
- Contact a Cypress truck accident law firm.
Medical Care After an AccidentAlways attend follow-up appointments. If you do not, the defendant could accuse you of not being as hurt as you say. Additionally, some injuries take hours or even days to manifest. If you notice something new, always make an appointment with a doctor to check it out, even if you are unsure that it is something to do with an accident.
Working With Our Cypress Truck Accident LawyerNot all firms require you to meet the team at the firm. We often conduct initial case evaluations over the phone. If you prefer, we can arrange a video call. Because it is better for your case, we recommend contacting us as soon as possible, even if you are still recovering in the hospital.
What to Expect in an Initial Case EvaluationWe will ask you many questions about the accident, but the initial case evaluation is not only so that we can learn more about your case. You can also learn more about the team that will represent you in a truck accident case. After all, you want a team that is aggressive enough to deal with big insurance companies and meshes with your personality. You, the attorney representing your rights, and the team working on your case must get along so we can work together to get you the compensation you deserve.
How to Get to Know Our Firm and Your TeamBefore your scheduled case evaluation, create a list of questions to ask us You might ask our team:
- How many cases have you settled?
- How many cases have gone to litigation?
- What is the average award for cases like mine?
- How many attorneys will work on my case?
- What methods of communication do you use (email, text, phone calls, video calls, regular mail)?
- I understand you investigate the case before you start settlement negotiations. How long before you start settlement negotiations?
- I have not contacted any insurance companies yet. Can you do that for me? How do I know that the claim was filed on time?
- I am stuck in the hospital, and doctors do not know when I will be released. How do I sign documents if I can’t leave?
- Can you email or text me whenever there is an update on my case?
- How often should I call to check the status of my case?
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?You have up to two years to take legal action in a Texas truck accident. However, some insurance companies might require you to file a claim in as little as 14 days. Even if the insurance company does not have a time limit on filing a claim, you should contact a Cypress truck accident lawyer as soon after the accident as possible. It takes us time to prepare your case for settlement negotiations. We prefer to investigate the case and get a good handle on your injuries before we start negotiating with insurance companies. The more knowledge we have about the case, the more we can pressure insurance companies into paying the compensation you deserve.
How Long Do Truck Accident Cases Take?The claim process for a truck accident case is often complex. We investigate the accident as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Depending on the response we get from collecting evidence, such as the trucker’s logbooks, it could take several weeks to investigate your case fully. The investigation timeframe also depends on how many people might share responsibility for your injuries and other damages, especially if another driver caused the truck accident that injured you. Once we have enough to start settlement negotiations, we forward a demand letter to the insurance companies involved. The insurance companies have a set number of days to respond. Our next step depends on the insurance companies’ responses. They could deny your claim or return a counteroffer. If the counteroffer is fair and reasonable, we have a settlement. If not, you can send the insurance companies another offer, or you can opt to move to litigation. If you decide to litigate, the amount of time it takes depends on several factors, including completing the evidence discovery process and when the court has an opening for a trial. The basic steps for litigation include:
- We draft and file a complaint on your behalf.
- The defendants have a certain number of days to file responsive pleadings, usually an answer and counterclaim. However, defendants could also file other motions, including a motion to dismiss. A motion to dismiss requires a court hearing. The court grants or denies the motion. If the court grants it, it usually gives the plaintiff a set number of days to cure any defects in the petition.
- Once the defendant files an answer and counterclaim, the discovery process starts. We will have most of the evidence we need by the time we get to this point. However, each side has to provide evidence to the other side. Depending on whether the defendant uses stall tactics, this could take 30 to 90 days. If the defendant continues to stonewall, we can file certain motions with the court to hopefully speed up the process.
- After discovery, the court will file a pretrial hearing. At this hearing, the attorneys agree to the rules of the trial, including witness production, the trial date, and more. The court also hears any outstanding motions on the docket.
After Winning a Settlement Or Trial AwardOnce you win a settlement, the attorneys work together to draft a settlement agreement. Once we have a final draft, you review the settlement agreement and sign it and any other requested documents, such as a release for the insurance company. At the end of a trial, the attorneys draft a final order. Once the attorneys agree that it has everything the court ordered, we forward the order to the court for the judge’s signature. The insurance company then processes the agreement or order, cuts a check for the amount in the document, and forwards it to our office. We deposit the check into our escrow account. Once the check clears and that could take up to 14 days, depending on the amount, we:
- Pay any outstanding medical expense you owe.
- Reimburse your insurance companies if you use auto and health to pay some of your current medical expenses.
- Deduct our fees and costs.
What Makes Truck Accident Cases so Complex?In most cases, defendants in truck accident cases are commercial companies and drivers. While the driver is often at fault, others might also share responsibility for your injuries and other damages in some cases. When a case has multiple defendants, it usually has multiple insurance companies included in the lawsuit. Each person or entity usually has an attorney. Those who could share in the responsibility for your injuries and other damages include:
- The driver.
- The driver’s employer (trucking company).
- The owner of the truck if the driver leases the truck.
- A dispatcher if he or she does not work for the same trucking company.
- Truck inspectors.
- Truck mechanics if they do not work for the same trucking company.
- Parts manufacturers.
- Truck manufacturers.
- Trailer manufacturers.
- The municipality responsible for poorly maintained roads if a poorly maintained road caused the accident.
- Another driver that causes the truck to crash into you. For example, a driver that merges too close in front of a truck could cause the trucker to hit the brakes hard enough to jackknife the trailer into you. In this case, the other driver is responsible for your injuries.
Common Truck Accident InjuriesInjuries you might suffer in a truck accident are usually more severe or even catastrophic because of the size and weight of the truck. A fully loaded tractor-trailer truck weighs up to 80,000 pounds. Even smaller trucks and unloaded trucks weigh much more than passenger vehicles. Injuries might include:
- Bumps, scratches, cuts, and bruises.
- Strains and sprains.
- Pulled and torn muscles and other soft tissue injuries.
- Simple and compound fractures.
- Crushed bones.
- Eye and face injuries.
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Thermal and chemical burns.
- Internal injuries.
- Back and spinal cord injuries.
Recovering Damages after a Truck AccidentAfter a truck accident, a Cypress truck accident lawyer can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Texas allows you to recover compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory DamagesThe court orders compensatory damages in an attempt to make you financially whole again. Most people can recover economic damages. Depending on the severity of the injuries or whether you lost a loved one in an accident, you could recover non-economic damages.
Economic DamagesSpecial damages, often referred to as economic damages, have a monetary value and include:
- Medical expenses.
- Replacement or repair of personal property damaged or destroyed in the accident, including your vehicle and anything of value inside your vehicle.
- Lost wages.
- Loss of future earning capacity.
- Funeral, burial, and/or cremation expenses.
- Certain death-related expenses, such as probate attorneys’ fees and probate filing fees.
Non-Economic DamagesGeneral damages, often referred to as non-economic damages, do not have a monetary value and include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
- Inconvenience if you have to hire someone to do the chores you usually do, including house cleaning, grocery shopping, lawn maintenance, and home repair and maintenance.
- Loss of quality of life.
- Loss of companionship.
- Loss of consortium.
- Loss of use of a body part, such as an arm or foot.
- Loss of use of a bodily function, such as your eyesight or bladder.
- Amputation of a digit or limb.
- Excessive scarring and/or disfigurement.
Punitive DamagesThe court only orders punitive damages if the plaintiff can prove that the defendant’s actions or inactions were grossly negligent or intentional. Rather than making you financially whole again, punitive damages punish the defendant in the hopes that he or she and others do not repeat the behavior that caused the accident.
Can I Get Treatment When I Have No Health Insurance?Yes. We will work with you to ensure that you get the treatment you need for truck accident injuries. You can use your auto insurance, defer payments, and use a letter of credit.
What can I do to prevent an accident with a truck?Sometimes, an accident is inevitable. You might not be able to get out of the way. However, you can avoid some accidents by being aware of a truck’s blind spots, never passing on the right, and watching for wide right turns. If you are at a traffic light and the truck is in the middle or left lane with its turn signal on, do not pull into the right lane to make the turn. Wait in the turn lane at least 20 feet behind the trailer.
Should I accept the first settlement offer from the truck driver’s insurance company?It depends. If the insurance company contacts you to make an offer, do not accept it without discussing it with an attorney, even if the insurance company admits its driver is at fault. They are hoping that you will accept the low offer and disappear. The insurance company knows that if you retain a Cypress truck accident lawyer that it will pay much more than it is offering. If the first offer is through your attorney, you might accept the offer if you and your attorney agree that the compensation will cover all of your damages.
How long do I have to sue for wrongful death?You have up to two years to file a wrongful death claim in a truck accident. As with injury accidents, always contact a Cypress truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident, even before the funeral.
How much does a truck accident lawyer cost?The initial case evaluation is free. You do not pay a dime unless we win your case, and then attorneys’ fees and costs come out of your settlement or trial award. When we negotiate a settlement, we make sure to get the compensation you deserve, including enough to cover all medical expenses and other damages on top of our fees and costs.
Does experience matter?Absolutely, experience matters. Truck accidents are not the same as passenger vehicle accidents in that they often have more than one defendant and the accident victim’s injuries are often catastrophic. When dealing with catastrophic injuries, attorneys must determine expenses such as future medical expenses, future loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
What do medical expenses include?Medical expenses could include doctors’ appointments, surgeries, and follow-up appointments. They also include occupational therapy, psychological therapy, cognitive therapy, and physical therapy appointments for as long as you need them. If you need to upgrade your vehicles for hand controls, you can include that expense. Finally, if you need wheelchair ramps, grab bars, and widened doors and/or hallways in your home, you can include those expenses.
Get Your Free Case Evaluation TodayIf you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a Cypress truck accident, call us today. The legal team of Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, is nationally recognized for protecting the rights of injured victims for more than 20 years. If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a Cypress truck accident, contact us for your free consultation! Because we take all of our truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a dime unless we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or contact us now by clicking here.
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"As a relatively new resident of Houston, I did not know of an attorney to contact for a personal injury suit. I randomly went through the yellow pages contacting two attorneys that had rejected my case prior to me contacting Stewart Guss. Stewart took my case on and settled for far more than I had anticipated. The silver lining of this is that I will now have enough money to go back to school for retraining, so I will be able to reenter the workforce in a new capacity. The paralegal, Angela, was kind and supportive throughout the process. If I did not understand the legal jargon, I did not hesitate to ask, and was never once made to feel that I was incompetent. Thank you Stewart and Angela for giving me a new lease on live."