State Highway 495—or SH 495—is one of the major highways that run through McAllen, Texas. Many high-speed motor vehicles travel along this roadway, including large trucks, tractor-trailers, semis, and big rigs. When operators of large trucks operate their vehicles carelessly and recklessly, they can cause accidents, which in turn lead to serious injuries. If you have sustained serious personal injuries and damages in a truck accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical treatment for your injuries. You should also contact a skilled personal injury law firm as soon as possible.
The team of McAllen truck accident lawyers and legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, can take care of the legal aspects of your case while you recover from the injuries you sustained in your accident. Our experienced legal team can negotiate with the trucking company’s insurer on your behalf and work towards obtaining fair and just monetary return in your case. Our team has battled against insurance companies on behalf of injury victims for more than two decades. The intake department at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, is available for your free consultation, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-898-4877, or you may contact us now by CLICKING HERE.
Common Locations and Causes of Truck Accidents in McAllen
Truck accidents occur not only on SH 495 and other busy roadways but also on smaller rural roads and dual-lane highways. Truck accidents on dual lane highways can sometimes be more dangerous than those which occur on busy highways because there is a greater potential for head-on collisions. There is also a much smaller space on the road shoulder than on busy highways.
Truck accidents can also happen for a variety of reasons. In some cases, the truck driver was totally to blame, while in other cases, the accident victim may have caused or contributed to the truck accident. Some typical causes of McAllen truck accidents include the following:
- Drunk driving – If a person operates a motor vehicle, including a large truck or big rig, while under the influence of alcohol, they can be arrested and convicted of driving while intoxicated or (DWI). In order to be arrested for DWI, a Texas driver must have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above. In the alternative, the motor vehicle operator must be intoxicated by drugs or alcohol while driving. If a truck driver is found to be driving while intoxicated, the driver may be deemed negligent.
- Distracted driving – Sometimes, truck drivers try to pass the lonely hours alone on the road by texting and making phone calls while they are driving. At other times, drivers are paying more attention to their GPS device than they are to the road in front of them. When distractions in the cab cause the driver to veer off the side of the road or into another vehicle, serious injuries may occur.
- Driving while fatigued – Truck drivers and trucking companies reap significant monetary benefits from driving fast and delivering cargo early. Despite these financial benefits, however, fatigued driving is extremely detrimental to other drivers on the roadways. A driver whose truck veers over the center double line after he or she falls asleep at the wheel can cause a head-on collision or other serious accident. Moreover, some truck drivers try to remedy their fatigue by resorting to stimulants to keep them awake for long periods. This can be equally harmful and may also lead to serious accidents and injuries on the road.
- Misjudging stopping distances – Large trucks and tractor trailers can take a long time to slow down. This is due primarily to their length, size, and fast speeds. Truck drivers need to be especially mindful of their speeds if they are proceeding down steep hills or driving in inclement weather conditions that could produce hydroplaning. When truck drivers misjudge their stopping distance, they can rear end a smaller vehicle in front of them, bringing about serious injuries.
- Violating traffic laws and truck regulations – Traffic laws are in place for the benefit of all motor vehicle drivers, including truck drivers. These laws include truck speed limits and right-of-way laws. In addition to the standard traffic laws which are applicable to all motor vehicles, trucks and tractor-trailers must also abide by state and federal motor carrier regulations. These regulations prescribe weight and load limits for various classifications of trucks. They also set out the rules for carrying oversize loads, including the need for proper warning signs, lights, and escort vehicles. When truck drivers and trucking companies violate the Motor Carrier Regulations, they can be fined and may suffer other penalties.
If you sustained injuries in a serious accident that was caused by a truck driver or trucking company’s negligence, the team of experienced attorneys and legal professionals at the office of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, may be able to assist. Our experienced team has settled and litigated thousands of truck accidents and know the tricks and tactics to use against the insurance company to help maximize your compensation.
National Trucking Accident Attorney Stewart J. Guss discusses trucking safety on national news with Mike Papantonio on America’s Lawyer
Who Is Responsible for a McAllen Truck Accident?
When it comes to potential responsibility for a truck crash, several parties immediately come to mind. The most obvious responsible party is the negligent truck driver. However, there are other individuals or entities who may share in the some—or all—of the responsibility for a truck accident. Parties who may be held liable in a truck accident case include the following:
- Truck drivers – In order to show that a truck driver is negligent, an accident victim will not only need to show that the driver acted unreasonably, but also that this negligence resulted in the injuries and damages sustained. In that instance, a truck accident victim may be able to recover both economic and noneconomic damages for all of the injuries and symptoms suffered in the accident.
- Trucking corporations – Business organizations, such as corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs), are treated as persons under the law. As such, they can be sued or they can file a lawsuit against someone else. In the context of a truck accident, a trucking company may be held vicariously liable for a truck driver’s negligence. In order for a trucking company to be held vicariously liable, the truck driver must be working as an employee (as opposed to an independent contractor) and must have been working in the scope of their employment at the time the accident occurred. A trucking company could also be held responsible for retaining a truck driver who has previously caused an accident while driving.
- Part manufacturers – Various companies manufacture and design truck parts, including braking systems, warning lights, engines, undercarriage lights (for both the tractor and the trailer), and steering systems. When any of these devices malfunction, leading to a serious truck accident, the manufacturer may be deemed fully or partially responsible for the injuries and damages that result. In order to prove that a product defect was responsible for an accident, it must have been defective when it left the manufacturer’s control and entered the stream of commerce. Expert testimony is often necessary to prove the existence of a product defect.
- Truck Repair Facilities – Tractor-trailers and other large vehicles require regular maintenance work in order to stay up and running. When defective or deficient repair work is performed on these vehicles, serious accidents can result. Expert testimony is also helpful when it comes to proving that a truck repair facility did something wrong and that this deficiency led to an accident.
The team of McAllen truck accident lawyers and legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, can investigate the circumstances surrounding your truck accident and determine who was likely at fault. Our law firm can then file a timely claim or lawsuit against the responsible person or legal entity.
Proving Someone Else’s Negligence
In order to prove that someone else was responsible for a truck accident, the accident victim must show negligence on the part of the truck driver, trucking company, repair facility, or another defendant. A truck driver is negligent, for example, whenever he or she deviates from the reasonable standard of care. Violating a traffic law, for example, may constitute truck driver negligence. Failing to properly inspect the truck and diagnose a mechanical problem could amount to negligence on the part of a repair facility.
In addition to proving fault, the accident victim must also be able to show that they sustained injuries because of the accident. In some cases, this can be difficult because the insurance company may try and claim that the injuries happened before the truck accident. The team of truck accident attorneys and legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, can assist you with proving the legal elements of your negligence case and help you obtain the fair and just monetary return you deserve to make you whole.
Modified Comparative Negligence Claims
In truck accident cases, insurance companies sometimes try and use the doctrine of modified comparative fault—or comparative negligence—to their benefit. Under Texas’ modified comparative fault doctrine, insurance companies may try and show that the truck accident victim was fully or partially to blame for the subject accident and injuries suffered. For example, the insurance company may try and claim that the accident victim was speeding or did something else to contribute to the accident.
Under modified comparative fault, the injured accident victim cannot recover monetary compensation in a truck accident case if he or she is found to be more than 51 percent responsible. However, in the event the accident victim contributed to the accident less than 51 percent, he or she can still recover a monetary return for their damages. The available damages will then be reduced by the accident victim’s degree of fault.
For example, an accident victim who contributed to an accident 25 percent will only be eligible to recover 75 percent of the available coverage. On the other hand, an accident victim who was 75 percent at fault for the accident would not be able to recover for any of their damages.
If the insurance company is claiming comparative fault in your truck accident case, the legal team at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, can help you contest that dispute and downplay any negatives in your case. Our goal is to help you obtain the maximum monetary compensation available.
Filing a Timely Claim or Lawsuit in a Truck Accident Case
In Texas, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is two years from the date of the accident. In other words, absent exceptional circumstances, if the accident victim does not file a claim or lawsuit for damages within two years of the accident date, they will be forever barred from seeking monetary recovery for their accident.
Statutes of limitation are very unforgiving. If you have sustained injuries in a truck accident, time is of the essence. The team of McAllen truck accident attorneys and legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, can ensure that your truck accident claim or lawsuit is filed on time and in the proper Texas court.
Speak to a McAllen Truck Accident Law Firm Today
At Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, we are proud of what we do. Our team members are zealous advocates and litigators who work hard every single day to help injured accident victims obtain the compensation they deserve. If you have been injured in a truck accident that was someone else’s fault, our law team can effectively and efficiently manage and pursue your case to pursue fair and just monetary compensation on your behalf.
The team at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, is nationally recognized truck accident lawyers and legal professionals who have protected the rights of injured victims in McAllen and elsewhere for more than 20 years. If a truck injured you in McAllen, call our office right now 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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