The Woodlands, located just north of Houston, has several major roads and highways nearby, which means that you will most likely encounter several types of big trucks in the area.
The area isn’t just residential, but also has many businesses that require deliveries in large trucks. No matter how careful you are when driving, you cannot control other drivers on the road. Often, you cannot avoid an accident because of other vehicles and stationary objects in the way.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a truck accident, contact our team of truck accident attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers for a free case evaluation. We are a national law firm based in Houston with multiple offices around the country. We also work with affiliate law firms in most states that share our focus and dedication to excellence. No matter where you are located, we may be able to help you, so call or contact us now. We are open, for free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-898-4877, or you may contact us now by clicking here to submit your case for review.
Why Choose a The Woodlands Truck Accident Attorney
When you have enough to worry about because of your injuries or the loss of a loved one after a truck accident, you need someone you can rely on to help you recover the compensation you deserve. We empathize with what you are going through, and we know that the last thing you need to do is deal with insurance companies that do not care and are trying to get out of paying you what you deserve.
When you tangle with a commercial truck, the accident often becomes very complex. In addition to questions such as who will fix your vehicle, pay for medical expenses, and what you will do when your household faces less income for an undetermined time, you have the stress of wondering if the insurance company will give you a runaround.
Instead of worrying about that while trying to recover, let our truck accident team worry about that while you recover. An experienced truck accident lawyer has many successful settlements and trial wins, in addition to extensive experience and knowledge about commercial trucking.
When you retain our truck accident team, we fight for the compensation you deserve by connecting you to resources, filing your truck accident claim, investigating the accident, collecting evidence, and standing up to trucking companies and their insurance companies, all while protecting your rights.
Questions for Truck Accident Victims
We know that hospital and household bills can add up quickly, so we work with investigators to determine what happened in a Woodlands truck accident. We can get a head start on investigating your case by getting some information from you right from the start.
Some of the questions we might ask to help with the investigation:
- Did you lose a loved one in the truck accident?
- What injuries did you sustain?
- How much property damage did your vehicle sustain?
- Was other nearby property damaged in the accident?
- Did you allow emergency medical technicians to check you over?
- Did you give a statement to the police?
- Did the truck driver get a ticket or face arrest?
- Do you have medical and insurance expenses to pay?
- Are you still receiving treatment for accident injuries?
- Do your doctors expect any injuries to result in long-term or permanent disabilities?
- Did you miss work because of the accident?
- Do you have chronic pain?
- What happened right before the accident?
In some cases, the truck driver might not be the only one responsible for your injuries and other damages. We ensure our investigation team is very thorough so that you get the compensation you deserve. Working with an experienced truck accident team ensures that you receive the compensation you deserve.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
Many factors can cause truck accidents. In some cases, the truck driver might not be at fault.
In other cases, the truck driver could be fully at fault or share fault with others, including the company they work for, manufacturers, and even other drivers on the road.
- Driving under the influence: Driving under the influence contributed to over 16,300 accidents in Texas. Of those, 495 involved fatalities, and 1,140 involved potentially serious injuries. To add perspective, 79 fatalities and 111 potential serious injuries were in and around the Houston area, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Unlike drivers without a CDL license who can have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent, drivers holding a CDL cannot have a blood alcohol concentration above 0.04 percent.
- Driving while distracted: A truck driver spends hours in the cab, which lends to the temptation of checking messages, grabbing a bite to eat, changing the radio station, or even talking on the phone. Any of these are distractions, including having a phone conversation hands-free. If a driver doesn’t see a smaller vehicle because they are not giving the road 100 percent of her attention, she could cause a fatal or catastrophic accident.
- Speeding and Reckless Driving: When a driver feels rushed because of deadlines, he might speed or take reckless actions. These actions could be deadly with a large truck, especially a trailer truck. If the driver loses control of the truck because of reckless driving or speeding, the trailer could swing out of control and wipe other vehicles right off the road. A truck that big also does extensive damage if it rear-ends smaller vehicles.
- Road conditions: When we talk about poor road conditions, we mean roads that are full of potholes, large cracks, or have debris, such as separated tires and even large branches in them. If a truck driver unexpectedly hits a pothole, debris in the road, or even a patch of sand or gravel that got left on the road, she could very easily lose control and crash into nearby vehicles. Missing signage, poor road design, and even work crews on the road could also contribute to the wreck.
- Inclement weather: It could be difficult to determine if a crash in inclement weather is 100 percent due to the weather or if the driver’s actions or inactions contributed to the accident. For example, if a driver normally takes a curve on dry roads at 40 mph, she might easily navigate the curve. However, if the wind is blowing at 50 mph and the trucker takes the curve at the same 40 mph, the wind could easily flip the truck. Or, if the truck’s load is not balanced properly, taking that curve at 40 mph could tip the truck. It is up to the driver to know how the truck will react in certain conditions. If he does not slow down to a speed safe for conditions, he could share in the responsibility for the accident.
- Blind spots: While truck drivers need to be aware of and check their blind spots, other drivers on the road also need to be aware of a truck’s blind spots and take appropriate action to keep from getting hit. A truck driver could check her blind spots, but if a small vehicle pulls into that blind spot seconds later, the truck driver would never see it. When your attorney’s truck accident team investigates the accident, they will try to determine whether the truck driver is fully at fault for a blind spot accident.
- Improperly loaded cargo: A fully loaded tractor-trailer weighs about 80,000 pounds. An oversized load could weigh up to 100,000 pounds. If the loader does not load and secure the load properly, it could shift and cause the truck to tip over. However, a driver is also responsible for how the loader loads his truck. The driver should check load placement and tie-down straps before leaving the yard. If an unbalanced load causes an accident, the driver and loader could share responsibility for accident injuries.
- Defects: If the truck comes off the assembly line with defects and the trucking manufacturer does not issue recalls, injured parties could hold the manufacturer liable for damages. Additionally, trucks need replacement parts often-brakes, tires, and other parts wear out. The person who sold or manufactured defective parts could face responsibility for an accident. Finally, if the auto technician improperly installed parts, he or she could share in the liability for the accident.
- Other drivers: A truck driver might not be the cause of a traumatic accident if a passenger vehicle or another truck cuts the driver off, sideswipes the driver or otherwise causes the truck to crash. In some cases, the truck driver might have zero liability, and in others, the truck driver might contribute to the wreck.
- Inspectors: Drivers or another person must inspect the truck every time it leaves the yard or from a rest stop. Inspectors and drivers check for working lights, damaged air lines, and worn parts, including brakes, tires, suspension, and steering. If a driver leaves without sidelining the truck because of worn or broken parts, the driver and inspector could share the responsibility for the accident. Additionally, inspectors who work for a municipality could share in the responsibility for a truck accident if they notice a problem with a truck but do not give the driver an ‘out of service’ ticket.
Common Types of Truck Accidents
Because trucks have a high center of gravity, it is easier for them to flip. And, because of their weight, they take longer to stop. Truck drivers should know this and take appropriate actions for road conditions, weather, and other factors.
However, a truck driver could misjudge a road, the weather, or another driver could cause a truck to wreck.
Common types of truck accidents include:
- Jackknifing, where the end of the trailer swings toward the front of a truck. A truck driver could jackknife a truck if he or she stops too fast, if another vehicle pulls in front of the truck, or if the truck driver loses control on slippery roads.
- Sideswipes, if a driver drives distracted, if a vehicle “pushes” the truck out of its lane, or a trucker drives recklessly.
- Head-on collisions if a driver weaves in and out of her lane or falls asleep at the wheel and crosses the yellow line.
- Rear-end collisions if the driver does not pay attention to the road in front of him or misjudges the amount of space it takes to stop the truck. Misjudgment could happen in inclement weather.
- Rollovers if the driver does not slow down for sharp curves or inclement weather, including high winds.
Truck Accident Injuries
Because of the size of a truck, accidents are often traumatic or fatal. Those who get into an accident with a truck could sustain anything from minor injuries, such as cuts, scrapes, bumps, and bruises, to catastrophic injuries or death. Even minor injuries could become serious if a truck accident victim has preexisting conditions.
- Strains and sprains
- Pulled and torn muscles and other soft tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Face and eye injuries
- Internal injuries
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries
- Simple and compound fractures
- Crushed bones
- Road rash
- Thermal and chemical burns
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Amputation, disfigurement, and/or excessive scarring.
In some cases, open wounds, whether from the accident or surgical repairs to accident injuries, could cause secondary injuries, such as infections. Truck accident injuries could also exacerbate pre-existing injuries and diseases. The at-fault driver and other parties are responsible for these additional injuries as you would not have incurred additional medical expenses and suffered more pain if not for the negligence of the at-fault driver.
Recovering Damages After a Truck Accident in The Woodlands
One of the most common questions we hear is, “How much can I recover after a truck accident?” It depends on several factors, including the severity of your injuries, whether doctors expect the injuries to result in long-term or permanent disabilities, and whether the at-fault driver’s actions or inactions were grossly negligent or intentional.
After an accident, you could recover compensatory damages and punitive damages. The court orders compensatory damages in an attempt to make you whole again.
#1. Economic Damages
Special damages, often called economic damages, include:
- Past and future medical expenses. Medical expenses include doctors’ appointments, surgeries, appointments with specialists, physical therapy, cognitive therapy, occupational therapy, psychological therapy, prescriptions, and ambulatory aids. They also include hand controls for your vehicle and upgrades for your home, including ramps, widened doorways, and grab bars.
- Lost wages.
- Loss of future earning capacity.
- Replacement or repair of destroyed or damaged personal property.
- Funeral, burial, and/or cremation expenses.
- Probate filing fees, probate attorneys’ fees, and certain other related expenses.
#2. Non-Economic Damages
General damages often referred to as non-economic damages, include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
- Loss of quality of life if you have to take medications or use ambulatory aids for the rest of your life.
- Loss of companionship if you cannot take part in family activities and events, or if you can no longer enjoy spending time with your family.
- Loss of consortium if you can no longer have a physical relationship with your spouse.
- Loss of use of a bodily function such as your eyesight or bladder.
- Loss of use of a body part such as a hand or leg.
- Inconvenience if you have to hire others to do your chores, including grocery shopping, home repair and maintenance, house cleaning, and lawn maintenance.
- Amputation, disfigurement, and/or excessive scarring.
#3. Punitive Damages
The court only orders punitive damages if you can prove that the defendant’s actions or inactions were grossly negligent or intentional. Instead of making you whole again, as with compensatory damages, the money you receive from punitive damages punishes the defendant for his or her behavior.
Truck Rules and Regulations in The Woodlands
Truck drivers have certain rules and regulations they must abide by. They are over and above the rules and regulations that a non-CDL driver has to obey and are in place to increase safety on the roads. Some regulations are federal, while others are state laws.
The rules and regulations are extensive, but include:
- All truck drivers who drive trucks over a certain weight, length, and/or other requirements must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
- Truckers must undergo a background check.
- Trucking companies must provide proper and adequate training for their drivers.
- Commercial truckers must keep maintenance logs in their trucks.
- Truckers must also keep logbooks for the hours they drive and are regulated to drive only a certain number of hours.
After a truck accident, a truck accident lawyer might subpoena a trucker’s logbooks and the truck’s GPS records, cell phone records, and other records that prove whether a driver was driving over hours or speeding.
The hours-of-service rule is just one of the federal regulations a truck driver must abide by. Texas may also have additional rules for short-haul and long-haul drivers, including regulations enforced by the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Service.
What You Should Do After a Truck Accident
If a truck hits you, you may not have the ability to do anything, including calling first responders. If you cannot move without causing additional damage to yourself, do not move.
If you can move without causing additional damage, you should:
- Check on others involved in the accident and call first responders.
- Obtain contact information from all involved in the accident. Additionally, obtain the driver’s CDL license information, regular license information, insurance, and registration information, and his or her contact information.
- Obtain contact information from witnesses. You should also ask what each witness saw.
- Take pictures of the accident scene. Be sure to get clear pictures from all angles. Also, take photos of any damage to the road or nearby real and personal property that suffered damage in the wreck.
- Give the police your statement.
- Before signing the police report, review it carefully to ensure that it is correct. The insurance company could use incorrect information against you.
- Seek medical assistance as soon as the police release you from the scene.
- Contact a Woodland truck accident lawyer at Stewart J. Guss Injury Accident Lawyers.
What to Expect After Filing a Truck Woodland Truck Accident Claim
When you first retain an attorney, the team will usually review and investigate your case to determine several factors, including the defendants to the lawsuit and how much compensation you deserve. During this period, the team may file a claim with the insurance company. Once it determines the amount of compensation it believes you should recover, it will draft a demand letter to the insurance company’s attorneys to start settlement negotiations.
The insurance company might respond in one of three ways:
- It could deny your claim.
- It could submit a counteroffer.
- It could accept your monetary demand.
In most cases, it will try to deny your settlement or make a low offer. Your attorney will discuss the insurance company’s response with you to help you determine the next step. You could accept the insurance company’s offer, submit a counteroffer, or deny the insurance company’s offer and move to litigation.
Once you accept the insurance company’s offer, the attorneys draft a settlement agreement. Both parties-you and the defendant’s insurance company must sign the agreement.
If you do not agree with the insurance company’s offer, you can decline it and file a lawsuit. Once you file a complaint, a process server must serve it on all named defendants. Depending on what the investigators find, you could have one or several defendants.
The defendants have a set time from the date they receive the lawsuit to file responsive pleadings. Once the defendants file their answers and counterclaims, the discovery process starts.
After discovery, the attorneys set a pretrial hearing. The court dictates the rules for the trial, including evidence and witnesses.
The amount of time it takes to settle a case or go to trial varies widely and depends on how quickly the defendants respond, whether you or they file motions during the discovery phase, and when the court has an open slot for hearings and the trial.
Do I Get a Check Right After Signing a Settlement Agreement or Winning a Trial Award?
Once the insurance company agrees to a settlement or the court rules in your favor, the insurance company forwards a check to your attorney. Once the check clears the bank, the attorney pays any outstanding medical expenses you have and reimburses your insurance companies.
The attorney then deducts his fees and costs and writes you a check for the balance. This process could take up to a month, depending on how long the bank takes to clear the check. However, most checks of substantial amounts take about 14 days to clear. Some banks might take longer to process the check.
What Is Discovery?
Both parties have to provide the evidence they have to each other. Discovery might include depositions, subpoenas, requests for admission, and interrogatories.
The Woodlands Truck Accident FAQs
Who can file a wrongful death claim after a truck accident in The Woodlands?
A spouse, adult child, or parent can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Additionally, the decedent’s personal representative could file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate.
How long do I have to file a truck accident claim?
A truck accident is a personal injury claim. Texas statutes allow-in most cases-two years to file a truck accident claim. You should always retain an accident lawyer as soon as possible. If you wait too long, not only could you miss the deadline to take legal action, but you could also forget pertinent facts that help win the case. Additionally, the evidence tends to disappear over time. Sometimes evidence degrades from time and weather, or it could get lost or destroyed.
What happens if the insurance company denies my claim or if it does not offer a fair and reasonable settlement?
If the insurance company denies your claim or it does not offer a fair and reasonable settlement, you can end settlement negotiations and file a lawsuit against the defendants, including the insurance companies.
What do I do if I cannot afford a truck accident lawyer?
You might think it is impossible to retain a truck accident lawyer when your injuries put you out of work. However, you do not have to worry about paying an accident attorney. Your initial case evaluation is always free. Additionally, we work truck accident cases on a contingency basis.
You do not pay us unless we win compensation for you. When we negotiate for the compensation you deserve, we also negotiate attorney’s fees and costs in that amount-why should you or your insurance company pay for an attorney when an accident is not your fault?
We recover our fees and costs instead only as a portion of your final award amount.
How do I pay medical expenses while I’m waiting on my case to settle?
It often takes time to settle a truck accident case, especially if you have to break off negotiations and file a lawsuit. You can use your auto insurance and health insurance to cover medical expenses. Since your insurance companies should not be out of money when an accident is not your fault, they will often receive reimbursement from your settlement or trial award.
How do I pay household expenses while I’m waiting on my case to settle?
There’s almost no worse feeling than not being able to pay all the bills. You might worry about losing your home or putting food on the table, especially if you already live paycheck to paycheck. Some insurance companies will also pay for lost wages if you cannot work after an accident. Check your auto and health insurance policy to see if it covers lost wages.
What do I do if the insurance company offers me a settlement?
Never accept a settlement without discussing it with an attorney. If an insurance company offers you a settlement shortly after the accident, it is most likely a very low amount. It might even tell you the amount is the most that it will pay.
Do not fall for this. Insurance companies are in business to make a profit. Any claims they pay significantly reduce their profits. They will never initiate an offer for the compensation you deserve as they are trying to get away with paying as little as possible.
At this point in the case, you might not know the severity of your injuries. Some injuries take days to manifest. And, with some that have a longer recovery time, you might not realize that those injuries will never fully heal. If you have to have medical care for the rest of your life, the initial settlement the insurance company offers is most likely not enough to cover any long-term expenses and non-economic damages.
Instead of taking a chance with the insurance company’s initial offer, contact an experienced truck accident attorney for help with your case. The attorneys can estimate how much compensation you will need for future medical expenses and loss of earning income.
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 were injured in a Woodland truck accident, call our office right now for a free consultation! Because we take all of our personal injury 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.
See what past clients have to say:
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“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.”
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.