Many people mistakenly think that a semi-truck accident is like other types of traffic accidents. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. These large trucks can weigh 30 times as much as a standard passenger vehicle, which is why passenger vehicle occupants are typically severely injured.
They are also complex claims to resolve as specific federal regulations and laws apply to the trucking industry. It would help if you had an experienced El Paso 18-wheeler accident lawyer who understands all these applicable laws and regulations.
El Paso, TX Truck Accident Statistics
As the trucking industry expands, you’ll find more large trucks on the road. More trucks on El Paso roads mean a higher risk of deadly accidents. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 32,562 commercial vehicles were involved in accidents across the state in 2020.
When you look at El Paso specifically, there was a total of 778 commercial vehicle accidents in 2020. The breakdown is as follows:
- 7 fatal crashes,
- 8 fatalities,
- 10 suspected serious crashes,
- 11 suspected serious injuries,
- 55 non-incapacitating injuries,
- 77 non-incapacitating crashes,
- 86 possible injury crashes,
- 117 possible injuries.
- 610 non-injury crashes,
- 1828 non-injuries,
- 10 Unknown severity crashes, and
- 76 Unknown injuries.
These account for all commercial vehicles, not only large trucks. However, it’s important to point out that only four counties exceed El Paso in the total number of commercial vehicle crashes in 2020. According to ValuePenguin, Interstate 10 is the fifth most dangerous highway in the country.
Do You Have a Valid El Paso Truck Accident Claim?
Proving fault in a semi-truck accident is crucial. If you cannot show the other driver was at fault for your injuries, you will not be entitled to collect any compensation.
Filing a claim with the truck driver’s insurance is simply not enough. Our El Paso semi-truck lawyers will build a strong case and gather the evidence necessary to prove the truck driver’s negligence.
Some of the ways we can help include gathering:
- Truck driver’s “black box” data,
- Driver’s logbooks,
- Truck maintenance records,
- Truck inspection reports,
- Eyewitness testimony,
- Photographic evidence, and
- Police reports.
In Texas, you need to show the other driver’s negligence was greater than your own. As a modified comparative negligence state, Texas allows you to collect a portion of your damages, even when your actions may have contributed to the collision.
For example, if a jury finds you 40% responsible, you could collect 60% of your damages. If your negligence is 51% or higher, however, the law will bar you from any recovery.
Common Causes of El Paso Truck Accidents
Truck collisions can occur for many reasons. Some of the most common causes of large truck collisions in El Paso include:
- Distracted driving, such as texting, looking at a GPS, eating, changing the radio station, and more;
- Traffic offenses such as speeding, running a stop sign or red light;
- Inexperienced drivers;
- Driver fatigue from too many hours on the road;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medication, or illegal drugs;
- Defective products such as brakes and tires; and
- Failure to inspect the truck before starting a trip.
It’s not uncommon to see truck accidents involving more than one of these factors. For example, a truck driver may be speeding with defective brakes. When they try to stop, the truck’s brakes do not respond, causing the driver to hit several other vehicles in front of them.
Types of Damages You Can Receive in an El Paso Truck Accident
Available damages in a truck accident will vary based on the individual circumstances of your case. Severe and catastrophic injuries are not uncommon with these types of collisions.
Our El Paso truck accident lawyers understand the severity and range of damages you can sustain in a truck accident. We will work tirelessly to fight for the compensation you are owed in an accident.
Some of the more common damages you could be entitled to include:
- Medical expenses to date;
- Future medical treatment;
- Vehicle property damage;
- Lost wages to date;
- Future loss of earning capacity;
- Disability and disfigurement;
- Loss of cognitive ability;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
The amount of compensation you are entitled to will vary based on the type and severity of your injuries. No two truck accident cases are exactly alike. If you sustained moderate injuries that healed in three to four months, your case would be worth less than someone who has permanent damage such as paralysis or a traumatic brain injury.
Your attorney will help you understand what type of damages you’re entitled to and your potential case value.
In cases involving malice or gross negligence, the court might award punitive damages. Punitive damages send a message to the defendant to “punish” them and deter them from similar behavior in the future.
Like several other states, Texas has a cap on punitive damages. You can collect the greater amount of $200,000 or two times the amount of your economic damages plus an equal amount of noneconomic damages, up to $750,000.
Statute of Limitations on El Paso Truck Accidents
Like other types of personal injury claims, those based on El Paso truck accidents are subject to a statute of limitations. That means you have only a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit; otherwise, your claim will be barred.
In most cases, the statute of limitations in truck collisions is two years. That means you have two years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, the court will likely dismiss your case, and you will not be able to proceed.
If you are in the midst of settlement negotiations with the insurance company and the limitations period runs out, the same issue applies. The insurance company is under no obligation to continue settlement negotiations if you did not meet the legal deadline. The release of all claims must be signed and back to the insurance adjuster for your settlement to be valid.
The two-year rule doesn’t necessarily apply in all large truck accidents. There may be particular circumstances that change the statute of limitations. It could be a longer timeframe, or it could be less. That is one reason why contacting an El Paso 18-wheeler accident lawyer is so important.
Benefits of Hiring an El Paso Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer
There are numerous benefits of working with an experienced El Paso semi-truck accident attorney rather than attempting to handle your claim independently. Working with our legal team ensures you have access to the best legal skills and resources necessary to protect your rights.
We will start by opening our own independent investigation to gather evidence and determine liability. We will obtain police reports, speak with witnesses, conduct a scene investigation, and more. If necessary, we will hire an accident reconstructionist who can determine how the accident occurred.
You will not be obligated to speak with the other insurance company when you have an attorney representing you. That means we will handle all communications with the trucking company and their insurance. It would be best if you were focusing on your recovery, not the stress of your claim. That is only possible when you have the benefit of experienced negotiators on your side.
Insurance companies know that accident victims don’t have the legal knowledge and negotiating skills that attorneys do. They will try to use that to their advantage to extend a lowball settlement offer or deny your claim entirely.
We won’t allow an insurance company to mistreat you. If the company unfairly denies your claim or refuses to negotiate in good faith, we have the skills and resources to take your case to trial if necessary.
Catastrophic injury accidents have their own complications that require an attorney with specialized experience. These claims have a significant amount of treatment that typically extends for years, very high medical expenses, and permanent disability and disfigurement.
Many victims cannot return to work for an extended period, or they may be unable to return to work ever. Attempting to handle a claim independently means you could receive far less than your case is worth.
Contact Our El Paso Truck Accident Lawyers Today
If you or someone you love is suffering from injuries sustained in an El Paso truck accident, you don’t have to deal with the insurance company or trucking company on your own. Let the knowledgeable and professional team of El Paso truck accident lawyers at Flores, Tawney & Acosta, P.C. assist you.
We have years of experience helping El Paso victims just like you. We understand the federal regulations that apply in these collisions and have a successful track record of recovering compensation for our clients. To learn more about how we can help you, contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.