Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Wrecks
Our truck accident attorneys handle complex cases
If you've been injured in a truck accident, you may be confused and overwhelmed. We're sure the last thing you want to do is handle a complex legal battle while you're trying to focus on your recovery. That's why our law firm has compiled this list of questions and answers that often arise in the wake of a crash.
- What should I do after a truck wreck?
- Can I sue the trucking company for compensation for my injuries?
- The trucking company is out of state and they won't return my calls. Can you help?
- Should I answer questions from the trucking company or their insurance carrier?
- Can an attorney help me get my medical bills paid?
- Should I accept a settlement offer?
- How long will my case take to resolve? Do I have to go to court?
These answers should provide you with a general overview of how to handle your claim. To talk about your specific case, reach out to Chad Jones Law, P.C. today. We'd be happy to meet with you for a free consultation at one of our offices or come to you at home, work, school or in the hospital.
As with any crash, your health and safety should be your first priority. Seek medical help and make sure the scene is safe. Call the police and ask for the investigating officer's name and badge number; the report he or she fills out can be a critical piece of evidence in your case.
Ask the truck driver for his or her name and contact information as well as the corporate name and address of the trucking company. You should also obtain contact information from any witnesses to the wreck. Keep your comments to anyone else at the scene brief, and stick to the facts of what happened. Take note if the trucker or any other motorist says something admitting fault - and don't make any such statements yourself.
If you have a camera or smartphone, take pictures of the scene, including skid marks, damage to the truck and to your vehicle, any other property damage and any visible injuries. The trucking company often has investigators on the scene within hours, so any evidence you can collect before they arrive can be valuable.
You should notify your insurance company promptly. However, before you speak to anyone from an insurance company or the trucking company, contact us. The sooner you get an attorney on your side, the better your outcome can often be.
In general, yes, but it depends on the circumstances of the wreck. There is a legal doctrine called respondeat superior that makes an employer responsible for the negligent actions of an employee while on the job. If the truck driver is a direct employee of the trucking company, this doctrine makes the company vicariously liable. However, if the trucker is an independent contractor, respondeat superior may or may not apply, depending on the specifics of the relationship between the trucker and the trucking company.
We may also be able to show that the trucking company's own actions make them directly liable for the wreck, even if the truck driver wasn't an employee. For instance, the company may have pressured the driver to work through mandatory breaks or violate hours-of-service regulations, which may have caused the trucker to fall asleep at the wheel due to being exhausted. Or the company may have negligently hired a driver with a history of drunk driving after failing to conduct a background check. That's why you deserve an experienced truck accident attorney from our firm to thoroughly investigate your crash.
It's quite common for a trucking company that does business in Texas to be headquartered in another state - or, in some cases, in another country. These companies may think they can hide across state lines until you simply go away, but they're mistaken. We're familiar with the laws governing out-of-state trucking companies and we'll work tirelessly to try to track them down.
In some circumstances, we may need to retain a local lawyer in the trucking company's home state to help with your case. If we do that, we will split the attorney's fee with the other lawyer, so you won't end up paying more.
Absolutely not. They're not on your side, no matter how friendly they may seem. Any information you give to the trucking company or their insurance company can be used to reduce or deny your claim.
Instead, contact our law firm as soon as possible after your wreck. After you retain us, we can contact the trucking company and their insurance carrier to notify them that you have hired a lawyer. From that point forward, they should direct their questions to us, not you. If they try to call you anyway, politely decline to answer and remind them that they can contact your attorney.
Yes. If you have medical payments coverage or personal injury protection on your car insurance policy, we can work with your insurance and demand that your bills are paid. If you don't have that coverage, we can work with your health insurance and demand that you get the treatment you deserve.
If you don't have any applicable insurance, we may be able to get you treatment on an attorney's lien basis. This is an agreement we make with a medical provider to treat you now at no up-front cost and pay those bills later if your case settles or if we secure a verdict in your favor.
Not without talking to us first. Remember that in truck wreck cases, there are usually multiple insurance companies involved. Depending on the circumstances, accepting a settlement offer from one insurer may settle liability with other insurance companies, leaving you with no source of additional compensation. And once you've taken an insurance company's money, there's usually nothing an attorney can do.
Meet with us for a free consultation before you accept any offer from an insurance company. In many cases, that offer won't even come close to paying for the full cost of your accident. We can demand that they return to the negotiating table and fight for an offer that fully covers your truck accident-related expenses.
As a rule, we can't start negotiating with the trucking company until you've finished your medical treatment for the injuries you sustained in the wreck. From that point forward, negotiations typically take between three and nine months. If the case goes to trial, it may take one to two years before the trial date, although we can still negotiate a settlement during that time.
Most cases do settle out of court, but there is a chance your case could go to trial - usually because the trucking company asks for one. If that happens, though, you'll be working with a tenacious legal team who will fight for your rights every step of the way in court.