Regarding truck traffic, San Antonio is a unique place in Central Texas. San Antonio is the southernmost large city in Texas. The city’s roads and highways see their share of truck traffic, especially large vehicles heading to and from the Mexican border.
Truck traffic leads to accidents, and accidents lead to severe injuries. Victims have the right to hold negligent truck drivers, trucking companies, and other parties liable for their losses, but claims are highly challenging. You need an experienced truck accident attorney to handle your claim as soon as possible after your injuries.
Truck Traffic Is Exploding in the San Antonio Area
There are over 200,000 vehicles on I-35 alone in San Antonio daily, many of which are large trucks.
In addition, e-commerce has been a growing economic force in the San Antonio area. Companies like Amazon think San Antonio is an ideal location to base enormous fulfillment and operations centers because of its location on the I-35. Even local logistics companies are growing by leaps and bounds. Many shippers are using South Texas to bypass backlogged California ports.
While the economic activity is great for the area, there are dangerous consequences. The main byproduct of all this economic activity is clogging San Antonio area roads with large 18-wheelers weighing up to 80,000 pounds.
Another dangerous factor also accompanies the booming truck traffic. Trucking companies cannot find enough experienced truck drivers to operate their rigs. Good truck drivers can practically name their price, and trucking companies may not want to pay it. As a result, they may put younger and less experienced drivers on the road.
Experienced truck drivers are retiring, and companies are having trouble competing for new drivers in the booming employment market. As a result, trucking companies have even had to resort to giving truck drivers as young as 18 the keys to a fully-loaded 80,000-pound tractor trailer. Higher labor costs mean trucking companies may cut corners elsewhere to keep their profit margins higher.
At the same time, trucking companies face growing pressure to deliver on time. Being late can cost customers in the competitive landscape. Yet, truck drivers can only drive so many hours a day or week. When they can drive, operators may take more chances to maximize their driving time and not reach their destination late.
All this adds to daily news stories of serious truck accidents in the San Antonio area. Truck accidents can cause severe injuries because of the size disparity between large trucks and passenger cars.
How to Get Compensation in a Truck Accident Case
When the truck driver is responsible for your crash, you and your family may be legally entitled to significant financial compensation.
First, you need to prove that the truck driver was negligent in your case. Negligence means that the truck driver acted unreasonably under the circumstances compared to what an ordinary truck driver will have done. For example, speeding, distracted driving, and illegal turns will be considered negligence.
To prove negligence, you need evidence of what the truck driver did to compare it to what an average truck driver might have done. You need to show that the truck driver fell short of the standard of care expected of them. You need an attorney who can gather evidence because that is what will prove that someone else was to blame for your accident.
How Truck Accident Evidence Can Help Win Your Case
While the evidence is critical in any personal injury case, it is even more critical in a truck accident case because:
- There are far more sources of evidence that can prove your case and that the trucking company did something wrong.
- These sources of evidence may be in the trucking company’s possession, and they can disappear quickly if you do not move to lock them down.
- There may be millions of dollars on the line
Not only is your truck accident lawyer looking at what happened in your truck accident and trying to gather evidence about that, but they are also looking at the bigger picture. Not only do you want to understand the accident, but you also want to learn about the trucking company’s compliance with the numerous federal regulations that govern the industry.
Numerous sources of evidence may be of use in your case.
To prove what happened in the actual accident, your lawyer will look to use:
- Witness testimony from people who saw the accident
- Traffic camera or dashcam footage that might show the crash
- Pictures from the scene of the accident
- Pictures of the wreckage
- Testimony from an expert witness who can recreate the accident and give their opinion about what happened
The Black Box Is a Critical Source of Data in Your Case
Beyond that, there is a precious source of information unique to truck accident cases. Like airplanes, trucks now feature black boxes that record many different data points from the truck’s operation. The black box can show how the operator drove before the crash, including how they steered and whether they were speeding.
The trucking company is not under a legal obligation to keep black box data indefinitely, no matter how critical it can be for your case. They can overwrite this data. However, if the data is necessary for a legal case, they must preserve it if you send them a direction to do so in anticipation of litigation. You must do this quickly because crucial evidence has a way of disappearing when it is helpful for you.
Evidence Resides in Trucking Company Records
There is other critical evidence that you can use to show that the trucking company did not follow its legal obligations, including:
- The driver’s records and employment file
- Maintenance and inspection records for the truck
- Evidence about the loading of the cargo onto the truck
- Drug and alcohol testing records
- Logs that show whether the truck driver followed the hours of service limitations
The trucking company will not willingly hand this evidence over to you. An experienced attorney will get much of this evidence in the discovery process. Still, it often does not come without a fight or quick action to direct the trucking company to preserve all these sources of information.
In nearly every truck accident case, you will see an attorney referring to the trucking company as the defendant. A legal rule makes the trucking company responsible for their drivers’ actions while they are on the job. It does not matter that the driver intentionally did not follow the law. Their employer is still responsible.
You Can Also Sue the Trucking Company for Your Accident Injuries
The truck driver and the trucking company are the same for a truck accident lawsuit. The truck driver is an agent of their employer when they are on the job. Any negligence or recklessness of the truck driver becomes the trucking company’s responsibility.
The company usually prepares for the prospect of litigation. Trucking companies take out comprehensive insurance policies because they know their trucks can cause large-scale damage. They want to remain in business, even after an accident. Accordingly, they can have insurance policies with millions of dollars of coverage. If the insurance policy does not cover all the damages, the trucking company becomes liable, and you can go after their assets. Large jury verdicts against trucking companies are on the rise.
Damages in Your Truck Accident Case
In any truck accident case, you have the right to be paid back for all the damages that you have suffered.
Your truck accident compensation can include:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Wrongful death damages if a loved one died in the accident
The insurance company knows exactly how much your claim is worth shortly after you file it. They have sophisticated software that tells them the value of your claim. Even though they are starting with an information advantage, hiring an experienced truck accident attorney will level the playing field.
Your lawyer also knows what your truck accident claim is worth, and their knowledge will give you a starting point for your claim or lawsuit. You must correctly estimate your damages because you only get one chance to get truck accident compensation. If the money you get is not enough, you are the one who pays the price.
If you try to settle the case, you can expect the insurance company to try to give you less than you deserve. It is not uncommon for the parties to start negotiations very far apart. Know that the insurance company’s opening offer will be low, and you should not look at it as their best and final offer.
You will have room to negotiate, which is precisely what you should do. Eventually, you may get closer with your figures and close in on a settlement agreement. Truck accident trials are rare, so most often, you will get to a settlement.
You May Need to Go to Court to Get Your Money
You may need to go to court at some point in the process, either at the very beginning or if you cannot reach a settlement agreement at first. Even if you file a lawsuit, your truck accident case may still settle.
The insurance company and the trucking company are terrified of the prospect of court, and your lawyer will use that to your advantage in settlement negotiations. There have been numerous instances in which juries have hit the trucking company with a verdict so large that it put them out of business. Sometimes, the threat of court is as effective as going to court.
There is quite a bit on the line when you have suffered an injury in a truck accident. You are likely facing steep bills, and you may be unable to work for a long time if you can work again at all. This is not a time to try to take matters into your own hands to save money. You may not even get anything if you do not have an aggressive lawyer who is there to fight for you. Never deal with the insurance company alone because the result will hurt your case. They will pick your pockets at every step of the way to save themselves money.
Call a San Antonio Truck Accident Lawyer Today
The right truck accident lawyer near you knows precisely what to do when you or a loved one have suffered an injury in an accident. They can get to work quickly to build your case and hold the trucking company and its insurance carrier accountable if they try to use their usual tricks to cost you money.
Your first step is to contact an experienced San Antonio truck accident lawyer for your free initial consultation. Look for a firm that has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for its clients and can work diligently to do the same for you when the facts and law support your claim.