Truck accidents have become what seems like an every day occurrence here in the Eastern Dallas-Fort Worth area. Rockwall and areas to the east along interstate 30, such as Royse City, are growing at a rapid pace. Along the highway 80 and I-20 corridors respectively in Kaufman county is developing from Forney to Terrell with new businesses springing up in the area on a weekly basis. On top of that, Rockwall, Forney and Terrell are also seeing a housing boom. Especially Forney. That brings construction traffic with cement trucks, work trucks, delivery trucks and everything else.
Growth is one thing, but the fact that the Texas’ economy and the National economy are both doing well means that shipping of products to market is also increasing to meet the demands of consumers. That compounds the issues here in Rockwall and Kaufman counties. Not only are we seeing massive growth, but our two counties fall within major trucking corridors. We have interstate-30 heading northeast through to Arkansas, highway 80 heading east Texas and Louisiana, and highway 20 which stretches straight through to Florida and is the single largest trucking corridor in Kaufman county. Kaufman county also has highway 175 to the southeast towards east Texas and Cedar Creek Lake and beyond. All told, hundreds of thousands of vehicles pass through Kaufman county highways each day and much of that traffic is big rigs carrying all sorts of products and equipment to their destinations here in Rockwall and Kaufman counties and all throughout the country.
That being said, here is a quick primer on the 4 things you need to know about trucking accidents:
At the scene: Call the Police and Take Witness Statements
It is vitally important that you call the police and make sure that a police report is made and an investigation is done into the cause of the accident by the responsible agency. Witness statements are also very important. I understand that it may not be possible for you to do because of injuries, but you need to try and make sure that witness statements are taken and the responsible parties information is taken down by you or the police. Witnesses memories may become foggier over time and the only party that helps is the trucking company and their insurer. The police should take any and all witness statements when they arrive, however, if possible, you should attempt to make sure this is done.
Hire an Attorney Sooner Rather Than Later
I know, I know, I am biased. You got me. However, bias does not change the fact that I am right. Asserting your rights against an insurance company when you have no training and knowledge in this area, let alone any training or practice in the law, is a daunting task. There is tons of red tape that you could fall into. The insurance adjuster will likely be nice and try to be your friend when really they are offering you about a 1/3 of what your case is really worth and could leave you on the hook for current and future medical bills and you don’t even know it. I will be honest, I would not even think about changing out the engine on my car. Why? because I have no training in the area. I have no prior experience either. I would be going in blind. Now, maybe I watch enough YouTube videos and finally get it done. Now, were there some hangups along the way? Sure. Are there some extra parts that got left out and I’m not sure why the motor runs without them but it does? Yeah.
Same difference, okay? Handling a trucking accident case on your own will, in all likelihood, result in a cherry deal for the insurance company. Truck accident attorneys know what your case should be worth and they know how to get it for you. Quite often we get cases from individuals who have been attempting to deal with the insurance company alone and they finally give up. Why? Because, the insurance company is hard to deal with unless you know how. Heck, its hard to deal with them even when you do know.
Protect the Evidence
However, the single most important reason to hire an attorney early on is to protect evidence contained in the truck itself: the black box. In large rigs today, there is a lot of technology. It is not just CB radios. They have computers, laptops, cellphones and sometimes even televisions. This creates a lot of distractions for the driver. So, the “black box” is in the cab and will help determine what was happening in the big rig just prior to the accident.
Now, we don’t want that “black box” to go away or be destroyed. In order to make sure that the “black box” does not go away and is therefore lost forever. If you hire an attorney, the first thing he is going to do is notify the trucking company and their insurer to preserve the evidence, especially the “black box”. This is done via a “spoliation letter”. That letter simply tells the at-fault party and their insurer to make sure that no evidence goes to waste. That information could be vitally important to prove different causes of action at trial, such as gross negligence.
Trucking Companies Insurance Policy
Big rigs are required to have a higher policy limit on their insurance. That is good news because the injuries sustained by parties involved in trucking accidents is quite often severe, and can often result in the death of the injured party. The increased injuries create larger medical bills and with a standard auto policy in Texas, it simply would not be enough to cover for a badly injured victim (standard minimum personal auto policy is only $30,000 in Texas). No injured party should be stuck footing the bill for their medical damages as a result of a trucking accident.
The bad news is that the insurance company is on the hook for more money and they want to limit the amount they have to pay in any way they can. That is “okay”, I don’t blame them for that. But the sheer difficulty they create as a result is not “okay”. The level of red-tape that are injured party must sift through in order to obtain a just settlement incredible. However, your attorney will know the proper procedures to take to ensure that you are fairly and equitably compensated for your injuries.
About Our Firm:
Here at Guest and Gray, P.C., we are an experienced litigation team serving all North Texas counties. We are the largest and highest rated law firm in Rockwall and Kaufman County. We regularly pursue personal injury claims from wrongful death claims, motor vehicle and 18-wheeler accidents, and slip and fall cases. Our practice is quickly growing with offices now located in Dallas, Rockwall and our main office in Forney, Texas to provide convenience to our clients. We are longtime faces in our community and we love what we do. We seek to provide an air of calm and confidence for our clients during a difficult time. We believe that makes us a little bit different from everybody else, and we like it that way.
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in an accident in the Dallas, Rockwall, or Kaufman counties, or any of the surrounding areas, you need to give us a call today and schedule a free consultation. For more information, give us a call at (972) 564-4644.