Have you or a loved one been injured in a Fort Worth truck accident?
At the law offices of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings, we have successfully recovered more than $100 million in compensation for our clients and our Fort Worth truck accident lawyers will work quickly to obtain the MAXIMUM amount for your lawsuit. John Cummings - a partner at our law firm - is a Fort Worth native, that has successfully recovered millions in compensation, including a record-setting punitive damages amount for a high profile truck accident case that he handled. John is also a member of the Tarrant County Bar Association, a member and Past President of the Tarrant County Trial Lawyers Association and a fellow of the Tarrant County Bar Foundation.
Our lawyers have extensive knowledge of the tactics that insurance companies use during truck accident cases and we offer a free, initial consultation to help review your claim.
Obtaining Compensation For Your Injuries
If you have been injured in a truck accident - and that accident was caused by another driver or due to a vehicle defect - you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries and also for any property that was damaged or lost in the collision.
However, in order to validate your claim, some important elements about the accident must be established:
- The other driver was negligent in their actions and was the cause of the accident (either partially or completely)
- That accident was the direct cause of the injuries that you suffered
... this can significantly impact the amount of financial compensation you may receive.
In many instances, the insurance company defense lawyers will argue that while the other driver may have been involved in the accident, he/she was not negligent. They may also argue that an unexpected event may have contributed to the accident. This is important as each argument that you are unable to disprove can significantly impact the amount of financial compensation that you may receive.
An experienced attorney should be aware of the strategies that insurance defense lawyers will use and be prepared accordingly.
Who May Be Liable For The Damages?
Many accident victims may believe that they can only file a lawsuit against the other driver. However, as most trucks are commercial vehicles, they are often owned by companies and are serviced by third party vendors. Furthermore, if the rig is an 18 wheeler, the prime mover may be owned or leased by one company, while the trailer and the cargo in it may be owned by a completely different organization.
With this in mind, as your lawyer starts to build a case, you may be eligible to file lawsuits against:
- The driver of the truck
- The owner of the truck
- The owner of the prime mover
- The owner of the trailer
- The company that leased the truck
- The company that leased the trailer
- The manufacturer of the truck*
- The manufacturer of the trailer*
- The company that services the truck*
- The company that loaded the cargo in the truck trailer **
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TXDMV) and also the Texas Department of Transportation provide helpful safety information and other related articles for accident victims.
* This denotes in the event of the accident being caused by a vehicle malfunction or defective part, the manufacturer &/or the vehicle service crews may also be liable
** This denotes that in the event of a cargo load shift causing the driver to lose control, the company that loaded the cargo may also be liable
Compiling Evidence To Support Your Claim
Proving that your claim is valid is a fundamental step in obtaining a successful result from your lawsuit. At the law offices of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings, we take a great amount of time to review and investigate the specifics of each claim we handle, to help build a robust argument on the behalf of our clients. Obtaining accurate evidence is an important part of the investigation process and any evidence that accident victims and their families can provide is often very helpful. Some examples include:
- Obtaining the contact and insurance information of the at-fault driver
- Obtaining the contact information of any witnesses
- Taking as many photos of the accident scene as possible
Gathering accurate evidence shortly after the crash has occurred is important, as memories can fade over time and people can remember things slightly differently compared to what may have actually taken place.
Under the Texas Transportation Code Section 550.065 accident victims are now able to access a copy of the Police accident report from their specific crash. While the report is not freely available online, for a fee accident victims can apply to the Texas Department of Transportation and obtain the report.
What To Do If You Are Offered A Settlement By The Insurance Company
Following an accident, you will often be contacted by a representative of the at fault drivers insurance company. In some instances, they will offer a compensation settlement in an effort to close the claim.
It is important that you have a reputable attorney review any settlement offers before you sign them. The reason for this is because the insurance company is NOT looking out for your best interests and their primary goal is to close your file for the smallest possible financial outlay.
Many motorists are not aware that there are many different types of insurance policies that can be purchased for a commercial vehicle. Depending on your claim, you may be eligible to claim against more than one of these policies. Some of these include:
- General Liability Insurance - this type of policy protects businesses (in this instance, a haulage company) against collisions that result in physical or property damage. There is a Federal mandate on this type of policy that requires $750,000 of coverage. However, there are exceptions - which usually depend on the class of the vehicle being covered. An example of this would be for a truck hauling hazmat cargo (hazardous materials like toxic chemicals) where the minimum coverage amount is $5,000,000.
- Extended Liability Insurance - in the event that a serious accident results in a successful, significant damages claim, companies in Texas are not protected from creditors taking homes, vehicles and other assets to settle the debt. This is a result of the Texas Homestead Act and is a primary reason why many haulage companies will purchase extended liability insurance coverage that extends beyond their general liability policy. From the standpoint of a plaintiff, while the result of a successful claim can be considerably more if the carrier has this type of policy, it also means that the insurance company has much more to lose and will fight harder against your case.
- Self Insured Retention - these policies allow truck companies to provide an additional $250,000 in coverage above and beyond the Federally mandated $750,000.
- Eroding Policy - an eroding policy allows a trucking company to deduct the costs of their legal expenses from their insurance policy. The primary issue with this policy (from the standpoint of a plaintiff) is that if litigation becomes a drawn out process, a policy can be quickly drained of its resources, leaving not much left to claim against. However, while the insurance company defense lawyers do not need to notify the plaintiff that the defendant has this type of policy, an experienced plaintiff attorney should be able to identify it quickly and create an appropriate litigation strategy to maximize your claim.
- Uninsured Motorist Policy (UIM) - this is a policy that protects injury victims if they have been injured in an accident with a driver that has no insurance. An example would be if you were a passenger in a truck that was hit by a vehicle that was driven by an uninsured driver.
If you are unsure about your legal options, contact our lawyers to discuss the specfic details of your accident. We have many years of experience negotiating with insurance companies and their legal counsel, and can apply that knowledge to your claim.
18-Wheeler Accident Types & Statistics
Compared to passenger vehicles, large commercial trucks are limited in their ability to stop abruptly. They also have an increased number of blind spots and due to their size and weight, they are usually unable to make quick, controlled turns. The ability of cars and trucks to safely share the roads is a challenge which is why many commercial drivers are trained to recognize these risks. Some common types of truck accidents include:
In 2015, more than 2,000 commercial motor vehicle accidents were reported in Tarrant County, with 12 fatal crashes and 16 fatalities being recorded during that year.
Our Fort Worth Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help
Don't wait for your insurance company or the truck drivers insurer to dictate what happens with your claim. The experienced Fort Worth truck accident lawyers at Stephens, Anderson & Cummings can help you obtain the compensation you need for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages and more.
We will work with investigators to uncover what really happened and form the foundation for a strong case. We believe in getting just and fair compensation for you and your loved ones.
Our office is located just minutes from the Fort Worth Municipal Court and we charge no upfront fees to handle your truck accident lawsuit.