If you have been seriously injured in an accident with a big truck or 18-wheeler semi-truck on a Houston highway, the truck accident lawyers of Gibson Hill Personal Injury can help you get maximum compensation. Contact us for a free case review!
Gibson Hill Personal Injury knows you are hurt and suffering. The medical bills continue to grow, you may be out of work as you recover, and anxiety is building over how you are going to pay for it all. When the trucking company and their team of insurers offer you money for your accident, it may seem like the answer to your problems. Usually, however, their offer won’t come close to compensating you fairly. You’ll have signed away your legal rights in exchange for a settlement that’s significantly less than what you deserve.
Schedule a Free Consultation with our Houston Attorneys
Don’t let the trucking companies take advantage of you. Call Gibson Hill Personal Injury. We have a team of truck accident accident lawyers who have the experience and resources needed to go head-to-head with trucking companies, their insurers, and their lawyers. You aren’t in this alone. Call (713) 659-4000 today to set up a free and confidential consultation.
Why Hire a Houston Truck Accident Lawyer From Gibson Hill Personal Injury?
Large truck accidents are complicated cases. The trucking company and the insurers and lawyers on their payroll want to settle quickly and move on to other business. They are interested in maintaining profits, not paying for your recovery. You are an obstacle to overcome as they push forward with business as usual. You deserve fair compensation, not to be brushed aside after your life has so dramatically changed.
At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we treat all our clients like family, not case numbers. That means we don’t let anyone take advantage of our family. By calling the experienced team at Gibson Hill Personal Injury, you ensure that someone is looking out for your best interests.
When you hire us, we will open an investigation into the accident to determine liability. We have the resources to locate crucial evidence that proves the truck driver or another party caused the crash and should be financially responsible for your injuries.
Some of the most crucial evidence we will obtain includes:
- Crash report
- Statements from witnesses
- Copies of your medical records and bills
- All available insurance policies
- Video surveillance of the collision
- Photos from the accident scene
- Damage estimates of all vehicles involved
- The truck driver’s employment history and driving records
- Maintenance, inspection, and repair reports of the commercial truck from the trucking company
You won’t have to handle any step of the legal process yourself. We will determine how much insurance coverage is available and file a claim. When the time comes, we will work hard to negotiate a full and fair settlement that covers your expenses. If we’re unable to reach an agreement with the insurance company, we can move forward with filing a lawsuit against them and the at-fault party.
Steps to Take After an Accident
Accidents involving trucks can lead to catastrophic damage and life-threatening injuries. You will most likely require medical treatment and the means to pay for your associated costs.
Protecting your rights after a truck accident is critical. You should follow certain steps before leaving the scene to ensure crucial evidence isn’t lost or destroyed before proceeding with a legal case.
Step 1: Call law enforcement to report the collision. You must notify the Texas Department of Transportation if any accident results in an injury, death, or property damage over $1,000. If an officer arrives to investigate, they will submit the report on your behalf.
Step 2: Move your vehicle to a safe place. If it’s too dangerous to do so, leave it where it is and move to an area where you’re not in the way of oncoming traffic.
Step 3: Talk to witnesses to find out what they saw and write down their names and phone numbers.
Step 4: Get auto insurance and license information from all drivers involved. You should also ask the truck driver for their employer’s name and contact information.
Step 5: Go to the hospital. Don’t wait to seek treatment. Even if you believe you have minor injuries, you should still allow a doctor to evaluate you. Show up for all follow-up appointments, and don’t stop treating your injuries until your medical providers release you from their care.
Step 6: Hire an experienced Houston trucking accident lawyer.
Step 7: Bring your car to a repair shop and ask them to evaluate the damage. They will provide a report with an estimated cost of repairs.
Step 8: Report your accident to your auto insurance company. Gibson Hill Personal Injury can do so on your behalf. Most insurance policies state the deadline for filing a claim. Some give you as little as thirty days to file. If you miss the deadline, you might not be able to recover compensation.
What Does an Accident Investigation Look Like?
At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we know what it takes to perform a thorough investigation after a truck accident. Your Houston truck accident attorney will review every piece of evidence we can find to prove that someone else’s actions caused your injuries.
One of the most vital pieces of evidence we will request is a copy of the accident report. On it, we can find relevant information, such as:
- Date, time, and location of the crash
- Who the officer believes was at fault
- Description of the events leading up to the collision
- Name, contact information, and insurance details of all drivers involved
- Type and location of damage to every vehicle
- Names and phone numbers of eyewitnesses
- Any traffic citations issued
Witnesses are important in personal injury cases because they can confirm your version of events. If you tell the investigating officer that the truck driver was responsible, and they deny any amount of blame, a witness could back up your statement.
While you are treating your injuries, you should provide us with the doctors’ and facilities’ names. If any of your doctors refer you for imaging, surgery, or other medical care, you should provide the physician names, locations, and dates of your appointments.
We will request a copy of every medical record and billing statement associated with your case. It will give the insurance company a timeline of your treatment and the total costs you incurred. If your doctor places you at maximum medical improvement, that means you plateaued, and additional appointments likely won’t do anything to improve your condition. At that point, we can ask them for an estimated cost of future medical intervention to add to your list of expenses.
What Types of Damages Could You Be Entitled To?
Every truck accident is different. It is always imperative to investigate the circumstances surrounding any collision. With that being said, you may be entitled to receive a number of damages if you have been the victim of a negligent truck accident. The chances are high that you have suffered serious injuries from an accident of this magnitude and have multiple medical bills piling up. You may have missed work due to the severity of your injuries as well.
Here are some examples of the types of compensation you may be entitled to:
- Current Medical Expenses – You may be able to recover the cost of your medical expenses such as doctor’s visits, hospital bills, prescription drug costs, and the initial ambulance ride.
- Future Medical Expenses – If your injuries are serious, you may be facing an uphill recovery. You may be able to get compensation for the cost of long-term therapy, rehabilitation, and physical therapy.
- Loss of Current Income – If your injuries prevented you from going to work, you might be entitled to compensation for lost wages.
- Loss of Potential Future Earning Capacity – If your injuries are severe enough that it will make returning to your job impossible, you may also be able to recover compensation for an expected loss of future income.
- Pain and Suffering – There is no doubt that you are going through a lot physically and emotionally following a traumatic event like a collision with a large truck. An experienced attorney may be able to recover compensation for your pain and suffering.
- Wrongful Death – If the accident caused the death of a loved one, you may be able to seek compensation that covers medical costs, funeral expenses, and the loss of financial support. It is tragic losing a loved one in this way, and no amount of compensation can cover that loss. At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we work to help you secure financial stability and hold the negligent parties responsible for their reckless actions.
An experienced lawyer is your best bet to recovering the compensation you are entitled to. The trucking company hopes you’ll take their offer and walk away from the accident. Unfortunately, people too often find that the “settlement” doesn’t come close to compensating them for all the bills and damages the accident caused. Once you take their money and sign their paperwork, you are throwing away your legal rights to hold them accountable and get the full compensation you deserve.
Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Texas topped the list as the number one deadliest state for commercial vehicle accidents in 2019. In one year, there were 408 fatal crashes involving trucks. A total of 7,399 people sustained injuries, and another 462 people died.
While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration explicitly lays out the safety regulations that all truck drivers and their employers must adhere to, accidents continue to happen due to negligence and poor driving. While there are a wide variety of factors that may cause an accident, these are the most common causes of large truck accidents:
- Distracted driving – Distractions come in many forms. Anything that takes a person’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or attention off the task of driving can lead to an accident. Common distractions include texting, eating food, and looking at a passenger in the vehicle.
- Fatigued drivers – Driving while feeling tired is dangerous. The driver could fall asleep at the wheel and drift into oncoming traffic or another lane.
- Drunk driving – When someone consumes alcohol, it impacts their driving abilities. It can lead to a slower reaction time, impaired judgment, and poor decision-making skills.
- Speeding – Driving over the speed limit or too fast for conditions puts everyone at risk. When someone is traveling at a high rate of speed, it becomes difficult to avoid hazards in the road or come to a complete stop for traffic ahead.
- Driving in poor or unsafe weather conditions – Adverse weather, such as ice, can cause slippery roadways. Drivers that don’t proceed with caution could lose control of their vehicle and collide with other cars.
- Driving with improperly loaded cargo – If the person responsible for loading a commercial truck doesn’t follow safety precautions or use the proper securement devices, the cargo could fall off and cause an accident.
- Unsafe passing or lane changes – Commercial vehicles have larger blind spots than a standard passenger car. When the truck driver is changing lanes, they must do so cautiously and check their blind spots first.
- Mechanical malfunctions of defective parts – Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring their parts don’t contain defects. If there’s an error during the design or manufacturing process, it could lead to a severe accident.
A National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey found that 94% of vehicle-related accidents result from human error. That means the vast majority of accidents could be prevented if negligence and poor judgment were taken out of the equation. Holding negligent drivers and trucking companies accountable for their actions sends the message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.
Most Common Types of Truck Accidents
There’s a range of commercial vehicles you might find on the roadways. You pass by them all the time. From 18-wheelers to tractor-trailers, these trucks are essential to our economy. They transport goods to retailers and consumers throughout the country.
Unfortunately, they create dangers for other motorists. Due to the more substantial size and weight, they can wreak havoc when they collide with a small car and cause devastating damage. The most common types of truck accidents include the following:
- Rollover accidents – When a commercial vehicle rolls onto its side, it can crush cars underneath it, causing life-threatening injuries to the occupants.
- Jackknife accidents – A truck jackknifes when the driver loses control, and the cab and trailer swing towards each other at a 90-degree angle.
- Rear-end collisions – Truck drivers that are tailgating typically cause a rear-end crash when they can’t slow down in time to avoid colliding with the back of another vehicle.
- Underride accidents – This occurs when a truck suddenly slows down or stops, and the vehicle behind it ends up underneath the trailer.
- T-bone accidents – Also referred to as side-impact collisions, T-bone accidents mostly happen in intersections when a truck driver doesn’t stop at a red light or stop sign.
- Head-on collisions – When a commercial vehicle crashes into the front of a car, it can lead to severe injuries and fatalities, especially at high rates of speed.
- Lost load accidents – When the trucking company doesn’t implement adequate securement procedures, loose cargo can fall off the truck into oncoming traffic.
Types of Injuries Suffered in Large Truck Collisions
Large trucks can weigh in excess of 80,000-pounds when fully loaded. You don’t have to sit down and do the math to know who will come out on top when an 80,000-pound semi-truck collides with a 3,000-pound passenger vehicle. Numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 72% of people killed in large-truck collisions are the occupants of other vehicles.
Those who survive a crash with a large truck can suffer from severe and extensive injuries. These types of injuries can take months, sometimes even years, to heal. It is not uncommon for some people to suffer the aftereffects of an accident for the rest of their lives. These are some of the more common types of injuries that can result from a large-truck accident:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Serious head, neck, and spine injuries
- Broken or crushed cones
- Internal bleeding and damage to organs
- Soft tissue damage
- Loss of limbs
- Wrongful death
Significant injuries will require more than just hospitalization. The real recovery work begins when you leave the hospital and start working on rehabilitation. That may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, or some form of long-term care or assistance. This type of long-term recovery plan is not something most people consider when calculating the cost of their medical bills.
In the stress of the moment, victims tend to only think about the immediate cost of the hospital visit and believe a check from the trucking company will cover it all. Having a lawyer on your side means you have help calculating and anticipating all of your current and future financial needs. Don’t go into debt because an insurer manipulated you into taking less than you deserve.
What Is the Cost of a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Accident victims might choose not to seek legal representation in an attempt to save money. They believe they’re better off handling their case alone, so they don’t have to pay legal fees or costs. Unfortunately, people who don’t hire a Houston truck accident attorney usually end up with lower compensation than those who do.
At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we know the financial struggles you’re facing. That’s why we take cases on a contingency-fee basis. That means you won’t have to pay us up front to represent you. If you don’t get paid, we don’t get paid.
Texas Truck Accident Stats
Number of Fatalities by Highways
% of Truck Accidents by Cause
Houston Statutes That Could Impact Your Truck Accident Case
When you suffer injuries in a commercial vehicle accident, you must follow specific deadlines if you want to pursue financial compensation. Insurance companies usually provide a timeframe for filing claims. Some give you as little as 24 hours, while others allow up to 30 or 60 days.
After your accident, you should request a copy of your policy to confirm how much time you have. Regardless of the deadline, you should always be aware of the statute of limitations for lawsuits. Most people start with a claim and file a lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to settle for a fair amount or denies the claim. If your claim takes years to resolve, you could run out of time to sue the insurance company and at-fault party for compensation.
The statute of limitations for truck accidents in Texas is two years. That means you have two years from the crash date to file a lawsuit. If the deadline passes, you could lose your right to pursue legal action against the truck driver or trucking company for causing your injuries.
Accident Claims Process
Filing an insurance claim requires collecting evidence that proves someone else was at fault, and you sustained injuries as a result. There’s a fault system in Texas that determines who’s financially responsible for the injured party’s damages. If the insurance company finds that the truck driver or trucking company caused the accident, they will become liable for your injuries.
The insurance company usually pays compensation in this type of situation. If you can prove liability, you should not have trouble collecting an adequate settlement. The amount you receive will depend on various factors, including the truck driver’s insurance policy coverage.
All truck drivers must carry insurance with minimum liability limits. Those limits cover the victim’s expenses and losses associated with the injury. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires the following liability limits:
- $300,000 for commercial vehicles weighing under 10,001 pounds and carrying non-hazardous freight
- $750,000 for trucks over 10,000 pounds and carrying non-hazardous freight
- $1 million to $5 million for commercial trucks transporting hazardous materials
After determining how much insurance coverage is available, we will file the claim and gather sufficient evidence that proves you deserve compensation for your damages. We will send the insurance company a demand letter that provides details about the accident, a timeline of your medical treatment, and the settlement amount we believe is fair. If they approve it, they will tender the limits on the policy. If they deny your claim or negotiate for lower compensation, we can file a lawsuit.
Truck Accident Lawsuits in Houston
Gibson Hill Personal Injury has decades of experience handling civil lawsuits. If you get hurt in a truck accident, your Houston truck accident lawyer will take care of each step, so you can focus on getting better.
A lawsuit can be a time-consuming and complicated process. We will have to prove negligence existed to recover a financial award. Negligence is a legal theory that refers to someone’s failure to provide a reasonable degree of care to another, resulting in injuries. There are five elements we will show with the evidence we find to prove negligence:
- Duty: The at-fault party owed you a reasonable duty of care;
- Breach of duty: They breached their duty;
- Cause in fact: If it weren’t for their actions or inaction, you wouldn’t have suffered harm;
- Proximate cause: Their breach directly led to your injuries; and
- Damages: You incurred damages as a result of the accident.
While there are two main types of damages you can pursue in a claim or lawsuit –
economic and non-economic damages – there’s a third type only available in lawsuits: punitive damages. Punitive damages aren’t intended as compensation to the accident victim. Instead, they aim to punish the individual responsible for causing another person harm.
Proving you deserve punitive damages can be a challenge. We must provide clear and convincing evidence to the jury that shows the at-fault party acted with:
- Malice: Intentionally caused injury to someone else;
- Fraud: Intentionally deceiving, concealing, or misrepresenting material facts to deprive someone of their legal rights or otherwise cause injury; or
- Gross negligence: omission or act involving an extreme degree of risk with indifference towards another person’s safety, rights, or welfare.
Let Gibson Hill Personal Injury Help You Fight for Justice
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a collision with a large truck, call us to meet with one of our Houston personal injury lawyers for a free and confidential consultation. We’ve been helping clients throughout Houston and Texas recover the compensation they need since 2013. Our legal team has extensive experience handling insurance claims, litigating cases, and seeking justice.
When you hire us, we will stay by your side until the very end. We provide personalized attention and guidance throughout the entire case. Call Gibson Hill Personal Injury today at (713) 659-4000 and find out how our Houston truck accident attorneys can assist you.
Truck Accident FAQs
We receive questions from clients every day about their truck accident cases. Following are some of the most common questions we receive.
What information should I bring to my free consultation?
It would be helpful if you bring all documentation associated with the truck accident. That includes medical records, insurance company letters, and detailed notes about the injuries you sustained and the physicians you regularly see during your recovery. You should also bring identification, health insurance cards, and auto insurance cards, so we can make copies.
How long will my case take?
Every case is different. The duration will depend on various factors. Some insurance claims take a few weeks to resolve, while others can take years if liability isn’t clear. Lawsuits typically last several months to several years since preparations take longer. Your Houston truck accident lawyer will review everything associated with your case to provide an estimated timeframe.
Do's and don'ts after a truck accident?
There are things you should and should not do if you get hurt in a commercial vehicle collision.
Do call 911 and wait for an officer to arrive on the scene. If there are injuries or fatalities and you leave without reporting the crash, you could face criminal hit-and-run charges.
Don’t dispose of critical evidence, such as torn clothing, broken car parts, and medical records.
Do seek legal representation immediately after the accident.
Don’t sign anything from the at-fault party’s insurance company before allowing your attorney to review it first.
Do show up to all doctor’s appointments until you recover or reach maximum medical improvement.
Don’t speak to the insurance adjuster working on your claim. Your Houston truck accident attorney will handle all communication.
How is the value of a case determined?
When an insurance company or jury is reviewing the details of your case to determine a fair financial award, they might use some of the following contributing factors:
- Type of injury and how serious it is
- Length of time it takes to recover
- If there’s an impairment, disfigurement, or disability caused by the injury
- Impact of the truck accident on quality of life
- Any psychological or emotional trauma suffered
- Availability of evidence proving fault
- Limits listed on the liability insurance policy
- Time missed from work due to the injury