How to File a Truck Accident Claim: Everything You Need to Know

Reviewed by Louis Patino, JD, DC

Louis Patino, JD, DC
A former U.S. Army Combat Medic, Dr. Louis Patino is a distinguished attorney recognised by Top Attorneys of America, Expertise, and the American Institute of Trial Lawyers. He has a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Texas Southern University and a Doctor of Chiropractic from Parker College of Chiropractic.

truck accident compensation

Want to jump straight to the information you need about how to file a truck accident claim? We’ve separated each article by category — use the links below to jump to a specific section and read more.

Truck Accident Causes

  • What Are the Top Causes of Truck Accidents?
  • Understanding Truck Mechanical Failures
  • Truck Accidents Caused by Driver Fatigue: How Common Are They?
  • Truck Accidents Caused by Driving While Distracted
  • Navigating Weather-Related Truck Accidents

Hiring a Lawyer for Your Truck Accident Claim

  • Why You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer
  • 11 Questions To Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer Before Hiring Them for Your Case

Truck Accident Claims: How Long and How Much?

  • How Long Does a Truck Accident Claim Take?
  • How Much Compensation Can You Get After a Truck Accident?

The Different Types of Truck Accidents

  • What Are the Different Types of Truck Accidents?
  • Jackknifing Truck: What Causes These Truck Accidents?

Truck Accident Liability: Who Is Responsible?

  • 4 Types of Dangerous Trucking Company Negligence
  • Falsifying Log Books and Who’s Responsible
  • Who’s Liable for Falling Cargo Truck Accidents?
  • Who’s Liable if an Unqualified Truck Driver Causes Your Accident?

Gathering Evidence and Building Your Case

  • What Evidence Do You Need for a Truck Accident Claim?
  • How Conducting a Truck Accident Reconstruction Can Support Your Case
  • Understanding Trucking Industry Terminology in Your Truck Accident Claim

Real Cases and Legal Analysis

  • What Can We Learn from This $16 Million TBI Truck Accident Claim Verdict?

About Truck Accidents and Texas Truck Accident Claims

Any accident involving a truck has the potential to be catastrophic. Without cargo attached, the average semi-truck weighs between 10 and 25 thousand pounds. By comparison, the average passenger car weighs just over four thousand pounds.

When a semi-truck is loaded, it can weigh as much as 80 thousand pounds — that’s twenty times the weight of a car.

Knowing this, it’s not hard to see why truck accidents are so dangerous. It’s why a truck accident can result in life-changing — if not fatal — injuries, often leaving victims with disabilities or permanent health conditions.

Aside from the physical impact, truck accident victims also face a huge financial burden. Many are left with substantial medical bills, sometimes for the rest of their lives, and are unable to work again.

You likely know that if you were in an accident, you could be entitled to compensation. But truck accidents are complex — far more than any other type of claim — and you might not know how to claim after a truck accident, what evidence you need, or what you can expect.

This guide explains everything you need to know about filing a truck accident claim.

Each section explores a key element of a truck accident, from the common causes — which can help determine who’s at fault — to why you should hire a truck accident lawyer, what questions you should ask before choosing an attorney, and what compensation you can expect to receive.

Dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident and navigating the complexities of filing a claim is not easy, but this guide and the resources throughout will help you understand what to expect throughout the process.

The Complete Guide to Truck Accident Claims

Browse our blog posts on how to claim after a truck accident below. We’ve split each post into sections so you can find the information you need, with deep dives into specific causes of truck accidents, overviews of the different parties you might be able to claim compensation from, guidance on what evidence to gather for a truck accident claim, and more.

Truck Accident Causes

What Are the Top Causes of Truck Accidents?

There are many types of truck accidents, ranging from rear-end collisions and jackknife incidents to blind-spot crashes. These accidents can be caused by anything from driver error to an auto defect.

The cause of a truck accident is a significant factor in determining who is responsible for your accident. Was a driver intoxicated when they crashed into you or did a tire failure cause them to lose control? Whatever the cause, it can have a huge impact on your claim. In this blog, we look at the top causes of truck accidents.

Understanding Truck Mechanical Failures

Truck mechanical failures are more common than you might realize, causing over 10% of all trucking accidents — they also have significant consequences. Even a slow-moving truck can cause devastating injuries due to its massive size and weight. When a truck can’t stop because of a brake failure or other issue, it can cost people their lives.

Tragically, many truck mechanical failures are preventable. If a truck company, driver, or mechanic spots an issue, they should fix it — or at least report it to the right person. However, many don’t, opting to sacrifice compliance with federal regulations for the benefit of having one more vehicle on the road.

Here, we cover the most common types of mechanical truck failures, the injuries they cause, and who might be responsible in a claim.

Truck Accidents Caused by Driver Fatigue: How Common Are They?

Trucks are an essential part of the economy in Texas, transporting goods across the state and beyond. But with the rise in demand for fast deliveries and tight schedules, driver fatigue has become a significant issue in the trucking industry.

Drivers often work long hours and drive for extended periods without breaks, which can lead to exhaustion. On top of this, some truckers rely on stimulants to keep them awake, but this only delays their reaction times and can make a devastating accident more likely.

We delve into just how common driving while tired is, the reasons truckers do it — from pressure from employers to financial incentives — and what to do if you’re in a truck accident caused by driver fatigue.

Truck Accidents Caused by Driving While Distracted

Have you ever noticed a truck driver using their phone, eating while driving on the highway, or even doing something as seemingly innocent as changing the radio station? Perhaps you’re even guilty of occasionally doing it yourself.

You might have quickly glanced at your phone or tried to finish your breakfast on the way to work. These actions may seem harmless, but they can have serious consequences, especially if the driver is behind the wheel of a semi-truck.

Anything that takes your eyes off the road — even for less than a second — is incredibly dangerous and can lead to an accident.

Here, we explore one of the leading causes of truck accidents in the United States: distracted driving, including common distractions — from texting to daydreaming — the alarming consequences, and how an attorney can help you recover compensation in a truck accident claim.

Navigating Weather-Related Truck Accidents

Texas weather can rapidly swing between scorching heat to torrential downpours and storms, and navigating such conditions poses a challenge — especially to truck drivers.

From slick roads and vehicle instability to heat exhaustion and reduced visibility, adverse weather amplifies the already significant risks that accompany driving these large and heavy vehicles.

But what are your rights concerning compensation if bad weather causes a truck accident?

Your first instinct might be that you don’t have any, but that’s not necessarily the case.

Drivers must adapt their behavior and exercise even more caution in treacherous or severe conditions like blinding sun glare, snow, fog, and heavy downpours. If they don’t — and they cause a crash — it could constitute negligence.

Hiring a Lawyer for Your Truck Accident Claim

Why You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer

Do you even need a truck accident lawyer? You might wonder if you can file a truck accident claim on your own, or you may have heard horror stories about stubborn insurance companies unwilling to negotiate and long, drawn-out court trials. It might even make you wonder if it’s worth claiming compensation at all.

The truth is, very few truck accident claims — or personal injury cases in general — go to court. The parties at fault are usually keen to settle to avoid a potentially eye-watering payout, but that doesn’t mean you have to worry about receiving less than your claim is worth. The right attorney will fight to get you a settlement that fairly compensates you for your injuries, pain, and suffering and any future bills you might have to pay.

Here, we cover the long list of responsibilities your commercial truck lawyer has and how they can help you with your claim.

11 Questions To Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer Before Hiring Them for Your Case

Now you know you need an attorney, but how do you find the right one for your case? Choosing a personal injury lawyer is about more than doing a quick Google search and signing on the dotted line. First, you need to do your research.

This means finding out what types of cases they’ve taken on — and won, reading reviews and testimonials, and asking how much they charge. At Patino Law Firm, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means you’ll only ever pay fees when we win your case, but not all other personal injury firms do the same.

Ask a personal injury lawyer these questions before making a decision, and you’ll know your case is in good hands and you won’t get stung with any nasty, unforeseen bills.

Truck Accident Claims: How Long and How Much?

How Long Does a Truck Accident Claim Take?

As truck accidents can cause severe injuries and leave you facing uncertainty for months or years, you likely want to resolve your claim as soon as possible — or at least have an idea of how long it might be before you get your settlement.

The reality is that no two accidents are the same, and how long a truck accident claim takes depends on many factors, from how cooperative the other party is and the evidence available to whether you’re willing to settle early.

This post looks at all the factors that influence how long your truck accident lawsuit might take.

How Much Compensation Can You Get After a Truck Accident?

Time for the big question — how much compensation can you expect from a truck accident claim?

Unfortunately, there is no “average” amount of compensation you might receive, as every claim is different. If your injuries are more severe and life-limiting, you can expect a much higher settlement.

In this resource, we talk you through the three types of “damages” — or compensation — and how the specific details of your crash affect how much truck accident compensation you’re entitled to.

The Different Types of Truck Accidents

What Are the Different Types of Truck Accidents?

Truck accidents are responsible for thousands of injuries every year, but there is no such thing as a “typical” truck accident. A truck accident might involve multiple vehicles or happen without any direct collision with another vehicle.

Head-on collisions, jackknife accidents, and rollovers are just some of the different types of truck accidents.

Find out more about them all in this resource.

What You Need to Know about Jackknifing Truck Accidents

If you’ve ever driven on the highway behind or alongside a large commercial truck, it can be quite intimidating. You might worry about the driver losing control, the truck tipping over, or the trailer swaying back and forth and detaching from its hitch.

For the most part, accidents like these are rare. For every truck accident we hear about, there are a thousand more journeys taking place successfully. But when they do happen, they can cause severe or fatal injuries.

Jackknifing accidents are one such type of truck accident that can irrevocably change an injured victim’s life, leaving them needing treatment for the rest of their lives and preventing them from being able to work.

These accidents occur when a truck’s trailer skids or slides and folds in on the cab — this type of truck accident has the potential to wipe out multiple vehicles on the road.

In this blog, we explain why jackknifing accidents happen, who’s liable in a truck accident claim, and what to do if you’re hurt in a jackknifing collision that wasn’t your fault.

Truck Accident Liability: Who Is Responsible?

4 Types of Dangerous Trucking Company Negligence

It’s easy to automatically assume that a truck driver is responsible for your accident, but it’s not uncommon for multiple parties to be liable. One such party is the trucking company that owns the truck or employs the truck driver involved in your crash.

Find out the different ways a trucking company can be responsible and what to do if you’re in an accident caused by trucking company negligence.

Falsifying Log Books and Who’s Responsible

Federal trucking laws require truck drivers to keep accurate logbooks of their driving hours. Unfortunately, some truckers and the companies they work for manipulate hours worked and rest periods to hide violations and avoid penalties, which can include fines, loss of license, and even criminal charges.

On top of the potential legal consequences, falsifying log books can have safety implications. Drivers who are fatigued due to driving long hours — whether they do so intentionally or because they can’t remember how long they’ve been on the road — are more likely to cause accidents. These can cause severe injuries or even fatalities, leading to significant financial, physical, and emotional consequences for those affected.

Here, we explain the federal regulations that govern trucking companies and explore the most common log book violations, why drivers and truck companies do it, and who is responsible when a truck accident occurs as a result.

Who’s Liable for Falling Cargo Truck Accidents?

Commercial trucks regularly carry thousands of pounds of cargo, from everyday items to hazardous materials. Most of the time, these are secure and don’t threaten other motorists, but when cargo falls off a commercial truck, it can cause serious accidents and injuries.

Cargo truck accidents can occur for several reasons, from faulty mechanisms and overloading to uneven distribution, but who is responsible when falling cargo causes a truck accident and injures you?

In the aftermath of a falling cargo truck accident, determining who is liable for damages can be complex and depends on various factors, including the truck company’s internal processes and procedures. Sometimes, multiple parties may share liability.

We break down how these accidents happen, the injuries they cause, the regulations governing truck cargo, who might be responsible, and how to claim after a truck accident caused by falling cargo.

Who’s Liable if an Unqualified Truck Driver Causes Your Accident?

Not just anyone can drive a commercial truck. Semi-trucks are large, complex machinery requiring significant knowledge and experience to operate safely, so commercial truck drivers must have special licenses and training before they can even think about heading out on the road. But some trucking companies hire unqualified drivers or fail to train their drivers adequately, which puts everyone else on the road at risk. Unqualified truck drivers — or drivers who aren’t qualified to drive a specific class of vehicle — are more likely to cause accidents because of their lack of experience. In some cases, a trucker may have qualifications but be suspended or disqualified for speeding or driving while intoxicated. Others may hide their bad habits from their employer.

Who is responsible for a truck accident involving an unqualified trucker depends on several factors, including what happened leading up to your accident, the trucking company’s hiring practices, and whether anyone else is partly at fault.

Here, we explore training and license requirements and the various ways a trucker can be unqualified, the dangerous moves truckers can take that result in severe accidents, and how to file a truck accident claim.

Gathering Evidence and Building Your Case

What Evidence Do You Need for a Truck Accident Claim?

Truck accident claims are complex, but if we can boil success down to one factor, it’s this:


You need evidence of your injuries, medical bills, and lost wages to receive maximum compensation.

However, you also need substantial evidence showing that someone else was at fault. Evidence for your truck accident claim might come from crash reports and photographs taken by the police at the scene, witnesses to your accident, and an independent investigation.

An investigation can discover whether the driver responsible for your accident was unqualified or acting recklessly, but time is of the essence. Sadly, it’s not uncommon for evidence to mysteriously disappear — especially if there’s little doubt another party was responsible — and it can seriously impact your truck accident claim.

Here, we detail why an investigation is vital and what types of truck accident evidence your lawyer will seek to recover.

How Conducting a Truck Accident Reconstruction Can Support Your Case

To recover compensation in a truck accident claim, you must prove another party’s negligence caused the crash that led to your injuries. To do this, you need evidence, which can be especially tricky to obtain if black box data goes missing or a trucker has falsified their log books.

An accident reconstruction isn’t necessary for every truck accident claim, but it does have many benefits.

Using accident scene photographs, witness testimony, the accident report filed by law enforcement, the facts of the crash — such as the time, date, location, and road conditions — and other evidence, a truck accident reconstructionist will create a forensic-level analysis of how the accident occurred.

These specialists may create 3D computer-generated animations or conduct real-life testing to explore various theories and versions of the events, comparing the results with the available data and evidence. This helps them identify how the accident occurred and who is responsible and discredit the liable party’s false or exaggerated story.

Here, we explore what information a reconstruction can yield and how it can support your truck accident claim, how one is conducted, and vital considerations for hiring a truck accident reconstructionist.

Understanding Trucking Industry Terminology in Your Truck Accident Claim

Do you know your negligent hiring practices from your hours of service violations?

What’s the relevance of black box data in building a solid truck accident claim?

Not sure how negligence per se and respondeat superior can make it easier to prove your case or give you more options for recovering compensation —  including, potentially, a much bigger payout?

Truck accident claims — and personal injury lawsuits in general — are rife with legal jargon and complex industry-specific terminology. It can be intimidating navigating a claim when lawyers, truck drivers, trucking companies, and insurance adjusters are barraging you with unfamiliar terms and technical language.

In this A-Z guide to truck accident claim lexicon, we break down the jargon so you’ll know what it all means, from trucking industry abbreviations like ELDs to legal concepts, doctrines, and procedures.

Real Cases and Legal Analysis

What Can We Learn from This $16 Million TBI Truck Accident Claim Verdict?

In December 2023, a panel of jurors in DeKalb County, Atlanta, handed down a whopping $16.6 million verdict to a man who sustained a traumatic brain injury in a devastating truck accident crash.

There may be state-by-state differences in personal injury law, but many of the same concepts and principles apply, and there’s a lot we can learn by analyzing this particular case.

It also provides insight into the truck accident claim process and what it takes to secure rightful compensation in court.

In this blog post, we look at the whole process, from the initial court filings and evidence submitted to the arguments made by each side and why, ultimately, the jury found the truck company liable and delivered a sizable judgment to the injured individual.

Read the pre-trial orders, see the final verdict form filled in by the jury, and read our expert legal analysis to understand what it means and how you can apply the same ideas to your truck accident.

Truck accidents are among the most devastating and catastrophic auto accidents that occur on Texas roads, but what this case demonstrates most of all is that compensation can have a life-changing impact, ensuring you never again have to worry about providing for your family or paying for the medical treatment, rehabilitation, and support you need.

Recovering from a truck accident is difficult. You might be worried about how you can afford your medical bills and provide for your family if you cannot work. But you don’t have to go it alone.

Truck accident claims are complicated, but our experienced and compassionate truck accident lawyers in San Antonio and McAllen are on your side. They will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. We understand the intricacies of Texas trucking laws and know how to navigate negotiations with the party — or parties — responsible for your accident.

If you’re looking for a Texas personal injury lawyer to fight your corner, get in touch with our attorneys today for a free, no-obligation case review. We’ll ask you some questions about your accident and give you an idea of how much you could receive in compensation and how long it might take, so you can decide if Patino Law Firm is right for you. Get started today by filling in the contact form or calling 855-LAW-NINJA.

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