Truck accidents often result in more severe consequences, including serious injuries and catastrophic property damage, compared to car accidents. Large commercial trucks weigh thousands of pounds resulting in a greater impact when colliding with another vehicle.
The number of severe trucking accidents is substantial. Truck drivers may drive recklessly or when tired, resulting in increased truck accidents. The United States Department of Transportation maintains a separate data set to examine the frequency, severity, and causes of these disastrous and potentially fatal traffic accidents.
As a result of these dangerous accidents, Texas and federal laws regulate large commercial trucks. These laws control the driver and the manufacturer and establish and oversee requirements for regular maintenance. When drivers violate these regulations, a victim can seek compensation against those parties for injuries resulting from negligence or recklessness.
In San Antonio, some roads are more likely to lead to car accidents compared to others. Often, these collisions happen around intersections.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, traffic accidents are historically more likely to occur at the following intersections:
- Loop 1604 and Interstate 10;
- Northwest Loop 410 and Interstate 10;
- U.S. 281 and Interstate 35;
- West Loop 1604 North and Highway 16;
- Northeast Loop 410 and Interstate 35;
- North Loop 1604 East and Interstate 35;
- Alamo Ranch Parkway and Westwood Loop;
- Northeast Loop 410 and Walzem Road;
- Northwest Loop 410 and Wurzbach Road; and
- Northwest Loop 410 and San Pedro Avenue.
In San Antonio, many accidents occur near Loop 1604 in general. Known as a traffic accident “hot spot,” many collisions involving truck drivers that happen at this intersection cause some of the most severe traffic accident injuries in San Antonio.
Common Causes of San Antonio Trucking Accidents
Common causes why truck accidents happen in San Antonio include:
- Speeding: Because trucks weigh several times more than conventional cars, drivers have more difficulty controlling trucks. Accidents involving higher speeds often lead to more severe consequences.
- Distracted Driving: Responding to a text, answering a call, or looking at your GPS can result in an accident. Because vehicles move at such high speeds, a rapid change in road conditions while a driver is distracted – even for a split second – can lead to dire consequences.
- Driving Under the Influence: Driving under the influence impacts reaction time, coordination, concentration, vision, and judgment, potentially leading to preventable and often catastrophic traffic accidents. The legal blood alcohol level in Texas is .08, but impairment can happen earlier.
- Reckless Driving: Commercial truck drivers must maintain constant awareness when driving, often more so than car drivers since maneuvering a truck is very different from and generally more complicated than driving a vehicle. For example, trucks take more time to stop and have less mobility. Some maneuvers that may be safe for conventional cars are not appropriate for trucks. As a result, reckless driving by a truck driver has a greater likelihood of causing a collision.
If you are suffering injuries due to a San Antonio truck accident, call Patino Injury and Accident Attorneys. Our attorneys take a client-first approach. We help our clients present the right legal arguments, negotiate settlements, and address any concerns. We offer a free consultation with no strings attached to get you started.
Common Injuries in San Antonio Truck Accidents
Injuries and property damages from truck accidents are often debilitating and catastrophic. If a vehicle collides with a truck at high speeds, the car might be totaled and unrecoverable. Likewise, the victim might experience severe physical injuries.
The following are some common injuries that happen in truck accidents in San Antonio:
- Head injuries: Head injuries commonly result from truck accidents, and sometimes they can go unnoticed before becoming serious. For example, whiplash, which involves rapid acceleration or deceleration, can cause a head injury that might not lead to immediate medical attention, unlike a direct hit to the head. Receiving a medical exam after a truck accident can help identify head injuries early on, even if you think you’re uninjured.
- Back and neck injuries: Your back and neck help support your functioning to complete daily activities. As a result, injuries to the back and neck are often among the most serious. They can lead to chronic pain, reduced mobility, long-term rehabilitation, and decreased quality of life.
- Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries can result in damage to the central nervous system, which may lead to a loss of sensation or motor functioning (paralysis), significantly impacting the injured person’s quality of life.
- Broken bones: Because trucks are much larger than commercial vehicles, a collision involving a truck is more likely to cause broken bones due to the high impact. Medical procedures to repair broken bones can sometimes include multiple surgeries.
- Lacerations and scarring: Large or deep lacerations can lead to permanent scarring. Courts often award compensation for “disfigurement” to help the injured party remove scarring and relieve accompanying pain (physical or emotional).
- Death: Data from 2018 shows that approximately sixteen percent of truck accident deaths were truck drivers, and a significant 67 percent traveled in cars or other vehicles. When a negligent or reckless truck driver kills your loved one in a truck accident, family members can seek compensation for funeral costs, loss of companionship, and loss of income.
Compensation and Damages in San Antonio Truck Accidents
If you have a viable claim, you can potentially recover compensation for:
- Compensation for a disability caused by the truck accident: For example, truck accidents may cause spinal cord injuries or other permanent disabilities, entitling you to compensatory damages.
- Compensation for related financial expenses and loss of income: This compensation includes medical expenses related to hospital and emergency room visits, doctor visits, surgeries, and assistive medical devices.
- Compensation for property loss or damage: Courts can compensate victims for external financial damages, such as repairs to a vehicle or other property or structure damaged in the truck accident; compensation for loss of income; and compensation for loss of future earning potential.
- Compensation for pain and suffering: This type of compensation includes physical and emotional pain.
- Punitive damages: If the truck driver’s actions rise to the level of gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing, a court might award additional compensation called punitive damages, intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter future similar actions.
San Antonio Truck Accident Legal Issues
Litigating a truck accident case is different from other personal injury cases. For example, attorneys need to gather an extensive range of evidence, including the truck’s “black box” and maintenance records. Also, determining whether a vehicle is a “legal truck” depends on a detailed and specific analysis based on cargo type and vehicle weight.
Additionally, truck accidents tend to involve multiple parties in the lawsuit. For example, you might seek compensation from:
- Truck drivers: Truck drivers are potentially liable for resulting damages if they are negligent in driving their truck. Proving negligence requires showing the following four legal elements: the driver must have a duty to the plaintiff; the driver breached that duty; the driver’s breach of that duty caused the plaintiff’s injury; and the plaintiff suffered a legally recognized injury. Additionally, laws often regulate how and when a truck driver can operate a vehicle. For example, the federal government regulates the number of hours a driver can drive a truck. A truck driver might be negligent if operating their vehicle outside of these hours.
- Truck companies: Because commercial truck drivers operate as employees, the company they work for might be liable under respondeat superior. Respondeat superior is a liability theory that holds a company responsible for its employees’ actions or inactions. This law is complicated and includes specific requirements that the plaintiff must prove, which can change on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes, laws might regulate what companies and drivers can transport on a truck. If a truck is not qualified to load a specific type of good, the company may be liable. Other times, a truck company may fail to properly maintain and repair a truck, leading to mechanical failures that caused or contributed to the accident.
- Truck manufacturers: Seeking compensation against truck manufacturers is more common in trucking accidents than conventional car accidents. State and federal regulations provide strict requirements for truck manufacturers. If a manufacturer failed to follow these regulations, they might be liable for damages.
- Governments: Governments might be liable for failing to maintain roads properly if a road defect or obstruction contributes to a truck accident. Your attorney might seek compensation from the government or its contractors if road conditions were a factor in your truck accident.
San Antonio Truck Accident FAQs
Drivers often see semi-trailer trucks, box trucks, dump trucks, tow trucks, and tractor-trailers on United States’ highways and roadways. Commercial truck drivers use Texas highways daily to transport goods and other merchandise. The large population combined with increase trucks inevitably leads to increased truck accidents.
Truck accidents can be catastrophically more dangerous than regular car accidents due to a truck’s greater size and weight. In Bexar County alone, the Texas Department of Transportation reported 2,717 commercial motor vehicle (CMV) crashes in 2019. These statistics make San Antonio part of the third-highest county with crashes, behind Harris County and Dallas County. Of the 2,717 CMV crashes in Bexar County, twelve were fatal, fifty-two CMV crashes caused serious injuries, and 674 CMV crashes caused possible injuries.
It can be difficult for a car driver to navigate driving alongside trucks. Truck drivers are more susceptible to losing control from a tire blowout or an imbalance in the truck itself. In any instance, if a negligent truck driver has injured you, you may be entitled to receive compensation.
How can our San Antonio truck accident lawyers help you?
Truck accidents are different from regular car accidents because many legal concepts may apply to your case. Commercial trucking companies must abide by both state and federal laws and regulations. Therefore, negligence and liability are two concepts that may apply to the driver, the trucking company, any inspectors, truck loaders, and other parties involved that may have caused the accident.
An experienced truck accident lawyer can help you navigate these complex legal issues, creating the best strategy to receive the compensation you deserve.
This strategy will involve:
- Gathering all evidence related to your claim. This evidence can include medical records and expenses related to the accident, any records of the accident itself, insurance transactions and claims, expert witnesses and testimonies, and anything else that may help support your claim.
- Pre-litigation research. A truck accident lawyer will research all of the relevant statutes, laws, and previous case law to support your claim. This legal information will be vital in supporting your case.
- Negotiating with insurance companies. The truck company’s insurance company will likely reach out to you, offering a settlement amount. This initial offer is usually much less than you may be entitled to. A truck accident lawyer will handle all communications with the insurance company to ensure that you do not receive less than you deserve.
- Negotiating with the truck driver’s lawyers. Whether the truck driver has a lawyer or if the truck driver’s company provides him or her with a lawyer, having a lawyer by your side to handle those communications will significantly benefit you. An experienced lawyer will know the applicable legal standards to use in negotiations with the opposing lawyer.
- Filing a complaint. If negotiation discussions do not lead to a successful settlement, a truck accident lawyer will draft and file your complaint in court. The complaint will lay out the legal standards, the facts of your accident, and the amount of compensation you are requesting for your injuries. Once you file the complaint, the defendants in the case (the truck driver and the truck company) will file a cross-complaint or an answer.
- Discovery. Once both parties file the initial complaints or answers, the parties will engage in discovery, which involves asking and gathering all of the relevant evidence you will need to use at trial to prove your case.
- Trial. A lawyer will represent you in any trial process in court to prove your claim.
- Appeal. If either party is dissatisfied with the trial’s results, you can appeal the decision and have the decision reevaluated by an Appeals Court. Your lawyer will be there to guide you every step of the way.
Most cases do end up settling out of court or before even going to court. It is essential to have a knowledgeable lawyer by your side to guide you through these potential scenarios and ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
What truck accidents commonly take place in San Antonio?
Some of the most common types of truck accidents in San Antonio, Texas, include:
- Jackknife accidents – these types of accidents occur when the truck driver breaks suddenly and the trailer swings out to the side of the truck at a 90-degree angle. A jackknife accident can cause a truck to overturn or roll over, which can cause catastrophic injuries to the truck driver and other drivers on the road.
- Head-on and rear-end collisions – Similar to regular car accidents, this accident is when a large truck collides with another vehicle either head-on or rear-ends another car. Both are extremely dangerous types of accidents.
- Blindspot accidents – Commercial trucks have significant blind spots, which is why trucks have messages signifying the blind spots (i.e., “If you cannot see my mirrors, I can’t see you”). These blind spots cause the truck driver to lose sight of other drivers in certain places, which can cause accidents when switching lanes or going on and off exits.
- Underride accidents – These are one of the deadliest types of truck accidents, happening when a truck stops quickly, and the car behind it gets stuck under the tractor-trailer. The top part of the smaller vehicle usually is ripped off.
- Tire blowouts – Tire blowouts are common with any vehicle. However, large commercial truck tires are especially susceptible to tire failure. If the tire erupts, the driver can easily lose control of the truck, thus causing an accident.
- Rollover accidents – In any situation where a truck driver loses control, the truck could potentially roll over, making the truck itself and any cargo that falls out a hazard to any other driver on the road.
What injuries do San Antonio truck accidents commonly cause?
As mentioned, truck accidents can cause injuries like:
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Broken bones
- Brain injuries
- Severe burns
- Amputations (loss of limbs)
What are the most common truck accident causes?
Many similar factors in car accidents can cause truck accidents. However, they also are caused by specific vulnerabilities unique to trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a Large Truck Crash Causation Study. The study found that in 87 percent of total accidents, the driver’s actions (or inactions) caused the accident. The vehicle itself caused the accident in 10 percent of total accidents, and the environment (such as roadway problems or weather issues) caused 3 percent of total accidents.
Some of the issues that arise with the drivers include distracted driving, driver fatigue, speeding, the driver being unfamiliar with the roadway, the driver making an illegal maneuver, the driver driving under the influence, the driver’s lack of experience.
Mechanical Issues that can arise that cause accidents include brake problems, tire problems, or if the truck’s cargo is improperly loaded and shifts while driving. However, human error can also attribute to cargo shifting since the driver, the truck company, the inspector, and anyone who loaded the cargo would be responsible for loading the cargo correctly.
How much compensation can I receive from my San Antonio truck accident case?
It depends. Each truck accident case is dependent on the facts of the case. Both the insurance adjuster and the lawyers analyze the case using a variety of factors.
These factors can include:
- Medical expenses – These expenses include any costs associated with the accident, such as ambulance costs, hospital bills, surgery expenses, medication expenses, and any rehabilitation or follow-up treatment you need after an accident.
- Lost wages – If you can’t work due to the injuries the accident caused, you can receive compensation for the income you lost.
- Lost future income – If you know you can’t work or can no longer perform your usual job functions due to the injuries the accident caused, you can seek compensation for the lost income you could have earned.
- Loss of consortium or companionship – If you lost a loved one and are filing a wrongful death suit, you can receive compensation for the loss of companionship from losing your loved one.
- Pain and suffering – These expenses account for any physical or emotional damages or distress you incurred due to the accident.
- Property damage – If the truck accident caused damages to your vehicle or any of your belongings, you can receive compensation for those damages.
How are San Antonio truck accidents different from regular car accidents?
Besides the severity of the damages that may result from a truck accident compared to a car accident, truck accidents differ in the fact that federal and state laws regulate commercial trucks. Both traffic and civil laws (including laws regarding trucks’ speed limits, weights, and height maximums) govern trucks.
Further, the FMCSA and Department of Transportation regulate how many hours a truck driver can drive on the road, the training a truck driver must take before being allowed to drive, and the licenses both the truck driver and the trucking company must have to operate.
The FMCSA and the Department of Transportation created these requirements to provide better safety requirements for trucks to prevent accidents. Therefore, if truck drivers or companies do not abide by these requirements, you can hold them liable for breaching their duty to follow these laws.
Who is at fault in a San Antonio truck accident?
Not only can you potentially hold the driver at fault, but you can potentially hold the driver’s employer accountable as well. You can potentially hold the employer (the trucking company) liable if they failed to vet the driver adequately, failed to allocate a certain amount of hours to the driver properly, or failed to inspect and maintain the truck itself properly. Any of these factors can be the cause of a truck accident, and if you can prove the employer’s negligence, you can potentially hold the employer liable as well.
Further, if the truck experienced a mechanical failure that caused the accident, you can also potentially hold the manufacturer liable. These can include brake failures, tire blowouts, or any other mechanical issues.
How long does a truck accident lawsuit take?
The length of time your truck accident lawsuit will take depends on how long any evidence gathering or investigation procedures take, if you will require prolonged medical treatment, and negotiations. If your case goes to trial, it can end up lasting a few years. While accepting a quick settlement offer from the insurance company may resolve the issue quickly, you may not receive the total amount of compensation you deserve.
When should I file my truck accident lawsuit?
The statute of limitations to file a San Antonio truck accident claim is two years from the accident date. This deadline means that you must bring your claim within two years from the date of the accident.
Should I accept an insurance settlement for my truck accident lawsuit?
No. The truck driver or the trucking company’s insurance company will likely offer what they consider to be the lowest reasonable amount to settle your claim. This amount usually does not cover the total amount of expenses you will incur from your injuries. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help you determine the full compensation you may be entitled to. It is crucial to consult with a lawyer before accepting any settlement offer.
Should I hire a San Antonio truck accident lawyer?
Yes. Truck accidents differ from car accidents, as they involved highly particular areas of the law. The accident fact patterns can be complex, and different parties’ negligence may have contributed to the accident. Due to this complexity, an experienced truck accident lawyer can represent you and help you receive the best possible outcome.
If a negligent truck driver injured you or a loved one, contact us now to learn about your rights and how we can help you. You do not have to go through this alone. At Patino Injury and Accident Attorneys, we care about earning you receive the compensation you deserve, and helping you get your life back to normal.
Call Our San Antonio Truck Accident Attorneys Today
If a truck accident injured you and you have a viable claim for damages, then Patino Injury and Accident Attorneys can help you receive fair compensation for your harm. We seek to provide our clients with individualized attention and care to adequately and appropriately address their questions and concerns and do our part to ease any additional stress during an already stressful time. Our attorneys are caring and responsive and prioritize our client’s needs.
Call us today for a free consultation with no obligation at 210-646-9100 or reach out to us through our contact page.