Dallas Flatbed Truck Accident Lawyers
Flatbed trucks carry a range of large, heavy equipment, from massive pipes to oversized construction equipment to actual homes that need to be transported. Given the size of these trucks and the weighty payload they carry, an accident with a flatbed truck can result in devastating injuries and fatalities.
Since the bed of these trucks generally lack any sides, there is the additional risk that improperly loaded cargo could slip off the truck, potentially crushing vehicles in its path, or causing a multi-vehicle pileup.
If you sustained injuries in a flatbed truck accident in Dallas, you should contact The Benton Law Firm immediately. Our Dallas flatbed truck accident lawyers understand the pain you experienced, and we want to help you hold the truck driver accountable for the crash.
When you hire us, we’ll immediately start working on your case and locate evidence that proves the negligence of the at-fault party. You can depend on us to fight vigorously and skillfully for the justice and compensation you deserve.
To find out more about how we can secure the best possible outcome in your case, call (214) 777-7777, and schedule your free consultation.
What Is a Flatbed Truck?
The design of a flatbed truck is basically how it sounds. There’s a front cab with an attached trailer bed that’s flat and doesn’t have sides or a roof. Unlike big rigs and tractor-trailers, which have enclosed cargo areas, flatbeds have an open space to facilitate the transport of oversized cargo.
There are different sizes and weights depending on the type of flatbed truck and the cargo its transporting. Most are 48 feet long; however, some can be as long as 53 feet like standard semi-trucks. They’re usually no more than 8.5 feet wide and weigh up to 80,000 pounds while carrying cargo. They can come in a rigid design, which means the trailer connects to the cab without using a hitching mechanism, or an articulate design, which does include a hitching mechanism.
The most common cargo you’ll see on flatbed trucks include:
- Heavy machinery
- Construction materials
- Garbage and debris from construction sites
- Trees and logs
- Tire bales
Anything large or oddly shaped that can’t fit on a standard 18-wheeler vehicle gets transported on a flatbed truck. Despite the size regulations issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), some cargo can exceed the vehicle’s width. When that happens, the truck driver must apply for a special permit to transport the cargo and utilize visible warnings on the truck for other motorists.
How a Flatbed Truck Accident and Car Accident Differ
When two small cars collide, the injured parties could potentially walk away with minimal physical harm and property damage. On the other hand, when a commercial vehicle weighing 80,000 pounds crashes into a passenger vehicle weighing 4,000 pounds, the result can be fatal. Flatbed truck accidents typically cause debilitating injuries that require months or years of medical treatment.
The major differences between a truck accident and auto accident include the following:
- Significant property damage: You’ll probably need more extensive repairs to your car if you get into an accident with a truck instead of a vehicle of similar size to yours. A flatbed truck can crumple a car like a piece of paper during the initial impact and cause subsequent damage from falling cargo.
- Higher Insurance Limits: The average motorist carries auto insurance with $30,000 in liability coverage. Since commercial trucks tend to cause serious injuries and vehicle damage, the minimum required liability limit is $750,000.
- Serious bodily injury: Drivers and passengers in small cars can suffer a range of injuries when there’s an accident involving a flatbed truck. Even if you’re wearing a seatbelt, you could suffer crush injuries, loss of limb, or a traumatic brain injury from the impact.
- Increased inability to work: If you have a job, you probably won’t return to it any sooner than someone who was in a regular car crash. Truck accidents lead to serious injuries that might prevent you from performing the duties of your job. It could be weeks or months before you’re able to return.
- Expensive medical bills: If you get into a minor fender bender, you might get whiplash from the impact or muscle strain from your seatbelt. If you collide with a flatbed truck, you’re probably going to need physical therapy, rehabilitation, surgery, and pain management. All that medical care can add up over time and create a financial burden.
Holding Parties Liable After a Flatbed Truck Accident
Flatbed trucks and the cargo they carry come in different shapes and sizes. There are various parties responsible for repairing damage, performing routine maintenance, loading cargo, and driving the vehicle. Any of those groups could be liable if an accident occurs. If you were the victim of a flatbed truck crash, you could potentially pursue compensation from one of the following parties:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Third-party responsible for repairs and maintenance
- Owner of the cab or flatbed trailer
- Person or company that loads the cargo
- Truck parts manufacturer
When one of the parties above behaves negligently, an accident can happen and lead to injuries or fatalities. The most common examples of negligence include:
- Trucking company’s failure to perform background checks or provide training for employees
- Truck driver’s failure to check blind spots
- Failure to perform regular maintenance on the truck
- Driving with a known defective or recalled part
- Driver error or inattention
- Trucking company’s failure to regulate driving hours and breaks
- Reckless driving
If you want to use negligence as a basis for your case, there are five elements you must prove existed:
- The flatbed truck driver owed you a reasonable duty of care;
- They breached their duty;
- If it wasn’t for their actions, you wouldn’t have suffered an injury;
- Their breach was the direct cause of your injury; and
- You incurred damages from the crash.
Texas follows modified comparative negligence and 51% rules. Under this rule, the injured victim of a motor vehicle accident will receive compensation based on the percentage of fault they share. For example, if you incurred $100,000 in damages, but an insurance company determines you’re 20% to blame, you could only recover up to $80,000.
Additionally, the 51% rule prohibits anyone involved in a crash from seeking financial compensation if they’re 51% or more at fault.
Damages Victims of Truck Accidents Can Pursue
If you were in a flatbed truck crash and suffered damages, you could compensate for those damages by filing an insurance claim or lawsuit. The two major types of damages are economic and non-economic.
Common damages accident victims in Texas recover include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Past and future medical costs
- Car repair or replacement
- Lost wages and earning capacity
- Mental or emotional anguish
- Loss of quality of life
- Impairment or disfigurement
While economic damages include some type of bill or invoice, non-economic damages are difficult to calculate. It becomes the insurance company’s or jury’s responsibility to use their discretion and determine a fair monetary award. Some of the factors they might consider include:
- Type of injury sustained and how serious it is
- Duration of medical care needed to recover
- If there was a disability or impairment from the crash
- Impact the injury had on daily routine and quality of life
- Sufficient evidence of fault provided
- Lost wages from time spent away from work
- Total economic damages suffered
- Liability coverage available on the truck driver’s policy
Your attorney will leverage details such as the evidence they gathered in the investigation and the testimony they gathered from expert witnesses to build the case that you need and deserve maximum compensation.
Civil Lawsuits and Punitive Damages
If you want to file a lawsuit against the flatbed truck driver, you can. The compensation you receive for your economic and non-economic damages could come from the liability insurance and out of the driver’s pocket. You could also attempt to seek punitive damages if the circumstances of the crash allow for it.
Punitive damages are a punishment against the liable party rather than reimbursement of the victim’s expenses. Juries only award them in situations where the at-fault party’s actions were malicious, reckless, negligent, or egregious and lacked regard for another person’s safety.
Every state follows statutes of limitations for different types of accidents. In Texas, the statute of limitations for truck accidents is two years. It’s a strict deadline you must comply with if you want to pursue compensation from the truck driver for their careless actions. If two years pass and you try to file a lawsuit, the judge will probably dismiss your case.
Contact The Benton Law Firm Today
We’re ready to help you fight for your rights and recover the maximum financial award you deserve. Our Dallas flatbed truck accident lawyers understand how overwhelming this situation has been. It’s a traumatic experience that can upend anyone’s life. While you’re trying to heal from your injuries, you don’t want to deal with the stress of legal proceedings. When you hire The Benton Law Firm, we’ll take sole responsibility for your case so you can focus on what’s important.
We believe in treating our clients with respect and compassion. You can depend on us to support you through this stressful time and provide advice that helps you make the right decisions about your case. We want to fulfill your needs and resolve your case efficiently so you can get your life back.
If you want to speak with someone about your case and the legal options available to you, we’ll provide an initial free consultation. There’s no risk in discussing the details of your accident and injuries with us and finding out how we can help you. Call us at (214) 777-7777 if you sustained injuries in a flatbed truck accident and want to meet with one of our experienced Dallas truck accident lawyers.