Dallas Head-On Truck Accident Attorneys
When a commercial truck collides with another vehicle, the speed and force of the impact from the 80,000-pound truck can demolish a 3,000-pound passenger car, devastating anyone inside of it. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a head-on crash occurs when the front of one vehicle hits the front of another.
Head-on truck accidents typically occur when someone crosses over the median or centerline of a road, or when a motorist drives in the wrong direction. When you become the victim of a trucker’s careless actions and sustain injuries, you deserve compensation.
The Dallas head-on truck accident attorneys from The Benton Law Firm may be able to represent you in an insurance claim or lawsuit. Contact us at (214) 777-7777 to learn about your legal options and find out how we can help.
Common Causes of Head-On Truck Accidents in Dallas
A lot of factors can lead to a head-on collision between a commercial truck and a small car. In most cases, head-on collisions are caused by reckless driving. Commercial truck drivers work long hours and might get behind the wheel tired, intoxicated, or distracted, which causes them to drift into oncoming traffic. If they don’t pay attention to the road ahead, they can cause a severe accident and life-threatening injuries to the other motorists.
The most common reasons for head-on truck crashes include:
- Texting while driving
- Drug or alcohol impairment
- Fatigued or drowsy driving
- Running a stop sign or red light
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Crossing the median line
- Driving in the wrong direction
When you get hurt in a head-on truck accident, finding its cause can help you determine who to hold financially responsible for your losses. There are some crucial steps you should follow before leaving the crash scene to obtain key pieces of evidence that will prove who was at fault.
How to Handle a Head-On Truck Accident
After getting injured in a head-on crash with a commercial truck, you need to follow the steps below to ensure you can prove fault on the part of the other party involved.
- Call the police to the scene of the wreck to perform an investigation.
- Request a copy of the traffic crash report when it becomes available.
- Take pictures of the accident site and vehicle damage.
- Speak to anyone who witnessed the crash and write down their names and phone numbers.
- Exchange auto insurance information with the truck driver and get the name and contact information of their employer.
- Go to the hospital or urgent care facility for a complete evaluation of your injuries.
- If your physician refers you for imaging, lab tests, physical therapy, or additional treatment, follow their orders.
- Collect all prescription receipts, medical records, billing statements, lost wage reports, and documentation regarding out of pocket expenses.
- Hire a head-on truck accident attorney from The Benton Law Firm to help you file an insurance claim.
Texas Auto Accident Fault Laws
If you get into an accident with a commercial truck and there’s clear evidence that the truck driver or employer was to blame, you can file a claim with their liability insurance company. Texas follows fault laws when it comes to motor vehicle crashes. That means you’re entitled to compensation from the at-fault party’s auto liability policy.
Texas law requires all motorists to carry insurance with liability and property damage coverage. The trucking industry typically holds higher coverage in liability for their truckers. When you file an insurance claim, the adjuster will review all the evidence to determine if the trucker or trucking company should be held liable for injuries and the resulting expenses.
There’s another auto accident fault law that could negatively impact the compensation you’re allowed to pursue. The Modified Comparative Fault rule takes into account the victim’s shared responsibility for the crash. What that means is if the insurance company determines you were partly to blame for the head-on collision, you’ll receive a percentage of the maximum compensation available from the liability policy.
For example, let’s say the truck driver was texting while driving and crashed into you head-on because their truck drifted into your lane. The adjuster might say that they’re 80% to blame for the accident. However, you were driving over the speed limit, so you’re 20% at fault. If your total damages are $100,000, the adjuster will subtract 20% from your total damages, leaving an $80,000 financial award that you can collect.
However, there’s a caveat to this rule. You’re only entitled to reduced compensation if you share less than 51% of the blame. If the insurance company discovers you’re at least 51% at fault, you won’t be able to collect any compensation from the truck driver or trucking company’s liability insurance policy.
Proving Liability After a Head-On Truck Accident
When you decide to pursue compensation through an insurance claim, you have to prove liability on the part of the trucker or their employer. If you can’t prove liability, you won’t be able to collect any money.
Federal and state regulations cover specific requirements truck drivers and trucking companies must follow. If they fail to comply with any of the rules, they could be held liable for a vehicle wreck they cause.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) cover areas, such as:
- How to operate the commercial vehicle
- Driver licensing and qualifications
- Maximum weight and size of the truck
- Routine maintenance and inspections
- Vehicle repairs
- Adequate training to truck drivers
- Hiring experienced truckers
- Performing thorough background checks on all employees
- Hours of driving time and required breaks
If the at-fault party failed to follow any of the regulations above and there’s clear proof of the violations, you can go after their liability insurance.
Truck driver: They’re liable if they fell asleep behind the wheel, drove recklessly, texted while driving, broke any traffic laws, or drove without a valid CDL license.
Trucking Company: The trucker’s employer is liable if they violated any of the FMCSR laws, including the failure to provide training, negligently hiring an unqualified driver, failing to perform prompt repairs on the truck, or requiring truckers to drive longer than the timeframe permitted.
Manufacturer: Sometimes, the commercial vehicle has defects that lead to a head-on crash. If there’s a defective part, the driver might lose control of the truck. Parts manufacturers are supposed to ensure the products they provide to trucking companies are safe and free from any hazards.
Cargo company: Under certain circumstances, you can hold the cargo company liable for improperly loading the cargo on the back of the truck. Overloaded and oversized vehicles are unsteady and difficult for the driver to control.
Damages You Can Recover from the Liable Party
Texas awards economic and non-economic damages to the victim of a head-on collision. As long as you don’t share more than 50% of the blame, you could potentially receive the maximum compensation allowed based on the coverage on the liability policy.
Damages are all the losses you incur from an accident and injury. You could end up spending months recovering from a severe injury and rack up thousands of dollars in medical and physical therapy bills. If you don’t have health insurance, you might wonder how you can afford them. You shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for any of your expenses when someone else caused the crash.
The economic and non-economic damages you can seek in an insurance claim include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost income
- Lost future earning capacity
- Car repair and replacement
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of household services
- Loss of companionship
Unfortunately, Texas laws place a cap on the amount of damages you can recover. You can only receive a maximum of $200,000, two times the amount of economic damages plus $750,000, or two times the amount of economic damages plus the total amount of non-economic damages, whichever is higher.
The Deadline to File a Lawsuit
If you’re considering suing the truck driver or trucking company for damages, you have to pay attention to the statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is the time limit you’re allowed to bring a civil action against another party.
In the state of Texas, there’s a two-year statute of limitations for auto accidents. If you want to recover compensation for your injuries, you have to file suit within two years from the date of the crash. Otherwise, you may lose your rights to a monetary award.
Contact The Benton Law Firm
A head-on truck accident almost always results in debilitating injuries and expensive medical treatment. If you’re unable to work because of your injury, you might worry about where you’re going to get the money to afford your bills. Your accident can upend your life and cause a great deal of stress.
The Benton Law Firm aims to relieve your burden by taking the reigns and handling every legal aspect of your case. You won’t have to do anything except focus on your recovery. From filing an insurance claim to negotiating a fair settlement, you can count on us to do it all. We will ensure all parties treat you with respect and pay you the compensation you deserve.
Our Dallas truck accident attorneys offer a free consultation so you can meet with us to discuss your case and receive legal advice. To find out how The Benton Law Firm can help you after your head-on truck accident, call (214) 777-7777 today.