Dallas Underride and Override Truck Accident Attorneys
Whenever a commercial truck collides with a small car, severe damages and injuries to the passenger vehicle’s occupants are likely to result. The size and weight of a large truck, such as an 18-wheeler, increase the potential for a life-threatening injury or fatality. The height of semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other commercial vehicles creates a unique danger to those sharing the road. Underride and override truck accidents – where passenger vehicles are wedged beneath a truck – are two of the most dangerous truck accidents that can occur and usually lead to devastating harm.
If you were the victim of an underride or override truck accident, contact The Benton Law Firm to find out how we can help you recover compensation for your expenses. We have extensive experience representing truck accident victims and leverage all our resources to recover the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (214) 777-7777.
What Happens During Underride and Override Accidents?
During an underride truck accident, a passenger vehicle collides with the truck’s rear with such speed and force that it ends up underneath it. The reasons for a crash like this range from truck driver inattention to unnecessary braking. This type of accident leads to life-threatening injuries and in some instances, death.
Circumstances that might result in an underride truck accident include:
- Stopping or slowing down suddenly and without warning
- Getting behind the wheel under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Inadequate or missing underride guards
- Texting while driving or another type of distraction
- Poor maintenance resulting in malfunctioning tail lights or turn signals
- Changing lanes without checking blind spots first
- Truck is missing reflective tape on the trailer
- Backing up without looking for vehicles behind them
An override accident occurs when the truck driver can’t stop in time and runs over another vehicle in front of them. Sometimes adverse weather or faulty brakes can cause this type of crash. Other times, driver error or trucking company negligence is to blame.
Circumstances that might result in an override truck accident include:
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Tire blowout
- Inadequate maintenance or repairs
- Changing lanes or merging without checking blind spots for a small car
Who’s to Blame for Your Underride or Override Truck Accident?
The trucking industry has strict regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). There are guidelines to ensure the fleet of vehicles is in safe working condition and every driver has the qualifications and experience to handle a commercial truck. Failure to follow these guidelines can lead to devastating crashes and injuries.
FMCSA regulations that are vital to the safety of truck drivers and other motorists are:
- 11-hour driving limit after a consecutive 10 hours off duty
- Rest for at least 30 minutes after the first 8 hours of the shift
- Thorough background checks before hiring a new truck driver
- Load cargo evenly and without extensive overhang
- Drivers must carry a valid CDL (commercial driver’s license)
- Ensure underride guards are the right size and free from damage
- Employer-provided training for all drivers
- Random drug and alcohol testing on all truckers
- Use tie-downs correctly to secure cargo
- Maximum gross vehicle weight of 80,000 pounds
If you discover the trucker or their employer’s actions caused the crash, you can hold them accountable for any costs you incur. To prove negligence, you must indicate the following circumstances existed at the time of the accident:
- Duty: The at-fault party owed you a duty of care to reasonably prevent harm;
- Breach: They breached that duty;
- Cause in fact: If not for their actions, you wouldn’t have gotten hurt;
- Proximate cause: They should have known their actions would result in an accident and injuries; and
- Damages: You incurred damages.
Should I File an Insurance Claim or Lawsuit?
Most underride and override truck accident victims will start with an insurance claim. You can file with the truck drivers or trucking liability insurance company. Both will likely have high limits of liability listed on their policies. Within the trucking industry, a trucker will carry insurance with the minimum required limits under FMCSA laws:
- $300,000 for trucks 10,000 pounds and lower and carrying non-hazardous material
- $750,000 for trucks over 10,000 pounds and carrying non-hazardous material
- $1,000,000 for trucks carrying hazardous or explosive material
Depending on the coverage listed on the driver’s policy, it could be sufficient to cover your damages. When you file a claim, you must submit evidence showing negligence and that you sustained an injury that requires medical treatment. The insurance adjuster will probably deny your claim if you can’t prove fault and justify receiving compensation.
What happens if your claim is denied
If you cannot negotiate a fair settlement, the insurance company acts in bad faith, or you end up with a denied claim, you can file a lawsuit. Suing the insurance company will allow you to pursue the compensation you believe you deserve with more aggressive tactics. There will be a period of discovery when both sides collect relevant evidence to support their case. If you have to go to trial, you’ll argue your case in front of a jury that will determine if they agree with the financial award you seek.
You can also file suit against the truck driver for reckless or egregious behavior. If they were driving drunk and you suffered severe injuries, you deserve to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are a punishment for the at-fault party and an attempt to deter similar actions from occurring in the future.
Under Texas law, you must follow a strict statute of limitations for all truck accidents. A statute of limitations is a deadline for filing a lawsuit to recover damages. The statute in Texas is two years. That means you only have two years from the crash date to pursue compensation. If two years pass and you try to sue the driver or trucking company, the judge will likely dismiss your case.
What Are Compensatory Damages, and How Much Can I Recover?
Compensatory damages come in two different categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are expenses, while non-economic damages are intangible losses. The damages available in an underride and override truck accident case include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of household services
- Vehicle repair
- Car rental
- Lost wages
- Prescription medications
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of consortium
Things like medical treatment are easy to calculate because there’s a billing statement to refer to. However, non-economic damages include things like physical pain or emotional trauma you had to endure, which are subjective.
An insurance adjuster or jury will review various factors to come up with a fair number:
- Type and severity of the injury
- Missed time from work
- The overall effect on daily life
- Duration of necessary treatment
- Total expenses resulting from the crash
- Evidence that supports the claim
- Liability insurance coverage
- Permanent disability or disfigurement due to the injury sustained
To maximize your compensation, hiring a Dallas underride and override truck accident attorney from The Benton Law Firm would be a good idea. We’ll ensure you receive a full and fair settlement from the liability insurance company. We know the unfair tactics they use to deny claims and take advantage of accident victims. We’ll uncover incriminating evidence against the truck driver that proves they should pay for your expenses.
What if I Lost a Family Member in an Underride or Override Truck Accident?
You can file a wrongful death claim if your loved one died due to someone’s negligence in an underride or override trucking crash. A wrongful death occurs when a party carelessly and negligently causes the death of another.
There are only a few people allowed to file a wrongful death claim in the state of Texas:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving children
- Surviving parents
An adopted child can also pursue a wrongful death case if their adoptive parent died in an underride or override truck accident. However, the adopted child cannot file a wrongful death claim if their biological parent gets killed in a vehicle crash.
If one of the surviving relatives doesn’t file their claim within three months of the date of death, a personal representative or executor of the estate can file on their behalf.
The damages available to the surviving family members include:
- Lost care, services, support, or counsel the deceased would provide to the surviving relative
- Pain, suffering, and mental or emotional trauma
- Lost companionship, love, comfort, and society
- Lost earning capacity
- Loss of inheritance the family member would have received if the deceased lived a normal life expectancy
If you want to seek damages in a wrongful death lawsuit, the statute of limitations in Texas is two years. The compensation a jury awards would get divided among the surviving members proportionate to the suffering they endured from the untimely death of their loved one.
For additional information regarding underride and override truck accidents in Dallas, contact The Benton Law Firm for a free consultation. We can review your accident and injury information to determine if you have a solid case to pursue. When you hire us, we’ll handle everything on your behalf and aggressively fight for the justice you deserve.
We understand how much a situation like this can upend anyone’s life. It’s a traumatic experience and causes long-lasting effects. The emotional and physical pain can last years or for a lifetime. It’s our goal to ensure you receive the maximum compensation so you can focus on healing and moving forward with your life.
Call (214) 777-7777 and speak with an experienced Dallas truck accident attorney to find out your options and how we can help you.