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If a Person Dies from a Texas Truck Accident, Can a Claim Still Be Pursued?

If someone dies in an accident caused by the negligence or reckless behavior of a truck driver, Texas law allows that person’s spouse, children, or parents to bring a wrongful death claim or survival action.

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If you lost a loved one to a trucking accident, one option you have is to file a wrongful death lawsuit. When filing a wrongful death lawsuit, family members are not actually seeking damages for harm caused to their loved one. Instead, the family members are suing for damages caused to themselves as a result of the loss of the decedent.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, family members of the deceased person are able to seek the following damages:

  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of love and emotional support
  • Loss of financial support
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of society

Texas law allows spouses, children, and parents to file wrongful death lawsuits.

What is a Survival Action?

Another option open to the family members of the deceased person is to file a survival action. Unlike a wrongful death lawsuit, a survival action seeks compensation for harm caused to the deceased person and states that those damages should be awarded to the decedent’s estate.

The basic argument behind a survival action is:

  • The person died because of the defendant’s negligence.
  • This negligence caused pain and suffering to the person before they died.
  • Had the person survived, he or she would have been able to pursue legal action against the defendant to recover compensation for pain and suffering.
  • The defendant should not be able to avoid liability for pain and suffering just because the person died.
  • The pain and suffering damages should be paid to the deceased person’s estate.

In addition to pain and suffering, a survival action can also seek damages for medical costs associated with hospital stays and medical procedures procured prior to the victim’s death as well as funeral and burial expenses.

Texas law only allows the deceased person’s legal heir or estate representative to file a survival claim. In the absence of a legal beneficiary, relative may pursue the action jointly.

Can I File Both a Wrongful Death Claim and a Survival Action Following a Fatal Trucking Accident?

In Texas law, wrongful death statutes and survival action statutes represent two distinct actions filed on behalf of different victims. As such, both can be pursued in connection with the same incident and can even be consolidated into a single lawsuit depending on the circumstances of the death.

However, in order for either of the claims to be successful, it is essential that the family speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney. Consulting with an attorney will allow you to understand the full scope of your rights, any potential obstacles your case might face, and how best to pursue legal action against those responsible for your loved one’s death.

Additionally, the attorney who is handling the wrongful death lawsuit and/or the survival action will also engage the services of a qualified probate attorney who will “open an estate”, ensuring that the wrongful death and survival claims are properly represented before the court.

What Are Some Things to Consider When Pursuing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against a Trucking Company?

Generally, lawsuits resulting from trucking accidents are much more complicated and much more demanding than a regular auto accident lawsuit. This is because the trucking companies you are dealing with have teams of lawyers whose sole job is to limit or eliminate the trucking company’s liability following a crash. In some situations, these lawyers will be at the scene of a crash before the ambulance even departs for the hospital.

Lawsuit involving commercial trucking companies and drivers are further complicated by the existence of complex trucking regulations as well as state and federal laws defining employer liability and the application of respondeat superior. Without a doubt, the lawyer investigating the accident on the trucking company’s behalf are well versed in the application of these laws and regulations.

Finally, you must consider the size of the company you are dealing with. The larger the company, the more financial resources that company has. Your average personal injury plaintiff simply does not have the money to fight it out against a trucking company. As a result, the victim is often bullied into accepting a settlement that covers only a fraction of their damages.

How Can an Attorney Help My Trucking Accident Wrongful Death Claim?

If you want to stand a chance against a large commercial trucking company, you need to level the playing field. Thomas J. Henry has been successfully litigating against trucking companies for 25 years. With a team of more than 100 attorneys, the latest trial technology, and the financial resources to fight the long fight, Thomas J. Henry can help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Through the unitization of jet services, satellite technology, and advanced mobile technology, our attorneys and staff can be anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. Because our attorneys have remote access to your file, they can hold meetings, draft and review documents, and store and share files anytime anywhere. This means that if you can’t make it to one of our offices, an attorney will bring the vast capabilities of our offices directly to you.

Thomas J. Henry also has access to some of the world’s leading expert witnesses. From accident reconstructionists to FMCSA compliance consultants, these experts will apply their special expertise to your case by gathering and investigating evidence and, when necessary, providing compelling expert testimony in your trial.

Some expert witnesses who may benefit your claim include:

  • Accident Investigation Experts
  • Hazardous Materials Experts
  • FMCSA Compliance Consultants
  • Forensic Engineers
  • Accident Re-constructionists
  • Human Factors Forensic Science Experts (reaction time, fatigue and distracted driving)
  • General Equipment Technical Expert

Who Should I Call If I’ve Been Involved in a Trucking Accident?

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys have handled a multitude of 18-wheeler accidents over the past two decades and continue to handle many of the largest 18-wheeler accident cases throughout the United States. Whether the company is small or large, our success is not an accident; it is because we understand how trucking companies operate. We represent clients/victims all over the country.

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys are available to respond to trucking accidents at any hour, day or night. Our lawyers understand that the immediate acquisition, or acquiring, of evidence is paramount to understanding how the accident occurred. Remember, your choice does matter. Contact our offices – we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

Can I Recover Wages I Lost After a Trucking Accident?

When you are involved in a serious trucking accident, it is very likely that you will miss some work due to your injuries. The amount of work missed generally depends on the severity of your injuries and the physical requirements of your job. In the most severe cases, you may not be able to return to your previous occupation at all.

What Are Lost Wages?

In the simplest terms, lost wages are any wages you did not or cannot earn due to your injury. Lost wages are not limited to those you have already missed out on, but can also refer to wages you will miss out on in the future.

Typically, lost wages are broken down into three categories:

  • Lost wages – wages you lost during a period you were unable to work.
  • Loss of earning capacity – if you have sustained a long-term disability from an accident and cannot make as much money as you did before your accident.
  • Lost opportunities – this would include things like missing a job interview while you were recovering.

An important thing to remember is that if you lost your previous job due to your injuries and returned to work for lower pay, you may be entitled to the difference in pay between your previous job and the job you now hold.

How Much Lost Income Can I Recover?

As a victim of a trucking accident, you are entitled to reimbursement for any income you have lost because of the accident and your resulting injuries. Many people believe they must have been out of work for an extended period in order to recover lost wages – this is not true. If you missed even an hour of work due to hospital visits, treatment, or surgery, you have the right to be reimbursed.

Another important note is that lost income applies to all workers, not just full-time employees or salaried workers. If you are a part-time worker, hourly employee, or even self-employed, as long as you can document the wages you have lost, you can make a full recovery.

Aside from basic wage calculations (how much direct pay you lost), you are also able to claim:

  • Money that reflects a promotion or wage increase provided you were due for a wage increase or promotion while out of work.
  • Loss of commissions on sales.
  • Bonuses that you were paid in the past and were on track to receive prior to your injury.
  • Loss of fringe benefits.
  • Loss of pension benefits.

What If I Avoid Losing Wages By Using Vacation and Sick Leave?

The fact that you were able to use sick leave or vacation pay to avoid losing income has no bearing on your claim. Using sick leave or vacation pay due to an accident or injury is considered the same as losing pay itself.

Therefore, you are able to be reimbursed for the sick leave or vacation pay provided you can show:

  • You missed work because of the accident.
  • You have documentation showing the use of sick leave or vacation during that time period.

In addition, if you work in a commission based industry, you can still claim wages that would have result from commission on sales you missed while you were out of office. Remember, you were not “on vacation”, you were out of work to recover from an accident.

How Do I Prove the Wages I Lost After a Trucking Accident?

In order to prove loss of income, you will want to gather the appropriate documentation to support your claim. You attorney will go into more detail, but generally you will want to start by:

  • Getting a letter from your employer indicating how much time you took off.
  • A paycheck stub or W-2 that can be used to calculate hourly rate of pay or your monthly salary.
  • Documentation from your employer showing how many hours a week you work.
  • Documentation from your employer indicating whether you are qualified to receive overtime pay and whether or not you typically work overtime.

Once that information is collected, you can begin calculating a rough estimate of your lost wages by:

  1. Determine the number of hours you missed from work. If your hours vary from week to week, calculate the average based on your last two to three weeks of work.
  2. Determine the number of overtime hours you missed.
  3. Multiply the number of hours you missed by your hourly rate or estimated hourly rate.
  4. Multiply any overtime hours by 1.5 your hourly rate or estimated hourly rate.
  5. Add the values for regular hours missed to the overtime hours you missed.

If you are salaried, you can work out your lost wages by:

  1. Divide your annual salary by the number of hours you work (hours a full time employee works per year: 2,080) in order to get the amount you earn per hour.
  2. Calculate the number of hours you missed by multiplying the days you were out of work by 8 (typical work days for salaried employees 8 hours – even if you actually work more).
  3. Multiply those two figures to calculate your lost wages.

Tips, commissions, bonuses and other items can be added to the base amount of loss wages.

What if I Have More Questions About Wages Lost After a Trucking Accident?

If you have any questions about the wages you have lost or need help calculating just how much you are entitled to, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our attorneys can provide a free consultation so you better understand the laws surrounding your case and your best course of action. If your injuries prevent you from visiting our offices, we will send one of our attorneys to you.

Thomas J. Henry has been successfully resolving trucking accident claims for more than 25 years. We have the experience and resources to take on even the largest commercial trucking and insurance companies. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends – attorneys are standing by.

How Will an Attorney Investigate My Trucking Accident?

If you have been involved in a serious commercial trucking accident, it is essential that you hire an attorney with the knowledge and resources to properly investigate your claim.

What Are Some Things to Consider When Pursuing a Trucking Accident Lawsuit?

Generally, trucking accident lawsuits are much more complicated and much more demanding than a regular auto accident lawsuit. This is because the trucking companies you are dealing with have teams of lawyers whose sole job is to limit or eliminate the trucking company’s liability following a crash. In some situations, these lawyers will be at the scene of a crash before the ambulance even departs for the hospital.

Trucking accident claims are further complicated by the existence of complex trucking regulations as well as state and federal laws defining employer liability and the application of respondeat superior. Without a doubt, the lawyer investigating the accident on the trucking company’s behalf are well versed in the application of these laws and regulations.

Finally, you must consider the size of the company you are dealing with. The larger the company, the more financial resources that company has. Your average injury victim simply does not have the money to fight it out against a trucking company. As a result, the victim is often bullied into accepting a settlement that covers only a fraction of their injuries and damages.

How Do I Level the Playing Field When Suing a Commercial Trucking Company?

If you want to stand a chance against a large commercial trucking company, you need to level the playing field. Thomas J. Henry has been successfully litigating against trucking companies for 25 years. With a team of more than 100 attorneys, the latest trial technology, and the financial resources to fight the long fight, Thomas J. Henry can help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Through the unitization of jet services, satellite technology, and advanced mobile technology, our attorneys and staff can be anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. Because our attorneys have remote access to your file, they can hold meetings, draft and review documents, and store and share files anytime anywhere. This means that if you can’t make it to one of our offices, an attorney will bring the vast capabilities of our offices directly to you.

Thomas J. Henry also has access to some of the world’s leading expert witnesses. From accident reconstructionists to FMCSA compliance consultants, these experts will apply their special expertise to your case by gathering and investigating evidence and, when necessary, providing compelling expert testimony in your trial.

Some expert witnesses who may benefit your claim include:

  • Accident Investigation Experts
  • Hazardous Materials Experts
  • FMCSA Compliance Consultants
  • Forensic Engineers
  • Accident Re-constructionists
  • Human Factors Forensic Science Experts (reaction time, fatigue and distracted driving)
  • General Equipment Technical Expert

What are the Most Common Causes of Trucking Accidents

There are many different factors that can cause a trucking accident. Here are some of the most common causes of Texas trucking accidents:

  • Truck driver is fatigued or drowsy
  • Drug or alcohol impairment
  • Driver is distracted
    • Commercial vehicle regulations ban drivers from using mobile devices while driving. Doing so is considered a serious traffic violation and could lead to a CDL suspension.
  • Speeding or driving too fast for road conditions/inclement weather
  • Unsecured loads
    • When large trucks fail to secure their loads properly, motorists are put at an extreme danger. Contents from these trucks, including hazardous materials, could spill onto the roadways, causing serious accidents.
  • Improper turning or lane changing
  • Failure to maintain vehicle

Who Should I Call If I’ve Been Involved in a Trucking Accident?

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys have handled a multitude of 18-wheeler accidents over the past two decades and continue to handle many of the largest 18-wheeler accident cases throughout the United States. Whether the company is small or large, our success is not an accident; it is because we understand how trucking companies operate. We represent clients/victims all over the country.

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys are available to respond to trucking accidents at any hour, day or night. Our lawyers understand that the immediate acquisition, or acquiring, of evidence is paramount to understanding how the accident occurred. Remember, your choice does matter. Contact our offices – we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

 

 

After a Trucking Accident Do I Sue the Truck Driver or the Trucking Company?

When filing a commercial trucking accident lawsuit, you are generally dealing with two legal entities: the truck driver and the trucking company. As such, your lawsuit will be a bit more complicated and require a few extra investigative steps to prove fault and obtain damages than a regular car crash lawsuit.

This is why it is essential to have an attorney who has experience in handling trucking accident litigation and has access to leading industry experts.

When Can I Sue a Trucking Company?

Typically, as long as the truck driver is an employee of a trucking company, your lawsuit will seek damages from both the driver as well the trucking company who employs him. This is because Texas law states that trucking companies are responsible for the negligent actions of their employees.

In addition to being responsible for driver negligence, trucking companies are also responsible for ensuring:

  • Their drivers have obtained and maintained proper licensing to operate a commercial vehicle
  • Their drivers have not committed any disqualifying criminal offenses that would compromise their CDL
  • Their drivers understand they are prohibited from using handheld devices while driving
  • Their drivers are in compliance with hours of service regulations at all times
  • Their vehicles are properly maintained and inspected regularly

Failure to adhere to these regulations or any others coded in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA) can result in a trucking company being held responsible for your injuries.

In some cases, your attorney may decide it is best for you to sue the trucking company only and not the driver.  This is because you are seeking compensation for your injuries and any other damages. While you may want to bring the driver to justice, limiting your lawsuit to the company might be the most financially viable action and the most likely to help you in your recovery.

When Might My Lawsuit Be Limited to the Truck Driver?

If the truck driver is determined to be an independent contractor with no ties to a trucking company, your lawsuit may be limited to the driver alone. In other instances, a judge may decide that the facts of the case preempts a lawsuit against the trucking company and throw out everything except you lawsuit against the driver.

Having an experienced trucking accident attorney on your side can help prevent such scenarios from happen. By making use of expert witnesses and technical resources, Thomas J. Henry is able to examine all angles of your case, finding evidence, relationships, and violations that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

No matter the circumstances of your trucking accident, it is worth your time to consult with an attorney to discuss your options.

What Should I Look Out for When Suing a Trucking Company?

Generally, a trucking company will attempt to distance themselves from an accident in an attempt to limit their liability, even if this means throwing their own employee under the bus. Trucking companies have teams of investigators and attorneys whose sole purpose is to challenge claims and reduce the amount of money that the trucking company has to payout.

Among the tactics often used by trucking companies to chip away at your claim are:

  1. Recorded Statements – The trucking company’s insurer will contact you after the accident requesting a recorded statement. While they claim this is to they can better understand your injuries and streamline the payout process, they are actually trying to get you on record saying something that harms you case. It is essential that you speak to an attorney before providing such a statement. Do not be bullied, you have no legal requirement to answer the insurer’s questions without the advice of your attorney.
  2. Low Settlement Offers – The insurance company wants to settle your claim for as little as possible. They know that you are in a state of chaos and confusion and will take advantage of it. While it may be tempting, do not accept the insurers offer without consulting with your attorney first.
  3. Destroying Evidence – Often times, a trucking company will attempt to destroy or alter records or evidence after an accident with the goal of hiding their mistakes. An attorney can file a court ordered temporary restraining order in order to preserve any and all evidence in the state that it was in at the time of your accident.
  4. Not Ordering a Drug or Alcohol Test – Some companies will tell drivers involved in an accident not to submit to a drug or alcohol test if they think the driver was impaired when the crash occurred. The driver may feel pressured as being under the influence while behind the wheel can end their career. Federal regulations actually require drivers get tested following a crash. Still, the fine for violating this regulation is much less damaging that the repercussions of a trucker driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  5. Delaying the Claim – May trucking companies will attempt to delay your claim in the hopes that you will lose the will and financial resources to fight. Thomas J. Henry has the money and manpower to see your case through to the end and knows how to drive a case forward.

Contact an Experienced Trucking Accident Attorney

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys have handled a multitude of 18-wheeler accidents over the past two decades and continue to handle many of the largest 18-wheeler accident cases throughout the United States. Whether the company is small or large, our success is not an accident; it is because we understand how trucking companies operate. We represent clients/victims all over the country.

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys are available to respond to trucking accidents at any hour, day or night. Our lawyers understand that the immediate acquisition, or acquiring, of evidence is paramount to understanding how the accident occurred. Remember, your choice does matter. Contact our offices – we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

How Complicated are Trucking Accidents?

Typically, trucking accident lawsuits are much more complicated and much more demanding than a lawsuit involving a regular car crash. This is due primarily to the special rules that help regulate commercial trucking and the fact that trucking and freight companies tend to have vast legal and financial resources.

Because of this, it is essential that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney whenever you involved in a trucking accident and that you do so quickly.

What Should I Expect When Seeking Compensation for a Trucking Accident?

The first thing you need to understand when pursuing compensation for a trucking accident is that the playing field is not level.

Typically, large trucking companies have teams of lawyers whose only job is to investigate and challenge trucking accident claims with the goal of limiting or eliminating the trucking company’s liability. These entities also have the financial resources to fight long, hard legal battles in a way that leaves individuals at a disadvantage.

Trucking accident claims are further complicated by the existence of complex trucking regulations as well as state and federal laws defining employer liability and the application of respondeat superior.

This is why it is essential that you hire an experienced commercial accident attorney who is proficient in trucking accident litigation. Thomas J. Henry has been successfully litigating trucking accident lawsuits for more than 25 years. Our commercial litigation attorneys understand the statutes regulating commercial trucking companies and their drivers.

Combine that proficiency with the legal and financial resources that only the largest personal injury firm in Texas can provide, and you finally stand a chance of getting the compensation you justly deserve.

How Can Commercial Vehicle Regulations Affect My Claim?

Drivers of commercial motor vehicles like 18-wheelers and large delivery trucks are strictly regulated by specialized rules put in place by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA) in order to keep other drivers safe.

Such regulations include special licensing requirements, stricter blood alcohol content limits, stricter distract driving requirements, vehicle maintenance requirements, and physical fitness requirements. These regulations also set firm limits on the number of hours a commercial vehicle driver can consecutively drive without taking a break.

For example, a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle driver:

  • may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
  • may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.
  • may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
  • Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.

If it is determined that the truck driver, a fleet operator, or any part of a commercial vehicle was in violation of a TxDOT or FMCSA regulation at the time of your accident or leading up to your accident, it is much easier to demonstrate that negligence occurred.

What are the Most Common Causes of Trucking Accidents

There are many different factors that can cause a trucking accident. Here are some of the most common causes of Texas trucking accidents:

  • Truck driver is fatigued or drowsy
  • Drug or alcohol impairment
  • Driver is distracted
    • Commercial vehicle regulations ban drivers from using mobile devices while driving. Doing so is considered a serious traffic violation and could lead to a CDL suspension.
  • Speeding or driving too fast for road conditions/inclement weather
  • Unsecured loads
    • When large trucks fail to secure their loads properly, motorists are put at an extreme danger. Contents from these trucks, including hazardous materials, could spill onto the roadways, causing serious accidents.
  • Improper turning or lane changing
  • Failure to maintain vehicle

How Can a Trucking Accident Attorney Help Me and My Claim?

1. Allow You to Focus on Your Recovery

The first thing your trucking accident attorney will do for you is make sure you are getting the medical attention you need. Trucking accidents can be especially catastrophic due to the large size of the commercial vehicles involved. It is not uncommon for a trucking accident to resulting in back injuries, brain injuries, paralysis, or even death.

By hiring a trucking accident attorney, you can rest easier knowing that your claim is in capable hands and focus on your getting better. As Mr. Henry has said, “The client’s job is to heal. We will handle the rest.”

2. Provide Access to Advanced Technology

When you are going up against a major trucking company, you need to fight fire with fire. Thomas J. Henry utilizes advanced technology both in and outside the courtroom. Through the utilization of a fleet of jets, satellite technology, and mobile technology, our attorneys can be anywhere within a moment’s notice. We can also provide access a client’s files and records and stream live video of evidence and depositions to any courtroom in the country – all with the push of a button.

3. Bring in Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses can help gather and assess valuable evidence and can provide compelling testimony demonstrating how the negligence of another directly contributed to your injuries. Thomas J. Henry has spent years building professional relationships with leading industry experts. Among those who can assist you in your trucking accident claims are:

  • Accident Investigation Experts
  • Hazardous Materials Experts
  • FMCSA Compliance Consultants
  • Forensic Engineers
  • Accident Re-constructionists
  • Human Factors Forensic Science Experts (reaction time, fatigue and distracted driving)
  • General Equipment Technical Expert

26 People Sent to the Hospital After a Bus Rolls Over on I-78

It’s been reported that 26 people have been taken to the hospital as a result of a collision between a bus and tractor-trailer.

Details on the Bus Crash

The crash occurred on Sunday morning in Williams Township on Interstate 78.

Police have stated that the tractor-trailer involved in the crash rear-ended the bus carrying passengers when they were both in the right lane on the interstate.

After the initial contact between the bus and tractor-trailer, both vehicles ended up in the center median of the road, and the bus rolled over onto its side. Multiple injuries were reported from the crash, but there were no fatalities.

At this time the names of the drivers in this accident have not been released, but police have said that the bus was small and owned by a private company.

Pennsylvania Crash Statistics

The following statistics from 2016 were provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation:

  • There were 29,511 crashes that involved vehicles being rear-ended.
  • Heavy trucks contributed to 7,366 crashes that occurred in the state.
  • A total of 6,147 people were injured on Pennsylvania interstates.

Do Most Texas Truck Accident Cases Go to Trial?


Whether or not a trucking accident case goes to trial is dependent on a number of factors. Among the most important of those factors are:

  1. How clear is liability in the case?
  2. Is the insurance company willing to pay a reasonable settlement?

While a case will be settled out of court more often than not, it is important that your attorney treats every claim as though it will be tried to verdict.

Can an Attorney Help Settle My Claim?

Generally, hiring an attorney will help guarantee that any settlements offered by a company in a trucking accident claim are fair and encompass all of your injuries and losses. When you approach a trucking company without an attorney, the company’s insurer has little incentive to play fair. They know more about trucking regulations than you do, and they have the money and resources to chip away at your claim.

Hiring an attorney with a reputation for securing large trucking accident verdicts sends a message to the trucking company and their insurers. A message that says you have the support and expertise necessary to see your claim through to the end and that you will go to trial if necessary.

An attorney can help preserve valuable evidence and will hire experts familiar with trucking regulations and accident reconstruction, thereby strengthening you claim to compensation. Having an attorney will also allow you the opportunity to focus on healing instead of stressing over paperwork and bills.

When Can I Expect Settlement Discussions to Begin?

When settlement discussions begin often depends on the size and complexity of a case. Larger cases may progress further before negotiations begin as neither side wants to appear overeager or desperate to resolve a matter.

Once a personal injury lawsuit has been filed, both your attorney and the defense’s attorney will begin pretrial investigations. This is known as the discovery process. During discovery, attorneys will begin gathering evidence and may solicit written answers from the opposition, known as interrogatories, or request sworn testimony under oath, known as depositions. It is rare for insurance companies to engage in serious settlement negotiations before completing the discovery process.

In larger, more complex cases, such as lawsuits dealing with on the job injuries or commercial trucking accidents, defense attorneys may wait for the plaintiff’s attorney to identify their expert witnesses before discussing settlement amounts. This is because expert witnesses can make or break a case. If a personal injury attorney is able to obtain expert witnesses who are knowledgeable and capable of providing compelling testimony, chances are the attorney has done the work necessary to make a valid case during trial.

In other cases, the defense attorney will not want to settle a case until they have filed a motion for summary judgment, also known as a motion to dismiss the case. If the court grants the motion to dismiss, it means the case is over; however, if the court denies the motion, a good personal injury attorney will see this as a potential point of leverage in future negotiations.

What Can I Expect if My Case Goes to Trial?

If your case goes to trial, expect your attorney to fight for you. If you have hired a competent attorney, then they would have already gathered the evidence and witness testimony to prove your claim before a jury or judge.

Your attorney will also coach you on court room procedures and how to handle questioning and cross-examination.

Going to trial can feel intimidating; however, with the right attorney on your side, you can at least feel well prepared and confident that your best interests will be represented. Thomas J. Henry has been successfully trying cases against large trucking companies for the past 30 years and has built a reputation by securing record-breaking jury verdicts.

With a team of more than 100 attorneys ready to represent injured clients at a moment’s notice, we have the money and the resources to fight and win against even the largest trucking companies.

Are There Special Rules that Apply to Commercial Trucks in Texas?

In Texas, drivers of commercial motor vehicles, 18-wheelers, and large trucks are strictly regulated by specialized rules put in place by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA).

From rules dictating who can operate a commercial vehicle to rules limiting the number of consecutive hours a driver can spend behind the wheel, these regulations have been put in place to help keep other drivers safe. When drivers fail to comply by these rules, tragedy can occur.

It also is important to note that trucking regulations are not limited to drivers, but also affect commercial transportation companies as a whole, setting requirements which commercial trucking companies, managers, and fleet operators must meet.

Examples of Commercial Vehicle Regulations

While trucking regulations do vary by state, there are federal guidelines by which all commercial vehicle drivers and fleet operators must abide. These regulations are codified in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulation.

A few of the most important federal commercial motor vehicle regulations are:

  • Drivers must be 21 years of age or older to drive across state lines or operate a vehicle containing hazardous materials.
    • Texas truck drivers must be at least 18 years old to operate within state lines.
  • To be eligible for a CDL, drivers must have no prior disqualifying criminal offenses.
  • Prior to obtaining a CDL, drivers must test for and obtain a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) and hold it for 14 days.
  • In order to obtain a commercial learner’s permit, drivers must be cleared by a qualified medical examiner that they are physically able to operate a commercial vehicle.
  • For commercial motor vehicle operators, the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is .04, compared to .08 for regular drivers.
  • Truck drivers are banned from using handheld mobile phones while driving. Trucking companies are prohibited from allowing or requiring drivers to use handheld devices while driving.
  • Drivers are prohibited from holding a CDL issued by more than one state or jurisdiction.

Rules Regulating the Number of Hours a Truck Driver can Drive

One of the most important regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers is the Hours of Service (HOS) regulation. Property-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers:

  • may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
  • may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.
  • may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
  • Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.

According to an AAA Foundation study, driving while drowsy can have similar effects on operating a vehicle as driving drunk. The study says drivers with only four or five hours of sleep had an equivalent increase risk of crash as those with a blood alcohol content (BAC) between .12 and .15 (reminder: .04 is the legal BAC limit for commercial truck drivers).

What are the Most Common Causes of Trucking Accidents

There are many different factors that can cause a trucking accident. Here are some of the most common causes of Texas trucking accidents:

  • Truck driver is fatigued or drowsy
  • Drug or alcohol impairment
  • Driver is distracted
    • Commercial vehicle regulations ban drivers from using mobile devices while driving. Doing so is considered a serious traffic violation and could lead to a CDL suspension.
  • Speeding or driving too fast for road conditions/inclement weather
  • Unsecured loads
    • When large trucks fail to secure their loads properly, motorists are put at an extreme danger. Contents from these trucks, including hazardous materials, could spill onto the roadways, causing serious accidents.
  • Improper turning or lane changing
  • Failure to maintain vehicle

Who Should I Call If I’ve Been Involved in a Trucking Accident?

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys have handled a multitude of 18-wheeler accidents over the past two decades and continue to handle many of the largest 18-wheeler accident cases throughout the United States. Whether the company is small or large, our success is not an accident; it is because we understand how trucking companies operate. We represent clients/victims all over the country.

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys are available to respond to trucking accidents at any hour, day or night. Our lawyers understand that the immediate acquisition, or acquiring, of evidence is paramount to understanding how the accident occurred. Remember, your choice does matter. Contact our offices – we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

 

Are Texas Truck Accident Claims More Difficult Than Car Accident Claims?

Generally speaking, commercial trucking accident claims are much more complex and much more specialized than the average auto accident claim. This is primarily due to complicating matters such as employer liability, state regulations, and the fact that you are dealing with a company versus a single-person’s insurance company.

If you have been involved in a trucking accident, it is essential that you hire an attorney with experience handling and winning trucking accident lawsuits.

How Is a Trucking Accident Claim Different from a Car Crash Claim?

The first thing to understand about trucking accident claims is that the playing field is not level. Typically, large trucking companies have teams of lawyers whose only job is to investigate and challenge trucking accident claims with the goal of limiting or eliminating the trucking company’s liability. These entities also have the financial resources to fight long, hard legal battles in a way that leaves individuals at a disadvantage.

Beyond all that, trucking accident claims are further complicated by the existence of complex trucking regulations as well as state and federal laws defining employer liability and the application of respondeat superior.

This is why you need an attorney who is familiar with trucking accident litigation. Thomas J. Henry has been successfully litigating trucking accident lawsuits for more than 25 years. Our commercial litigation attorneys understand the statutes regulating commercial trucking companies and their drivers. Combine that proficiency with the legal and financial resources that only the largest personal injury firm in Texas can provide, and you finally stand a chance of getting the compensation you justly deserve.

What Are Some Ways a Trucking Accident Attorney Can Help Me and My Claim?

  1. Allow You to Focus on Your Recovery

The first thing your trucking accident attorney will do for you is make sure you are getting the medical attention you need. Trucking accidents can be especially catastrophic due to the large size of the commercial vehicles involved. It is not uncommon for a trucking accident to resulting in back injuries, brain injuries, paralysis, or even death.

By hiring a trucking accident attorney, you can rest easier knowing that your claim is in capable hands and focus on your getting better. As Mr. Henry has said, “The client’s job is to heal. We will handle the rest.”

  1. Provide Access to Advanced Technology

When you are going up against a major trucking company, you need to fight fire with fire. Thomas J. Henry utilizes advanced technology both in and outside the courtroom. Through the utilization of a fleet of jets, satellite technology, and mobile technology, our attorneys can be anywhere within a moment’s notice. We can also provide access a client’s files and records and stream live video of evidence and depositions to any courtroom in the country – all with the push of a button.

  1. Bring in Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses can help gather and assess valuable evidence and can provide compelling testimony demonstrating how the negligence of another directly contributed to your injuries. Thomas J. Henry has spent years building professional relationships with leading industry experts. Among those who can assist you in your trucking accident claims are:

  • Accident Investigation Experts
  • Hazardous Materials Experts
  • FMCSA Compliance Consultants
  • Forensic Engineers
  • Accident Re-constructionists
  • Human Factors Forensic Science Experts (reaction time, fatigue and distracted driving)
  • General Equipment Technical Expert

Contact an Experienced Trucking Accident Attorney

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys have handled a multitude of 18-wheeler accidents over the past two decades and continue to handle many of the largest 18-wheeler accident cases throughout the United States. Whether the company is small or large, our success is not an accident; it is because we understand how trucking companies operate. We represent clients/victims all over the country.

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys are available to respond to trucking accidents at any hour, day or night. Our lawyers understand that the immediate acquisition, or acquiring, of evidence is paramount to understanding how the accident occurred. Remember, your choice does matter. Contact our offices – we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

 

Are Expert Witnesses Necessary to Prove Fault in a Texas Truck Accident Case?

Because of the complexity of commercial trucking accident lawsuits, it is essential to have expert witnesses who can help prove your case. An expert witness is able to provide a detailed account of your accident before a jury, explaining what factors contributed to your collision and your injuries.

What Does an Expert Witness Do?

An expert witness, also known as a judicial expert, is an additional witness who has expertise and specialized knowledge in a particular subject that is beyond what an average person may have.

Expert witnesses can be called upon to offer their expert opinion to the court or to refute inaccurate testimony given by the defense. Because of their expertise and high ethical standards, testimony from an expert witness can go a long way in proving your trucking injury claim.

Are There Different Types of Expert Witnesses?

There are a multitude of different types of expert witnesses, from doctors to accident reconstructionists, all playing a unique role in personal injury litigation. However, most expert witnesses fall into two categories: consulting expert and testifying expert.

Consulting experts, help explain and clarify facts so that your attorney can better understand a situation. In a trucking accident, a consulting expert may be called to provide professional insight on the intricacies of trucking regulations, which can vary by state.

While a consulting expert typically does not testify in open court, the information they provide can play a vital role in supporting your trucking accident claim.

A testifying expert is someone who will deliver testimony in the courtroom. This requires that they not only posses special expertise, but also an ability to deliver complicated information in a manner that is easily understood.

Some expert witnesses will fill both of these duties during the course of a lawsuit, consulting with your attorney privately as the facts of your case are gathered and then presenting any relevant information to the judge or jury.

What Types of Expert Witnesses Could Benefit My Trucking Accident Lawsuit?

Thomas J. Henry has spent years finding and building professional relationships with the best expert witnesses from all across the country. Expert witnesses that could benefit your trucking accident lawsuit include:

  • Accident Investigation Experts
  • Hazardous Materials Experts
  • FMCSA Compliance Consultants
  • Forensic Engineers
  • Accident Re-constructionists
  • Human Factors Forensic Science Experts (reaction time, fatigue and distracted driving)
  • General Equipment Technical Expert

Contact an Experienced Trucking Accident Attorney

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys have handled a multitude of 18-wheeler accidents over the past two decades and continue to handle many of the largest 18-wheeler accident cases throughout the United States. Whether the company is small or large, our success is not an accident; it is because we understand how trucking companies operate. We represent clients/victims all over the country.

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys are available to respond to trucking accidents at any hour, day or night. Our lawyers understand that the immediate acquisition, or acquiring, of evidence is paramount to understanding how the accident occurred. Remember, your choice does matter. Contact our offices – we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.