What Happens If I Hit A Tractor – Trailer With My Car?
Hitting any vehicle can be a shock to a person’s system, but hitting a tractor-trailer with your car is often even more frightening and stress-inducing. Though you may feel responsible for the accident, there are many factors that come into play in such cases, and the notion of fault should be decided by the court. The best step to take after a crash with a tractor-trailer is to contact a skilled attorney as soon as possible.
Dallas Car Accident Lawyers have represented clients in tractor-trailer accidents before. We understand the difficulties in opposing trucking corporations that often have vast resources at their disposal. Talk to our experienced tractor-trailer accident attorneys today to sort out the details of your claim.
Determining Fault in My Claim
It is natural to suppose that you are responsible for an accident if you hit another vehicle. However, Texas handles fault via a system of proportionate responsibility. In other words, the fault for the accident can be divvied up between all parties involved, and you may have a claim for compensation if your percentage of fault is lower than 50%. Your wreck can involve many different factors, and the tractor-trailer driver or the company who owns the truck may have more of the blame than you. Never admit fault, but instead, let a skilled attorney represent you.
Ways That Others May Be Responsible
There are numerous ways in which the driver of the tractor-trailer can be the ultimate cause of your accident even if your vehicle strikes theirs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a list of risky driving behaviors that can cause accidents. For instance, the driver may be impaired via alcohol or other substances, they may be engaged in distracted driving activities like text messaging, or they may be driving while drowsy. Any of those actions can constitute fault, but this must be proven through the use of evidence.
Similarly, the trucking company may be at-fault for your accident. It is the truck owner’s responsibility to keep up with maintenance, so accidents caused by failing parts like tires or brakes might be cause for a lawsuit against the tractor-trailer company. Additionally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a long list of trucking regulations by which companies must abide, such as keeping accurate logbooks. This helps to ensure that drivers have ample rest time, preventing them from drowsy driving. If the company has falsified its logbooks or fails to keep them up-to-date, there may be cause for legal action.
Finally, the tractor-trailer manufacturer is another possible at-fault party in your accident. Chapter 82 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code deals with products liability. In short, it must be shown that the manufacturer of the product, such as the truck’s brakes or engine, used a faulty design or used an inherently unsafe design when a better design was available. Since these kinds of lawsuits are particularly difficult to navigate, it is best to discuss the possibility of suing a manufacturer with a knowledgeable Dallas tractor-trailer accident attorney.
Evidence of Fault
Fault is determined by a judge or jury on the basis of sufficient evidence. In car accident claims, evidence is particularly prone to vanishing or being lost over time, such as tread marks being washed away or witness’ memories fading. Fortunately, skilled truck accident lawyers in Dallas can work to gather and preserve the evidence necessary to get you and your family the compensation you deserve. Below are possible sources of evidence that may help to prove the fault of other parties in your case.
- Eyewitness testimony
- Accident reconstructionist testimony
- Tractor-trailer “black-box” data
- Trucking logbooks
- Weather pattern information
- Footage from nearby traffic cameras
- The police crash report
Actions I Should Take After My Tractor-Trailer Wreck
Hiring an attorney should be high on your to-do list after a major accident, but there are other actions you can take immediately following the wreck to bolster your case. First, and most importantly, get everyone involved in the accident to a safe location off the road, moving vehicles off the road when possible, in order to prevent more crashes. After this is done, call emergency medical services if necessary, as well as the police to document the accident scene. Next, get the opposing driver’s name, contact information, and insurance policy information. Record the names and contact information of possible eyewitnesses as well, and take pictures of the scene and associated damage.
It is also important to seek medical care immediately in order to establish a link between any injuries you suffered and the crash. When you see a doctor, make sure to obtain a copy of your medical records to present to your attorney.
Speak to an Attorney for FREE
Sometimes, people involved in wrecks are reluctant to seek legal counsel. Speaking with an attorney is paramount, however, and this is especially true in tractor-trailer cases. You may be up against a trucking company with far more resources than are at your disposal, so getting in touch with knowledgeable attorneys is a way to guard yourself against being bullied into a settlement.
Get a FREE consultation with Pintas & Mullins, a Dallas car accident law firm, by calling (214) 305-8277 or by filling out the form on our contact page. Remember: we do not collect a fee unless we win your claim!