Odessa, Texas, sits in Ector County and is the home of both the University of Texas Permian Basin and Odessa Meteor Crater.
It is also one of the fastest-growing small cities in the United States. The Odessa area is crisscrossed with major highways, including Interstate 20, US 385, and FM 2020.
Like almost anywhere else, Odessa sees its share of truck accidents. If you have suffered an injury in a truck accident caused by someone else, or if your close relative died in such an accident, you probably have a claim for money damages under Texas law.
Our Odessa truck accident lawyers can help guide you on your road to recovery.
Common Causes of Odessa, TX Truck Accidents
There are thousands of different ways that a truck accident can happen. Most of them, however, fall within the following categories.
Accidents caused by distracted driving have skyrocketed over the past decade—and when a truck is involved, the consequences can be catastrophic. It is possible to consult with a mobile carrier to gather evidence that can prove the most common form of distracted drivingーtexting while driving.
A truck accident claim involving an intoxicated driver frequently generates unique issues. For example, punitive damages may come into play, and it may also be possible to claim against the establishment that sold alcohol to the defendant.
As long as you can prove it, driver fatigue is a strong basis for a negligence claim. Proof of this type of negligence becomes easier when a commercial trucker is involved due to federal regulations designed to keep drowsy drivers off the roads.
Driver error is one of the most common causes of any type of vehicle accident. But when the driver is at the wheel of a truck, especially an 18-wheeler, the consequences of driver error can be catastrophic.
Defective Vehicle Component
A defective truck component can cause a catastrophic accident, and Texas product liability law provides a remedy. However, since expertise is required to identify and prove a defect, experienced legal counsel will maximize your odds of receiving fair compensation.
Improper Truck Maintenance
Truckers are responsible for the proper maintenance of their rigs. The most common accident-causing malfunction arising from poor maintenance is a tire blowout, which is very dangerous at high speeds.
Improperly Loaded Cargo
Improperly loaded cargo can result in objects spilling onto the roadway. It can also cause a truck to tip over or increase stopping distances enough to cause a rear-end accident.
A fully-loaded commercial truck can weigh 80,000 pounds. Consequently, tailgating is one of the most dangerous truck driver practices, especially when roads are wet or icy.
No matter how your accident happened, our Odessa trucking accident lawyers can perform an investigation that will help reconstruct the accident and identify its cause.
Special Considerations That Apply to Commercial Truck Accidents
Accidents involving commercial trucks have certain novel legal features, such as:
- The driver may be an independent contractor, as opposed to being an employee of the trucking company. This may mean that you cannot sue the trucking company for the driver’s negligence.
- Commercial trucks carry “black box” data recorders that can be used to reconstruct a truck accident. You can use the data from these recorders as evidence in court or during negotiations.
- Commercial truck drivers must carry enough insurance to cover all but the very largest personal injury and wrongful death claims.
- Commercial truckers driving on Odessa roads must follow extensive state and federal regulations. These regulations can help you establish liability against them.
An Odessa truck injury attorney can help you determine how to best employ these features to win a generous settlement or verdict for your injuries.
Negligence Per Se and Odessa Truck Accident Claims
Texas recognizes the legal concept of “negligence per se.” Under this concept, the violation of a safety statute is considered automatic negligence. Once you establish a violation, the burden of proof shifts to the defendant to prove that they were not negligent.
Negligence per se can make it easier to win your claim, especially since the government strictly regulates the commercial trucking industry.
Once you establish negligence per se, however, you still have to prove that the negligence actually caused the damages you suffered. Never fearーour Odessa commercial truck accident attorneys have won many cases based on negligence per se.
Pitfalls for the Unwary: Mistakes That Could Damage Your Claim
A personal injury claim is a minefield of potential mistakes, such as:
- Lying or contradicting yourself, or appearing to.
- Apologizing for the accident, which could be used against you later.
- Using social media in a manner that could be used against you (uploading healthy-looking photos of yourself, for example). It is truly best to stay off of your social media accounts until you resolve your case.
Many other damaging errors are possible. The best way to avoid pitfalls is to consult with an Odessa 18-wheeler accident lawyer and get experienced guidance every step of the way through your claims process.
Collecting Your Damages: How Much Liability Insurance Do Commercial Truckers Carry?
Commercial truckers must carry at least $750,000 in liability insurance, although $1,000,000 is becoming the industry standard. Some truckers must carry more than this amount, depending on the type of cargo they carry. For example, drivers who carry explosives must insure for at least $5,000,000.
Settlement vs. Trial
The vast majority of truck accident claims settle out of court. But you might still have to file a lawsuit to get the court to help you demand evidence that is in the defendant’s possession. However, just because you file a lawsuit doesn’t mean that you will go to trial. Even after you file a lawsuit, you can still settle your claim before trial.
Contact an Odessa Truck Accident Lawyer Today
The Odessa truck accident attorneys at Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C. have won many multi-million dollar civil compensation claims. Although we cannot guarantee results in any specific case, we can guarantee you the best possible representation. Our track record proves that much.