An 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer in Houston Will Protect You
An 18 wheeler accident lawyer in Houston is going to be your best bet after an accident with a semi truck in Texas. Big rig drivers are often employed by large companies who will do everything in their power to try to make sure you don’t bring a truck accident lawsuit. And don’t forget the claims adjuster, they’re also going to come at you after the truck accident. If you’re from Houston and were hit by a Texas big rig, you may want to take action, contact a 18 wheeler accident lawyer in Houston now.
What Happens After an 18 Wheeler Truck Accident in Houston, Texas
An 18 wheeler accident is a horrific thing. If you were hit by an eighteen-wheeler truck you already know that. But the horror doesn’t end when the last shard of broken glass is swept up and the highway lane is opened to traffic again. If you’re the victim of an 18-wheeler accident, the horror may just be beginning. You might be in for a white knuckler of a ride, with contested accounts of the accident, pitifully inadequate settlement offers and blatant attacks on your integrity.
Looking for an 18 Wheeler Accident Attorney in Houston?
If you’ve experienced a truck accident in Houston, protect yourself with an experienced 18-wheeler accident lawyer. The legal team at Patrick Daniel Law, one of the best truck accident law firms in Houston, has experienced 18 wheeler accident lawyers ready to take your case.
We’re also experts in personal injury claims and catastrophic injury claims. We’re aware of the clever tricks and sleight-of-hand antics employed by many insurance adjusters, who are looking out for their employers – not 18-wheeler truck accident victims. Our Houston 18-wheeler accident lawyers look out for the victims and look out for their families.
Best 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer in Houston
Don’t believe the hype and buzz words like the word best. Be on the lookout for those claiming to be the best 18 wheeler accident lawyer. Not all of the truck accident lawyers in Houston are willing to go to trial with you. Our Houston attorneys are experienced trial attorneys and 18-wheeler accident lawyers in Houston. We are willing to go to trial, to do whatever it takes to ensure you receive justice in your truck accident case, whether you live in the Greater Houston Area or anywhere else in the nation.
Our Houston 18-wheeler truck accident lawyers will even provide a free case evaluation for your trucking accident with no strings attached.
Houston 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyers Discuss Recent Truck Accidents in Harris County
Houston 18-wheeler accident lawyers Patrick Daniel and Randy Canche discuss recent 18-wheeler accidents in Houston, common causes of semi-truck accidents, and what to do after an accident. They also field several questions related to truck accidents. One recent case that is discussed is an 18-wheeler accident that occurred on Houston’s North Freeway where an Amazon tractor-trailer ran over two women.
If you were recently involved in an 18-wheeler accident in Houston or have any questions for an 18-wheeler accident lawyer in Houston regarding your auto accident, contact us for a free case evaluation or call 713-999-6666.
When to Get a Truck Accident Lawyer After an 18-Wheeler Accident in Houston
It’s a fairly safe bet that the insurance adjuster will contact you before you even have time to consider calling an 18 wheeler accident lawyer in Houston. He wants to head you off at the pass, and hopefully get you to sign off on a settlement before the dust settles.
That should tell you something right there. So if you get an early call or a way-too-friendly in-person visit from the insurance adjuster representing the trucking company, “there’s your sign,” as comedian Bill Engvall would say.
Only it’s not funny. Clearly, this is the time to act, if you have any notion of contacting a truck accident lawyer.
While calling an attorney early in the process is ultimately best, you do have some time to reflect on your situation. These conditions merit a closer look if you’re wondering whether you should call an attorney:
- A fatal truck accident.
- An accident in which you were severely injured. This includes, but is not limited to, broken bones, paralysis, amputation, burns, blindness or long-term or permanent physical impairment.
- There’s even a slight chance that you could be found at fault.
- The crash involved other vehicles.
- The crash occurred in a construction zone or school zone.
- The official accident report is incomplete or does not accurately describe what happened.
An 18-wheeler accident attorney can also help you get to the bottom of what caused the truck accident in the first place. There are many causes of trucking accidents and being able to sort through all of them and pinpoint the exact cause or causes often takes an expert. The better the expert the better they’ll be able to find all the causes. Many people can speculate as to the causes but only an experienced truck accident attorney will be able to provide hard evidence.
How to Find the Best 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer in Houston
The good news here is, you’ve already found an 18 wheeler accident lawyer in Houston. Patrick Daniel is a personal injury lawyer in Houston, TX, with a host of attorneys comprising the firm of Patrick Daniel Law, the best lawyers in Texas for injury compensation, wrongful death, car accident settlements and 18-wheeler accidents in Houston.
To find an attorney for any purpose, the internet is an invaluable tool, and can easily be your only tool. The obvious first step is to simply enter the appropriate search terms into the Google, Bing (or search engine of your choice) search window. Be specific as to what search terms you use, if you’re looking for an 18-wheeler accident lawyer in Houston, type that exact line, not just “18-wheeler accident lawyer.”So, if you were involved in an 18-wheeler accident in Houston, Texas, below are some simple search terms that can help you.
18-wheeler accident lawyer search queries:
- Car accident lawyer Houston TX
- Houston TX truck accident lawyers
- Personal injury lawyer Houston
- Personal injury lawyer near me
- Texas truck accident lawyer
- 18-wheeler accident lawyer near me
For more refined results, you could search the databases at Avvo.com or Martindale-Hubbell for an 18 wheeler accident lawyer in Houston. These feature truck accident attorneys and semi accident firms that can be found by looking under specialties. These sites also include background information and ratings. Another good source is your state’s bar association, such as the State Bar of Texas.
Asking family and friends for recommendations for the best 18 wheeler accident lawyer in Houston is also a good idea. Your family (hopefully) will shoot straight with you, and this could be a way to find a lesser-known truck accident attorney whose skill set is just as impressive as the familiar big rig attorneys in Texas.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Car Accident With an 18-Wheeler Truck?
The answer to the often-asked question, “How long does it take to settle a car accident with a truck?” is elusive. It can range from a few weeks to well over a year to settle, depending on several factors – most of which are out of the hands of the plaintiff. A Truck accident case is not a time for impatience.
It’s in the best interests of the insurance company, whether it’s yours or the trucking firm’s, to settle quickly, before long-term health issues become apparent. Conditions that develop after a truck accident lawsuit is settled generally become the financial responsibility of the plaintiff. While there are situations that would merit a reopening of the case, most of the time, the sign-off on the settlement is the last word.
A common tactic of aggressive insurance adjusters is to put an expiration date on the settlement offer, insinuating that if you don’t agree to the terms by that date you won’t get a settlement at all. They can’t do that, and they know it, but if it intimidates the injured party into signing off on a settlement offer, it’s a win for the insurance company.
All U.S. states have a deadline by which to file a lawsuit regarding a trucking accident, but they’re typically very generous, and allow plenty of time for the plaintiffs to recover from their injuries, collect medical bills, gather data regarding the accident, determine their options for returning to work and review the case with their attorney.
Delays in the case can be the result of medical complications, government-based accident investigations (often the cause of long delays), witness depositions and research into the trucking company’s adherence to safety regulations, vehicle maintenance and driver policy.
How to Get Money without Hiring an 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer
There’s an enormous difference between litigating an accident between two passenger cars and an accident involving an 18-wheeler. In the former, you possibly could represent yourself in court successfully, in the latter, you would face some daunting challenges. It’s not impossible, but it’s not recommended.
You Versus Attorney
If you take on an insurance company, you’ll be meeting their attorney in court. Even if the fault of the accident has been clearly established, and the insurance company has admitted to their client’s liability, that doesn’t mean you will receive just compensation.
You will go into the courtroom as a pro se litigant, meaning you’re there on your own behalf. You will be doing battle with a licensed attorney, and probably a very accomplished one. The same rules that apply to the opposing attorney will apply to you. Plus, if you lose the case, you will be responsible for the opposing attorney’s legal fees.
Having an 18-wheeler accident attorney by your side will give you confidence that your case is going to be handled the correct way. You may overlook a minor slip-up that could lose your case, but your truck accident lawyer will not. Are you that confident you can go it alone?
Don’t Let Emotions Rule
Many pro se litigants charge into the courtroom seething with righteous indignation, believing that their impassioned rhetoric will sway the jury or judge’s decision in their favor. Your best offense is facts: verified accounts of what happened, medical bills, ambulance bills, pay stubs (if you’ve missed work) and related expenses.
The judge will not allow you to grandstand with an “Oh woe is me” tear-jerker of a speech. Assuming you don’t have to prove who was at fault in the accident (and even that is not a guarantee), you still have to prove that the insurance company’s settlement offer is less than the expenses you incurred, and that your pain, suffering and mental anguish was not adequately addressed.
There are a lot of gray areas in pain and suffering compensation, and individuals representing themselves are at a disadvantage in making their case unless they have invested many hours into research.
One Potentially Positive Outcome
Sometimes, insurance companies will revise their settlement offer if they see that you are determined to take them to court. For this to happen, however, the insurance company must concur that you have a strong case. If they are convinced they can win, they will probably go to court. If they are unsure, or if they deem the case isn’t worth their time to contest, they will probably make a counteroffer prior to the court date.
But there are never any guarantees.
What Causes 18 Wheeler Truck Accidents?
The imposing size of big rigs doesn’t necessarily make them dangerous, but when they’re driven irresponsibly, maintained improperly or thrust into a chaotic situation on a busy interstate, they pose a risk to us all. Vigilance, whether driving, maintaining or troubleshooting, is crucial.
The margin of error for an 18-wheeler is much smaller than for your Toyota Camry. A moment’s inattention by the driver and the truck has drifted into another lane and sideswiped a car. A panic stop by a big rig going 65 miles requires 525 feet (that’s roughly a tenth of a mile) from the time of driver awareness to a full stop. By comparison, a car traveling that same speed would need 316 feet.
That explains why so many 18-wheeler accidents are rear end collisions. But these are not minor fender benders with relatively minor property damage and maybe some spilled coffee. These can be devastating and deadly.
The responsibilities of operating and owning an 18-wheeler are significant and should never be taken lightly. When they are, catastrophe can ensue.
Fatal Truck Accident Statistics
Roughly 84 percent of the fatalities occurring in large truck crashes in the U.S. are not occupants of the trucks (1). This underscores the physics of big rigs versus passenger cars or light trucks, but when you compare the average weight of a fully loaded big rig (80,000 pounds) to that of a typical passenger vehicle (4,000 pounds) the number is even more disproportionate.
One out of every nine fatal traffic accidents in the U.S. involves a large truck, yet large trucks account for only 3 percent of the vehicles on the road. Clearly, the severity of big rig crashes is greater than the raw numbers would suggest – even more reason to give the big rigs a wide berth!
What is the manner of these fatal accidents? Thirty-four percent of fatal truck crashes are categorized as “angle” crashes, where vehicles collide at an angle. This could be from sudden lane changes, fishtailing or jack-knifing of the trailer or loss of control. Blind spots, an inherent issue with big rigs, come into play in this type of accident.
Head-on collisions account for 20 percent of all truck accident fatalities. This is a stunning bit of data, because head-on collisions involving 18-wheelers are rare. Only 3 percent of the accidents involving 18-wheelers were head-on (2), yet they account for one out of every five fatalities in truck crashes.
Finally, rear end collisions are the cause of 17 percent of the deaths in large truck accidents. Big rigs take much longer to bring to a stop, and when traffic is backed up on the highway, driver inattention, excessive speed or slick road conditions increase the risk.
1. Dissanayake, S and Bezwada, N (2010) Characteristics and Contributory Causes Related to Large Truck Crashes (Phase I)
2. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (2006), Report to Congress on the Large Truck Crash Causation Study
18-Wheeler Truck Driver Mistakes and Errors
A big rig driver needs to live up to his reputation as “King of the Road.” It’s a huge responsibility. He or she is responsible for the safe and secure operation of the truck, on and off the road. Plus, they are under the gun, so to speak to deliver freight in a timely manner. When they fail, other motorists often pay the price.
1. Truck Driver Drowsiness
Drowsiness affects reaction time, threat awareness and cognitive reasoning. For these reasons, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the number of hours a truck driver may drive per day (11) and per seven-day week (60).
Drivers are often pressured by their employers to meet delivery schedules that are virtually impossible to meet without going over the stated hourly limitations. This leads to illegal overtime driving, falsified driver’s logs and all too often, accidents. Drowsiness may also be attributed to the age of the driver, his general health; medications taken (prescribed and otherwise) and the amount / quality of sleep during downtime.
This is a salient point in many lawsuits. Being able to prove that a driver operated a tractor-trailer rig knowing he had not logged the legally required downtime is advantageous to winning a case. A second factor in the equation is whether the driver felt compelled to break the rules of the road because of pressure from his employer to deliver the goods on a tight schedule.
2. Impaired Truck Driving
It’s a frightening thought that operators of 80,000-pound monsters on our highways could be buzzed on anything from alcohol to opiates, but it happens. In a survey of large truck crashes, the number one factor present (not necessarily a causing factor) was prescription drug use, reported in over 26 percent of the accidents (1).
Truck drivers have aches and pains, as we all do, and many suffer from chronic conditions for which they have been prescribed powerful painkillers. These painkillers often have side effects and can lead to impaired driving. Lack of regard for these side effects becomes a distinct liability in court cases. Over-the-counter medications are also noted (again, not necessarily a causing factor) in 17 percent of big rig accidents.
Fortunately, accidents involving illegal drug use and alcohol are much less of a factor, at 2.3 percent and 0.8 percent of accidents, respectively.
1. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (2006), Report to Congress on the Large Truck Crash Causation Study
3. Driving Trucks Too Fast for Conditions
Just about every motorist can relate to the sight of a big rig zooming past slower moving traffic in situations that should have called for a lighter touch on the accelerator. Technically, it’s not speeding, unless the truck exceeds the posted speed limit, but it is dangerous and unlawful. It’s a ticketable offense known as driving too fast for conditions.
In the FMCSA report cited, driving too fast for conditions was the No. 2 associated factor in 18-wheeler crashes, showing up in 23 percent of the accidents.
Conditions that warrant driving significantly below the posted speed limit include (1):
- Wet or icy roads
- Uneven roads
- Construction zones
- Pavement breaks
- Gravel roads
- Heavy traffic
1. FMCSA 2015, CMV Driving Tips – Too Fast for Conditions
4. 18-Wheeler Trucks Speeding
Traveling above the posted speed limit is a major factor in any type of traffic crash, not just 18-wheeler accidents. Speeding, whether actually clocked or surmised from eyewitness accounts, skid marks and property damage, is a factor in 20 percent of all truck crashes in which there was a fatality.
5. Reckless, Vindictive Truck Driving
Iconic movie producer Steven Spielberg’s first feature-length film was a movie titled Duel, about a deranged truck driver trying to force a hapless motorist off a dangerous mountain road. It capitalized on a common fear among people that big rig drivers are out to “get them.”
Fortunately, that is hardly the case. But there have been a number of incidents where a truck driver was possibly triggered by a driver and reacted inappropriately. According to the FMCSA, aggressive driving / road rage was a factor in less than one percent of fatal truck accidents (1).
Proving that the trucker drove aggressively, or was under the influence of road rage, is a tricky task in the courtroom, one that often needs corroboration from third-party witnesses.
1. FMCSA 2015, Large Truck and Bus Crashes 2013, Table 28
6. Other Types of 18-Wheeler Truck Driver Error
Causes for accidents are numerous, but the most prevalent ones not already mentioned are:
- Lane departure
- Failure to yield
- Obscured vision
- Failure to allow for road conditions
- Following too closely
- Improper passing
18-Wheeler Trucks’ “Little Black Box”
Commonly referred to as “the little black box,” its official name is digital event recorder or electronic logging device (ELD) and it can be found in commercial aircraft, trains, cruise ships and passenger cars as that “Don’t mess with my discounts” device. It records data sent to it from various sensors, and each ELD is customized for the type of vehicle it’s installed in.
The ELD can be a critical tool in analyzing the cause of a truck crash, and its data often becomes evidence in court cases. It records such information as:
- Driving speed
- GPS data
- Position of the steering wheel
- When brakes were applied and the suddenness with which they were applied
If you’re injured in an accident with an 18-wheeler, don’t expect the trucking company or their insurance representative to voluntarily share the data from the truck’s black box, nor should you expect them to even preserve it. This is one of the reasons why hiring an attorney immediately after an accident is advisable. He or she can obtain a court order to preserve the black box data and arrange for a joint viewing with the other party’s attorney.
Truck Dash Cams – Trucker’s Friend or Foe?
A quick glance at YouTube or any video-sharing website will demonstrate the prominence of dash cams on roads worldwide. In Russia, dash cams are almost a necessity, due to the prevalence of insurance fraud there.
Many trucking companies and independent drivers employ dash cams to protect themselves against false claims, and some firms use dash cams that face the driver to show his / her reaction to traffic situations. Dash cams can record action ahead of the truck, behind it or even to the side. Sometimes they show that the truck driver was at fault. Sometimes they show that the car driver was at fault. Sometimes it’s hard to tell.
Trucking companies love the dash cam – when it works in their favor, of course. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) claims that over 80 percent of the crashes between passenger vehicles and large trucks are the fault of car drivers (1). This data was extrapolated by the ATA from studies conducted by The University of Michigan, FMCSA, the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA) and others. (A direct link to the ATA report appears to be no longer available online.)
Another benefit that dash cams provide the trucking firms is as an incentive for drivers to drive as safely as they can, because they know their actions are recorded. This is along the lines of the “How’s my driving? Call 800-xxx-xxxx” signs on the trailer doors or rear bumpers. They become training tools as well, showing examples of good and questionable driving.
As with black box data, the benefits of hiring an attorney early in the process increases the chances that the dash cam footage can be made available for review.
1. Staff, Overdrive, 2013, Report: Car Drivers at Fault in nearly 80 Percent of Car-Truck Crashes
Texting 18-Wheeler Truck Drivers
Truck drivers text while driving, talk on the phone while driving and surf the internet while driving. How often they do that is anyone’s guess, but any at all is too much. An ABC News hidden camera investigation in 2014 showed drivers texting, looking at photos and punching in phone numbers on their cell phones. In one instance, a driver was recorded having two simultaneous conversations on two separate phones(1).
Big rig accidents that occur because the truck driver was texting can be the worst of the worst, in terms of death, injuries and property damage. Drivers have been convicted of murder because of their behavior behind the wheel. Penalties for commercial drivers who text while operating a moving vehicle are getting stricter, but there are variances by state.
1. ABC News, 2014, Truck Drivers Texting While Driving Caught on Tape
Truck Maintenance – A Contributing Factor to Truck Accidents
A sobering reminder that things don’t always work right on big rigs is the “runaway truck ramp” sign on highways with steep grades. This is a common sight in mountain country, where brake failure on steep hills is a frequent reality.
An 80,000-pound runaway truck is a frightening thought and a dangerous thing, but brake failure is an unfortunate condition that truck drivers and their employers must contend with. Brake failure can be due to overheating, loss of hydraulics or several other mechanical afflictions. Brake failure due to poor maintenance should never happen, however. If a truck’s brakes or trailer brakes are not maintained, the consequences – usually to other drivers on the road – can be catastrophic.
Each state has required maintenance schedules for brakes and other safety equipment on commercial vehicles. They differ slightly from state to state, but the basics are very similar. The vast majority of trucking companies adhere closely to these regulations, but there are slip-ups or negligence that put everyone on the road at risk.
The following components are based on Ohio law (1), but all states have similar regulations.
1. State Highway Patrol, Ohio, 2019 Truck Drivers Guide Book
1. Brakes on Semi Trucks
A truck must be equipped with a signal that warns drivers of brake failure. For vehicles built since 1973, the signal must be visual – generally a dashboard warning light. Air brakes, whether on the truck or the trailer, must have a working pressure gauge that is easily detected by the driver.
Based on federal recommendations, the braking system must have automatic adjustment to compensate for wear of brake linings, drums or discs. Manual inspection of the braking system is required and paperwork regarding repairs, replacements or new installations of brakes must be made available.
2. Safety Devices on Semi Trucks
Safety devices includes coupling devices that ensure that trailers don’t separate from the vehicle that’s towing them and stabilizers to reduce lateral movement of the trailers.
3. Big Rig Load Securement
Shifting cargo has caused a number of 18-wheeler accidents and adds a complex layer to the insurance settlement when that happens. In most states, if the cause of an accident can be clearly determined as a shifting load, the company responsible for loading the trailer is liable.
But litigating a case contending that the accident was caused by a shifting load is often a daunting task. But there are standards to point to, standards set forth by the FMCSA regarding weight distribution, weight support, space management, tie downs, center of gravity, dunnage (material that fills spaces between articles of cargo) and weight limits (1).
The load has to remain stable during all movements of the trailer, whether planned or unplanned. This includes panic stops, sudden lane departures, sharp turns, sloping pavement, uneven pavement, high winds and anything else that acts upon a trailer on the road.
Different types of cargo need different types of securement. A load of logs will need different types of tie downs than a load of potato chips. The FMCSA document that lays out all these regulations is extensive, and any discrepancy can be a major point in determining liability in an 18-wheeler crash.
1. FMCSA, 2014, Cargo Securement Rules.
When You’re Offered a Settlement After a Car Accident
Insurance Agency Offer – Take a Step Back
The role of an insurance adjuster is to make a deal on behalf of his employer. The fairness of the deal is of no concern to him. The extent to which the driver of the truck was at fault is of no concern to him. Your medical bills are of no concern to him. Your financial loss is of no concern to him.
His job is to settle the case with as little cost to the insurance company as possible. If that means making you out to be the bad guy, so be it. If that means tricking you into thinking your case is weak, so be it. If that means extending a take-it-or-leave-it offer, so be it.
Common Tactics Used by Insurance Adjusters:
1. “I Need a Statement from You.”
After gathering rudimentary evidence about the accident from police reports and perhaps a visit to the accident scene, the insurance adjuster will typically call all the involved parties and ask for a “statement.” He or she may even tell you that everyone else has given their statements and that he wants to get “your side” of what happened.
That should be a red flag right there. They want “your side” of the story, which means there must be a “their side” of the story – an insinuation that your recollection of what happened is being contested. You do not have to give “your side” of the story at that point. An insurance adjuster has no authority to force you to give a statement.
If you do, your words could be used against you later. Any time you admit things like, “Well, it happened so fast, I don’t exactly remember,” he can draw that out as a sign that your testimony is unreliable. He can also ask trick questions, questions that seek a conjecture from you and questions that out-and-out spin you in a circle.
2. “We Don’t Have to Pay You a Dime”
This is unfortunately true in some states. In those states, insurance companies are not explicitly compelled by law to pay a claimant anything, unless he can prove (1) that the truck driver was at fault in the accident, (2) that he was injured as a result of the crash, (3) that he incurred medical bills and that he suffered additional financial loss due to a loss of employment.
Even in states that have more legally binding provisions, the insurance company can refuse to pay more than the standard allowance as prescribed by the state.
The insurance adjuster will attempt to convince the victim that his case is not solid, that previous, similar cases did not go the way the plaintiff desired or point out the long wait for a court case to be resolved.
“Sign where we have it highlighted and save yourself a long wait and the possibility that you’ll lose your case,” is often the mantra of the insurance adjuster representing the trucking company.
3. “Yep. Our Client’s Fault. We’ll Fix Your Car.”
What about a broken arm? Shoulder separation? Broken ribs? Lost wages? Settling property damage claims and settling medical bill claims are apples and oranges. Admitting liability regarding property damage doesn’t obligate the insurance company to compensate for medical bills or lost income. That is a separate negotiation, usually one fraught with contention.
4. “These Things Take Time”
This is the reverse of the quick, “sign here” offer that seems to come even before the victim gets home from the hospital. It’s more the equivalent of “the dog ate my homework” stalling tactic. Phone calls and emails go unanswered, and when they are, the delay is supposedly due to some report, some documentation, some element that they’re waiting for.
Stalling accomplishes a couple of things: (1) It preys on the victim’s impatience, making him more likely to accept a lowball offer, and (2) it pushes the case closer toward the statute of limitations, which is set at two years in most states.
A common secondary tactic is to tell the victims that “we’re almost there,” or “just one little detail is all we’re lacking.” And then when the offer is finally ready, it’s not even close to what you felt was appropriate.
You can’t wait until the last couple of weeks of the two-year (or whatever your state’s policy is) period and expect to beat the filing deadline. Your lawyer would have a ton of work to do in a very short amount of time, and would possibly not even take the case under those circumstances.
5. “That’s Not What You Said a Minute Ago”
The advice of not answering the insurance adjuster’s questions is especially valid when he tries to cross you up by asking trick questions or by asking the same question in different ways.
For instance, when someone falls or bumps into something, the common response from bystanders is “Are you OK?”
But what we really mean is, “Are you hurt?” And, of course, the person who hit his head on a door frame will almost always answer, “Yeah. I’m fine,” even if he’s not.
This is a simplified example of what an insurance adjuster might ask a victim. “How are you today?” he or she inquires, overflowing with manufactured empathy for someone whose body has been mangled by an 18-wheeler.
Chances are, the victim, trying to be nice, will reply, “Oh, I’m fine.”
Providing too much information at any point in the negotiations can damage your case. In the scenario described above, the insurance adjuster, when you begin listing your injuries and the bills incurred, can come back with, “Whoa. Wait, wait, wait. You said a few minutes ago you were fine.”
Asking the same questions different ways in hopes of eliciting different answers is another common tactic. Any answer you give that varies from previous answers on the same topic is an opening to be exploited.
“The speed limit on that section of road is 65 miles per hour. How fast would you say you were driving?”
“67 or 68 I guess.”
“So you were speeding. Correct?”
“Yeah. Technically, I guess I was.”
Often, the phone calls – or even in-person visits – from the insurance company representative end up sounding a lot like a courtroom interrogation on a TV show. That’s by design. No average citizen relishes the thought of engaging in a contentious dialogue with a trained debater.
6. “You Have Until the 31st to Sign, or the Offer is Rescinded”
The only deadline you need worry about is your state’s deadline to file, or statute of limitations. The insurance adjuster may try to pressure you to sign by a certain date or lose the money in the settlement offer, but his deadline is not your deadline.
He or she might even imply that if you reject their settlement offer, you’ll get nothing at all.
7. “Just Send Your Medical Bills to Us as Soon as You Receive Them”
That sounds reasonable and sounds like the insurance company really intends to take care of you, but don’t do it. The opposing insurance company has no rights to your medical bills and providing them with this information will hurt your case.
Medical bills sometimes show up in people’s mailboxes a year or more after the services have been rendered. If you’ve been sending the bills all along to the insurance company, they will likely question the late arriving one, or any bills that arrive past the insurance company’s self-designed “deadline.”
In Texas and in many other states, individual medical bills aren’t even admissible as evidence in court. What the court requires instead is a clear and convincing demonstration that the plaintiff did indeed incur medical expenses as a result of an 18-wheeler accident.
18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer in Houston
Taking on a trucking company and their insurance provider is not a do-it-yourself project. Before the first medical bill arrives or the first payday goes by without a paycheck, call the Texas personal injury lawyer who has litigated cases from all over the United States, not just Texas – Patrick Daniel Law.
We are not out to force huge settlements from insurance companies who are doing their best to accommodate your needs. We simply stand on your behalf to make certain that what should happen with your case is what does happen. Often, cases never even go to court. The mere presence of an accident attorney on the side of the victim facilitates cooperation and a fair settlement offer.
If not, we are prepared to go to court, and when we do, we win. Patrick Daniel Law has secured millions in claim settlements for its clients against trucking firms and their insurance representatives. Our fees are based on the settlement, so you incur no out-of-pocket expense, regardless of the outcome.
Patrick Daniel Law – 18-Wheeler Accident Attorneys in Houston
If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident, Patrick Daniel Law wants to be on your side. Our truck accident lawyers are experienced, knowledgeable, passionate, and above all, we value integrity. We want to help you. We want to fight for you. Call 713-999-6666 or click here to contact us online to set up an appointment for a free consultation.
We’ll review your situation and advise what your next step should be. You are under no obligation to hire us at that time, although we feel that hiring an attorney early on is your best protection. Otherwise, we’ll advise you of red flags to watch for, and you can rest assured that legal representation by the best lawyer in Houston is only a phone call (or click) away.
Visit a Houston 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer at Our Law Firm
Our 18 wheeler accident lawyers in Harris County are ready to defend your truck accident case. If you are interested in visiting our Houston Law Firm, we are conveniently located for Harris County residents. Please set up an appointment before arriving to the office. Or you may called directly to 713-999-6666 to speak to one of our Houston truck accident attorneys.