What to do After Getting Hit by a Commercial Vehicle

If you were hit by a commercial vehicle, it is essential to know what to do. We will share with you what to do if you get into an accident.
Dooley Noted, Business Lawyer, Estate planning, Restaurant Lawyer, Insurance Dispute attorney, Alternative Dispute Resolutions

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Staff Writer, @DooleyNotedLaw

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Car accidents occur often. Often, car accidents involve commercial vehicles. Further, commercial vehicles are not just 18-wheelers. There can be many different types of business vehicles. Additionally, these accidents can be severe, and it’s important to know what steps to take to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. Keep reading for a list of things you need to do if you get hit by a commercial vehicle.

What is Considered a Commercial Vehicle?

A commercial vehicle is any motor vehicle used to transport goods or people for business purposes. A commercial vehicle can include vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds and transport either 8-15 people or hazardous materials. If you’re not sure if the vehicle that hit you was a commercial vehicle, contact a personal injury lawyer in Texas. They can identify if the vehicle is for commercial use.

Commercial vehicles include:

  • Trucks with trailers 
  • Delivery trucks
  • Uber and Lyft vehicles
  • 18-wheelers

Steps to Take After Getting Hit by a Commercial Vehicle

If you find yourself a car accident with a commercial vehicle, make sure you are safe and get the compensation you deserve. Below we have listed these steps for you.

Call the police and ask for help immediately.

Always call the police. Many 18-wheeler accidents result in severe injuries. Additionally, the police will be able to help you with medical attention and also control traffic.

Check yourself and others for injuries and call an ambulance.

Get checked out by medical professionals even if you can’t see any injuries. Sometimes, internal bleeding can occur, and a doctor needs to treat it immediately. If possible, help any others who may be injured. However, if not, wait for the ambulance to arrive.

If it’s safe, take detailed photos of the accident.

Take pictures of the accident from different angles. These photos will help when you are trying to figure out what happened. Get pictures of the cars involved and any debris from the crash. Additionally, take photos of any traffic signs or signals in the area.

Gather witness statements and information.

If you notice witnesses on the scene, get their names and contact information. Further, gather a statement from them about what they saw. Ultimately, the more information you have, the better.

Exchange information with the driver.

Make sure to get the name, address, driver’s license number, phone number, and insurance information of the driver. It is crucial to get the driver’s personal and company insurance information. Commercial vehicle accidents generally result in a claim against both the driver and their employer.

Texas is an “at-fault” state. This means that the person who caused the accident is responsible for paying the damages. When it comes to commercial vehicle accidents, this is important to know because there are two potential liabilities: The driver and the employer.

Gather and save all documents.

It is essential to keep any official reports, receipts, doctor evaluations, or anything related to your case. These could be helpful if you need to make a claim or sue someone in the future.

Call your insurance agent and report the accident.

Talk to your insurance company as soon as possible. However, be careful about what you say. Stick to the facts and avoid giving too many details. Above all, you should be careful with insurance companies, even your own.

Establishing Liability in Truck Accidents

Many factors come into play after getting hit by a commercial vehicle. If the truck driver was working at the accident, their employer might be held liable. But there are some exceptions to this rule. It’s essential to look at all parties involved in the accident.

The potential “at fault” parties include:

  • The Truck Driver –  If someone is negligent and gets into an accident, they may be at fault. Negligence can include driving while distracted, falling asleep at the wheel, or running a red light.
  • The Trucking Company –  If the truck driver was working at the time of the accident, then their employer may be held liable. For instance, the company may have been violating a federal or state law by requiring the truck driver to drive for longer than permitted.
  • The Cargo Company –  If the cargo was not properly secured or overloaded, which led to the accident, the cargo company may be responsible.
  • The Truck Manufacturer –  If a mechanical issue caused the accident, the truck manufacturer might be liable because the vehicle was defective.

Understanding Modified Comparative Fault

Modified comparative fault means that you have some responsibility for the accident. In Texas, if your fault level is 51% or above, you won’t receive any compensation for the accident. However, if you are less than 50% at fault for an accident, you may still recover damages. Still, your total recovery will be less, depending on your degree of responsibility. For example, if you should receive $100,000 in damages, but the court finds that you were 20% at fault, you would receive $80,000.

Understanding House Bill 19 

House Bill 19 became effective in September 2021. This bill limits lawsuits after commercial vehicle accidents. The driver must prove they were not responsible for the accident before someone can sue the employer. The jury would not even know who the company is unless the driver moves to the next phase to assess damages.

For example, if a commercial truck driver is at fault, the company they work for might not have to pay for any punitive damages.

This bill could make it more difficult to sue a company after an accident. Essentially, the bill requires proof that the driver was at fault and that the company was responsible for the accident.

This bill is supposed to protect companies, but it could have the opposite effect. The reason is that the second phase of trials may award more money and increase liability. If you were hit by a commercial vehicle, speak with a personal injury lawyer to understand your rights and options.

When to Contact an Attorney After Getting Hit by a Commercial Vehicle

If a commercial vehicle hurts you, contact an attorney as soon as possible. These types of claims can quickly become complicated, and it is helpful to have someone you can trust on your side. Additionally, they help ensure that you receive a fair settlement.

That’s why it’s crucial to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Your attorney will investigate the accident and figure out the best way to handle your case.

Why Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in Texas

A personal injury lawyer in Texas will know the law very well. If an accident hurt you and it wasn’t your fault, then a lawyer can help you receive compensation from the other person.

Dooley Noted is a personal injury lawyer in Texas devoted to helping those who had an accident with a commercial vehicle. Additionally, we will work hard to make sure you get what you deserve.

If you have been in a commercial vehicle accident, please contact us today. We can answer any questions you have about your case.

The contents of this post, and the posting and viewing of the information on this post, should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, legal advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues.

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