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Navigating the aftermath of a commercial vehicle accident in Texas can be daunting. Given the significant size and weight of commercial vehicles, accidents involving them are potentially more hazardous and more complex legally and logistically. Understanding the nuances of a commercial vehicle accident in Texas is crucial. 

At The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., our legal team focuses on guiding clients through the claims process for an accident with a commercial vehicle. We can help you to avoid common missteps and vigorously protect your rights. Whether you’re a commercial driver or a private individual impacted by a commercial vehicle accident, knowing the mistakes to avoid post-accident is essential. 

Not Reporting the Accident Immediately

Promptly reporting a commercial vehicle accident to the appropriate authorities is crucial. Texas law mandates the immediate reporting of any accident involving significant damage, injuries, or fatalities. Failing to do so can result in legal penalties and complicate insurance claims and potential lawsuits.

When you call 911 from the scene, it means law enforcement responds. This assistance can be invaluable in establishing the facts surrounding the accident. The official police report can be critical evidence when determining liability. It provides a neutral account of the aftermath, noting details that may later support your claim that you were not at fault.

Moreover, insurers require a prompt accident report as part of the claims process. Delaying this report might give insurance companies grounds to doubt the seriousness of the incident or the veracity of your claim, potentially leading them to deny your claim or reduce any offer of settlement.

To safeguard your rights and strengthen your case, always report a commercial vehicle accident to law enforcement and your insurance provider as soon as it happens. This step is fundamental in setting the stage for any necessary legal actions and ensuring that your recovery and claims proceed without unnecessary hindrance.

Failing to Document the Accident Scene

Documenting the accident scene comprehensively is vital for anyone involved in a commercial vehicle accident. However, you might be unable to do so if you are seriously injured. Your health and safety should always be the top priority—don’t risk further injuring yourself. 

Immediate and thorough documentation can significantly influence the outcome of insurance claims and legal proceedings. Photographs of the vehicle damages, road conditions, traffic signs, and visible injuries are essential. These images are undeniable evidence that corroborates your account of the accident. 

In addition to photos, gathering witness statements at the scene can provide multiple perspectives on the incident, which may help establish the sequence of events leading up to the accident. Collect names, contact information, and written accounts from those who saw the accident. 

Neglecting Medical Attention

One of the most common mistakes following a commercial vehicle accident is neglecting medical attention. The adrenaline rush in such traumatic situations can mask pain, leading some to believe they are uninjured. However, some injuries, like whiplash or internal bleeding, might not present symptoms immediately but can have severe long-term effects.

Medical records play a pivotal role in legal claims, providing a documented link between the accident and your injuries. These records are considered proof of the injuries sustained and are crucial when seeking compensation. They detail the extent of the injuries, the treatment prescribed, and any potential for long-term impact, which can significantly influence the compensation awarded.

Furthermore, any gaps in treatment or delays in seeking medical attention can be used by insurance companies to argue that the injuries were not severe or were unrelated to the accident. Ensuring immediate and consistent medical treatment not only aids in your physical recovery but also solidifies your legal claim, demonstrating the seriousness and direct cause of your injuries stemming from the accident.

Speaking to Insurance Companies Without Legal Advice

Communicating directly with insurance companies after a commercial vehicle accident can be risky. Insurance adjusters, skilled in negotiation, often aim to settle claims quickly and economically. Without proper legal representation, you may inadvertently say something that could be used to minimize your claim or suggest partial fault, even if the accident was not your fault.

Having a truck accident lawyer handle communications with the insurance companies protects your rights. Lawyers experienced in truck accident cases know the strategies insurers use to devalue claims. They can provide guidance on what information should be disclosed and how to articulate the facts of the case effectively. Attorneys can also handle all negotiations, striving to secure the best possible settlement terms on your behalf.

Accepting a Quick Settlement

After a commercial vehicle accident, you might be tempted to accept a quick settlement offer from an insurance company. It’s important to understand that these initial offers are typically calculated to close the case as cost-effectively as possible for the insurer, not to compensate you for your losses entirely. Early settlements often overlook or undervalue long-term costs such as ongoing medical care, rehabilitation, lost earning potential, and other damages that might not be immediately apparent.

Accepting an offer without a thorough legal evaluation can result in significantly less compensation than what might be necessary to cover all accident-related expenses. An experienced truck accident lawyer will review any offers made by the insurance company and assess whether they adequately cover the full scope of your damages. 

Overlooking Texas’s Comparative Negligence Law

In Texas, the concept of modified comparative negligence plays a critical role in determining compensation after a commercial vehicle accident. This rule stipulates that if you are found to be 51% or more at fault for the accident, you are barred from recovering any compensation from the other parties involved. Conversely, if your fault is assessed at 50% or less, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

Understanding and managing this aspect of Texas law is crucial when making a claim. Practical strategies to manage fault and reduce liability include gathering comprehensive evidence supporting your account of the accident, such as video footage, witness statements, and expert testimony. Your legal team can also help construct a narrative that accurately presents the facts and minimizes your liability based on the evidence.

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Not Hiring an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer

Choosing the proper legal representation can significantly impact the outcome of a commercial vehicle accident case. An experienced Texas truck accident lawyer possesses specific knowledge and skills essential for dealing with the intricacies of such cases. These attorneys are familiar with the regulations governing commercial vehicles, common causes of accidents, and the tactics used by commercial insurance companies to minimize payouts.

When looking for a truck accident lawyer, consider their experience in handling similar cases, their track record of success, and their approach to client relationships. The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C. offers skilled legal representation for victims of commercial vehicle accidents.

Our attorneys are adept at navigating the complexities of these cases, ensuring that each client’s rights are protected and that they receive the maximum compensation possible. By partnering with us, you gain access to a dedicated team committed to advocating on your behalf and leveraging their expertise to achieve a favorable resolution.

Contact Us to Schedule a Consultation

If you were injured in a commercial vehicle accident in Texas, please contact The Zimmerman Law Firm. Let us put our nearly 90 years of combined legal experience to work for you. Schedule a consultation to learn more about how we can help.

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Michael Zimmerman

Michael was born in Houston, Texas. His education at Baylor and Texas State Universities earned him a Bachelor of Science degree in 1987. His major was in Biology with a Minor in Chemistry. He finished his legal education at Texas Southern University in 1990, earning a Juris Doctorate from Thurgood Marshall School of Law. He was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1990.

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