How Accident Cases with Flatbed Trucks Work
Flatbed trailers serve a very useful purpose, namely the transport of several kinds of bulky, over-sized parts and products that won't fit into a closed tractor-trailer. However, they also create unique risks that other commercial vehicles don't. Sometimes this oversized cargo can cause very serious accidents. For example, an over-sized pipe can strike a bridge that did not have sufficient clearance, causing a chain-reaction accident involving several of the cars following a flatbed trailer. Cargo can come loose from a flatbed and scatter across a roadway, leading to an accident that involves several other motorists sharing the road.
While there are many similarities between a flatbed trailer accident and other kinds of trucking accidents that happen in Texas each year, there are many key differences as well. You will need the help of a flatbed truck accident lawyer who is familiar with Texas law to have the best possible chance of securing the restitution that you deserve.
Questions Answered In This Article:
- What kind of compensation can I get after a flatbed truck accident?
- Are accidents with flatbed trucks handled differently than accidents with tractor-trailers?
- Who is liable after an accident?
- How can an attorney help me after an accident?
How Flatbed Trailer Accidents are Similar to Other Trucking Accidents from a Legal Perspective
Just like any other truck accident case, there is no inherent acceptance of liability in a case stemming from an accident involving a flatbed trailer. In the eyes of the law, the defendant in this sort of case will not owe the plaintiff a dime of compensation by default. In Texas, a person injured in a flatbed trailer accident, or the surviving family members of someone killed, can certainly seek compensation. But the burden is on them to prove that the trucking company was responsible for their losses, or convince the company that they could, before they receive fair compensation. In most truck accident cases, you will have to fight very hard to obtain the restitution that you deserve. In order to have any chance of success, you will need the help of an experienced Texas flatbed truck accident lawyer.
How Flatbed Trailer Accidents Differ Legally from Other Trucking Accidents
Flatbed trailer accidents can produce unique consequences, which result in different legal ramifications from those you would encounter in a semi-truck accident involving other types of vehicles. For one thing, flatbed trailers are more likely to disperse their cargo in an accident, and the cargo itself can spill onto a roadway, causing an accident. This scenario can result in multiple vehicles being swept up in a single accident. This is where the complexity lies: when there are multiple vehicles involved in a single crash - as is the case in many accidents involving a flatbed trailer - then you as a victim may wind up having to compete with both the trucking company and other plaintiffs. This scenario also makes it easier for the trucking company to deflect blame from their driver onto others involved.
Many devastating flatbed trailer accidents take place at night, and one of the worst types takes place when a trailer makes an illegal left turn in front of a motorcyclist. The kind of motorcycle accident that results from that dangerous left turn can be catastrophic. It may seem that it would take a "perfect storm" of sorts for this kind of accident to happen, but it actually happens more often than you might expect. We represented the family of a motorcyclist who was on his way to work, when a trailer made a sharp left turn in front of him. Because of the elevated height at which the man was sitting, he saw nothing but roadway as he looked across the trailer. When the truck struck him, the impact killed the motorcyclist immediately.
Additionally, flatbed trailers regularly haul bulky and/or over-sized cargo that cannot be transported by a conventional 18-wheeler. Manufactured homes, massive pipes, and blades used in huge wind turbines are just a few of the different kinds of over-sized cargo that tend to be hauled by flatbeds. As we stated earlier, there are many instances where an accident involving a flatbed trailer can be caused by the cargo itself. A bulldozer can come loose from a flatbed and crush a car, for example, because of something as easily overlooked as a broken strap.
When this kind of scenario takes place, the question becomes Which party was responsible for the accident? In many flatbed trailer accidents, there may be several parties that could be held responsible, or there may be only one party at fault. It's essential that you have the help of an attorney who can determine the exact party or parties to pursue and provide you with the best chance of obtaining the compensation you deserve.
There are many different kinds of crash scenarios involving a flatbed truck, and again, there are different legal strategies associated with them. If a spilled-cargo accident results in several motorists being hurt, you need to hire an experienced attorney to help you obtain compensation, and it is best to retain their services as soon as possible, before the scene is cleaned up and valuable evidence is lost.
Compensation for Flatbed Truck Accidents
A trucking company's insurance policy will only pay out a finite amount of money. If nine other people were hurt in the same accident in which you sustained your injury you will then, in essence, be competing against them for compensation. If, for example, the trucking company is insured for $1 million and has assets of $1 million, but the people involved in the accident incurred a total of $3 million in damages, you're going to have to get to the front of the line as fast as possible. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting nothing for the suffering you have experienced because, quite simply, there's no money left. You will have to enlist the assistance of an experienced flatbed truck accident attorney, who can perform a prompt and thorough accident investigation to determine the cause of the accident, identify any and all valid defendants in your case, and obtain the proof you will need in order to have the best possible chance of winning.
Your lawyer, however, also needs to have a strong reputation for winning these kinds of cases, thus improving the chances that you will not have to go to court. There are some trucking companies (primarily smaller ones) that purchase "eroding" insurance policies. In some cases, the defendants pay for their defense out of these policies, thus further diluting the amount of compensation available to those who have suffered an injury in an accident. If your attorney has a track record of success in this kind of case, however, then the trucking company will be more apt to settle than to risk losing even more money in a trial.
It should not be surprising to anyone, least of all an accident victim, that the financial repercussions of a flatbed truck collision can be enormous. From financial losses like lost wages and medical bills to the costs of medical treatment for physical, mental, and emotional injuries, the entire sum of harms dealt to you deserves appropriate compensation. Compensation, also known as "damages," is financial relief that victims can obtain from parties found responsible for the negligent acts which led to their injuries. These recoverable losses include:
- Medical bills: Truck accidents can instantly kill motorists, but they don't always. Often, individuals wind up spending significant amounts of time in the hospital before either succumbing to their injuries or recovering enough to be discharged. The cost of treatment and recovery in these situations can be massive.
- Loss of income: This is often the most substantial compensation available after a crash. The law understands that you were depending on the income you or your loved one may no longer be able to produce. For example, if your wife was an accountant and died at age 35 from a truck accident, we would work to demonstrate what she would most likely have made over the remainder of her working life, and ask for that as damages. One could also be permanently disabled as a result of the accident, in which case a similar process would be involved to prove the expected costs of both ongoing care and loss of potential income due to inability to work.
- Pain and suffering: In our decades of representing injured victims or the families of those who have lost loved ones in trucking accidents, we have seen the emotional damage and devastation left behind. We can fight to secure you money not only to pay for professional treatment, but also to compensate you for your emotional injuries themselves.
- Funeral expenses: Funerals cost thousands of dollars and, particularly when death occurs suddenly and unexpectedly, are something many people have not prepared for ahead of time.
- Loss of Companionship: Losing a loved one is obviously difficult, and the law allows individuals to be compensated for their loss of love and support from a loved one killed in an accident.
How can an attorney help?
As you can see, and as we have stressed throughout this article, accidents involving a flatbed trailer have several unique aspects that must be met with unique legal strategies. In order to have the best possible chance of securing the restitution you deserve, it is imperative that you have the help of an experienced attorney in Texas. At Grossman Law Offices, we have helped scores of clients affected by this type of accident obtain compensation.
Over the past 25 years, the semi-truck accident attorneys with Grossman Law Offices have won cases against many major trucking companies and their insurance providers. They know us, and they know our reputation for success. As a result, in many instances they have elected to make fair settlement offers to our clients preemptively, rather than risking greater losses from a successful jury verdict against them. If you would like a free and confidential consultation regarding your case, please call us as soon as you can at (855) 356-0000 (toll free) . We will give you an honest evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of your case and let you know how we may be able to help.
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