We offer free case evaluations, and you owe nothing unless we win. Call before time on your case runs out.
Call Now: 512-535-1649
Because of the size and weight difference between a tractor trailer and a passenger car, the occupants of smaller vehicles often suffer devastating injuries or die in truck crashes. This leaves family members struggling to make ends meet financially while also trying to recover emotionally. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), more than two dozen Austin families experienced this in 2015 alone. The data shows:
- Travis County: 630 truck wrecks, leading to 15 deaths
- Williamson County: 278 truck crashes including seven fatalities
- Hays County: 221 truck accidents with three fatalities
- Statewide: more than 600 people died in truck accidents, and more than 1,500 others suffered serious injuries
At Lovins Trosclair, PLLC, our team understands that the emotional and financial stress of losing a family member can be overwhelming. We also know the last thing you want to think about is dealing with an insurance claim or fighting a trucking company to protect your right to fair compensation under the law. This is why our truck accident wrongful death lawyer in Austin manages all aspects of your case, from filing the claim to collecting evidence to negotiating your settlement and, if necessary, taking your case to trial.
Call us at 512-535-1649 to make a free appointment to discuss your case.
Who is liable if a negligent truck driver caused my loved one’s death?
In truck accident cases, liability is not always as clear cut as it is when two passenger vehicles collide. Even when the truck driver acted in a careless manner, he is rarely the only — or the most important — liable party.
Thanks to vicarious liability, the driver’s employer is also usually liable for your loved one’s death. This legal concept holds trucking companies responsible for the actions of their drivers while they are behind the wheel. For example, if a truck driver fell asleep while driving and ran into your family member’s vehicle stopped in traffic, both the truck driver and the trucking company who employs him/her are liable for any related damages.
By holding both the individual and the corporation responsible for the accident-related losses, victims and their families can often recover much more compensation than would be possible otherwise.
Note: In some accidents, we can help our clients identify other liable parties. If a brake failure caused the accident, the truck manufacturer or a company who provided maintenance might be liable. When a defective tire causes a crash, the tire manufacturer may also be liable. Companies who load the cargo may also be liable in some crashes. We will investigate all possible contributions to your loved one’s crash, and ensure we hold everyone who played a role in his/her death responsible.
Who can file a Texas wrongful death claim?
The Texas Wrongful Death Act specifies who can file a claim, and other rules for this type of civil action. You generally have two years after the date of the trucking accident to file this type of claim, and only certain close family members qualify. This includes:
- The victim’s spouse
- The victim’s children
- The victim’s parents
Before you file your claim, you must have a couple things. You need a liable party and the evidence to prove that party’s involvement. The last thing you need to be worrying about while attempting to put your life back together is how to prove the trucking company, manufacturer, or maintenance company is liable. Our team works with accident experts to investigate the accident and recover all the evidence we need to determine and prove liability.
What evidence is necessary to prove liability?
Some of the evidence to prove liability in a truck accident claim is the same as in any other car accident. The police report and eyewitness statements will go a long way. However, this is frequently not enough to counter the defense mounted by the corporate attorneys fighting for the trucking company.
But what can you do when the rest of the evidence is in the possession of the trucking company you are battling? One of the first things we do after accepting an Austin wrongful death truck accident case is to send a spoliation letter to the trucking company. This letter serves as a notification of your forthcoming claim, as well as a warning to preserve all potential evidence in the case. Evidence we might need to gather includes:
- Driver log books
- Onboard recorder logs
- Blood alcohol and drug test results after the crash
- Previous blood alcohol and drug test results
- Personnel records
- Medical records
- Maintenance records
- Other key information about the driver, the truck, and its cargo
- The truck itself
What can I recover?
The compensation available in a truck accident wrongful death claim covers the financial and emotional losses you suffered due to the loss of your loved one. This may include actual economic expenses as well as compensation for your mental anguish. Common types of damages we recover for our clients in a wrongful death claim include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost financial support
- Loss of services, especially parental services to children
- Loss of companionship, especially that of a spouse
- Loss of support, such as help with childcare or household repairs
- Loss of advice and counsel
- Loss of inheritance
- Cost of any therapy attended by you or other immediate family members
- Exemplary, or punitive, damages, when applicable
We work with experts to determine what your loved one’s accident cost you; we will negotiate with the trucking company’s insurer until your settlement offer covers everything it should.
Note: In some cases, you might also be able to assert a survival action. A survival action pays out to the estate of the victim, covering the losses suffered by your loved one between the time of the accident and their death. This can include medical treatment and conscious pain and suffering. We can evaluate your case, and help you decide if a survival action is worth pursuing.
How can Lovins Trosclair, PLLC help?
If a truck driver or other negligent party caused an accident that took the life of your loved one, you need a truck accident wrongful death lawyer who is looking out for your best interests. Lovins Trosclair, PLLC can help you get the compensation you deserve by representing you to the trucking company and their insurer, collecting all necessary evidence, and negotiating a just settlement.
Call our Austin office today at 512-535-1649 to speak to one of our truck accident wrongful death attorneys.