Passengers Killed in Truck Accidents – San Antonio Personal Injury Lawyers
Has a Loved One Been Killed in an Accident While Riding as a Passenger in a Commercial Truck?
Did You Know?
We have been fighting for 18 wheeler accident victims` rights for over 20 years. Call us to discuss your case.
If someone you love was killed in an accident while riding as a passenger in a commercial 18-wheeler, then you and your immediate family have the right to pursue compensation from the responsible party or parties.
Here’s the challenge with pursuing compensation after a fatal 18-wheeler accident – figuring out who actually caused the accident, and therefore who should be held accountable for the death of your family member. Since your loved one was a passenger in the truck, the issue of liability and accountability come into even greater question than otherwise would be the case in an 18-wheeler accident, for the issue of the trucking company’s liability becomes more questionable. At Our Law Office, we’ve been helping Texans litigate truck accident cases for more than 20 years, so we have the understanding of the laws and procedures involved to be of assistance to you, as well. If you’d like to discuss your case with one of our lawyers, call us now for a free consultation.
When You can Hold the Trucking Company Accountable
For a number of reasons, a trucking company can be held liable for a fatal 18-wheeler accident in which it or its employees have been found to have negligently caused a death. For example, our firm recently represented the family of a woman who was killed in a truck accident when the driver of the truck in which she was riding lost control of the truck. The way we were able to argue that the trucking company was liable on the basis the trucking company was responsible for the actions of the truck driver, and their policy of allowing passengers to accompany their drivers on trips was an unsafe practice because it was entirely foreseeable that a passenger could become injured under such circumstances. Additionally, we were able to produce evidence that the company had created an incentive program to encourage its drivers to stay on the road over the 11-hour maximum they’re permitted to drive in one day by the federal service hours parameters established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The longer and farther their truck drivers went in violation of this law, the more they got paid. In the case of our client, though, the truck driver struggled to stay awake, lost control of the truck, and led to the fatal crash. Due to the trucking company’s incentive program, it had negligently contributed to the chain of events that caused her death. Presumably, had there been no incentive program, the truck driver would have pulled off the road and gone to sleep when required, leaving our client alive today.
While this is an example of how a trucking company can be liable, it’s only one example and is just the tip of the iceberg. To learn whether or not the trucking company that owned the truck in which your loved one was killed could be held liable for his or her death, you need to discuss the specific circumstances of your case with a San Antonio truck accident attorney.
When a Third Party is Liable
Just because an 18-wheeler gets into a fatal accident doesn’t mean that the truck driver or trucking company caused the accident. From manufacturers to other motorists, many different third parties can cause fatal 18-wheeler accidents.
In the case of a passenger in the commercial truck being killed, the trucking company cannot totally avoid its share of liability just because some other entity actually caused the wreck. Your loved one simply wouldn’t have died had he or she not been in the truck. Thus, the trucking company will likely not escape accountability entirely; even if, another party actually caused the accident.
In addressing this issue, fatal truck accident cases can become highly intricate, for how much liability should be directed to the party that caused the accident and how much to the trucking company? Answering this question fairly is exactly why you need an experienced and capable San Antonio 18-wheeler accident lawyer working for you. With other liable parties to blame, the insurance providers will not likely agree readily to compensate you. Thus, legal action will likely be necessary. One of the jury’s tasks in a case such as this is to determine the degree of liability for each of the parties that caused the accident. All the possible defendants – the third parties whose negligence caused the wreck, the trucking company who allowed your loved one to step into harm’s way, and the insurance carriers who represent them – will present arguments attempting to defer liability onto the others as scapegoats. You will need an attorney working for you who can find the necessary evidence to prove the negligence of all the liable parties, so they can all be brought to justice. Then, the experienced attorney can call upon his extensive years of litigating similar cases to accurately divide liability equitably among all those who contributed to the cause of your loved one’s death.
Pursuable Compensation for a Wrongful Death in a Truck Accident
When someone you love has been killed while riding as a passenger in a commercial truck, your family has the right to seek two types of damages: wrongful death damages and survival damages – both of which are designed for different purposes. The death of someone close to you can be both financially and emotionally crippling, so wrongful death damages are intended to help the immediate family (spouse, children, and parents) seek compensation for the monetary and emotional harm they’ve sustained. Typical types of wrongful death damages may include compensation for loss of monetary support, psychological counseling for the surviving family members, loss of parental services for children losing parents, loss of child’s services for a parent losing a child, loss of spousal services, exemplary damages, and loss of companionship and society.
On the contrary, survival damages have an entirely different purpose – to allow the personal representative of the estate to pursue the compensation that the victim of the fatal truck accident would have been able to seek had he or she survived the wreck and only sustained injuries. Funeral expenses, compensation for the mental agony of death, medical bills charged prior to death, compensation for the physical pain of the accident, and exemplary damages are all forms of survival damages. While all of the immediate family of the deceased can receive wrongful death benefits, survival damages are intended only for his or her closest living relative – first the spouse, followed by the child, then the parents, and finally siblings.
Merely demanding the damages you think you deserve will not be sufficient enough to secure those damages. Juries can be easily convinced of the value of some forms of compensation, like funeral or medical expenses, but other damages like the monetary value of the realization of imminent death or lost monetary support are much more challenging to accurately estimate. You will need an attorney who has spent years dealing with damages, so he or she can accurately estimate the amount your family should receive. Each plaintiff gets one opportunity to prove the value of damages, and there is no reset button or do-overs. You need to find a San Antonio 18-wheeler accident attorney who has the experience to get this job done correctly, or you risk allowing the parties who caused your loved one’s death to avoid the full brunt of their accountability.
When it comes to truck accident fatalities, often times the only way to bring negligent parties to justice is with a wrongful death claim or lawsuit that not only defends the memory of your deceased loved one but also acts to protect others from future harm. In most truck accident cases, the negligent party faces no criminal charges. If you allow the party or parties whose negligence killed your loved one to escape monetary punishment, as well, then they will likely continue the negligent behavior and possibly kill a member of someone else’s family. By taking action and making them pay, you can encourage the negligent to think about their actions before harming others.
The San Antonio 18-Wheeler Accident Attorneys at Our Law Office Know how to Help
Remember, the nature of the American legal system allows all sides in a legal dispute to state their case. Thus, not only will the defendant likely attempt to repudiate the assertion that it is liable at all, but the defendant also will likely challenge your attorney’s estimate of damages. In order to protect your rights and find justice for the tragic loss of your family member, you need an advocate with the experience and know-how to meet any challenge head-on. At Our Law Office, we have been litigating wrongful death and personal injury cases involving 18-wheeler accidents in the San Antonio area for more than two decades, so we have the experience and know-how you need in your corner. Call us now for a free consultation and you will have the chance to discuss your case with someone who can answer your questions and detail your likely legal options.