Legal Representation After a Deadly Truck Accident
Tractor-trailers can be incredibly dangerous vehicles. Commercial trucking companies have a responsibility to vet their drivers, follow local and federal laws, and take measures to promote safe trucking. When truck companies or drivers fail to abide by these laws, tragedies can happen. If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person or company, you may be entitled to seek damages under the law.
The Lenahan Law Firm has compassionate and caring 18-wheeler wrongful death attorneys in Dallas, Texas, who work with surviving family members to help them seek justice. If your loved one was killed in a trucking wreck, you may have rights to compensation under the law. The trucking industry is big business. Commercial trucking grosses billions of dollars every year, which means these companies are more than capable of offering compensation to the families they wronged. Unfortunately, truck companies put their bottom lines above the safety of the general public. We at The Lenahan Law Firm believe that is wrong and want to fight for your compensation. To speak to a member of our team, call our office at (214) 295-1008.
How Do Truck Accidents Lead to Wrongful Deaths?
The average passenger vehicle weights between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds. For comparison, the average semi-truck can weigh 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. Semis dwarf passenger vehicles, both in size and weight, so when the two collide, the truck always wins. Here are the truck collisions that are most likely to be fatal to car passengers:
Underride: Trucks have tall gaps between the road and the trailer. These gaps are large enough for the front of a passenger vehicle to fit beneath, and small enough that the rest of the passenger vehicle would collide with the trailer. This is called an underride, and it is commonly caused by truck drivers who do not check their blind spots before merging or turning. Underride accidents often lead to fatal injuries, even decapitations if the impact is forceful enough.
Jackknife: When the driver of a truck loses control of the trailer, it can swing out to the side, creating a 90-degree angle with the cab, hence the name “jackknife.” When this happens, the trucker has no control over the trailer anymore, which can crush other vehicles on the road.
Rollover: Trucks have a high center of gravity, so if the trucker isn’t careful, he could easily cause the truck to fall on its side or rollover. When this happens, passenger vehicles can be crushed beneath the trailer, killing those inside. Rollovers are often caused by speeding or taking turns too quickly.
Cargo spill: A big rig’s purpose is to carry goods to and from warehouses and stores. However, if this cargo isn’t stored properly, the truck is overloaded, or the trailer malfunctions, then the cargo can come spilling out. Depending on the kind of truck, this could mean victims are burned by chemicals, crushed by logs, or hit by heavy building materials.
The truth of the matter is that trucks are incredibly dangerous and a collision with one can easily lead to the loss of a loved one. While nothing can bring your family member back, the law is on your side. Wrongful death claims are designed to help struggling family members get the compensation they need and deserve from the party responsible for their loved one’s death.
How Does an 18-Wheeler Wrongful Death Lawsuit Work in Dallas?
Wrongful death claims can be brought against at-fault parties who caused the death of a victim with negligence. The idea behind wrongful death is that the death itself could have been avoided if the at-fault party had exercised a proper level of care. Without negligence, the wrongful death would have never happened, and so the at-fault party must offer fair compensation to the victim’s family. This will allow the family to recover from any financial hardships the death left them in, as well as give them a sense of justice.
Wrongful death claims involving 18-wheelers, however, can be more complex, as you will probably file against a large trucking company. These companies care more about profit than they do making a wrong situation right. However, you should remember that the law is on your side. In fact, the trucking industry is required to follow strict rules and regulations. For example, truck drivers are required to abide by federal hours of service laws, as well as regularly undergo medical certifications. On top of that, trucking companies are required to follow by weight limits and keep their vehicles in proper working order. Any violation of these laws and regulations could make a truck company or driver liable after a crash.
In order to file a wrongful death suit, you must be a survivor entitled to make a claim. Not everyone is entitled to the benefits of a wrongful death claim. In Texas, those who can file include:
- Surviving spouses
- Parents, but only if there are no spouses or children
- A representative of the deceased’s estate
If you are not on the above list, you will be unable to file a wrongful death claim. However, extended family can still receive compensation if a claim is filed by the deceased’s representative, and the money passed on to family members through the estate.
If you are among those eligible to file a claim, you can begin the process by speaking with an attorney and determining who is liable. A key aspect of any wrongful death claim is showing that the truck company or driver acted negligently. This means being able to show that either the driver or company violated a local or federal law, or violated the laws of the road. This will require an in-depth investigation, which can be difficult to take on, especially if you are already mourning the passing of a loved one. If your loved one was killed in a truck crash, whether it involved a collision with a trash truck or a runaway trail accident, reach out to The Lenahan Law Firm in Dallas. Our 18-wheeler wrongful death lawyers may be able to help you make a claim.
What Damages May Be Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In many ways, a wrongful death lawsuit is similar to a personal injury lawsuit in that surviving family members are entitled to receive compensation to cover the damages they suffered from the loss of their loved one. However, there are some key differences. For example, in a personal injury claim, the victim can recover lost wages for the time of the injury. However, with a wrongful death claim, family may be entitled to collect lost wages for a person’s lifetime earning capacity. Afterall, losing a loved one who was a family’s primary breadwinner can be particularly devastating. Other damages a family can recover include:
- Medical bills
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of benefits, such as insurance and retirement funds
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of childcare, housekeeping, maintenance, and bookkeeping
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of guidance
- Loss of consortium
Losing a loved one is never easy, and nothing will truly make the pain go away. But filing a wrongful death claim does give you and your family the chance to recover financially. If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent actions of a truck driver or company, the Dallas wrongful death attorneys at The Lenahan Law Firm are here for you. Our firm will take the time to review your case and help you understand the path forward. We offer compassionate guidance to victims and families at the toughest moment in their lives.
Seek Justice for Your Loved One Today
The trucking industry is big business. When an accident occurs, truck drivers and companies may have teams of lawyers representing their interests. You and your family may be burdened by immense grief, loss, and stress after a crash. You need a truck accident lawyer in Dallas on your side. We at The Lenahan Law Firm are skilled wrongful death lawyers who fight for justice on behalf of victims and their families. This may be a very confusing time for your family. You deserve time to grieve and heal. However, you may only have a very limited amount of time to seek damages for your losses. Contact The Lenahan Law Firm today by calling (214) 295-1008. We may be able to help you seek the justice you may deserve.