Truck Accidents

Portner Bond, PLLC Helps Victims of Big Truck Accidents

Were you hurt in an accident with an 18-wheeler or another large commercial vehicle in Beaumont? You could be owed significant compensation from the trucking company or other responsible entity. The Beaumont truck accident lawyers of Portner Bond, PLLC are standing by to help you get the full and fair compensation you are owed, along with the justice that you deserve.

Commercial motor vehicles routinely traverse roads and highways all over the nation, and Texas is no exception. Commercial trucks are usually the largest vehicles on the road, and the people who operate these vehicles must be specially licensed. Furthermore, trucks are subject to strict state and federal regulations.

Any motor vehicle accident is likely to become much more severe when it involves a commercial truck. The sheer size of a commercial truck increases the likelihood of catastrophic or possibly even fatal injuries.

Portner Bond, PLLC has decades of experience investigating truck accidents and helping people obtain sizable settlements or verdicts at trial. Our attorneys will review your case when you call (409) 838-4444 or fill out a contact request form for a free initial consultation.

At Portner Bond, PLLC we have over 85 years of combined experience to bring to each and every single one of our clients' cases. We will work tirelessly day and night to make sure that you are awarded the compensation that you rightfully deserve.

Do I Need A Truck Accident Lawyer?

As soon as you are involved in a truck accident, the trucking company and possibly numerous insurance companies will begin working to limit the amount of compensation you receive. Some trucking companies may dispatch agents to the crash scene with forms for you to sign. Do not sign anything until you have had it reviewed by an attorney.

When an insurance company does not approach a victim at the scene of an accident, the next step will usually be to try to speak with them over the phone. You should again avoid saying anything to an insurance company until you have legal representation.

Insurers may make it sound like they are just trying to get your side of the story as part of an investigation, but this is usually a trick. Representatives are trained to ask victims questions that ultimately get them to make damaging admissions about their own negligence unknowingly.

In other cases, an insurance company may propose a lump sum settlement. Virtually all settlement offers fall woefully short of what most victims will need, and a lawyer will be able to work towards a fair and equitable settlement.

Why Choose Portner Bond, PLLC To Handle My Case?

The Beaumont truck accident lawyers of Portner Bond, PLLC have over 85 years of combined legal experience. We have extensive knowledge and resources to represent clients following an accident and recover the maximum compensation they need and deserve. You won’t have to go through this traumatic ordeal alone. We believe in providing quality customer service and will remain by your side until the very end.

Portner Bond, PLLC serves clients in Beaumont and such surrounding communities like Port Arthur, Orange, Crystal Beach, Groves, Baytown, Nederland, Bronson, Vidor, Galveston, Jasper, Sugar Land, Pasadena, Texas City, Humble, Conroe, Friendswood, Houston, The Woodlands, and Port Neches. We also help people in many other areas in Jefferson County, Fort Bend County, Galveston County, Liberty County, Orange County, Hardin County, Tyler County, Jasper County, and Chambers County.

Trent Bond is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, a distinction earned by only about 10% of Texas lawyers. He is the vice president of the Jefferson County Bar Association, a former director of the Jefferson County Bar Association, and was recognized in Texas Monthly in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 as a Texas Super Lawyer by Texas Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters service).

Chris Portner was recognized in Texas Monthly in 2007 and 2008 as a rising star by Texas Super Lawyers. He is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, to which fewer than 1% of attorneys in the United States are members. He also belongs to the Jefferson County Bar Association, State Bar of Texas, Jefferson County Young Lawyers Association, and American Association for Justice.

Portner Bond, PLLC will work towards a settlement that provides for all of your needs, but we can file a lawsuit if no acceptable settlement offer is extended. Our goal is to secure the maximum available compensation to cover your medical bills and other expenses. You should not be forced to pay out-of-pocket for anything when someone else was at fault for the accident.

We handle all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. That means you pay nothing upfront for our legal services. Our legal fees will come from your final award. If we lose your case, you won’t owe us anything for the work we have done.

Steps You Should Take Following an Accident Involving a Commercial Truck

Your actions after a truck accident could significantly affect how your case turns out and whether you can collect compensation. In the weeks and months that follow, you’ll have opportunities to protect your rights and take the proper steps to hold the truck driver or trucking company liable for the injuries you suffered. It’s critical that you hire an experienced Beaumont truck accident attorney from Portner Bond, PLLC as soon as possible. Handling this type of case on your own can be complicated and overwhelming, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the process. We can take on the legal aspects of your case while you focus on your injuries.

After leaving the accident scene, go to a nearby hospital or make an appointment with your doctor. Don’t wait too long before your initial medical evaluation. Insurance companies could use significant gaps in treatment as evidence that you don’t deserve an adequate settlement. They could also deny your claim entirely if there’s a lack of sufficient evidence showing you were hurt in the crash.

Your initial treating doctor might recommend that you get follow-up care, including surgery, physical therapy, rehabilitation, or other forms of treatment. You must follow their instructions and continue with their treatment plan until you recover. If your injuries don’t heal fully, your doctor might place you at maximum medical improvement and advise that you only follow up in the future when necessary.

Maximum medical improvement means you’ve recovered as much as possible, and further medical intervention likely won’t improve your condition. At that time, Portner Bond, PLLC can move forward with requesting copies of your medical records to add to your case file.

Be sure to keep all documents related to the accident and your injuries. That could include doctor’s notes, billing statements, surgical reports, imaging results, and other records. The more evidence we can provide to the insurance company, the better. Forward anything you receive to us, so we can review it and determine if we can use it as evidence in your case. Insurance companies often look for valid reasons to deny someone’s claim or make a low settlement offer, and a lack of medical evidence gives them what they need.

We serve those injured in serious truck accidents

How Portner Bond, PLLC Can Investigate Your Case

Our Beaumont truck accident lawyers will exhaust all resources to investigate your case and find any existing proof that the truck driver or another party was responsible for the suffering you were forced to endure. We can visit the accident scene and collect any evidence we find. If an officer showed up to write a crash report, we can request a copy and review their findings to determine who they believe was at fault.

The amount of evidence we need to obtain will depend on the circumstances of your case. Examples might include:

  • Police reports
  • Trucking company’s maintenance and repair logs for all vehicles
  • Your medical records and medical bills
  • Video surveillance of the crash
  • Accident scene photos
  • Statements from witnesses
  • Damage estimates for the cost of repairs to the truck and your vehicle
  • Truck driver’s employment history, criminal record, prior accidents, licensing, and qualifications

Once we complete the investigation and find the necessary evidence, we can file a claim with the trucking company’s insurance company. Starting with a claim might be the way to go to see if we can get the full and fair settlement amount available. However, depending on the situation, we might be required to file a lawsuit and take the truck driver or trucking company to court.

What we do will depend on the factors associated with your case. We can walk you through our decision-making process and advise you about the best choices to make to reach your goals.

Compensation You May Be Entitled to from the At-Fault Party

The amount of compensation you can seek from the negligent driver or trucking company will depend on multiple contributing factors. Each case we take is unique, and how we handle it will depend on your needs and the available options. Some people are lucky enough to walk away from a truck accident with minimal injuries and property damage, while others end up with a permanent disability and require lifelong treatment.

Fortunately, trucking companies must purchase liability insurance for their truck drivers with high coverages. These liability limits could compensate you for your total losses. The required minimum limits include:

  • $300,000 – Trucks weighing less than 10,001 pounds containing non-hazardous materials
  • $750,000 – Trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds and carrying non-hazardous cargo
  • $1 million to $5 million – Trucks transporting oil and other hazardous freight

When you file a liability claim, you can pursue compensation for your past and future losses, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of household services
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage
  • Physical impairment or disfigurement
  • Mental anguish
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity

Texas follows a fault system, meaning the driver that causes an accident becomes financially responsible for the victim’s injuries and losses. If there’s substantial proof that the truck driver’s or their employer’s actions were negligent and led to the crash, you could hold them liable. Their insurance company should provide a settlement you can use to cover treatment costs, prescription drugs, and other expenses.

However, the insurance company will most likely find a way to avoid settling for the amount we believe is fair. At Portner Bond, PLLC, we know how to maximize the value of a personal injury case, so our clients receive the compensation they’re entitled to from the insurance company. If they refuse to settle, we can file a lawsuit.

Types of Truck Accident Cases We Handle

Portner Bond, PLLC has extensive experience handling many types of truck accident claims. Commercial trucks are large and heavy. They’re much bigger than passenger vehicles and sit high off the ground. They have a higher center of gravity, which makes them susceptible to tipping, or shifting cargo could cause a jackknife accident if the driver loses control. Due to the various working parts and sections of this type of vehicle, many kinds of accidents could occur. Any accident with a big rig could result in injuries to you and your passengers.

Some common types of commercial vehicle crashes include:

  • Intersection Accidents – When approaching an intersection, truck drivers must prepare well in advance. They should slow down, check for traffic signals, and look for oncoming vehicles. If they run a red light or stop sign, they could end up on a collision course with a car, motorcyclist, or pedestrian.
  • Jackknife Accidents – Tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and other commercial trucks contain a front cab and rear trailer. Poor weather conditions, hazardous roadways, and other factors could cause the truck to jackknife, meaning the cab and trailer slide towards each other at an angle. A small car could easily become trapped between the two parts of the truck, potentially harming any occupants inside.
  • Wide-Turning Accidents – Commercial trucks require precision and accuracy when taking a turn. The driver needs to adjust their speed, use their turn signal, and check for cars in their blind spots. If they turn without taking the necessary precautions, they could sideswipe or run into a smaller vehicle traveling next to them.
  • Rear-End Collisions – Rear-end accidents are often the result of tailgating. When a large tractor-trailer crashes into the back of a passenger car, severe injuries and fatalities could occur. This type of collision is especially dangerous if the truck driver was speeding.
  • Head-On Collisions – Colliding head-on with a truck puts the occupants of any smaller vehicle at risk of debilitating injuries and death. Truck drivers can find themselves causing this type of accident if they become distracted and drift into oncoming traffic.
  • Overloaded Vehicles – Trucking companies and their employees should load the cargo areas of their trucks or trailers according to federal regulations. Failure to comply with weight and size limits could make the vehicle unstable and harder for the driver to control.
  • T-Bone Collisions – A T-bone accident happens when one vehicle crashes into the side of another. A truck driver approaching an intersection might not stop to check if anyone’s crossing, resulting in an accident.
  • Override Accidents – A truck driver might not stop in time and can run over the back of a smaller vehicle ahead, resulting in an override accident. Driver errors, such as tailgating or distracted driving, are common reasons why something like this would occur.
  • Underride Accidents – Underride accidents happen when a car traveling behind a truck ends up underneath the trailer. This can occur if the truck driver slams on their brakes suddenly.
  • Blocking Accidents – Sometimes, truck drivers must pull off to the side of the road to investigate a problem with their vehicle or if they’re involved in an accident. A blocking accident is the result of another driver crashing into their parked truck.
  • Rollover Accidents – Semi-trucks have a high center of gravity, making it easier to tip in certain conditions. If there are high winds or the trucker loses control of their vehicle, it can cause the truck to roll and damage any car it comes in contact with.
  • Lost Loads – Using adequate securement systems, such as tie-downs, is necessary to keep cargo in or on the trailer. Improperly loading items on the back of a truck could cause them to fall off during transport and become obstacles for other drivers.

The actual causes of these types of accidents can be somewhat challenging to determine. Fortunately, commercial vehicles typically involve mechanical records and information about vehicle performance, making it easier to determine the cause.

Common causes of truck accidents include:

One of the primary reasons that a commercial truck accident is so different from a car crash is the potential liability. Commercial vehicles often have several parties responsible for the inspection, maintenance, loading and balancing, and operation of the trucks. There could be more than one negligent party in connection to an accident.

Possible liable parties, in addition to the truck driver, could include:

  • Truck owners
  • Freight owners
  • Maintenance companies
  • Governmental entities
  • Truck part manufacturers
  • Shipping agencies
  • Cargo loading companies
  • Other drivers

Contact an attorney as soon as possible after your truck accident so you can identify the cause of the crash and know exactly who can be held responsible.

Are you in need of a lawyer for a recent Beaumont truck accident?

Common Injuries Associated With Truck Accidents

Most large trucks, such as tractor-trailers, can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when carrying cargo. They are essential to the country’s economy, but they can be deadly when involved in accidents with other vehicles. When a commercial truck and passenger car collide, the violent impact can cause significant harm to the occupants of the smaller vehicle.

Unfortunately, fatalities are common in truck accidents. Of the 4,119 deaths involving large trucks in 2019, 67% were drivers and passengers in non-commercial vehicles.

When someone survives a traumatic ordeal like this, they’re left with months or years of agonizing treatment. Some people are lucky enough to recover completely, while others suffer ongoing pain or lifelong mental and physical limitations.

The most common injuries caused by truck accidents are:

  • Paralysis
  • Concussion
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Loss of limb
  • Crush injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal damage
  • Psychological or emotional trauma
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Lacerations
  • Disfigurement
  • Disability
  • Whiplash
  • Soft tissue injuries

Whether your injury is minor or severe, you deserve to hold the at-fault party accountable and pursue compensation for the costs you incurred during treatment. Many people are forced into debt because they can’t afford their accident-related medical bills. It’s unfair that you have to suffer the consequences of another person’s wrongdoing. Portner Bond, PLLC is here to help you fight for justice and get you on the road to recovery.

How Much Does a Beaumont Truck Accident Lawyer Charge?

The Beaumont truck accident attorneys of Portner Bond, PLLC know the economic strain you could face following a car crash. Large trucks can total small vehicles and inflict serious physical harm on the occupants. We know you’re already paying bills for your ER visit, surgical procedures, prescription drugs, and other costs. We don’t want to add to your financial burden with more expenses. That’s why we will take your case on contingency.

You won’t have to pay any upfront fees or costs for us to represent you in your case. We don’t expect you to pay our legal fees unless we win, and we take it directly out of your monetary award. If we lose your case, you won’t owe us anything.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Truck Accidents

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you likely have questions. The following questions and answers should give you a better idea of what to do if you or a loved one has been the victim of a truck crash.

Punitive damages, also called exemplary damages in Texas, aren’t intended to compensate you for your past and future losses. Instead, an award of punitive damages punishes the at-fault truck driver for their misconduct. You can only recover this monetary award if you provide the jury with clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s malice, fraud, or gross negligence.

In Texas, a person has two years from the date of a truck accident to file a lawsuit. This is known as a statute of limitations, and it’s a strict timeframe you must follow if you want to sue the truck driver or trucking company for compensation.

A person younger than 18 years of age or of unsound mind is considered to be “under a legal disability.” Texas law establishes that the time of the disability is not included in a limitations period, meaning that the two-year statute of limitations applies after a victim turns 18 years of age or their disability is cured. Members of the United States Armed Forces can also have their limitations period tolled or paused if they are serving overseas.

Texas law states a person can recover compensation for their losses when their percentage of responsibility is not more than 50%. In other words, a defendant must be more responsible for your injuries than yourself. In Texas, a court is required to reduce the financial award by a victim’s percentage of negligence. This means that a person who suffers $100,000 in losses but found to have been 10% at fault could only receive $90,000.

If you have been injured in a Beaumont area truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation

Truck Accidents in Texas: By the Numbers

According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), there were 422 total crashes involving commercial motor vehicles in Jefferson County in 2017. This total included five fatal crashes, 14 suspected serious injury crashes, 34 non-incapacitating crashes, 59 possible injury crashes, 309 non-injury crashes, and one unknown severity crash causing six fatalities, 15 suspected serious injuries, 47 non-incapacitating injuries, 103 possible injuries, 1,158 non-injuries, and 23 unknown injuries.

TxDOT reported statewide fatal crashes in Texas in 2017 included 126 trucks, 433 truck-tractors or semi-trailers, five fire trucks, 17 buses, and eight school buses. Fatal crashes in rural areas included 62 trucks, 294 truck-tractors or semi-trailers, one fire truck, seven buses, and six school buses, while fatal crashes in urban areas included 64 trucks, 149 truck-tractors, or semi-trailers, four fire trucks, ten buses, and two school buses.

According to TxDOT, statewide suspected serious injury crashes in Texas in 2017 included 585 trucks, 879 truck-tractors or semi-trailers, five fire trucks, 60 buses, and 29 school buses. Suspected serious injury crashes in rural areas included 205 trucks, 570 truck-tractors or semi-trailers, one fire truck, 10 buses, and 13 school buses, while suspected serious injury crashes in urban areas included 380 trucks, 309 truck-tractors or semi-trailers, four fire trucks, 50 buses, and 16 school buses.

TxDOT reported statewide non-incapacitating injury crashes in Texas in 2017 included 2,303 trucks, 2,446 truck-tractors or semi-trailers, 29 fire trucks, 260 buses, and 90 school buses. Non-incapacitating injury crashes in rural areas included 531 trucks, 1,210 truck-tractors or semi-trailers, seven fire trucks, 36 buses, and 43 school buses, while non-incapacitating injury crashes in urban areas included 1,772 trucks, 1,236 truck-tractors or semi-trailers, 22 fire trucks, 224 buses, and 47 school buses.

According to TxDOT, possible injury crashes in Texas in 2017 included 4,525 trucks, 3,118 truck-tractors or semi-trailers, 43 fire trucks, 575 buses, and 173 school buses. Possible injury crashes in rural areas included 690 trucks, 1,019 truck-tractors or semi-trailers, eight fire trucks, 59 buses, and 45 school buses, while possible injury crashes in urban areas included 3,835 trucks, 2,099 truck-tractors or semi-trailers, 35 fire trucks, 516 buses, and 128 school buses.

The Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts (LTBCF) annual report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) stated that there were 649 fatalities in Texas crashes involving large trucks in 2017. This was the highest total of the 10-year period dating back to 2007, and the 453 multiple-vehicle crashes involving large trucks in Texas in 2017 were also the most of any state in the country.

Contact a Beaumont Truck Accident Attorney Today

If you have suffered serious injuries or a loved one was killed in a commercial truck accident in the Beaumont-Port Arthur Metropolitan area, you do not have to face a long and difficult road to recovery on your own. Get the help of an experienced Texas truck accident lawyer so you can make sure every negligent party is held accountable.

Portner Bond, PLLC serves the victims of truck accidents and their families, always working to achieve the most favorable possible outcome. Call (409) 838-4444 or contact us online for a free consultation.