Truck Accidents in Construction Zones – El Paso Personal Injury Lawyers
Commercial 18-Wheelers Have a Greater Responsibility to be Aware of Construction Zones & Other Traffic Hazards
Road construction is a fact of life in any city, especially in one as large as El Paso. You basically cannot travel on any major highway in or around town without encountering some sort of construction zone. As necessary as new road work is, construction zones are annoying when you are sitting in traffic – especially when it’s the middle of summer and about 125 degrees on the asphalt.
But construction zones can be much more serious than a mere annoyance – when traffic is at a standstill and an 18-wheeler plows through cars that are basically parked, the consequences can obviously be devastating. The attorneys with Our Law Office provide you this article so that you know the steps you should take if you or someone close to you has suffered an injury in this sort of accident. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys in regard to the specific circumstances surrounding your case, please call us for a free and confidential consultation.
The Nature of Construction Zone Accidents
Most construction zone truck accidents result from the truck rear-ending parked cars. This is often due to truck drivers operating their vehicles while distracted. But what makes them distracted?
The driver may not have noticed he was coming upon a construction zone because he was distracted due to texting or talking on his cellular phone, changing the radio, putting in a CD, or even looking at a computer. That driver could have been fatigued after staying behind the wheel for several hours in an attempt to meet an unreasonable delivery schedule or trying to achieve a mileage bonus. He may have even been driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Although the general public believes that an acceptance of liability by the defendant is a given, that is not the case. You still have to prove that the trucking company was responsible for the accident. Even if they do accept liability, that still does not mean you will obtain fair compensation.
If you were injured in this sort of accident, your vehicle was probably rear-ended, either by the truck itself or another car struck by the rig. Many times in this sort of accident, injuries are sustained to muscles rather than bones; for example, whiplash or pulled back muscles are fairly common in a rear-end accident. In terms of obtaining compensation, it can be much more difficult to do so if you suffer this type of injury than a more “obvious” injury such as a broken bone.
No matter the reason for the accident or the type of injury you sustained, if you are to have any reasonable chance of obtaining compensation for your suffering you will need the help of an experienced attorney.
Why You Need to Act Quickly in Obtaining Legal Help
There are two common scenarios in a trucking construction zone accident. The first is a stop-and-go situation, where a truck rear-ends a vehicle, resulting in a relatively minor injury to the driver of the vehicle that was struck. The other is where a truck hits several motorists at the same time. The latter scenario, obviously, not only results in more injuries (and thus more plaintiffs) but more severe injuries as well.
When this second scenario takes place, there will be several plaintiffs pursuing legal action simultaneously. While a trucking company is required in Texas to carry $1 million in liability insurance coverage, if 15 people are injured in the same construction zone accident and they cumulatively have $3 million in damages, there is “only” $1 million in insurance. You can see why this kind of case can get very competitive, very quickly. There will be a “race,” of sorts, to obtain compensation before the money evaporates.
Not only do you need to hire an experienced attorney, you have to do so as quickly as possible. Your attorney can perform a prompt and thorough investigation to determine the cause of the accident, identify the defendants in your case, and obtain the proof you will need in order to have the best possible chance of winning.
Your attorney also needs to have a solid track record of winning these kinds of cases so that he or she can compel the defendant into offering you an out-of-court settlement, and thus eliminating the need for your case to go to trial. Again, since you will more than likely be pursuing restitution at the same time as several other people, the faster you can obtain a settlement, the better off you will be. At Our Law Office we have been in practice for two decades, and during this time we have defeated many of the largest trucking companies and insurance carriers in the nation. Because these companies are well aware of our successes in these kinds of cases, they will many times offer our clients equitable settlements rather than risk losing even more money by taking on our attorneys in a trial.
What the Defendant will Likely Claim
Again, it is very likely that your vehicle was rear-ended in the construction zone accident that resulted in your injury, either from the impact of the truck itself or another vehicle. There are various strategies that the defendant in your case can, and very likely will, try to employ in an effort to escape as much liability as possible. One strategy may be to claim that the accident was unavoidable. Some accidents occur under some circumstances wherein a truck driver simply could not avoid it. In other instances, the trucking company may claim the accident was unavoidable due to some other party. In our two decades of practice we have seen many instances where a defendant, to put it mildly, stretched the boundaries of believability in claiming an accident was unavoidable. However, no matter how ludicrous a defendant’s claim may be, you will still need hard evidence in order to refute it.
The most obvious party for the trucking company to blame would be the construction company responsible for setting up the construction zone. The trucking company does not necessarily have to be right; it just needs to have a defense.
The defendant can point the finger of blame at several parties; not only the construction company, but other drivers and maybe even you. By default, the trucking company involved in your case will look for a scapegoat – it could not care less who that scapegoat might be. But again, you will have to have solid proof to defeat the defendant’s tactics and place the blame where it lies – squarely on that defendant. If you cannot provide that proof, and the defendant is successful in deflecting the blame to some other party, then you will have no reasonable chance of securing restitution for the suffering you have experienced.
How We Can Help
During our two decades in practice, the attorneys of Our Law Office have helped thousands of personal injury victims obtain fair compensation. This type of case can be exceedingly complex – especially when there are multiple plaintiffs involved – so you will have to have a lawyer who is familiar enough with this kind of litigation to plot the proper course of legal action.
That attorney not only needs to have experience and a track record of success, he or she also has to know which parties to pursue and which ones not to pursue. If, for example, your attorney sues the construction company, the trucking company could use that to help its effort to deflect blame, making your case that much weaker against the trucking company.
You may have a legitimate claim, but you still want to hire a lawyer to help you decide the correct parties to target with your legal action. As mentioned earlier, the best way of determining the right defendants to pursue in your case is by having a thorough investigation conducted into your accident by a seasoned law firm. We have been conducting such investigations at Our Law Office for the past two decades, and thus have it down to a science.
If you or someone close to you has been hurt in a trucking accident in a construction zone, please do not hesitate to call Our Law Office for a confidential consultation. We will outline the strengths and weaknesses of your case and let you know how we may be able to help.