Jim Adler | The Tough, Smart Lawyer
By Jim Adler August 31, 2015

If you’ve been injured in an 18-wheeler accident, you should know how to deal with truck companies to get paid what you legally deserve.

Injury payments can cover the costs of your hospital and medical bills, physical therapy, lost wages and emotional damages. Though you have a legal right to make this claim, a truck company is likely to resist paying you what you deserve — which is one reason why you may need a truck accident lawyer from Jim Adler & Associates.

Trucking is Big Business

Commercial trucking in America is big business. According to American Trucking Associations, almost 70% of all U.S. freight tonnage travels on nearly three million heavy-duty Class 8 trucks (whose gross vehicle weight rating, or GVWR, exceeds 33,000 pounds). These trucks move 9.2 billion tons of freight yearly while burning 37 billion gallons of diesel fuel.

But though trucks play a vital role in the economy, the trucking business’ enormity means individual Americans often must tangle with a monolithic and powerful company when trying to claim their legal right to economic compensation after a truck accident injury.

Another aspect of a giant industry is ample room for mistakes, cost-cutting and squashing the “little guy.” That little guy often is an innocent American who is injured or killed by the negligence of a trucking line or truck driver, and whose family then has a difficult time collecting fair and fitting compensation.

Over 5,000 Americans are killed yearly in trucking accidents. Given the fact that loaded big rigs may outweigh a car by 75,000 pounds, almost all fatalities and severe injuries in crashes between cars and semi trucks involve the persons in passenger vehicles, not the truck driver.

Causes of Truck Accidents

As for the causes of truck accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration cites many. Some involve truckers driving recklessly or too fast for road conditions, driving while distracted by a cell phone or other device, or perhaps driving for longer hours than allowed by federal law. This results in fatigue, with slow reaction times.

Truckers are legally allowed to drive for 11 hours at a stretch, but some say that’s still too many. And some truckers drive even more and then falsify their driving logs.

Trucking lines also may be responsible for failing to train drivers properly or for failing to maintain vehicles properly. Vehicles must have regularly maintained tires, brakes and other equipment for safety purposes.

Are Truck Companies Liable?

You may be asking if truck companies are liable for a driver’s mistakes or for any cause of an 18-wheeler accident. If so, then you should know that yes, trucking lines can be held accountable for their negligence, including when the drivers they hire harm others.

However, for a trucking line to be held legally responsible for a trucker’s mistakes, it helps if the driver is an actual employee of the company — and many are not. Instead, many truckers are independent contractors who are not technically employed by the truck company but take contract work on a job-by-job basis.

If that’s the case, injured victims can direct their claim to the truck driver via his or her liability insurance provider. However, recent federal regulations have helped victims hold trucking lines accountable for crashes by contract drivers, even if they’re not directly employed by the line.

If the driver of a tractor trailer was a trucking or shipping company employee, then certainly, liability is clear. Under the legal theory of “vicarious liability,” the trucking company can be held liable if the driver was acting within the scope and course of such employment. That’s especially true if the driver was a “bad hire” and was employed despite having drug dependencies, a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or a poor driving record.

Beyond drivers and their employers or contractors, liability may be spread around. For instance, if the truck’s cargo was loaded improperly and led to a crash in which dumped cargo contributed, those who loaded the cargo can be held partly liable for the accident.

Truck Company Insurers’ Tricks

Since truck companies often are liable and often face injury lawsuits, they are experienced in such matters and may employ deceptive practices to deny, delay or underpay victims.

Innocent Americans must be wary of truck company insurers’ tricks to keep them from getting what they legally deserve after being injured in an 18-wheeler accident. Among these tricks is offering a quick “low-ball” payment when victims are most vulnerable: immediately after a crash.

Victims may be suffering pain, missing work and seeing medical bills pile up, and they may seize at the chance to collect any money for their losses. The truck company’s insurer probably knows what an injury is worth but offers a small, low-ball but fast payment which gets it off the hook for any future claim.

Trucking lines also may have insurance adjusters contact victims and pretend to be caring and helpful, when in fact the adjuster’s job is to minimize payments to the victim.

One way to do this is to get victims to say things in recorded statements that can be used against them in a settlement process. Thus, victims should not agree to make a recorded statement. That is your right. Otherwise, you may be asked “That injury wasn’t as bad as you’d feared at first, right?” and if you agreed it would undercut your claim.

Finally, a common strategy by trucking lines is simply to delay your claim. The trucking line or its insurer may request one document or record after another to perpetuate and justify delays, when delaying payments is the only real reason for such requests.

A knowledgeable truck wreck lawyer can fight back against needless delays.

Destroying Evidence

A truck company even may destroy or alter evidence in an effort to avoid paying many thousands of dollars for a crash that was its legal responsibility.

Unfortunately, the Texas Supreme Court, known for being pro-business, has taken a relaxed position on the preservation of evidence. This can enable truck lines to change driving logs, “misplace” documents and destroy results from drug tests.

Trucking companies even may tell drivers to refuse taking drug tests after a crash, since the fine for such a refusal may be far less than the verdict if the driver fails the test.

But more evidence may be available. Numerous big rigs today have a “black box” like those in airplanes to record details of a vehicle’s operation, such as speed at the time of impact and if brakes or evasive actions were applied. Your truck crash lawyer can subpoena that black box to preserve its evidence.

Victims who quickly engage a truck accident attorney have a better chance of preserving evidence before it can be destroyed or altered. Notify Jim Adler & Associates today for an 18-wheeler lawyer’s help in sizing up your chances for a successful injury lawsuit or settlement.

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I went to the office and everyone was so considerate and professional , so my first impression was good, I felt like I was in good hands. Then I received a call from Vanessa Garcia, she was on top of EVERYTHING! I never had to call her, she always called me. She even called to see how I was doing , and if I needed help with anything. That is why I have absolutely no worries.read more
JASMYNE THOMPSON
JASMYNE THOMPSON
13:42 01 Jun 17
My lawyer Bill Adler and case manager Iris Sanchez are amazing! They constantly call and check on you . They keep you up to date through the process. They care about you as a person and not just a client. The wreck was a life changing experience that I've never been through before. I'm just glad I had the right people like Bill Adler and Iris Sanchez to help me through it. Truly satisfied.Thanks and God bless y'all!read more
Tierra Clark
Tierra Clark
18:52 19 May 17
I was dropped from a previous law firm regarding my case before I called Jim Adler. They immediately took up my case and worked hard on it - I was always up to date with each step they took and the benefits or consequences of each. In the end, I am highly satisfied with the outcome and would not have it any other way. It took some time but I truly appreciate and want to thank everybody who helped me on this journey and worked tirelessly on it.read more
Tori Barroga
Tori Barroga
14:17 11 May 17
I am a Patrol Deputy for the Sheriff Office and while working one night, a drunk driver crossed the center stripe on the highway and struck my patrol vehicle head on with his pick up truck. Needless to say we (the drunk driver and I) were both lucky to survive, as the accident occurred at highway speeds. Following my release from the hospital, I knew that I would need to have someone represent me. My employer was happy to represent me in regards to prosecuting the driver for criminal charges but, can do little in respect to the recovery of financial losses for medical bills, pain and discomfort, time lost from work etc... This is how my relationship with Jim Adler and Associates began. Yep, you probably guessed correctly when you think of what made me choose the "Texas Hammer" to represent me. Those half obnoxious, half way entertaining commercials and radio announcements most Texans have been seeing and hearing on the TV and radio for years instantly came to mind. Yes, I wanted to "hammer" this S.O.B. for trying to kill me but, more importantly I was worried about the costs associated with the life long injuries I had sustained as a result of this drunk driver's negligent behavior. I contacted Jim Adler and Associates and so began our relationship. I was immediately surprised by the prompt attention and the expression of genuine concern for my well being that I received from the employees of Jim Adler's office. Now as you can imagine, lawyers are not a breed that is held in very high regard by people in my profession but, my experiences with Jim Adler's office and his employees have forced me to amend my way of thinking, at least on the civil side of the house anyway. I have to chuckle when I say that because my experience as a client of Jim Adler's firm has been exceptionally pleasant. So before I venture down one of the stereotypical and infinite number of rabbit holes associated with the relationship between members of law enforcement and lawyers; I will do my best to stay focused on my experience with Jim Adler & Associates. Upon being informed that my case had been accepted by Jim Adler's office; I was contacted by Iris Sanchez who informed me that she was to be my case manager and any questions, comments and concerns could be directed to her. I was pleasantly surprised to receive regular calls from Iris assisting with my medical appointments and future follow up appointments. Iris had informed me that Jim Adler's son, Bill Adler would be handling my case and I was even more surprised to receive several calls from Bill to discuss my case. Now you might be thinking "what's the big deal" with the person who is representing you contacting you? In reality, you are correct in that it isn't a big deal but, what is noteworthy and what separates Jim Adler's Office from the multitude of other lawyers is the genuine expressions of concern and the desire Bill Adler conveyed to me to do their best to help me. I felt an immediate connection and instantly realized I had made the correct choice in contacting Jim Adler & Associates to handle my case. One thing I think lawyers and police officers can agree on is the proverbial wheels of justice turn very slowly. Months go by and our professional relationship is never neglected. Through the unwavering attention of Iris Sanchez and Bill Adler himself, I never felt "out of the loop" so to speak and always had a clear understanding of where my case was at in regards to the legal process. In conclusion, I know my brief description of my experiences with Bill Adler and, his assistant Iris Sanchez, cannot provide the credit they deserve. Together they have done an outstanding job representing their firm/employer. If you are seeking a great firm to represent your legal interests and, take comfort in establishing a professional relationship that feels more like a friendship than a casual business acquaintance, then I highly suggest Jim Adler & Associates.read more
Erick Becker
Erick Becker
01:20 06 May 17
I am very happy with Jim Adler & Associates. I did not know anyone who has ever used the Law Firm before. The staff is very friendly and treated me as if I were family. At times it got very stressful being without a job. They helped me when I was confused about the process. Mrs. Theresa Rodriguez stayed in contact with me constantly. Checking on me to see how I was doing and to let me know how things were going on there end. The Attorneys that handled my case know exactly what they are doing to take good care of me. Thank You so much Attorney's Mr.Michael Gomez and Mr.Trey Smith.read more
Bernard Orozco
Bernard Orozco
17:16 23 Feb 17
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Lorenzo Preston
Lorenzo Preston
17:23 26 Jan 17
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