Claimants in 18 Wheeler Accidents
The highways and county roads in and around Beaumont to Houston and across Texas are overcrowded with 18- wheeler trucks. Be Careful
After an 18-wheeler accident, it is obvious that the victim who was driving the other vehicle often has a claim against the 18-wheeler driver, his employer, and so on. What may not be so obvious, however, is that others also may have the ability to sue the 18-wheeler driver.
First, passengers can often bring lawsuits against the truck driver. In Ten Hagen Excavating, Inc. v. Castro-Lopez, a cement truck was knocked by an 18-wheeler into a car containing a father and daughter. The daughter, a passenger, testified that the accident and the impact was extremely frightening, and while she was able to get out of the car after the accident, she had to look on helpless as her father was trapped inside the car, which was at risk of explosion after the incident. At trial, the daughter won around $10,000.00 in medical bills for minor injuries, and $150,000.00 for mental anguish damages related to the incident.
Second, the heirs and estate of the victim may sue if the victim dies during the accident. In Westfreight Systems, Inc. v. Heuston, the victim drove right into an 18-wheeler which backed into a darkened highway and blocked both lanes. The victim died, but this did not extinguish the victim’s claims. The victim’s two sons and estate were able to sue the truck driver under wrongful death and survival claims. One son won $752,347.36, the other son won $334,372.96, and the estate won $741,106.40.
Third, the spouse and/or family members of the victim may sue. In Simmons v. Bisland, the victim suffered a number of horrific spine injuries after being rear-ended in his car by an 18-wheeler and knocked some 500 feet down the road. After a year of surgeries and rehabilitation, the victim was still severely limited in what he could or could not do. Some of his limitations included an inability to work on his car and his house, and an inability to help his wife with her daycare business. The Court awarded his wife $85,000.00 for “loss of household services”, which is represented the value of the chores he used to do for his wife that he could no longer perform. The court also awarded $167,000 in “loss of consortium” damages, which refers to the wife’s reduced ability have a normal, fun, loving relationship with her husband due to his injuries. It also may be possible for the parents and the children of a victim to sue for damages in a truck driving case, depending on the situation at hand.
As one can see, many more parties can sue in an 18-wheeler accident case than the victim himself. Anyone who has suffered any sort of financial or emotional harm due to an 18-wheeler accident may wish to consider discussing whether they have a valid claim with an attorney.
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