Pictured from left to right: Tab E. Lawhorn, Daryl L. Derryberry, Guy I. Wade, III and Craig D. Zips “Keeping Your Community SAFE One Case At A Time”
On July 2, 2014, our client, was operating a 10-wheeler truck on Interstate 20 West in Harrison County, Texas. The defendant was operating a Ford F-350 pickup truck, hauling a load of drill pipe on a flatbed trailer for an oilfield service company. The defendant negligently rear-ended our client, whose in-cab video camera recorded the violent jarring of the impact. The defendant’s truck burst into flames and our client pulled the defendant from her burning vehicle. The truck the defendant was operating was owned by or leased to an oilfield service company.
Our client hired our firm to sue the defendant for negligently failing to keep a proper lookout, driving too fast and following too closely. He also sued the oilfield service company under respondeat superior (being responsible for the negligent acts of the defendant) and for violating its policies by failing to conduct a post-accident drug test of the defendant; by failing to investigate the wreck; and by providing the defendant a company truck to drive even though she had five (5) prior convictions for moving violations under Texas law. The oilfield service company’s policy prohibited giving a company vehicle to anyone convicted of more than three (3) moving violations.
Our client also alleged that the defendant was a distracted driver (using her cell phone constantly for 44 minutes before the violent wreck and at the time of the wreck) and that the distracted driving caused the wreck. During that 44 minute period, her cell phone records showed 194 calls or text messages to or from a single number.
The defendant testified that she accepted responsibility for failing to control her speed and rear-ending our client. However, she also testified that she was not using her cell phone in any manner at the time of the wreck. Our client believes the cell phone records unequivocally showed that she was being untruthful in that regard.
Our client’s injuries included herniated discs and facet tears in his neck and back, as well as sustaining other injuries, harms and losses.
The wreck was in the afternoon, and our client sought medical treatment the next morning. He initially treated through workers’ compensation, but he felt that he was not receiving adequate care, and he sought treatment outside of the worker’s compensation system, including seeking treatment from a neurosurgeon. Our client tried physical therapy, but found it too painful. Our client also underwent lumbar epidural steroid injections (ESIs) and, in April 2015, he had a discogram done as well.
In the summer of 2015, a neurosurgeon performed a posterolateral fusion in his back with placement of hardware (pedicle screws on the left). The neurosurgeon opined that our client’s neck and back injuries were caused by the wreck.
The oilfield service company and the defendant had $1,000,000.00 in liability insurance coverage and the entire policy limits were paid to our client to settle the case. After payment of attorney’s fees ($400,000.00), expenses ($35,599.34) and medical bills ($160,429.31) the client netted ($403,971.43).
Defective tires de tread frequently and can cause serious injuries or death to the occupants of the vehicle.
Contact a lawyer immediately to prevent the product from being destroyed or disposed of. An attorney can send a spoliation letter to preserve the product for inspection which is crucial to your case. Do not sign any documents prior to consulting with an attorney.
Obtain the name of the product manufacturer and the make and model number of the product.
Send all worker’s compensation forms, if any, to your lawyer before signing.
Take photographs of your injuries if possible.
Take photographs of the scene of the incident if possible.
Do not give any written or recorded statements to any insurance company or company representative without consulting with an attorney.
Immediately seek medical attention at a hospital or from a doctor if you are injured. If you do not seek medical attention, then the insurance company and/or product manufacturer will contend that you delayed in treatment and are not injured.
If you do not have health insurance, contact an attorney. We may be able to assist you in obtaining medical care.
Prepare a brief summary of the incident. Our memories fade about the details of an accident as time passes. This is helpful later in jogging your memory of the details of the incident.
Obtain a police report if one is available.
Daryl L. Derryberry is one of the two founding partners of the firm now known as Derryberry Zips Wade Lawhorn, PLLC (the “Firm”). Daryl and Craig Zips started the Firm in May, 2002 and have enjoyed great success since the Firm’s inception. Daryl’s legal career spans two decades and includes successfully securing jury verdicts and settlements on behalf of his clients in oil rig accidents, 18 wheeler wrecks, medical negligence, products liability, broker malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty and other cases.
Accidents involving 18 wheelers can cause serious injuries because of the size and weight of the tractor and trailer.
Immediately call the police or 911 to report the accident, do not leave the scene of the accident and attempt to ensure the other party also stays at the scene.
Contact a lawyer immediately. The insurance company for the at fault driver and your insurance company will act only to protect their respective financial interests. The insurance companies only care about saving their money. Do not sign any documents prior to consulting with an attorney.
Attempt to identify any witnesses to the accident and write down their names, addresses and telephone numbers. If possible, also write down their license plate numbers.
Exchange the following information with the other driver; name, address and telephone number, make and model of the car or 18 wheeler, license plate number, the other driver’s employer, if applicable, if the driver does not own the car then obtain the name, address and telephone number of the owner of the car or 18 wheeler, obtain all insurance information, including the name of the insurance agent for the other driver. Also, if the accident involves and 18 wheeler then write down the Unites States Department of Transportation (“US DOT”) number that is typically located somewhere on the tractor or trailer.
Write down any statements that are made by the other driver that indicate the other driver is at fault. These statements may be used against the other driver and/or their employer in settlement negotiations or if a lawsuit is filed. Conversely, do not make any statements to the other driver or witnesses in connection with the accident. Please remember to make sure that any statements made to the police are truthful and accurate. Do not guess or speculate about any answer to any question asked by the investigating officer.
Take photographs of the property damage to your car and the other car(s) or 18 wheeler while you are at the scene of the accident. Also take photos of the accident scene, including any visual obstructions, road signs, speed limits signs, and any skid marks made by any vehicle involved in the accident.
Immediately seek medical treatment if you are even slightly injured. Sometimes accident victims can sustain internal injuries without realizing he/she is injured. Internal injuries can be fatal if not treated. Do not be embarrassed to ask for an ambulance if you have been injured in any manner. Please also make sure you attend all doctor and physical therapy appointments. If you miss these appointments, then the insurance company will argue these missed appointments mean you are not really hurt.
Do not give any written or recorded statements to any insurance company or insurance company representative without consulting with an attorney.
Prepare a brief summary of the accident. Our memories fade about the details of an accident as time passes. These notes about the accident will be helpful later in jogging your memory of the details of the accident. Also, keep a daily diary of your medical visits, as well as a daily diary of the pain you are experiencing after the accident.
Obtain a police report if one is available.
Craig Zips is one of the two founding members of the firm now known as Derryberry Zips Wade Lawhorn, PLLC. He is board certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and has been given the premier AV rating by Martindale Hubbell. Craig has represented numerous clients for over 15 years in a variety of litigation matters, from complex commercial matters, including business disputes and securities fraud, as well as the representation of plaintiffs in serious injury cases.