As the North American Free Trade Agreement is now well into its second decade, there are more and more large trucks pouring across the border and into South Central Texas on I-35. In fact, the traffic is so heavy that, last year, officials had to open a new rail link to accommodate some of the freight.
The West Rail Project took fifteen years and $120 million to build, but officials say it was money and time well spent. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, the border sees about $1.5 billion in goods pass through either side on any given day, and the road network simply cannot handle all that traffic. More traffic also means more new drivers, many of whom are unfamiliar with the San Antonio area.
The product of all these things – more traffic, new drivers, and unfamiliar locations – is more large truck crashes, and these events present unique legal problems.
Truck Wreck Injuries
Fully-loaded large trucks weigh a staggering 80,000 pounds; two trailer trucks and overweight trucks, like the ones that haul large construction equipment, are even heavier. Moreover, since a truck engine is designed to run all the time, unless it is being serviced, these vehicles carry massive amounts of fuel.
Between the weight and the fuel, these crashes often cause catastrophic injuries that only some attorneys can deal with, including:
Severe Burns: Diesel fuel burns at a different temperature from gasoline, accounting for the serious burns.
Head Injuries: The human head and neck simply cannot withstand 80,000 pounds of force, regardless of the circumstances.
Serious Bleeding: Due to the severe property damage, first responders often have to cut victims out of the wreckage, which means precious minutes tick by with no medical attention.
Victims are generally entitled to compensation for both their economic and noneconomic losses.
Payment of damages is also a very complicated issue. Truck drivers are normally considered “employees” of the shipping company for negligence purposes, even if they are classified as “independent contractors” for income tax purposes. So, respondeat superior applies and the trucking company may be responsible for some, or all, of the plaintiff’s damages.
Respondeat superior applies in other situations involving a commercial driver as well, including cabs, buses, construction vehicles, and perhaps even ridesharing services.
Truck wrecks are complicated matters. For a free consultation with an experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorney, contact our office. You have a limited amount of time to act.