Last month, an elderly motorist was killed when her car struck the trailer of a big rig near Round Rock. The truck’s driver was attempting to turn around in a private drive, but the motorist could not stop her car in time and struck the trailer. She was killed at the scene. While the driver in this unfortunate event affirmatively attempted to stop the accident from occurring, it is still worth noting that car drivers should be especially wary when driving near large semi-trucks, and if you are in an accident with one, it may keep you safe.
As one might imagine, fatalities occur more often in accidents where trucks are involved than in accidents between two automobiles. U.S. law classifies any truck over 100,000 pounds as “large,” and as such, one can view the statistics on accidents involving such trucks separately from the others. In Texas alone, the most recent available data shows 22 fatal crashes in 2016 in Bexar County that involved commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) – but 26 fatalities resulting. Similar disparities are evident regarding incapacitating injuries, with 42 crashes recorded but 49 victims tabulated.
There are numerous reasons for this, not least of all simply because large trucks are slower and require more time to turn or stop than an automobile does. It is also very plausible that a truck driver might simply not see a fast-moving car, especially in inclement weather or during construction (in other words, with additional factors obscuring visibility). Either way, while such data is not proof that truck drivers inherently drive dangerously, it can be one point in a larger case that alleges negligence on the truck driver’s behalf. The driver in the case in Georgetown was able to present evidence that he affirmatively tried to stop the impact, but many truck drivers will do nothing of the kind.
Wrongful Death and Survival Actions
Depending on the nature of your or your loved one’s accident, it may be possible to bring a suit against the truck driver and seek compensation for your injuries. Because of the high incidence of fatalities, though, some of the most common suits brought after a truck accident are wrongful death and survival actions. While the terms are used interchangeably by laymen, they are different in Texas law.
A survival action is brought on behalf of the deceased and seeks compensation for the same torts that the deceased would sue over had they lived. So, for example, if you lose a loved one in an auto accident, you might bring a survival action based in personal injury or negligence, because that is what your loved one would sue over had they not been killed. Comparatively, a wrongful death action is brought on behalf of the survivors, and seeks damages for things like lost support and lost wages, especially if the deceased was the family breadwinner. The family of the motorist killed in Round Rock, if they were to bring suit, would most likely do so in a wrongful death action, because there is no evidence to show the deceased would have had claims against the trucker.
Call a Knowledgeable Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents have the potential to be highly dangerous, even assuming one lives through the impact. If you or a loved one have been in an accident with a large truck, having an attorney on your side who has dealt with this area of law before can be a big help. The dedicated New Braunfels truck accident attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm are happy to put our experience to work for you. Call the office today to set up an initial consultation.