On February 12, every driver’s worst nightmare happened to the driver of a grey sedan in a parking lot just off Nacogdoches Road in San Antonio. He was attempting to leave the parking lot of an H-E-B when he failed to observe an 18-wheeler backing up, and wound up with his car lodged beneath the trailer. While the driver in this incident appears to be relatively unharmed, cases like this can be very different if injuries occur.
Trucking Accidents in Texas Are Common
Truck crashes in Texas are much more common than people may think. Bexar County in particular registered 2,517 crashes alone in 2016 (the most recent available data), with as many as 34,000 total crashes in the entire state. Almost six hundred fatalities were registered in that time, with Bexar County contributing 26 – only Dallas and Harris County had more. The reasons for this are primarily to do with the urban nature of those counties, and the congested nature of their roads, but there are multiple potential causes.
In automobile crashes, there are essentially front, rear and side collisions, and truck accidents tend to follow similar patterns. However, unlike with car crashes, front and rear truck crashes tend to be far more destructive and violent than side impacts. Accidents like the Nacogdoches Road crash very often result in serious injuries to the automobile driver, if not outright fatality, because the car hits the back of the truck trailer with no room to maneuver. The driver in this case was very lucky to escape relatively unscathed.
Who to Sue?
If you are involved in a truck crash and sustain injuries, you can bring suit against the truck driver, but in some cases, you may also be able to bring the trucking company into your lawsuit, to increase the likelihood of obtaining satisfactory compensation. Vicarious liability is a concept in Texas law that holds that if an employee commits a tort while acting within the scope of their employment, their employer can be held liable for any damages. The key words in most situations will be “scope of employment.”
Texas case law has held that as long as the conduct is not deliberately tortious or does not involve “serious criminal activity,” actions taken will generally be held as being within the scope of employment if the context supports that assertion. If a truck driver is, for example, in the middle of a trip to deliver products, that is usually within the scope of employment, while if he is returning or on a personal errand, the question has a much less clear answer.
Seek Out Experienced Legal Help
While the driver in the Nacogdoches Road accident was lucky to escape with nothing more than cuts and bruises, most truck accidents will not end so fortuitously. If you have been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler or other large truck, it may take the services of a good attorney to help you receive proper compensation for your injuries. The dedicated New Braunfels truck accident lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm can sit down with you and try to help you through what can be a complex process. Contact our office today to set up an appointment.