June 13 saw a big rig overturned on westbound I-10, right at the exit to northbound Loop 1604, blocking traffic for miles. While no injuries were reported in this incident, and the road was ultimately cleared later that evening, 18 wheelers overturn to a degree that can be considered common, and it can very often prove disastrous if automobiles are caught in these troubles. Truck accidents claim a higher proportion of lives than standard car accidents do, simply because there is more weight involved in the crash.
Texas Statistics on Truck Crashes
If one examines the most recent available statistics regarding Texas truck crashes, one can immediately see that the fatalities are high, with only passenger vehicles (cars, pickups, and SUVs) and motorcycles having comparable numbers. While the high numbers of traffic deaths in passenger vehicles can at least partly be explained by sheer numbers on the roads, only motorcycle related and big rig related accidents (truck-tractor and semi-trailer trucks) have such disproportionately high fatality counts.
Looking into causes yields a variety of answers – driver behavior such as driving while fatigued, lacking proper training, and substance abuse; distracted driving, improper or overweight loads, and mechanical malfunctions, among many others. Any one of these can lead to an accident, though it is not uncommon for multiple factors to be present. This is especially true of those trucks owned by an employer more concerned with the bottom line than with safety regulations; such an employer is more likely to push their truckers to drive longer or with less maintenance.
If You Are Injured
If you do get into an accident with an 18-wheeler or other large truck, you must be able to show certain criteria in order to receive any compensation from the other driver. You must be able to show that their conduct breached the duty of care that motorists owe to each other and that their conduct was the immediate cause of your injury – in other words, that nothing else intervened to cause the accident. You must also be able to show tangible injury – not mere bumps and bruises, but physical or emotional injury that can take weeks, months, or years to heal.
One thing that can be important to keep in mind in navigating the legal process in this type of lawsuit is that you may be able to bring more than one defendant into your suit. If you can prove that a trucker was acting within the scope of his employment, you might be able to bring the trucking company in as a defendant under a doctrine called vicarious liability. Texas law holds that if someone can be shown to be acting as an agent, under the scope of authority, any wrongful act may be attributed to the aegis of the master. So if, for example, your accident is held to be due to the trucker’s negligence because of fatigue, you may be able to allege that the trucking company was complicit because the trucker was pushed to drive longer than would be safe.
Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers
While the driver of the overturned 18-wheeler on I-10 appeared to have no injuries, other drivers involved in a car-truck accident may not be so lucky. If you have been hurt in a truck-related accident, contacting an experienced attorney can help. Our skilled New Braunfels trucking accident attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm are experienced in this type of case and are happy to try and put it to work for you. Contact our office today to set up an appointment.