On August 9, I-35 near Georgetown saw a severe crash between two 18-wheelers, causing damage but luckily no injuries. The first appeared to sideswipe the second, getting pinned in between it and the concrete guardrail. While it is unusual for two trucks to wind up pinned together, trucking accidents are sadly too common on Texas freeways, especially near major cities such as Austin.
Truck Wrecks Cause More Deaths
While deaths can occur in any kind of auto accident, truck crashes consistently cause more fatalities than car crashes, simply because there is so much more weight being spread around. Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for 2016 shows 4,564 fatalities in 2015 resulting from crashes that involved large trucks or buses – which is approximately 5 percent up from the previous year. If an automobile is involved in an accident with a vehicle the size of the average 18 wheeler, it will get the proverbial short end of the stick, even if the trailer is not loaded – but if it is, it may be even more dangerous.
In Texas proper, only 559 fatal crashes were recorded in 2017, with the exact number of fatalities not determined, but only automobiles registered more fatalities in terms of vehicles by body style (which can obviously be expected, given the number on the road). There are multiple reasons for this – one that comes to mind is that both the truck itself and the cargo (if the trailer is damaged or opens on its own, for example) can cause serious accidents leading to injury or death. Texas roads, unfortunately, lend themselves to many other causes, such as high-speed limits (leading to high rates of speed) and highways with few distractions, which can lead to what is colloquially known as ‘highway hypnosis.’
If you have been injured after a big rig crash, it can feel overwhelming to seek compensation for the harm you suffered. However, it is not impossible to do so. You must be able to show three things:
- That the duty of reasonable care owed by each motorist to everyone else was breached;
- That the breach of duty was due expressly to the defendant’s conduct; and
- That the breach (caused by the defendant’s conduct) caused tangible harm to you, the plaintiff. Tangible need not be physical; emotional or mental trauma does count.
If you are able to show these three things, it is very likely the plaintiff will be held liable. However, keep in mind that it may be a good idea to involve more than one plaintiff – if you believe that a trucker’s negligence caused your injuries, it may be appropriate to join their employer in your suit, using a theory called respondeat superior, or vicarious liability. This legal theory holds that an employer is responsible for the intentional torts of its employees while within the scope of employment, and under Texas law, many auto accidents would fit that bill.
Call An Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
While as of this writing no injuries have been reported in the I-35 crash, this does not mean anyone else in a similar situation will be so lucky. Call our dedicated New Braunfels truck accident lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm today, and we will be happy to try to guide you through any case you decide to mount. Call us today to schedule a consultation.