On October 3, a man was killed after he tried to pass an 18-wheeler on I-35, winding up going under the vehicle on the right side. The car wound up coming to a stop just off the Manor Road exit, after sustaining severe damage. The driver was found deceased in the car. While there are no charges pending against the truck driver, this type of accident does illustrate how easy it is to misjudge distances and speeds when dealing with large trucks, and how it can be very easy for either you or the trucker to make a mistake. If you are involved in an accident with a big rig, understanding your options is a good idea going forward.
Numerous Causes of Accidents
If one examines statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), one can see that in approximately 5,430 fatal crashes in 2017, 433 (approximately 8 percent) involved semi-trucks or trucks with trailers. For injury crashes, the number lowers – of approximately 135,934 crashes involving injury, 3,325 involved big rigs (approximately 2 percent). It may not sound like much, but only passenger cars (including pickup trucks and SUVs) and motorcycles were responsible for more. Across these categories, one can infer numerous causes – for example, a lower percentage of injury crashes involve large trucks because the accidents involving large trucks tend to be more serious (thus, causing more fatalities than injuries).
As to the specific causes of truck accidents, there are many, and a significant portion can be attributed to driver error. For example, speeding, failing to maintain a safe following distance, ignoring traffic signals, and other reckless actions while driving are extremely common, and they can play a major role in accidents – all directly occur as a result of one or both drivers being distracted. Certain other causes exist, such as poorly maintained roads, but these are generally in the minority.
If you have been hurt in an accident with a big rig, one of the first things to understand is that there is a limited time frame in which you can file a lawsuit against the trucker or their employer. Texas law stipulates that a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the accident, and unless a plaintiff is under a disability, that deadline is hard and fast. Memories do start to fade after too long, and courts do not want to get involved in a case that may come down to one party’s testimony against the other’s.
If you file suit within the appropriate time frame, you need to prove three things in order to possibly receive compensation for your bills (among other expenses such as lost wages). All motorists on Texas roads owe each other a duty to exercise reasonable care – you must be able to show that that duty was breached. You must also be able to show that the breach of duty happened directly because of the defendant’s conduct, and that the breach of duty caused you tangible harm (that is, harm lasting more than mere minutes or hours). If you can prove these criteria, you may have a good shot at recovering.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney
Being in any kind of accident is difficult, but a crash involving an 18-wheeler can put things in perspective, especially if your injuries are severe. You deserve a knowledgeable, compassionate lawyer on your side who will fight for you. The dedicated New Braunfels big rig accident lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm can help answer your questions and try to guide you through the lawsuit process. Call us today to schedule an appointment.