A crash near Elgin on Tuesday morning, December 11, took the lives of three people when a semi-truck failed to yield the right of way as it tried to turn onto Roy Davis Road and struck a Chevy Tahoe. The driver and two passengers in the Tahoe were pronounced dead at the scene, with the truck driver sustaining no reported injuries. This is unfortunately common with regard to accidents involving trucks; the sheer size of the vehicle often protects the driver, while those in smaller vehicles are injured. If you have been through this, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries.
Truck Accident Statistics
For roughly the past decade, there has been a steady increase in the number of fatal road accidents involving large trucks, up approximately 30 percent from 2009. Injury accidents have also sharply risen since then, going from 60,000 in 2009 to approximately 119,000 in 2016. Texas mirrors this pattern as its cities continue to grow and evolve, though many of its roads do not (tangled traffic is a major cause of auto accidents, and many Texas highways have been recognized as among the most dangerous in the country, especially I-35).
The accident at U.S. 290 and Roy Davis does share some of the most common characteristics of fatal truck accidents, most notably that it occurred during the day, that it occurred on a weekday, and that it occurred on an interstate highway. The significant majority of fatal truck accidents occurred, in the data set, on weekdays during the daylight hours (6:00 AM to 6:00 PM), and a significant minority – about one-third – of fatal truck accidents occurred on interstate highways. Also, the first harmful event in this accident was a collision with another vehicle – in other words, no one did anything unlawful or inappropriate until one vehicle struck the other. While this may seem inconsequential, it matters because more common types of accidents are often less difficult for insurance companies to deal with.
Vicarious Liability May Be a Factor
If you are in an accident with a trucker, it is important to understand that depending on how severe your injuries are, it may not be the best idea to pursue him as a defendant. The reason is that individuals like long-haul truck drivers are often what is called judgment proof – that is, they simply do not have the assets to pay off a judgment levied against them. In such a situation, if you are able to show that the trucker was acting within the scope of their employment, you may be able to bring suit against the trucking company in addition to the trucker themselves. This doctrine is called vicarious liability.
Texas law holds that an employer or superior can be held liable for the torts committed by their employee as long as it can be shown that the employee was performing work that was within the scope of their employment or engagement. Because an employer is implicitly said to have agreed to whatever work their employee performs in their name, if the work goes wrong, it can be said to be on the head of the employer. If you are injured and you can show that the employee (the trucker) was doing work for their employer – say, on their way to deliver products to a client – you may have a better shot at being compensated for your injuries.
Enlist a Compassionate Attorney
The driver of the semi-truck on U.S. 290 was physically unharmed, but for those in the Tahoe, the world may never be the same. If you have been in a similar position, you do not have to go through this difficult time alone. The passionate New Braunfels truck accident attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm are happy to sit down with you and try to help you figure out how best to go on from here, with so much to consider. Contact our office today by calling 888-392-0039 to schedule a free consultation.