On the night of December 6, northbound I-35 had to be closed near Oltorf Street in Austin, after an 18-wheeler lost control and crashed into the cinderblock barrier in the middle of the interstate, pushing the blocks into the lanes themselves. As of this writing, there appear to be no injuries, but it is very easy to envision such a crash injuring many if certain factors were different. If you are injured in a crash such as this with an 18-wheeler, it can be difficult to determine whether you have a claim for compensation.
Many Possible Causes
While each accident is different, there are several causes that seem to keep showing up in the relevant statistics. One of the most common is simple distracted driving – any driver is prone to change the radio, to look in the mirror, to eat, to do any manner of potentially distracting things instead of keeping their eyes on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that approximately 481,000 drivers are using their cell phone while driving at any given time – it stands to reason that some of them will be 18-wheeler drivers.
Other common causes for trucking accidents include poor roads, which can affect big rigs even more than automobiles simply because of their size, reckless driving – whether on the part of the truck driver or someone else and substance abuse. Also, perhaps most commonly, bending or ignoring the rules set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) regarding driver hours, which can lead to drivers operating on very little sleep or with shoddy maintenance done on their vehicles in order to move quickly enough to meet a client deadline.
If You Are Injured
While the Oltorf St. crash appears to have no casualties, fact patterns like these do cause injuries or fatalities with regularity. However, the process of obtaining compensation is not easy, and you must be able to show that your case meets all the criteria for a negligence claim (negligence is the most common legal theory under which car accident cases are brought to court). If you or a loved one is injured in a crash with an 18-wheeler, it is important to document as much as possible, because Texas has a law called the comparative negligence doctrine on the books that prohibits you from recovering if you are deemed more than 50 percent at fault.
Keep in mind, however, that truck accident cases almost always have one potential difference compared to an accident case involving two private automobiles: a trucker almost always works for a trucking company, and under a doctrine called vicarious liability, an employer is often liable for the tortious acts of their employee if that person was acting within the scope of their employment. In other words, if an employee commits a tort (a civil wrong) while they are engaged in some kind of work traceable to their employer, the employer may be on the proverbial hook for compensation if that employee causes harm to anyone. If you have been hurt, you may be able to bring a lawsuit not only against the truck driver, but against their employer as well.
Call Our New Braunfels Accident Attorneys
Truckers are no more or less cautious than any other driver, but because of the size of their vehicles and the way they handle, accidents can happen much more easily than they can with smaller automobiles. If you have been injured due to a trucker’s negligence, the dedicated New Braunfels truck accident lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm are happy to try and work through the facts with you and help suggest a path going forward. Call our offices today at 888-392-0039 to schedule a free consultation.