Recently, a fiery 18-wheeler crash blocked all the lanes of Ben White Boulevard at South First Street, snarling traffic for the morning commute. While no injuries were reported, the truck sustained significant damage after a fuel line was compromised. The fact that no injuries were reported in this type of wreck is remarkable, as crashes involving 18-wheelers are notoriously dangerous. If you are injured in a wreck involving a large truck or semi, you will often have serious injuries and medical bills, and bringing suit against the driver may be a way to seek compensation.
Truck Accidents Are Deadly
The most recent available data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) show approximately 4,500 fatal accidents involving large trucks in that year, with the average fatality count being 1.12 per accident. However, 83 percent of the deaths in 18-wheeler accidents were not large truck occupants – in other words, automobile drivers and pedestrians were the ones most likely to be injured or killed if involved in a crash with a large truck. This is not unexpected; the sheer size and velocity of an 18-wheeler, especially if the trailer is full, far outstrips that of most passenger vehicles.
In Texas, the number of fatalities from large truck-related accidents has steadily been climbing in recent years, to a high of 649 in 2017. While some of this has been due to driver error, such as speeding, driving while distracted or sleepy, and substance abuse, another reason postulated for the rise is the opening of SH-130, with its higher speed limit, which has led to an uptick in traffic-related fatalities in the state in general. 18-wheelers, with their combination of heft and speed, will almost always be dangerous to other vehicles or people on the road if their drivers lose control.
If you have been hurt in an accident with an 18-wheeler through no fault of your own, it may be worth your while to bring suit seeking compensation for your medical bills. There are four things you must prove before a defendant can be held liable in a negligence case. You must be able to show that the defendant had a duty to exercise reasonable care toward the other motorists and pedestrians on the road – and also, that that duty was breached. You must also be able to prove that the breach of the duty of care happened because of the defendant’s conduct, and nothing else – in other words, you must show that no other cause other than the defendant’s actions made the accident happen. Finally, you must show that you did suffer tangible harm – not as minimal as cuts and bruises, but it does not necessarily have to be tangible or physical.
Be advised also that you may be able to sue more than one defendant. Texas observes a doctrine called respondeat superior, also called vicarious liability, which states that an employer can be held liable for the intentional torts of an employee who is acting within the scope of their employment. This means that if your accident was caused by a trucker who was on the job (as opposed to on some personal errand), you may be able to bring the trucking company into your suit as well.
Call a Knowledgeable Personal Injury Lawyer
Tractor-trailer crashes can be devastating, and if you have been through one, you need a dedicated and knowledgeable attorney on your side to help you through the process. The passionate New Braunfels truck accident lawyers at The Bettersworth Law Firm have handled many of these cases, and we are happy to try and handle yours. Call us today at 888-392-0039 to schedule a free consultation.