Recently, a man was attempting to cross I-35 near 15th Street in downtown Austin when he was tragically struck and killed by a passing 18-wheeler. Law enforcement has divulged few details as of this writing, only stating that the pedestrian did not survive and that the 18-wheeler driver remained at the scene after the collision, presumably cooperating with the investigation. If you have been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, your medical bills can be very serious, and it can make all the difference if you are able to bring suit to try and recover compensation for your injuries.
Multiple Statistics and Causes
18-wheeler accidents are unfortunately too common in the United States, but some states (like Texas) seem to experience more than others, between larger populations and simply having more roads – the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) estimates that the state contains nearly 80,000 miles of roadways, whereas a small state like Rhode Island has less than 10,000. Texas roads also boast higher speed limits than many, with the average being 75 mph, but some roads have 80 mph limits – and in one case, I-130, the limit is 85 mph.
In addition to environmental factors, drivers can cause many 18-wheeler accidents (both truck drivers and automobile drivers may be culpable). Underestimating the truck is one of the most common reasons for accidents – for example, following too closely, not giving enough stopping time to a truck (particularly those with three-part brakes), and driving in a truck’s blind spots. Other common factors that either cause or contribute to truck crashes are substance use, speeding, and distracted or aggressive driving.
Possible Liability for Employers
One important aspect of being in an 18-wheeler crash, as opposed to being in an accident with another automobile, is that you may be able to assert a doctrine called vicarious liability, which may put a truck driver’s employer on the proverbial hook for your injuries, in addition to the driver. The rationale behind this idea, observed in Texas law, is that an employer should be responsible for the acts of their employee while that employee is on the job because they chose to employ that person.
The key issue, if you try to assert the vicarious liability doctrine in court, is whether or not the driver was acting within the course and scope of their employment. If someone is clearly off the clock, their actions cannot usually be held against their employer, but while they are working, the general theory is that they are representing their employer, and thus, if the employee is negligent or reckless, the employer should be held accountable for unleashing them on the populace. Do not neglect this aspect in your case, as it may make a significant difference in the amount of any award.
Can a New Braunfels Truck Accident Lawyer Help You?
If you are involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, it can be a long, difficult road to recovery, and having to contend with legal issues while you are trying to recuperate is not something that most people will handle very well. You need a dedicated New Braunfels truck accident attorney who has both the compassion and the experience to handle your case well and to keep you informed every step of the way. The Bettersworth Law Firm has handled these cases for years, and we are happy to try and help you with yours. Contact our offices today at 888-392-0039 for a free consultation.