A recent morning saw a dangerous crash on Loop 1604, near Shaenfield Road, as a truck driver rolled his 18-wheeler after an “unknown vehicle” allegedly cut him off and caused him to lose control. He managed to escape, though he sustained third-degree burns and was airlifted to University Hospital with “life-threatening” injuries. While only the driver of the truck was injured in this accident, sometimes there are many more victims when 18-wheelers crash. If you are ever involved in a trucking accident, the potential for life-changing injury is sadly all too real.
Causes and Effects
Statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) show that 592 people died in crashes involving commercial trucks or semi-trailers in 2019. This may not seem like many, but the numbers add up nationwide, and the number of serious injuries can be more than twice the number of fatalities in any given year. Large trucks like the one that rolled on Loop 1604 have the advantage over the average driver and vehicle in terms of weight and velocity, and the sheer tonnage involved can lead to potentially life-changing injuries for the accident victim. Truck drivers are actually less likely to be severely injured unless the accident involves an explosion or fire, as the Loop 1604 crash did.
These types of accidents have many causes in common with standard car crashes – reckless or negligent driving, as the “unknown vehicle” apparently did to the 18-wheeler driver, is a common one, though others like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are also seen. Though there are a few that are unique to dealing with big rigs – most importantly, that big rig drivers are bound by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and its rules, including hours of service and maintenance. Failure to abide by these rules may result in liability.
Employer Liability May Attach
One other factor in truck accident cases that is not seen in crashes involving two automobile drivers is the issue of employer liability. The overwhelming majority of big rig drivers are working, if they are operating an 18-wheeler, and if they are acting within the “course and scope of employment” when they allegedly caused your accident, it may open their employer up to liability under a theory referred to as respondeat superior or vicarious liability. If you are able to establish that the trucker’s employer may share in the liability for your accident, you may wind up receiving more in damages simply because employers have deeper pockets.
It is important to keep in mind that an employer may not always be held liable. Vicarious liability is only found when the employee can be said to be acting within the course and scope of their employment, but those actions also must further their employer’s interests, or at the very least, the trucker must fall within the definition of an employee. There is a wide exception in Texas that the courts have carved out where an employer may not be held liable, and its edges are still being defined.
Contact a New Braunfels Truck Accident Attorney
While the 18-wheeler driver was lucky to make it out of his vehicle alive, the shoe may be on the other foot in another accident. The skilled New Braunfels truck accident attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm are ready and willing to try and help you with your case so that you can focus on recovery. Call us today at 888-392-0039 for a free consultation.