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TX accident lawyerRecently, 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.

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Posted on in Truck Wrecks

b2ap3_thumbnail_truck-crash_20190215-225819_1.jpgRecently, the northbound lanes of SH-130 were blocked near Manor, just south of Highway 290, after an 18-wheeler overturned. The driver apparently lost control of the empty truck and it rolled, which also caused a rupture of one of its fuel tanks. The driver was hospitalized, and Austin firefighter and hazmat crews were able to contain the scene to ensure no explosions occurred. While this accident was contained, with only the truck driver sustaining injuries, sometimes innocent drivers will be caught in the crossfire. If this happens to you, it is important to understand your rights and understand whether or not you have a claim to compensation.

Serious Injuries and Fatalities Result

Because of the sheer weight involved when a truck crashes, the likelihood of injury or death is greater, as a general rule, than in accidents involving two smaller vehicles, such as automobiles or pickup trucks. Even when an 18-wheeler’s trailer is empty, the body of the truck is capable of inflicting crushing damage on you and your vehicle in certain types of accidents. Some of the most common types of injuries from trucking accidents include whiplash and other soft tissue damage, brain injuries, broken bones, and spinal injuries.

There are just as many potential causes for truck accidents as there are injuries, especially in urban areas - approximately one-fourth of all truck crashes occur on international highways. Many can be traced back to driver distraction or being physically compromised; for example, it is not uncommon for truckers to be pushed beyond the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s guidelines for maximum hours, which can lead to sleep deprivation and impaired driving. Other common reasons include substance abuse, improper maintenance of the truck, speeding and other unsafe driving practices, and poorly maintained roads.

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TX accident attorneyA 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.

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Posted on in Truck Wrecks

TX accident lawyerOn 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.

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Posted on in Truck Wrecks

TX injury lawyerOn October 3, a man was killed after he tried to pass an 18-wheeler on I-35, winding up going under the vehicle on the right side. The car wound up coming to a stop just off the Manor Road exit, after sustaining severe damage. The driver was found deceased in the car. While there are no charges pending against the truck driver, this type of accident does illustrate how easy it is to misjudge distances and speeds when dealing with large trucks, and how it can be very easy for either you or the trucker to make a mistake. If you are involved in an accident with a big rig, understanding your options is a good idea going forward.

Numerous Causes of Accidents

If one examines statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), one can see that in approximately 5,430 fatal crashes in 2017, 433 (approximately 8 percent) involved semi-trucks or trucks with trailers. For injury crashes, the number lowers - of approximately 135,934 crashes involving injury, 3,325 involved big rigs (approximately 2 percent). It may not sound like much, but only passenger cars (including pickup trucks and SUVs) and motorcycles were responsible for more. Across these categories, one can infer numerous causes - for example, a lower percentage of injury crashes involve large trucks because the accidents involving large trucks tend to be more serious (thus, causing more fatalities than injuries).

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The sooner you call, the sooner we can build your case, secure evidence and get maximum compensation for your injuries.

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