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TX accident lawyerTruck wrecks are a serious problem in Texas. In 2019, the state led the country in fatal accidents involving commercial trucks, with 543 crashes resulting in 613 deaths, and thousands more Texans suffered truck wreck injuries of varying severity. Truck accident injury victims have the right to pursue compensation from both negligent truck drivers and the companies that employ them. However, a bill under consideration in the Texas House of Representatives could make doing so more difficult.

Trucking Company Liability in Texas

Often, when a commercial semi-truck is in an accident resulting in injuries, fault does not lie entirely with the truck’s driver. While a driver could be considered negligent by way of behaviors such as distracted driving, drunk driving, or driver fatigue, the driver’s employer can also be considered negligent for contributing to the circumstances leading to the crash. Common situations that may involve trucking company liability include:

  • Improper maintenance or repair of the truck
  • Improper loading or securing of the truck’s cargo
  • Insufficient record-keeping regarding the truck’s maintenance or the driver’s service hours
  • Failure to follow drug testing protocol for drivers

When a trucking company is found to be negligent, they may be liable for a portion of an injury victim’s compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages in some cases.

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TX injury lawyerAfter a 2018 accident in which a mother and daughter lost their lives on the way home from Austin City Limits, their surviving family members are petitioning for a law that would require 18-wheelers and other large trucks to take measures to increase their visibility. The family feels that this law could prevent similar collisions to the one that affected them, which involved a tanker truck at night. If passed, this law could give drivers injured in truck accidents another option for claiming negligence and pursuing compensation in a personal injury lawsuit.

Federal Regulations for Big-Rig Truck Drivers

Current Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations specify standards for headlights, taillights, brake lights, and reflectors depending on the type of commercial motor vehicle, and they also require that these lights be operable and unobstructed at all times. If an accident occurs because a truck does not follow these regulations, the driver and his or her employer may share responsibility for failing to install the proper equipment and inspect it to make sure it is working.

The Austin family mentioned above seeks to expand these regulations by adding more lights to the sides of large trucks and requiring they be painted with light colors. Their goal is to reach 10,000 signatures on the petition and send it to the U.S. Department of Transportation. If they are successful, trucks throughout the United States could be required to update their equipment after legislation passes.

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TX truck accident lawyerIn September, one person died and another was injured after a semi-truck failed to stop at a red light after exiting I-35 in San Antonio. Police have reported that the truck’s brake failure was a factor in the accident. Unfortunately, accidents due to failing or malfunctioning truck equipment are not uncommon, and liability can be complex in these cases. If you have been injured in a truck accident caused by brake failure or improper maintenance, an experienced attorney can help you build the case you need for compensation.

Dangers of Failing Brakes in Texas Truck Accidents

Because of their large size and weight, big-rig trucks often require a longer stopping time and distance even with properly working brakes. At a highway speed of 65 miles per hour, a fully loaded truck can take up to 600 feet to come to a complete stop, and without working brakes, this distance can increase significantly. This can be a major problem on I-35 exit ramps, which often require trucks to decelerate in a short amount of time.

To combat the dangers of failing truck equipment, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires trucking companies to inspect and maintain trucks regularly to ensure they are safe for the road. They also must keep detailed records of maintenance and repairs performed, and drivers must always ensure their vehicle is safe before driving. Despite these regulations, accidents still happen, and multiple parties may be liable.

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IL truck accident attorneySan Antonio law enforcement is seeking a truck driver who fled the scene after causing the death of a motorcyclist, and injuries to several other motorists, in an accident on I-10 one recent night. The truck had been traveling too fast for the flow of traffic and wound up jackknifing across the lanes of I-10 East. Fleeing the scene of an accident is a crime, but in addition, the families of those injured can bring suit for negligence and wrongful death if they believe they have a case to do so. If you have been injured in a similar case, you have options to try and recover your expenses.

Truck Crashes All Too Common

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) statistics for 2018 (the most recent available data) show that approximately 465 fatal crashes happened on state roads that involved a semi-truck or tractor-trailer that year, and over 3,000 injury-related crashes in the same time frame. This adds up to about 13 percent of all crashes on Texas roads that year. There are trends within these numbers, including a higher percentage of accidents happening in rural areas.

There are also a handful of causes that continue to reappear in police reports. Excessive speeding, use of alcohol or other substances, and poor road maintenance are among the most common, but the most often reported reason for crashes is driver fatigue. Truck drivers are routinely pushed by their employers to drive beyond regulation limits on hours and miles, and the resulting fatigue very often results in accidents.

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TX truck accident lawyerRecently, the residents of a small apartment building on West Drexel Avenue in San Antonio received a rude awakening when a pickup truck crashed into the building. The driver allegedly claimed no knowledge of how he got there, and law enforcement saw no evidence of alcohol or other substances. Currently, the incident is being explained by the driver suffering a medical episode. However, if you ever are in this type of situation, it can be extremely confusing and disconcerting, especially if medical episodes are a common thing for you. It can ease your mind to have a clear picture of your liability compared to others.

Negligence Requires Voluntary Action

Torts are basically the civil equivalent of crimes, and if someone has committed a tort under Texas law, it can generally be held that they have acted negligently. In most car accident cases, at least one of the drivers can be shown to have been negligent in their actions, and negligence is what most often triggers liability. In other words, if a plaintiff can show that the defendant did not exercise reasonable care in their actions, they may wind up being held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries and suffering.

However, if someone has a medical episode while driving, in theory, they have not been negligent because the medical episode was not a conscious action they chose to make. Negligence requires conscious, voluntary action (or inaction) - in other words, a person has to knowingly act in a specific way before they can be accused of negligence. Having a medical episode is not an “action” - it is something that one’s body or brain does on its own. The question after this type of accident is usually whether or not anyone at all can be held liable.

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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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