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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 truck accident lawyerRecently, a 70-year old man was killed after his pickup truck crashed into the back of a semi-truck. According to law enforcement, he swerved to avoid another vehicle near the River Ridge Parkway exit only to crash into the back of the trailer. This is sadly common on Texas roads, especially in situations where construction is going on, as it was on River Ridge Parkway. Truck accidents are disproportionately severe in terms of injury and fatality, for a variety of reasons, and if you have been injured in a crash with a semi-truck, your medical bills will likely be very high. Having an attorney on your side can be helpful to try and seek compensation for what you have been through.

Causes of Truck Accidents

Commercial trucking companies handle shipping all over the country, and as such, they are motivated primarily by money. Delays can cost the company significantly, and because of this, it is not uncommon for truck drivers to perhaps drive longer than is recommended, or edge past speed limits. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) has rules that govern the number of hours a driver may safely put in on the road - however, drivers have routinely admitted to falsifying their drive-time logs and otherwise ignoring the regulations in the name of profit (though it can be assumed that pushing the envelope is often done at their employer’s urging).

While cutting corners in a minor way may seem inconsequential, driving while fatigued is one of the major causes of accidents, either by the trucker or by automobile drivers. Other causes include speeding (by either or both vehicles), inexperience on the part of the truck driver (handling a large truck is very different than handling a standard car or pickup truck), and faulty truck maintenance or upkeep, by the truck company or an outside actor like a mechanic or service center.

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TX truck accident lawyerRecently, an 18-wheeler trying to avoid a crash wound up jackknifing on Loop 410, spilling its load onto the highway. The driver crashed into the median after swerving around a vehicle that allegedly had cut him off, dumping the truck’s load of sod onto Southeast Loop 410 and closing the highway for several hours. While no injuries were reported in this particular incident, they very easily could have happened, especially to the driver of the smaller vehicle. If you are involved in an accident with a large truck, your injuries are likely severe; seeking compensation for what you have been through may be a good idea.

Causes and Effects

There are countless causes for 18-wheeler crashes. Some can be attributed to driver error, such as speeding, disobeying traffic signals and stop signs, and in particular, driving while fatigued. (The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [FMCSA] has regulations governing worker hours, but many truck drivers ignore them or are told to ignore them, in order to deliver orders more quickly.) Others may be somewhat inevitable, or at the very least, not the fault of either driver in the accident - poor maintenance on an 18-wheeler is a prime example, as the driver may have no idea of a fault in their vehicle unless it is too late.

Truck accidents are disproportionately serious, causing a large number of injuries and fatalities each year - the most recent available data from the FMCSA estimates that approximately 5,000 people died in large truck and bus crashes in 2017, but the total number of crashes involving large trucks and buses was only 4,889. It is perhaps understandable that the numbers would be somewhat skewed, given the sheer size and weight of most large trucks (especially if they are carrying a load).

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Posted on in Truck Wrecks

TX truck accident lawyerRecently, southbound I-35 in Austin was closed after a large truck lost its cargo just south of Airport Boulevard. While no injuries were reported, this is far from common when trucks drop cargo on public roads. If you are involved in an accident with a large truck, or with cargo they have left behind, it is very possible that you might sustain serious injuries that breed large medical bills. If you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, you have every right to seek compensation to ensure your bills are covered.

Statistics and Trends

Large trucks are a huge part of traffic on U.S. roads, with approximately 12 million registered single and combination trucks in 2017. Texas shoulders a large part of that burden on its roads, with shipping between the states racking up miles driven every year. While the relative proportion of fatal crashes for all that shipping is relatively low, with only around 600 fatalities and 1,250 injuries registered in Texas crashes involving large trucks, truck accidents are generally more likely to lead to fatalities and serious injuries than crashes that only involve smaller vehicles.

There are several different reasons for this, but most of them boil down to the common-sense fact that a trucker is trying to control a significantly larger amount of mass and weight than an auto or motorcycle driver. If they have to contend with a mechanical failure or other injury to their truck which causes them to lose cargo, this is an even bigger problem that many truckers simply find themselves unable to manage during an accident - depending on the cargo, it may be another obstacle for both the trucker and the auto driver to try and avoid.

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TX accident lawyerRecently, the driver of an 18-wheeler was killed when he lost control of his vehicle, causing it to fall off the upper level of I-10 West near Laredo Street. The vehicle cut across lanes of traffic, hit the retaining wall, and fell over onto the street below. Truck accidents like this are somewhat rare, but while the unfortunate driver was pronounced dead at the scene, there were apparently no other injuries sustained. If you are not as lucky, you may at least be able to seek compensation for the injuries you have suffered in such an accident.

Trucking Accidents Are Deadly

Because of the cargo weight and size of 18-wheelers, accidents where they are involved are much more likely to be dangerous or even deadly than those involving smaller automobiles. Data from 2017 estimates that there were approximately 4,200 fatal crashes involving large trucks (only 1 percent of the police-reported total), but there were approximately 56,000 trucks involved in injury crashes, which is a higher proportion of vehicles on the road compared to the number of cars involved in accidents.

Other factors in trucking accidents are very, very common on Texas roads - for example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that almost 60 percent of all trucking accidents occur on rural roads, and nearly 30 percent occurred on interstate highways, of which Texas has the most mileage in the United States. Rural roads lend themselves to both speeding and a phenomenon called ‘highway hypnosis’, both of which can play major roles in auto accidents.

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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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