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Posted on in Truck Wrecks

TX injury lawyerSome of the most unusual crashes can occur on Texas highways, but regardless of their rarity, they can cause real issues for commuters and other drivers. Recently, a semi-truck carrying a load of avocados overturned on I-35, near Oltorf Street in Austin. The driver allegedly struck a cement barrier on the edge of the road and lost control. Neither the driver nor anyone else was injured, and no other vehicle was involved, though the road was closed for most of the night, including part of the early morning rush hour. While thankfully there appear to have been no injuries in this particular crash, semi-trucks do cause a large proportion of accident injuries and fatalities in any given year.

Texas Highways Require Caution

A large amount of U.S. shipping goes through Texas, and a large amount of that goes by road. Semi-trucks are common sights on Texas highways, and while the majority of their drivers operates their vehicles in a safe manner, their sheer numbers merit caution for cars and other smaller vehicles. 2017 statistics show 5430 vehicles involved in fatal crashes in Texas, of which approximately 10 percent were trucks. However, the percentage of fatalities in those accidents were markedly higher than those in accidents not involving trucks.

The reasons for such an elevated number of accidents and higher percentage of fatalities when compared to car-only accidents are many, but size plays a role. A semi-truck, especially when it is carrying a load, as the truck on I-35 was at the time, outweighs most other vehicles on the road by more than double, and if the driver loses control, the damage can be devastating. This also ties into the fact that a truck’s reaction time will generally be slower than that of an auto driver, thus leaving less time to brake or take other evasive measures if an accident seems imminent.

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX injury lawyerRecently, a young pedestrian was struck by a car near St. Mary’s University, on Culebra Road. He was hit by a sedan going by while walking in the street, sustaining injuries severe enough to require transport to University Hospital for treatment. The driver of the car did stop and render aid, meaning that no criminal charges will be filed against them. However, should the pedestrian feel that the driver acted recklessly, they still might be able to bring a civil suit against the driver in order to be compensated for their medical bills.

Texas Pedestrian Accidents Are Common

Because of its sheer size and spread-out cities, Texas tends to not be very friendly for pedestrians, especially in urban areas. A 2017 report by Smart Growth America, an urban planning think tank, listed Texas as the ninth most dangerous state for pedestrians, with a Pedestrian Danger Index of 101.1. Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) statistics show approximately 615 pedestrian fatalities, which is a decrease from the previous year, but still a higher number than most other states.

There are many different potential causes for pedestrian accidents, but many stem back to driver inattention. Distracted driving can lead to a failure to notice a pedestrian wearing dark clothing or walking in the road, as the young man on Culebra Road was doing. It is also not uncommon for substance abuse or overindulgence to play a role. While pedestrians can and do make mistakes as well, they usually have the right of way, which puts the fault on a hurried or aggressive driver if they jump the proverbial gun and cause injury.

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TX injury lawyerDuring rush hour on January 7, 2019, two of the southbound lanes on SB Texas-130 were closed due to a semi-truck fire. While no one was injured, there was a minor fuel spill as a result of the accident, and as such, all lanes were closed for hours until the extent of the spillage could be verified. This crash did not harm anyone, but unfortunately, many truck fire-related accidents are more dangerous. If you are injured due to a truck or car fire after an accident, the damages you suffer can be quite severe.

Statistics Show Fatalities Rising

The overall number of traffic fatalities in Texas decreased just barely between 2016 and 2017, but the number of deaths due to truck accidents, particularly accidents involving large trucks, rose. Passenger car-related deaths made up roughly 34 percent of the total in 2017, but truck-related deaths made up 33 percent, and the percentage stemming from accidents involving large trucks held steady at 3 percent. This may not sound like a lot, but truck accidents were proportionally more likely to be fatal than any other type of auto crash. Given the size and relatively poor handling of most large trucks, it is sadly understandable.

It is worth noting that truck accidents carry one potential variable that most passenger car-related accidents do not, and that is the truck’s load. In other words, one can assume that a passenger car will hold people and their assorted belongings. An 18-wheeler may be hauling a load of something as innocuous as hay or textiles, or it can be hauling something as potentially combustible as fuel or as unpredictable as industrial chemicals. If an 18-wheeler is in an accident, the load may leak or explode, and more damages for both the trucker and any drivers that were hit will result.

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TX injury lawyerOn the night of January 6, 2019, a speeding Dodge Charger T-boned a pickup as it was turning onto FM 78 in San Antonio. The driver of the pickup was killed on impact, going through a steel fence and into a ditch. The driver of the Charger was treated for minor injuries, along with his two passengers, and then taken into custody on a charge of manslaughter. Manslaughter is a criminal charge, but it is not implausible that the family of the pickup driver might bring suit against the driver of the Charger for wrongful death on top of that. Criminal charges lead to jail time for a defendant if found guilty, while a civil suit for wrongful death leads to a defendant being held liable for their actions, and required to pay monetary damages.

Side Impact Collisions Can Be Deadly

According to statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), side-impact collisions led to approximately 24 percent of all passenger vehicle deaths on the road in 2017. Some side-impact collisions can turn into rollovers, which are particularly deadly all on their own (only around 2 percent of all vehicle crashes in 2010 were of the rollover type, but rollovers accounted for almost 35 percent of all crash-related deaths that year), but even if your car does not roll, side impact collisions can cause particular harm.

Side-impact collisions can be deadly, especially for young children, because the protection in a car is mostly congregated at the front and back. Comparatively speaking, there is very little to shield a passenger from a side-impact crash, and it is a large reason why the deaths in a side-impact crash tend to be clustered statistically at the point of impact. Some vehicles do have more protection than others, such as side airbags or side impact bars, but it is still not the same level of protection that frontal and rear crumple zones and airbags provide.

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TX accident lawyerA crash on the afternoon of December 19 caused a fairly significant problem on Loop 1604 in San Antonio, between Stone Oak and Highway 281 - a utility truck was involved in an accident, which then caused it to leak a substantial amount of fuel onto the roadway. While ultimately, no injuries were reported, these types of crashes can be dangerous, and they can also pose complex questions about just who is liable if injuries or fatalities do occur.

Utility Trucks Occupy Unusual Legal Ground

Trucks are grouped under the law by their weight, in most situations. Pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles are regulated the same way as automobiles. 18-wheelers and other big rigs are usually overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and other authorities that can competently regulate commercial trucking and its nitty-gritty details. Utility trucks very often wind up in the middle, both in terms of weight and in terms of the regulations imposed upon them, and it is because they can differ significantly in terms of size and weight within that classification.

Texas has very few regulations that apply specifically to utility trucks, but many of the most common tend to be treated as pickup trucks - for example, communications companies and landscaping businesses use utility trucks which are retrofitted pickups. However, the important thing to keep in mind is that while they may be the same size as a personal or private vehicle, they are invariably treated as commercial vehicles. This may put their employers on the proverbial hook.

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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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