In 2020, Texas saw 32,562 commercial motor vehicle crashes. Of that number, 513 crashes were fatal, resulting in the death of 581 people. Often, truck accidents are seen as more complicated than regular car accidents, due to a range of factors. If you have been involved in a truck accident, you may be interested in pursuing compensation but may feel overwhelmed by looming complications. In this article, we’ll walk you through the reasons that make Texas truck accidents difficult to handle, the common causes for them, as well as the best course of action after an accident.
Factors That Make Texas Truck Accidents More Complicated
Whenever you have been injured due to someone else’s recklessness or negligence, you are owed compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. While this is a straightforward concept, Corpus Christi truck accidents are often made complicated by the following factors:
With the size and scale of commercial trucks, many things could go wrong and cause an accident. For example, maybe the driver was dozing off behind the wheel — while the driver is responsible for drowsy driving, the company behind them could be violating federal rules for mandatory rest periods. In another scenario, the driver may have swerved into oncoming traffic — while the driver could be responsible for their incorrect evasive maneuvers, they could claim that it was caused by an improperly-secured load or mechanical malfunction.
In addition, most trucking companies and insurance companies involved will be looking to minimize their own responsibility, by alleging that you are at fault (e.g. you stayed in the blind spot too long, you did not give them ample space for stopping, or turning, etc.). The question of liability is often a tangled web in Texas truck accidents.
In a typical car accident, the other drivers or passengers are the owners of their vehicle. In truck accidents, however, the driver could be an employee of a trucking company, an owner-operator, or a lessee. Their ownership status could potentially affect who was at fault for your accident.
Some trucks may have a black box that records data, such as the traveling speed at a given point in time. This data can be used to reconstruct the events of the accident but can pose complications if its version of events conflicts with others.
A truck’s cargo can add significant weight, increase stopping time, and reduce driver visibility behind the truck. Sometimes, accidents may be caused by cargo being improperly loaded and secured instead of driver error.
The size and weight of trucks can cause significant damage in a collision, so truck accidents are more likely to result in serious injuries or death than typical car accidents. In addition, when they get stopped on the road, the large space they take up can indirectly lead to more accidents. The greater the damage, the more serious the injuries, and the more victims there are, the more complicated a case becomes.
Laws and Regulations
Due to the potential for accidents, trucks are subject to more laws and regulations than other vehicles. Some examples are laws that restrict the number of hours truckers are allowed to drive per day, as well as standards for loading and securing cargo on the rig. Violations of these rules will increase the chances of the truckers or their companies being found liable for the accident.
Common Causes of Texas Truck Accidents
The cause of an accident is often tied to liability. Some of the most common causes are:
- Distracted driving, such as texting, calling, or eating
- Drowsy driving (i.e. falling asleep at the wheel)
- Driving under the influence of either drugs or alcohol
- Reckless driving behaviors (e.g. speeding, overtaking, road rage)
- Incorrect evasive action (i.e. making the wrong move or having a late reaction)
- Improper lane changes
- Failure to yield right of way
- Poor weather or road conditions
- Lack of proper driver training
- Unreasonable driver schedules (e.g. excessively long or late shifts)
- Poor truck maintenance
- Improperly loaded trucks
Regardless of the cause of your accident, you should always try to keep your head on your shoulders and follow the correct steps afterward.
What To Do After a Truck Accident
If you have been involved in a truck accident, it can be overwhelming and frightening. To protect your safety and your chances of securing compensation for your injuries, you should follow these important steps:
- Seek medical attention — Always prioritize your health and safety. Stay as calm as possible and contact emergency services so you can get prompt attention for the injuries of everybody involved in the accident.
- Report to the authorities — Getting a police report can be very helpful to your case. It gives you an official document that states the details of the accident, so the facts are not up for debate.
- Document everything — Recording as much information as you can about the scene of the accident is crucial in proving a personal injury claim later on. Take photos and videos of the vehicles involved as well as the surrounding road conditions. Exchange contact information with possible witnesses, as well as the other driver. If you have a dash cam that escaped undamaged, make sure to save the recording.
- Contact a Texas truck accident lawyer — As mentioned, Texas truck accidents can make for very complicated cases. It is in your best interests to seek out a lawyer that will advise you on the best path forward and protect your rights from trucking and insurance companies.
Get the Assistance of an Experienced Texas Truck Accident Lawyer Today
At The Burkett Law Firm, we have seen our fair share of Texas truck accidents. We know how devastating their effects may be, and how difficult it is for victims to handle the litigation process while recovering from their injuries. If you have been involved in a truck accident, feel free to reach out to our team of experienced and compassionate lawyers — we will always do our utmost to fight for your best interests and secure maximum compensation for your injuries.