From John Jose
Texas has the dubious accolade of leading the nation in fatal truck accidents. In 2018, when last year’s data was available, there were 658 fatal accidents in Texas, in which 664 people died. The 664 truck wreck deaths in Texas accounted for more than 13 percent of truck wreck deaths nationwide in 2018 and are more than 52 percent higher than the truck wreck deaths reported by the state to the second highest number had death toll from truck accidents – California.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a study that collected data from accidents involving large trucks between 2001 and 2003 for reporting to Congress. The FMCSA reported that there were approximately 141,000 fatal or injury-related accidents involving large trucks (trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds) during the 33 month investigation period.
Common causes of commercial truck accidents
According to the FMCSA report, two-thirds of the accidents caused by large trucks were due to:
- the truck driver’s failure to recognize a potential accident risk due to inattentiveness, distraction, or neglect.
- The poor decision making by the driver, such as B. Driving too fast for conditions, too precise consequences, incorrect assessment of the speed of other vehicles.
- Make false assumptions about the other driver’s actions.
More than 60 percent of accidents caused by large trucks are due to one of two types of driving error:
- Driving out of the correct lane of the truck.
- Loss of control.
The statistics were still sobering almost two decades later. In 2018, accidents involving large trucks and passenger cars killed 4,951 people and injured 151,000.
Why truck accidents are more complex than car accidents
In addition to the increased severity of injury when a vehicle weighing tens of thousands of pounds collides with a vehicle weighing only a few thousand pounds, truck wrecks differ from car wrecks in several other key ways:
Regulations: Haulage companies and truckers are subject to a comprehensive set of federal and state regulations, and typically most haulage companies and truckers break these regulations on a daily basis.
Detection: Truck wreck cases require much more research into the behavior of the truck driver and the haulage company in front of the wreck, the training of the driver and the condition of the vehicle than would normally be the case with a routine car wreck case. In addition, there are critical, time sensitive aspects of the investigation and detection of truck accidents that require immediate attention and thorough investigation.
Complication: Overall, handling a truck accident case is far more complicated and expensive than handling a routine car wreckage. The focus in a truck crash is at least as much on the fault of the freight forwarder as on the direct driving behavior of the truck driver who caused the wreck. The focus is as much, if not more, on the misconduct in front of the wreck as well as on the driver’s immediate negligence that caused the wreck.
How is liability determined in a truck accident?
Resolving truck accidents is often a complex and lengthy process. In addition to investigating whether there has been a violation of state or federal regulations, the question also arises of who is liable for the accident.
When a tractor-trailer is involved in an accident, as in any accident situation, lawyers and insurance agents try to determine what caused the accident to determine who is to blame. When a commercial vehicle is involved in an accident, liability can fall on the driver, but also on a number of other parties such as the driver’s employer, the owner of the truck or the manufacturer of the truck and its parts.
Truck accidents where multiple parties are held liable – for example, when a truck driver is determined to share liability with both the company that owns the truck and the manufacturer of one of the truck parts – have a good chance of going to court rather than being settled out of court. The process is more expensive and takes longer than settling the case out of court, which is often preferable to plaintiffs for these reasons.
So many separate and potentially liable parties result in a complex and lengthy process of determining the exact causes of a truck accident, who should be held liable, and what compensation the victims deserve.
Large commercial vehicles account for a disproportionate percentage of the injuries and fatalities on American roads. Unfortunately, Texas leads the way in such tragic accidents. When a large truck collides with a passenger car, the passenger car loses. In fatal accidents involving a large truck and a passenger car, the people killed or injured are usually the occupants of the passenger car.
Litigation in these cases is complex, especially when several factors play a role. If you’ve been involved in an accident with a semitrailer truck and no fault has been found, there is a certain silver lining: because commercial truck drivers have to adhere to high insurance limits, you have a better chance of getting more compensation for your damage than if you were involved in an accident with one normal passenger cars.
On the other hand, if, as is often the case, several defendants are involved in a truck accident, it can take years for all parties to agree on which liable party is responsible for which part of the damage.
Slack Davis Sanger has extensive trucking experience
If you are a victim of a commercial vehicle accident or have a loved one who has been involved in a commercial vehicle accident, contact Slack Davis Sanger as soon as possible. In these complex cases, which typically take months or even years to process, time is of the essence.
Slack Davis Sanger’s trucking accident attorneys in Fort Worth are leaders in commercial trucking accident litigation and have a long track record of handling these complex cases. Our seasoned attorneys are also compassionate listeners and passionate advocates for our clients. Our extensive knowledge of truck accident laws, including state and federal regulations that govern the workings of commercial vehicle manufacturers, drivers, and manufacturers, makes our company uniquely qualified to handle these cases.
Contact one of our Fort Worth truck accident attorneys today.