A motor vehicle accident occurs somewhere in Texas every 57 seconds in 2022, with roughly 10 percent being Texas truck accidents. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) accident reports show 4,481 fatalities in 4,037 fatal crashes, with at least 300 injured persons. It might not have happened to you or a loved one in Houston or Austin yet, but the chances are pretty high.
The tragedy hidden in these statistics is the innocent lives taken. Of the people who died, 206 were in a vehicle struck by someone driving under the influence, while 404 were due to distracted driving. Fifty-six fatalities were children aged five and younger. Many of these incidents were entirely preventable.
The fatality rate is 1.55 deaths per hundred million vehicle miles traveled in Texas. Truck drivers tend to drive more miles, and a semi-truck is heavier than a passenger vehicle. The law of numbers dictates that severe or fatal truck accidents can happen at any time.
Common Causes of Texas Truck Accidents
Suppose you sustain injuries in an unequal encounter with a tractor-trailer in Dallas through no fault of your own. You can file an insurance claim or hire a truck accident attorney for compensation.
The TxDOT reported 53,127 crashes involving trucks in 2022, not including pickup trucks. They resulted in 686 deaths and 1,579 serious injuries, some in Harris County. However, knowing the common causes of Texas semi-truck accidents might help you avoid or prevent such tragedies.
Truck drivers must comply with federal guidelines for hours of service. That is because driving more than 10 hours straight is exhausting and can lead to many driver errors. These include the following contributing factors:
- Aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Illegal lane changes
- Unsafe overtaking
- Running stop signs and red lights
- Drowsy driving
- Unsafe braking
- Reckless driving
- Defective vehicle
The Department of Public Safety provides truck drivers with a handbook on the safe operation of commercial trucks. However, it makes no difference if they don’t pay attention. First responders will still need to come to preventable accident scenes.
Truck driver fatigue caused 8,596 crashes in Texas in 2022, resulting in 127 fatalities and 2,034 injuries. It is an occupational hazard that, unfortunately, affects other people. Long drives alone at night and erratic sleep schedules can take a toll on anyone.
Truck drivers also often suffer from sleep apnea, robbing them of quality sleep when they go off duty. All that creates a perfect storm, leading to inadequate attention on the road or falling asleep at the wheel. When a big rig goes out of control, it can cause many accidents.
Driving a semi or large truck is different from driving a passenger car. It requires special skills to maneuver and control a big rig on the road. The trucking company must train their drivers properly to avoid accidents. The company must also do background checks before hiring drivers to ensure they have the qualifications to operate commercial trucks. Taking shortcuts when training and hiring drivers is irresponsible and ultimately more expensive if they result in deaths or injuries.
Failure to follow regulations
The federal government has implemented stringent rules for truck companies to follow to ensure the safe operation of commercial vehicles. Aside from the service hours, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has regulations for truck maintenance and driver testing for controlled substances. Failing to follow one or more of these rules can increase the chances of an accident.
Inadequate or improper maintenance
Any poorly maintained vehicle on the road poses a danger to others. Brake failure, loss of steering control, and tire blowouts are just some things that can turn a vehicle into a deadly weapon.
The effects of a passenger car accident with another car are a fraction of that when the accident involves a semi. Truck companies and drivers are responsible for ensuring the truck is in good condition before it hits the road. If they fail to do that, they become liable for the financial losses of the victims of an accident.
Most people travel at high speed on a highway, so if something falls off a truck, many will be unable to avoid it. The instinct is to swerve or brake hard, so there’s a high risk of hitting or being hit by other vehicles. Suppose there is an accident due to cargo falling off a truck on the highway. The driver or their principal may be found liable for any damages.
Truck drivers are responsible for ensuring the goods they are transporting will not fall off or detach while traveling. They must follow regulations for cargo securement to provide a balanced and safe load, whether in a closed trailer or open flatbed.
For example, unbalanced cargo may shift and cause the truck to jackknife. Depending on the circumstances, other liable parties may be the cargo loader, cargo company, or trucking company. A separate regulation applies to the transport of hazardous materials.
Legal Recourse in a Texas Truck Accident
Truck drivers may be working as independent contractors or employees. In either case, the trucking company is typically responsible for damages from 18-wheeler accidents resulting from driver error.
The respondeat superior or vicarious liability doctrine holds the employer or principal responsible for the wrongful acts of their employees or agents. Texas limits that doctrine to errors made while the driver was working.
Truck companies have federally mandated minimum levels of financial responsibility. That typically translates to higher insurance limits. Filing an insurance claim against them for an accident can help you get just compensation for your losses. The insurance company may deny your claim, in which case you can file a personal injury lawsuit.
|Did you know?|
Most (95 percent) personal injury cases filed in Texas get settled out of court. The other five percent take two to three years to reach a verdict.
Recoup Your Losses in a Texas Truck Accident
Suppose you suffered property damage, injuries, or the death of a family member in a Texas truck accident, and it wasn’t your fault. You can bring the liable parties to account by filing a claim or lawsuit. A truck accident lawyer can build a claim or case to obtain a successful conclusion.
The Personal Injury Lawyer can help you in two ways. The first is to provide information through its extensive library of articles on personal injury and truck accident topics. The second is to match you with a competent personal injury attorney or law firm specializing in truck accidents.
You can use the site for helpful tips and advice on handling your experience with a truck accident. The site also provides a free case evaluation form you can fill out to find the right lawyer for your truck accident case.
The statute of limitations is running. Find the right lawyer today so you can get your compensation faster.
Due to the bulk of commercial trucks, a Texas truck accident can have devastating consequences for the victims. Hire an experienced lawyer to get fair compensation for your damages through The Personal Injury Center.
FAQs on Texas Truck Accident
What is the most common truck crash type in Texas?
The most common type of Texas truck accident in 2020 was a collision with another vehicle (71.6 percent).
What is the statute of limitations for a Texas truck accident?
Civil Practice and Remedies Code of Texas, Section 16.003, states a person must initiate a civil action within two years of the accident. The court may grant an extension if the plaintiff has a legal disability.
What is the typical judgment for personal injury lawsuits in Texas?
The average verdict for a personal injury case in Texas is $826,892, but the median is $12,281. The highest verdict awarded in the state was $118 million, which skews the average.