Collisions between 18 wheelers and passenger vehicles are widespread.  In 2017, 4,657 fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred in the United States, which is significantly lower than the 19,986 light truck crashes that same year.  Trucks are involved in all kinds of accidents yielding high levels of damage to property, physical injuries and fatalities. Contact a personal injury attorney for direction toward insurance claims or legal action.

Negligence determination toward fault.

The basis for most civil lawsuits is negligence, and settlements are based on the degree of fault exhibited to cause the injuries sustained.  “Fault” is based on the degree of negligence measured by an individual failing to exercise the degree of care expected of someone in a similar situation.  If the injuries or damages exceed the coverage amount of the at-fault driver’s insurance, then the injured driver would be able to sue the negligent driver to collect the difference based on the degree of fault applied to each driver in the accident. Truck drivers at not supposed to drive when they are tired and negligence could be proven in some cases.  Driver fatigue may be part of the problem because truckers are paid by the mile, and logs can be falsified when enforcement is relaxed.  It is difficult to pinpoint truck accidents, although one government study revealed that driver fatigue played a large part in 31% of the cases where the driver died.  Early morning crashes may be significant for driver fatigue on highway accidents.

Insurance responsibility.

Texas is a “fault state” which means that the party found to be responsible for the accident will have to compensate the other party involved in the accident.  Damages covered include medical bills, lost wages, property damages.  Depending on the extent of damage to property, or injuries sustained by a person in an accident, the minimum might not cover the whole recovery amount.

Comparative Negligence (51% Rule).

Texas utilizes the 51% rule, whereby an injured person can be up to 50% responsible for an accident and still collect damages in a Texas personal injury claim but if you were more than 51% responsible for the accident, you are not able to recover compensation for your accident expenses.

When Should the Police be Called?

Always call the police when an injury or fatality occurs, the vehicle cannot move, a driver has no insurance, a driver leaves the scene, or a driver is operating vehicle under the influence.

Post-accident actions.

If you are able, check on the condition of the people involved in the accident;

  1. Call the police or emergency responders if needed;
  2. Get a written accident report;
  3. Remain at the accident scene;
  4. Exchange driver and insurance information;
  5. Get witness contact information;
  6. Call your insurance company to set up a claim;
  7. Seek out medical treatment if necessary;
  8. Take pictures of the scene, and the vehicle damages;
  9. If the truck is a Commercial Vehicle, get State Trooper report.
  10. If you are in a collision and no one is hurt, don’t wait for the police before moving your vehicle. If you can drive the vehicle, the law requires you to move it out of the flow of traffic.

Hire an attorney.

Contact a professional attorney at the Robson Law Firm for a free consultation, as they can research specific case facts and interpret the law to support your case’s best outcome toward compensation for damages and injuries caused by the truck accident. Determining the percentage of fault is a matter for those who have reviewed police reports, witness reports, car damages, roadway marks and other factors present at the time of the accident.

Robson Law Firm

1114 Lost Creek Boulevard
Suite 440
Austin, TX 78746

Phone: (512) 345-8200
Fax: (512) 345-8209

Sources:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/191544/fatal-large-truck-crashes-in-the-us/

https://www.tdi.texas.gov/consumer/auto-insurance.html

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.601.htm#601.051

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/SDocs/CIVILPRACTICEANDREMEDIESCODE.pdf