Truck Injuries

You don’t need to be a highway safety expert to understand the risks large trucks pose on Texas roadways.

wrecked 18 wheeler on its side

Anyone who has shared the road with one knows the size, weight, and typical speed of these vehicles means they need more time and distance to stop or avoid road hazards, have large blind spots, and cause enormous damage to other, smaller vehicles in a collision.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration link to stats are here: notes that a shocking 4,317 people died — 556 of those being Texans — and 30,000 people were injured in large truck crashes. Of course, almost all of the victims were the occupants of other vehicles.

The 80,000 gross vehicle weight rated tractor-trailer almost always wins the battle with the smaller car or pickup truck.

What Should You Know About Truck Accidents?

Truck accidents inflict catastrophic damage, as anyone who has watched an evening news report about one probably knows. Still, seeing images of the aftermath on television and experiencing the violence of a large truck accident firsthand do not compare.

Survivors of these accidents feel lucky to escape them with their lives, because many victims do not. Even those who cheat death in a truck accident often contend with devastating and disabling injuries that can cause a lifetime of pain and distress.

What Are Some Common Truck Accident Injuries?

Truck accidents result in frequent fatalities. Even when no one dies, however, a truck accident can inflict a wide range of catastrophic injuries. The people particularly vulnerable in truck accidents are occupants of smaller vehicles.

The vast difference in size and weight between a car and a fully-loaded truck can destroy a passenger vehicle while leaving a truck relatively intact.

Some of the most common, and devastating, injuries victims of truck accidents sustain include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries;
  • Spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis;
  • Crushed or traumatically amputated limbs;
  • Burns and disfiguring scarring;
  • Broken bones and orthopedic injuries; and
  • Severe internal and soft tissue damage.

Some of the injuries above heal in time, but many do not. In seeking damages for injuries sustained in a truck accident.

One important task for a Texas truck accident attorney is to determine the likely medical needs of a truck accident victim into the future, so as to ensure the victim receives adequate compensation from the parties with legal liability.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Like any form of motor vehicle accident, truck accidents have a variety of root causes. Most truck wrecks can be tied back to someone’s poor decisions or lack of care.

Here are some common human-related causes of truck accidents on Texas roadways:

  • Truck driver fatigue:

  • Truck drivers work long hours and irregular shifts. According to IIHS, truck driver fatigue is a known crash risk. Although federal and state regulations dictate the number of hours a trucker can spend behind the wheel, and require careful reporting and record-keeping to prove compliance, trucking is still an exhausting profession.Even when they comply with hours of service requirements (which isn’t always the case), truck drivers have to contend with the monotony of seemingly endless roads and the sleep-disruptive effects of driving at night and catching shut-eye at odd hours.Fatigue can have the same effect on a trucker’s driving abilities as being over the legal drunk driving limit or can result in drivers falling asleep at the wheel.

  • Speeding:

  • We have all been on the road with a truck that seems to be driving way too fast for the road conditions. It’s scary. What’s worse, trucks have a substantially longer stopping distance than smaller vehicles. A truck traveling at an inappropriately high speed will need an even greater distance to slow down or avoid road hazards.

  • Unbalanced/unsecured loads:

  • Large trucks frequently haul heavy loads. The distribution of a load can affect how a truck handles. If the weight distribution of a load shifts while the truck is moving, truck drivers can—and often do—lose control. Even if the load is secure, it can affect the truck’s center of gravity. Unbalanced loads can cause truck rollovers, particularly on highway ramps or other sharp curves.

  • Blind spots:

  • Tractor trailers have large blind spots on all four sides of the vehicle. Vehicles riding in those blind spots increase the risk for a collision substantially.

  • Operating under the influence:

  • Despite strict laws some truck drivers still drive under the influence. Unfortunately, some truck drivers have been known to rely on illegal drugs to keep them alert, which only increases their crash risk. Truck drivers with health problems (not uncommon because of their sedentary lifestyle) also run risks when they take the wheel under the influence of prescription medications. These are just a few of the more common ways truck accidents can happen. There are many more. Because every truck accident has its own unique facts and circumstances, it is important for anyone injured in an accident to retain the services of an experienced truck accident attorney familiar with the particular challenges of investigating a truck accident injury.

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Figuring out what caused a truck accident is only the beginning of the job for what an experienced Dallas truck accident attorney does for injured clients.

Equally important is figuring out who may have legal liability to the accident victims. The cause of an accident can give clues to who may have liability for it, but it’s not the only piece to the puzzle.

Below are some of the most common parties with liability for truck accident injuries:

  • Truck (or other) drivers
    Obviously, all drivers on the road may have legal liability if their actions or decisions led to a crash. Truck drivers may especially face liability if they drive fatigued or under the influence.
  • Trucking companies
    Trucking companies that employ truck drivers may have liability for driver decisions if they knew or should have known drivers operated unsafely. These companies may also have liability for failing to maintain safe trucking equipment.
  • Shippers and Warehouses
    If a shift or imbalance in truck cargo leads to a crash, the party who loaded the truck could face legal liability. Often, this party is a company that ships or stores goods.
  • Truck equipment manufacturers
    A manufacturer that produces a product that is unreasonably dangerous may have liability to anyone harmed by that product.

Every truck accident is different. That includes who may have legal liability to victims of a truck accident. The best way to determine who has liability for injuries you or a loved one sustained in a Texas truck accident is to retain the services of an experienced truck accident attorney.

If you sustained injuries or lost a loved one in a Dallas truck accident, you may have the right to substantial compensation. Contact us to speak with an experienced, dedicated truck accident lawyer today to learn more.