Texas Trucking Accidents: A Growing Problem
If it seems as if the number of accidents involving tractor trailers or 18-wheelers seems to be going up in recent years, it’s probably not your imagination. As the lawyers at Hill Law Firm point out, according to statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2008 there were:
- 4,229 Fatality Accidents Involving 18-Wheelers;
- 90,000 Injury Accidents Involving 18-Wheelers;
- 318 Pedestrian Fatality Accidents Involving 18-Wheelers;
- 69 Bicyclist Fatality Accidents Involving 18-Wheelers
- 49,084 Large Trucks and 7,123 Buses Involved in Injury Crashes;
- 123,918 Large Trucks and 13,263 Buses Involved in Non-Fatal Crashes;
- 73,047 Injuries in Crashes Involving Large Trucks and 16,760 Injuries in Crashes Involving Buses;
- 74,834 Large Trucks and 6,140 Buses Involved in Towaway Crashes; and
- 2,609 Large Trucks and 11 Buses Involved in Hazmat (HM) Placard Crashes.
That’s a lot of crashes and a lot of carnage. In all, trucking accidents accounted for one out of every eight traffic fatalities. If you think the danger is mostly in the cities, think again. Fully 68 percent of all truck accidents occur in rural areas.
Obviously, the main reason truck accidents are so deadly has to do with the vehicle’s sheer size. That size seriously limits what the driver can see, and it also has a significant impact on braking distance. Add to that the pressure many drivers are under to deliver goods quickly, and what you often have is a driver who is operating a dangerous vehicle rather recklessly, and possibly for longer hours than they should. You can see the problem.
There is also the reality that not all trucking companies maintain their vehicles properly, and that a lot of trucks and parts are recalled every year for defects. The fact of the matter is, large trucks can represent a significant risk to the other drivers on the road for many reasons. A number of federal agencies have been set up to keep drivers safe, with the largest being the FMCSA, which has attempted to level the playing field by establishing rules such as how long a driver can operate their truck, specific steps trucking companies must take regarding maintenance, and specific series of steps drivers must take when there’s an accident. Not every truck driver and/or trucking company follows all of the rules and does everything the right way, however.
Because of the massive size difference, accidents with trucks can be devastating. In addition to the impact left the horrible injuries or deaths, the lost income, the medical bills and the financial pressures can make the devastation even worse for the victim and the family.
Handling the situation without a competent attorney should never be an option for a family that has been victimized by a truck accident, The lawyers at Hill Law Firm note that many trucking companies and the companies who insure them are looking to protect their bottom line, and are unlikely to make the victim an offer that is fair and which compensates the victim properly. Too often, victims accept a settlement quickly, without hiring a lawyer to advocate for them, and then are devastated to find out later that the money they received wasn’t nearly enough to cover much of anything.
The lack of knowledge about the nature of truck accidents also means victims of truck accidents don’t always realize there may be multiple parties liable for the injuries or deaths. Someone needs to do a thorough investigation, to know about everyone who’s responsible. Not only can an attorney help you to establish liability in the accident; they can also collect evidence to strengthen your case and help ensure that appropriate compensation is obtained from everyone responsible.
Don’t try to do it alone.