Texas ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for the most fatal crashes involving large trucks each year between 2007 and 2017, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Highly congested urban areas, varying climates across the state, and dangerous oilfield roads may all contribute to the hazards of driving a truck in Texas. Still, when driver negligence plays a role, it can affect the lives of others on the road.
More than 37,000 tractor-trailer accidents occurred in Texas in 2018, including 614 in Webb County alone. Of all the truck accidents in the state that year, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reports that more than 6,000 people suffered injuries, and 600 others lost their lives.
If you or a loved one is suffering from serious or fatal injuries in a truck collision as the result of someone else’s negligence, a tractor-trailer accident lawyer serving Laredo, TX, could help you pursue financial recovery. Contact D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™ today at (713) 850-8600 to start on your case.
Tractor-Trailer Accidents Carry an Increased Risk of Injuries and Fatalities
Large trucks carry a much higher risk of causing injuries or fatalities in accidents, particularly to those other than the truck occupants, because of the size and weight of the vehicles. At more than 10,000 pounds and sometimes up to 15 tons, tractor-trailers weigh 20 to 30 times more than passenger cars. They also require a longer braking time, which can make stopping quickly difficult.
The length of the trailer makes the involvement of multiple cars in a truck accident more likely, and the truck’s higher ground clearance could allow other vehicles to slide underneath.
Many Parties Might Be Responsible in Tractor-Trailer Accidents
In Texas, the insurance company of the at-fault party must provide coverage for the victims’ injuries in a tractor-trailer accident. However, determining this on your own could present a challenge. A tractor-trailer accident lawyer serving Laredo, TX, could help you establish who is responsible for causing your accident.
In most cases, one of the drivers involved caused the accident either through negligence or recklessness. TxDOT points out some of the common factors that contribute to accidents in Texas, which include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Improper lane usage
- Failure to yield
- Fatigued driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
If a truck driver caused your accident by committing these or other unlawful acts, you may qualify for financial recovery.
Local and state governments have a responsibility to keep Texas roads safe. Deteriorated roadways, missing guardrails, inadequate signage, and other concerns can lead to serious or even fatal accidents. If you discover that improperly maintained roads caused the accident that led to your injuries or the loss of your loved one, you might have the option to pursue a claim against a government agency.
Vehicle manufacturers must ensure their products meet National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) federal safety standards and do not have safety-related defects before releasing them onto the market. However, consumers sometimes end up with vehicles whose defective design or equipment can cause mechanical failure that leads to accidents. In these instances, a lawyer can help victims and their families hold the manufacturer accountable.
Victims sometimes find it challenging to determine who holds responsibility for their injuries, but a tractor-trailer accident lawyer serving Laredo, TX, can help. Contact D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™ to discuss your case with our legal team.
Proving Negligence in a Tractor-Trailer Accident Case
Pursuing a civil case in a tractor-trailer accident requires that the victim or their lawyer prove that the actions of the responsible party meet all four criteria for legal negligence. To do this, they must demonstrate that the party:
- Had a duty of care to protect the safety of the victim within reason
- Breached their duty of care by acting recklessly or failing to act when necessary
- Caused the victim’s injuries as a result of their breach of duty
- Caused the damages that resulted from the victim’s injuries
Once you have established fault in your case, you may pursue legal action for your losses.
Types of Evidence That May Help You Build Your Case
Proving fault requires an investigation into your tractor-trailer accident case, and gathering evidence can help establish liability. Insurance companies and attorneys often piece together the events leading up to the accident by exploring the evidence in the case, which may include:
- Photos and videos of skid marks, property damage, debris, and victims’ injuries
- Police reports
- Eyewitness testimony
- Medical records and bills from accident-related treatments
- Cellphone records
- Black box information
Providing an attorney with as much information as you can to back up your claim helps your attorney build your case.
Texas Statute of Limitations on Tractor-Trailer Accident Claims
While victims of tractor-trailer accidents and their loved ones may have the option to file claims for their damages, Texas has time limits, known as statutes of limitations, that determine how long they have to pursue legal action.
For victims seeking financial recovery for their injuries, the statute of limitations in Texas allows two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim, per Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 16.003. If the victim lost their life in the accident, family members have up to two years from the date of their passing to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party.
Contact D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™, Today to Get Started
At D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™, we understand the difficulties you face during this time. We can help ease some of your burden by navigating the legal system on your behalf and seeking the financial recovery you deserve. If you or a loved one suffered serious or fatal injuries in a tractor-trailer accident in Laredo, TX, contact us today at (713) 850-8600 to speak with our legal team about your case.