Top Five Recent Texas Truck Accidents

Jun 19, 2023 | Personal Injury, Truck Accidents

The top five recent Texas truck accidents have raised concerns about road safety. The constant movement of goods and the pressure on truck drivers to deliver them swiftly and inexpensively create an environment where corporate demands often overshadow driver responsibility. As a result, accidents caused by driver impairment or aggressive driving have become distressingly common in Texas and beyond. 

Truck drivers are legally responsible for the accidents they cause. Usually, the shopping or transportation company that owned the truck or its cargo is financially responsible for the damages these crashes inflict. Deep-pocketed companies can pay considerable damages, but deep-pocketed companies can also hire high-priced lawyers to fight injury claims in court.

Because of this complexity and opposition, Texas truck accident victims need a tough legal team like Williams Hart & Boundas to stand up for them in court. We have the experience and resources to help victims navigate their legal options. 

Truck Carrying Banana Shipment Overturns in Dallas

In March 2022, a semi-truck overturned in Dallas, spilling 40,000 pounds of bananas across the freeway. Investigators believe that rain-slick roads contributed to the loss-of-control wreck.

This wreck reminds us of a similar overturned semi-truck crash in Dallas about ten years earlier. That trailer was carrying eighty-nine head of cattle. Many of them died in the wreck or panicked and fell down an embankment. Horse-mounted law enforcement officers rounded up the survivors Old West style and put them into makeshift corrals. High winds may have contributed to that crash.

Typically, bad weather and other conditions only contribute to truck crashes. Generally, aggressive driving or driver impairment causes them. 

The banana semi-truck driver was probably operating too fast for the conditions. Drivers, especially commercial drivers, have a responsibility to slow down and be more careful in such situations. They cannot keep racing to their destinations. 

The cattle car semi-truck driver was slightly impaired by a substance other than alcohol, according to investigators. “The driver is being detained as part of the investigation. We are looking real closely at his level of impairment,” Dallas County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Mark Howard said at the time. “Preliminary investigation indicates he should not have been driving that vehicle.”

Truck Driver Smashes into Ambulance

Shortly before midnight on January 31, on the Gulf Freeway near Texas City, a large truck hit a parked ambulance as its crew helped a disabled motorist. Another ambulance rushed two emergency responders to a nearby hospital. The ambulance had its rear light on. No other details about the crash were available.

Investigators aren’t sure what caused this wreck, but driver fatigue is written all over it. Most truck drivers are naturally fatigued early in the morning and late at night, even if they had a total of eight hours of sleep the night before. Additionally, this part of the Gulf Freeway is in the middle of a long stretch of nothing. Fatigue is by far the most common kind of truck driver impairment. Drowsy drivers cause over a third of the fatal semi-truck crashes in Texas.

Fatigue, like alcohol, slows reflexes and clouds judgment. Similarly, there’s no quick fix for either impairment. Only time cures alcohol impairment and only sleep cured fatigue impairment.

Chain Reaction Crash in Kerrville

This February wreck killed one person and seriously injured another. A pickup truck stopped suddenly to avoid backed-up traffic on an icy road. A semi-truck then rear-ended the pickup.

When Houston personal injury lawyers see rear-end wrecks, they immediately think of the sudden emergency doctrine. This legal loophole excuses negligence if the tortfeasor (negligent driver):

  • Reasonably reacted to
  • A sudden emergency.

At first blush, this doctrine seems tailor-made for rear-end wrecks. An insurance company lawyer basically argues that another driver’s mistake, which in this case was a stopped-short truck, made a subsequent action unavoidable.

However, the sudden emergency defense doesn’t apply to stopped-short vehicles, jaywalking pedestrians, and other everyday hazards. The duty of care, especially the higher commercial driver duty of care, requires drivers to anticipate and avoid such hazards. Instead, this defense only applies to completely unexpected situations, like a hood fly-up.

Overturned 18-Wheeler in Dallas

This wreck made our Top Five list because it’s recent and typical of many other truck crashes in the Lone Star State. A semi-truck overturned and careened into a passenger vehicle. A seriously-injured victim was airlifted to a nearby hospital.

Fully-loaded large trucks weigh, at a minimum, 80,000 pounds. That much force almost always causes fatal or catastrophic (life-threatening) injuries. This wreck happened in Dallas, so the victim was probably only about a half-hour away from the nearest hospital by ground ambulance. But due to the serious nature of these injuries, many truck crash victims don’t have a half hour.

Following a truck crash, a short air ambulance ride could cost more than $40,000. The medical treatment bills are usually at least four times that much. Most group health insurance plans don’t cover injury-related costs. The financial shock, along with the physical and emotional shock, is almost too much to bear.

Our Houston truck accident lawyers don’t charge any money upfront. Usually, we work with medical providers who also charge nothing upfront. These arrangements greatly ease the shock of a truck crash.

Surface Street Fatal Truck Crash

Most semi-truck wrecks happen on freeways. This one happened near an El Paso Little Caesar’s restaurant. A semi-truck t-boned a passenger car, killing two people. 

Electronic evidence, like a large truck’s Event Data Recorder, often plays a crucial role in such wrecks. EDRs, much like commercial jet black boxes, measure and record vehicle speed, steering angle, and other critical operational information.

An attorney and/or an accident reconstruction professional painstakingly puts these bit of evidence together, so jurors clearly see what happened.

This vital evidence is often unavailable. Usually, insurance companies “accidentally” destroy such evidence when they dispose of wrecked vehicles. Attorneys must send spoliation letters to preserve such evidence. Furthermore, Texas has very strong vehicle data privacy laws. EDR information is usually off-limits unless a judge issues a court order.

The takeaway is simple. Fast-working and diligent attorneys generally obtain maximum compensation. Usually, he who hesitates is lost.

Truck crashes usually involve multiple issues. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Houston, contact Williams Hart & Boundas LLP. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start fighting for you.

Disclaimer: This material is provided for informational purposes only. The provision of this material does not create an attorney-client relationship between the firm and the reader and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this newsletter are not a substitute for legal counsel. Do not take action in reliance on the contents of this material without seeking the advice of counsel.

The information contained in this blog may or may not reflect the most current legal developments. Accordingly, information in this blog is not promised or guaranteed to be correct or complete, and should not be relied upon as such. Readers should conduct their own appropriate legal research.

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