Traffic accidents are a terrifying, yet common occurrence on U.S. roadways. Every day, over 3,000 people die in car accidents. The statistics are even more deadly when the crash involves an 18-wheeler truck. In the U.S., 2 million big rig trucks are crisscrossing the nation’s highways and roads. And unfortunately, there are over half a million 18-wheeler accidents every year. Of those wrecks, 5,000 people will lose their lives. 98% of the people who die in these accidents are the driver or the passenger of a vehicle that isn’t an 18-wheeler. It’s a fact of life that U.S. drivers have to share the roadways with large, big-rig vehicles. When you’re driving a regular sized passenger sedan, getting involved in a wreck with an 18-wheeler is horrifying and potentially deadly. So below are some 18 wheeler accident statistics, and if you’ve been the victim of a Texas roadway accident involving an 18-wheeler, here’s what you need to know about accident law in Houston.
1. Proof of Negligence
There is no law against 18-wheelers hitting a vehicle, but the driver of an 18-wheeler can be deemed negligent and responsible for paying out damages to the injured party. A competent attorney needs to prove that the driver of an 18-wheeler was negligent. Proving negligence in an 18-wheeler accident in Texas is a little different than proving negligence with passenger vehicle crashes.
Truck drivers and trucking companies are subject to numerous federal and state regulations. If a company or driver violates any of these regulations, it’s evidence that the company failed to live up to their responsibilities to keep their drivers and other vehicles safe. In some cases, a single violation of a regulation can be enough to prove that the driver of the truck was negligent.
- Driving the 18-wheeler without the required safety brakes
- Failing to stop at a light or stop sign because of unsafe brakes
Although failing to adhere to regulations can result in a winning case for the injured party, most trucking accidents don’t involve regulatory breaches. The most common causes of trucking accidents include the following:
- Failing to look when changing lanes
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
The majority of trucking accidents will involve a mixture of the two elements; regulatory breach, and driver error. An experienced attorney will know what to look for in an 18-wheeler accident to best prove negligence.
2. How long is the Statute of Limitations in Houston for an 18-wheeler accident?
In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the accident. Property damage claims are subject to a two-year limitation, as well. Unfortunately, with 18-wheeler truck accidents, they have a high morbidity rate. There is a two years statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in Texas. But, the statute can be paused for up to one year. The statute begins when the injured party dies, not on the date of the accident.
3. What To Do After an Accident
After the accident, you need to get to safety and get prompt medical attention first. Do not speak to the truck driver, their trucking company, or an attorney or insurance adjuster. They will attempt to misrepresent your side of the case. Most of all, do not release your medical records to anyone related to the trucking company.
Make a report with the police, and always save your medical receipts and bills. If possible, take photos and video of the accident scene, your injuries, and your property damage. Follow up with your doctors and specialists, and always follow your doctor’s orders and advice. After you’ve been injured, it is crucial that you hire an experienced Houston personal injury attorney.
They’ll be able to protect you from liability and get you the compensation you deserve for your pain, suffering, and property damage.