The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that close to 4,000 are killed and 95,000 are injured in truck accidents every year. When a truck crashes into passenger sedans, the occupants of smaller vehicles tend to suffer catastrophic injuries.
Truck collisions are usually more complicated than car accidents, requiring thorough investigation of all factors surrounding the incident. Driver fault, such as overspeeding, truck driver fatigue, distracted driving, use of over-the-counter medications prior to driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol or prohibited substances can lead to truck accidents. In complex situations, negligent road design may be a contributing or major factor in a severe truck accident.
Road Design Factors in Truck Accidents
Faulty guardrail dimensions: Guardrails are safety devices designed to minimize severity of road accidents. Current roadside design regulations require minimum standards for spacing between posts, beam heights, and installation of crashworthy end treatments. The presence of faulty guardrails can have an impact on the severity of a truck accident.
Poor stopping sight distance: The United States has thousands of uncontrolled intersections where it can be a challenge for drivers to make timely decisions on applying the brakes and to stop before crashing into another vehicle or object in their path. Trucks and tractor-trailers take 20% to 40% farther than cars to come to a full stop. Observing minimum sight triangles at uncontrolled intersections are therefore significant for truck drivers to see far enough down an intersecting approach before deciding to proceed without colliding with another vehicle.
Hazardous edge drops: Pavement edge drops can cause drivers to crash into other vehicles along the road. The sudden drop of the wheel resulting from the edge drop can surprise a driver who may suddenly move across the travel lanes and collide with other vehicles, overturn on the roadside, or crash into roadside hazards. Large trucks and tractor-trailers are sensitive to edge drops which increase their susceptibility to catastrophic accidents.
Faulty transition areas: Truck accidents on highways can also occur when there are ongoing road maintenance and construction work in the area. Edge drops close to excavations, absent or insufficient warning signs on road closures, slow-moving maintenance vehicles, and faulty transition areas are some of the common tort claims arising from truck accidents.
Truck Accident Injuries
In Texas, where there is an ongoing fracking and drilling boom, large trucks and tractor-trailers are regular users of roads and highways. Trucks typically weigh around 20 to 30 times more and are taller than passenger cars.
Depending on the circumstances of the incident, an injured person in a truck accident may suffer head injury, traumatic brain injury, fractures, spinal cord injury, loss of limbs, and internal injuries requiring extensive medical treatment, hospitalization, time off work, and therapy for complete recovery.
Catastrophic accidents can also result in death, leaving families devastated over the sudden and traumatic loss of their loved ones.
Liability for Road Design Negligence
Section 101.021 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code provides for the governmental unit’s liability for personal injury, death, or property damage arising from the use of governmental real property. The governmental unit’s duty extends as well to excavations or obstructions on highways, roads, and streets where it has the obligation to warn of any special defect, or of the absence, condition, or malfunction of traffic signs, signals, and warning devices. This is one of the few instances when it is possible for a civilian to sue the government.
Texas tort law, however, establishes certain limits in claiming compensation for personal injury or wrongful death arising from the government’s negligence. Specific criteria must also be established for a plaintiff to be able to pursue a legal claim against the government.
Clearly, the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney is important in a truck accident case.
Role of Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one is involved in a truck accident, it is important to seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries or see your doctor for a complete examination. After obtaining treatment for any injury arising from your accident, you should be able to consult with a truck accident attorney who can assess your situation, determine potential liabilities of parties who may be involved, and if necessary, represent you in an action against the parties whose negligence caused your injuries.
In Houston, Texas, the personal injury attorneys of the Argento Law Firm have over 2 decades of proven experience in truck accidents. Our Firm is headed by award-winning attorney Charles J. Argento who is prepared to fight very hard for you to obtain the compensation that you legally deserve.
We handle personal injury cases on contingency fee basis, and invite you to call us today at (713) 225-5050 to speak to one of our friendly attorneys in a free consultation.