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18 Wheeler Accident

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In a nation that relies on vehicle transportation, it’s not surprising that serious accidents occur. Some of the deadliest accidents involve 18 wheelers.

The average American shares the road with multiple 18-wheeler trucks every day. In 2022, there were 13 million trucks registered in the U.S. While these semis offer valuable services in transporting goods, they also represent a significant risk to the health and safety of other drivers when they are not operated safely.

An 18-wheeler truck’s weight cannot exceed 80,000 pounds. In contrast, the typical passenger vehicle weighs 4,094 pounds. The disparity between the size and weight of an 18-wheeler and the typical car means that, typically, the car suffers more severe damage than the 18-wheeler. As the severity of the damage to one’s vehicle increases, so do the chances of life-threatening injuries or death.

Overview of 18 Wheeler Accidents

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there are 413 fatal crashes involving 18 wheelers in the state of Texas alone. There are also 699 18-wheeler crashes that involve serious injury and 1,987 crashes with minor injuries. In fact, Texas has the highest incidence of fatalities in the entire nation. These startling statistics make one thing very clear: the need for experienced legal representation in these cases is critical.

Most 18-wheeler accidents are caused by negligence. This legal theory is characterized by an act or behavior that is careless or reckless in nature and causes harm to another person. Negligent acts involved in 18 wheeler accidents include:

  • Inadequate licensing
  • Lack of driver training
  • Insufficient driver oversight and supervision
  • Not ensuring that the truck’s cargo is loaded and secured properly
  • Maintenance or repair issues that aren’t addressed in the right way
  • Drunk driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs
  • Distracted driving
  • Failure to follow traffic and safety laws

All of these negligent acts are preventable; regardless, they happen at an alarming rate.

Issues Leading to 18-Wheeler Accidents

Often, 18 wheeler accidents occur because of the extreme pressure on truck drivers to deliver loads quickly and log as many miles as possible. Because of these requirements, many drivers take shortcuts that can lead to injuries or death in third parties. The most common issues leading to 18-wheeler accidents are driver fatigue, overloaded trucks, and rear-end collisions.

Driver and trucking company liability

When negligence is involved in an 18-wheeler accident, both the driver and the trucking company can be held liable. If negligence was a factor in the accident, the driver will be liable for damages. Their employer will be liable for damages in the following circumstances:

  • Negligent supervision
  • Negligent hiring practices
  • Failure to verify proper licensing and/or
  • certification
  • Improperly training drivers
  • Failure to properly maintain the 18 wheeler

Regardless of whether the driver or the trucking company (or both) was liable, injured parties can recover compensation.

Common injuries in 18 wheeler accidents

As demonstrated above, 18-wheeler accidents often result in serious injuries to the car driver and its passengers. Types of injuries vary but may include:

  • Head and brain injuries, including
  • traumatic brain injuries
  • Neck, back or spine injuries
  • Chest injuries
  • Burns
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Broken bones

Even minor injuries can lead to legal liability and the award of damages.

Defenses in 18 wheeler accidents

The best truck accident lawyers will know how to negate operator defenses. However, it’s still a good idea to be aware of available defenses that may affect your case.
The trucking company has a duty to follow state and federal regulations concerning the operation of an 18-wheeler. The company can meet these regulations in several ways, such as limits on consecutive hours worked and adhering to maintenance schedules.

The trucking company can also assert that the accident resulted from a failure in the vehicle’s components, such as the brakes, engine, or tires. Further, a trucking company can use the defense that there were adverse road or weather conditions that caused the accident.
Another defense happens under Texas’ comparative negligence rule. This means that if the trucking company is able to show that the driver of the other vehicle was partly or wholly responsible for the accident, Texas law will reduce the amount of damages awarded in proportion to the other driver’s liability.

The modified comparative fault rule

Sometimes, a vehicle driver is partly responsible for an 18-wheeler accident. Texas’ modified comparative negligence rule – also known as the comparative fault rule or the 51% rule – states that third parties can only recover in an accident if they are less than 50% liable. If you are found to be more than 50% liable, you are barred from recovery. This is one reason why having an experienced 18-wheeler lawyer by your side is so important – being barred from recovery means that all your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages are solely your responsibility. The 18 wheeler wreck lawyers at the Law Offices of Colby Lewis can help establish operator liability, saving you from being barred from recovery.

Damages in Texas 18-wheeler Accidents

If you or a loved one has been injured in an 18-wheeler accident, you have legal recourse to recover compensation. There are several types of compensation that you may be entitled to, including but not limited to:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of consortium or companionship
  • Wrongful death
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Other damages

The amount of damages you will receive varies depending on the facts of your specific case. To find out what your claim is worth, contact an experienced Texas 18 wheeler truck accident attorney like the legal team at the Law Offices of Colby Lewis.

18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer, Colby Lewis, Will fight for you

At the Law Offices of Colby Lewis, we understand that being involved in an 18 wheeler accident can be traumatic and cause agonizing pain. No matter the extent of the injuries, we zealously pursue compensation for our clients against negligent truck drivers and the companies that employ them.
The best lawyers for truck accidents know the law, how to apply it, and how to get you top dollar for your injuries. That’s where we come in. For an evaluation of your case, contact the experienced 18-wheeler attorneys at the Law Offices of Colby Lewis today.