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The Texas Supreme Court ruled against the parents of a man who lost his life driving for an oil company. By doing so, the court raised the bar for other families attempting to be compensated after a fatal truck driver crash.

The court limited families to the paltry funds provided by the Texas Workers Compensation Act. That law sets up an exchange where a limited amount of money is paid to an employee and family in exchange for them giving up the right to sue the company for its negligence.

The Act is the exclusive remedy for on-the-job accidents. However there is an exception if the injury was intentionally caused by the employer and was substantially certain to happen.

Tractor-trailer-crash-Fort-Worth-Dallas-300x129How to Avoid Being in a Texas Truck Accident

Because of their size and weight, a Texas truck accident is usually far more serious than the average car crash.  There were about 5,100 fatality collisions involving trucks in the United States in 2018, according to statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. That is because commercial truck crashes are much more dangerous than those involving smaller vehicles.  Here is a photo from a case we handled recently to give you an idea of the massive damage a jack-knifed 18-wheeler can cause on our North Texas roads.

Texas Truck Accident Causes

America's Trucker ShortageA Fort Worth truck accident victim can pursue a claim for financial compensation against the trucking company and driver who caused the collision. Every accident – and every accident victim – is unique. No two cases are the same. The determination of how much money someone who has been injured in a Fort Worth truck accident will receive depends on a variety of factors, including if they have a good  personal injury lawyer skilled at investigating the wreck, developing the case, working with medical professionals, and presenting critical evidence to the judge and jury.

Damages in a personal injury case are broken down into two main types: those that are economic and non-economic.

Economic Damages

Economic damages, also referred to as special damages, can be easily quantified by determining the actual amount of out-of-pocket money an accident victim had to spend or through accurate forecasting. But like with everything in the law, there are exceptions to every rule. For example, if a person is covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, or if they are self-employed or salaried, the calculations can be difficult.

The following are the major types of economic damages:

  • Past medical expenses – All reasonable and necessary costs associated with a crash can be recovered. This includes bills related to emergency room treatment, surgeries, doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, medications, and transportation to and from all necessary medical appointments.
  • Future medical costs – Accident victims can recover compensation for the medical treatment that they will need in the future. In some cases, expert medical witnesses are necessary to accurately determine the future cost of care, especially surgeries.
  • Lost wages and reduced earning capacity – When someone is injured in a Fort Worth truck accident, they will often miss a significant amount of work. When they are finally able to return to work, they may no longer be able to perform the necessary duties of their former position due to their injuries or disability. Accident victims can recover for both lost wages and benefits and a decrease in earning capacity.

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commercial-truck-driver-fatigue-crash-300x111Thousands of crashes are caused by commercial truck driver fatigue

One of the chief reasons that 18-wheelers crash into smaller cars and trucks is truck driver fatigue. The National Transportation Safety Board estimates that tired truckers cause up to 13% of these collisions and admits that this number is under reported. Commercial truck wrecks horribly take the lives of close to 5,000 people a year.

This photo is from a case we resolved this year when the tractor-trailer driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel on Interstate 35 in Fort Worth. This tragically caused the death of a woman on a motorcycle and serious injuries to our client and other people.

Texas sees far too many of these collisions. That is because we have the most miles of public roads (313,000), most licensed drivers (over 13 million), five of the top 13 most populated cities, and the busiest interstate highways.

Fatigued drivers cause thousands of truck crashes each year including heart-breaking ones like these:

  • A woman’s son and three of his friends were killed when a truck driver fell asleep and plowed into their vehicle; and
  • Two parents and their two young children were driving home when a trucker who was asleep at the wheel slammed into their vehicle, killing the family.
  • Tracy Morgan and his friends getting crashed into by a WalMart driver who had been driving for over 24 straight hours.

The problem of tired commercial truck drivers is a major problem. And it is getting worse, especially with the financial losses that many truck companies have suffered over the past few years. This has increased the pressure to move freight even faster across more crowded highways.

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Truck Accident Investigation

If you have seen the aftermath of a collision between a car or pickup truck and a tractor-trailer, you know that the results can be life-changing, even catastrophic. If you or someone you love has been involved in a crash with a commercial vehicle, it is important that you get a good truck accident investigation ASAP. This will help win your liability case against the 18-wheeler driver and his company.

The injuries, medical bills, lost wages, pain, disfigurement, and disability, and vehicle damage from a collision with a semi truck can be phenomenally high. You will need a substantial sum to reimburse yourself for your damages. This can be a major injury, high-dollar situation that both sides want to win.

Almost every personal injury case is settled out of court. You can usually make the insurance company representatives pay a reasonable amount of money, but only after you have proven your case.

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There are lots of things that make Texas truck accidents inherently dangerous, especially the fatigued truck driver. Consider the tractor-trailer which veered off Interstate 30, slammed through a guardrail, and crashed into an embankment in Grand Prairie. The police stated that the accident happened because the driver fell asleep at the wheel. The only injured person was the 18 wheeler driver. This time, the driving public was lucky. But many times, these asleep-at-the-wheel stories end with one or more people losing their lives.

A fatigued truck driver is one of the largest causes of commercial truck accidents. Trucking companies are often under intense pressure to hit strict deadlines and frequently they pass that pressure on to their drivers who are paid by the mile or job completed.

Trucking regulations impose hours of service caps but those limits sometimes get ignored in the face of deadlines. When a fatigued truck driver causes a truck wreck, it is imperative to check that driver’s electronic logbooks and other records because there may well be an hours-of-service violation to be found. Demonstrating that an hours of service violation happened is an essential part of your case and will enhance your ability to get the full amount of compensation you deserve.

nighttime-crash-texas-300x203We have too many commercial truck crashes in the DFW area

In the past few weeks, we have seen lots of 18-wheeler collisions at night in the DFW area. For example, a tractor trailer loaded with frozen food ended up on its side after an early morning crash along Interstate 635 in North Dallas and a 18-wheeler crashed into a dump truck and scattered cargo across a highway in Fort Worth. These commercial truck crashes — and many others — happened late at night. We are thankful that no one was hurt in these two truck crashes, as they often cause severe or fatal outcomes. Here is a photo from the scene where our client was seriously injured in a tractor-trailer crash that happened at night. What causes them and what should you do if you are unfortunately involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer or other large truck?

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tractor-trailer-crash-denver-300x218This photograph is from the latest horrific crash in Denver you may have seen on the news. A young 18 wheeler driver was speeding on an interstate highway. He failed to stop as he approached vehicles backed up at a car wreck, rammed into the rear of one, and set off a catastrophic series of tractor trailer crashes. There were a total of 28 vehicles involved. A massive fire erupted and four people were trapped inside who tragically lost their lives. Other people suffered life-threatening injuries.

This nightmare didn’t happen in Texas — but it easily could have. Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos held a Texas commercial driver’s license, lived in Houston, and was hauling lumber to San Antonio.

The driver clearly was incompetent. He was only 23 years old and had little experience behind the wheel of a big rig. He was recklessly driving at a rate of 85 mph and had been reported for weaving in and out of congested rush-hour traffic. The speed limit for commercial trucks was restricted to 45 mph to avoid tractor trailer crashes like these.

The Denver wrecks are just the latest reminder of why we need to increase our regulations of 18 wheeler drivers and companies.

The very small trucking business owned by the driver’s brother should not have been allowed to be out on the highways. This truck tractor had prior mechanical difficulties and had caused tractor trailer crashes in other states. The driver claimed his brakes failed. When was the last time they had been inspected?

There were over 4,300 deaths and 30,000 injuries caused by tractor trailer crashes in 2016, the most recent year data is available according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Almost all were in the passenger car, SUV, or truck that was crashed into by the tractor trailer that can weigh more than 80,000 pounds GWVR.

The occupants of the smaller vehicle are extremely vulnerable and need to be compensated for their injuries and damages. But with increased trade and a growing population, not to mention a surge in Amazon purchases, our highways and roads are busier and more dangerous than ever.

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Courtesy of NBC-5

On Friday afternoon a tractor trailer driver was muscling his way east on Interstate 20 in Weatherford when he collided into traffic that had backed up. The driver was not able to slow down, hit a stopped SUV, and set off a chain-reaction. The 18 wheeler hit the median wall and cable system that fortunately prevented it from going onto the other side of the highway and cause more mayhem. The big rig flipped over on its driver side, spilling plastic bottles all over the interstate. The interstate was shut down into the night-time hours. Here’s another fatal 18 wheeler crash that didn’t need to happen.

Sadly, a 44-year-old woman in one of the cars in front of the 18 wheeler lost her life. And seven other people had to be rushed to area hospitals and two other people were treated at the scene. We extend our condolences to the family of the woman and prayers for a speedy recovery to the injured victims.

Berenson Injury Law recently concluded a case for a man seriously injured in a 18 wheeler crash not far from this site and another where a woman lost her life when a tractor trailer rear ended her and other vehicles. We have unfortunately had to handle many other fatal 18 wheeler crashes like this over the past nearly 40 years.

We see how constant they are. But they shouldn’t be.

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fort-worth-18-wheeler-accident-300x142Dallas 18-wheeler crash this morning claims lives of three

The number of people getting seriously injured and even killed in Texas due to crashes involving 18-wheelers unfortunately continues to rise. Just this morning, the most recent tragedy happened in Dallas at about 2:00 AM when three people in a car lost their lives on Interstate 30. It is not clear at this time how the crash happened and we often see driving while intoxicated crashes at that time. But sadly, this is just another news story and statistic about Texas truck injuries and fatalities. And there is no end in sight.

The photograph is not from the Dallas crash but from a case we recently resolved at a mediation. We filed suit after this tractor-trailer rear-ended several vehicles on an interstate in Fort Worth.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that a shocking 4,317 people died — 556 of those being Texans — and 30,000 people were injured in large truck crashes. Of course, almost all of the victims were the occupants of other vehicles. The 80,000 gross vehicle weight rated tractor-trailer almost always wins the battle with the smaller car or pickup truck.

And care to guess which state had the highest number of large trucks that were in fatal wrecks? Woo hoo, we’re #1, with 539 commercial vehicles involved in these crashes.

That’s way too many. After all, one is too many, especially if it has affected your or someone you love.

The flurry of truck wrecks is despite the constant improvement and increase in technology, testing, training, and regulations –and no doubt lawsuits against commercial truck companies and their negligent drivers —  that have improved the safety of the our highways.

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