SAN ANTONIO, TX – KSAT reports that an 18-wheeler carrying 45,000 pounds of grapes crashed early Friday morning in San Antonio. The incident occurred on the notorious section of the road where southbound I-35 meets northbound I-10. According to San Antonio Police, the 18-wheeler truck crash was caused by the driver driving at high speed and losing control of the vehicle, causing it to overturn. The ramp was closed for several hours for cleanup. The driver was not injured in the accident.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM ACCIDENTS INVOLVING A 18- WHEELER TRUCK OR COMMERCIAL VEHICLE
When an individual is involved in an accident with a large commercial vehicle or semi-truck, the results of that accident can be serious, if not deadly.
Given the size and weight of a semi-truck, especially in comparison to a much smaller passenger vehicle, it is easy to see how these types of accidents can result in serious injuries and, many times, death.
These accidents can occur for many different reasons, but it is often the negligence of the driver of the semi-truck or driver of the other vehicle involved that caused the accident. Occasionally, it can also be something related to the functionality of the vehicle or equipment failure that leads to an accident.
Understanding the Cause of the Accident
Before proceeding on an accident claim involving a semi-truck, it helps to understand the cause of the accident. Truckers are charged with handling their vehicles safely and properly, and if the trucker fails to meet a reasonable standard of care while behind the wheel, this could be seen as negligent behavior.
Truck drivers are often dealing with a number of pressures, including driving a certain number of miles daily and receiving financial incentive to drive longer and further. These demands can lead to recklessness, including taking drugs to stay awake or speeding.
In addition, truck drivers are required to periodically inspect their vehicles to make sure equipment is working properly and that cargo is also loaded safely and correctly. If the driver fails to conduct one of these inspections, or if he or she drives the truck despite the fact that the truck failed an inspection, the driver could be considered negligent, as well.
The trucking industry is heavily regulated by a handful of governmental agencies, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The FMCSA issues guidelines and rules for all commercial vehicle operators and their companies, and these rules govern the hours of service for drivers, requirements to properly maintain the vehicles, and certain safety training requirements that all drivers must maintain to be on the road.
These rules and regulations keep others on the road safe and also ensure that the trucking companies and their drivers are staying current on regulations. If the driver failed to follow these regulations they could be held liable for any damages caused as a result.
Protecting the Rights of the Injured
One problem many injured drivers involved in an accident with a semi-trailer run into is dealing with the trucking industry itself. When someone is involved in an accident with another car, a claim for injuries will be made against another individual and their insurance company.
However, an individual hurt in a truck accident will find themselves up against a billion-dollar industry. Most of these companies already have legal teams who regularly handle these types of cases, which can make it very difficult for an unrepresented individual to receive a fair settlement.
The trucking legal teams know how to quickly investigate an accident and also are well-versed in the defense strategies to limit their liability. It is for this reason that a personal injury attorney is always recommended in these types of cases.
SHOULD I SETTLE WITH THE TRUCKING COMPANY?
Some Texas trucking companies will contact you soon after an accident and offer a settlement. These quick settlement offers may sound impressive at first. But they typically represent a fraction of the actual value of the injury claim—essentially pennies on the dollar. The trucking company would like to limit its liability by settling the accident claim and getting it off the books before the full extent of the injury victim’s losses is even known.
In many cases, the accident victim is still receiving medical treatment and incurring medical expenses. If you accept a settlement from a trucking company while still undergoing treatment, you cannot ask the trucking company later for more money if your expenses exceed the amount of the settlement. You will be stuck picking up the tab for the balance of the medical care.
If you receive a call from a trucking company offering to settle your case, you should have a skilled trucking accident lawyer review the offer and provide guidance about whether it is a fair offer. Be careful. You should not sign a liability release or any other form presented by the trucking company or their insurance adjuster until you have talked with a personal injury lawyer.
WHAT DO I DO IF I AM HIT BY A 18-WHEELER TRUCK?
You may be shaken and confused in the hours after a collision with a semi-truck. If you do not require emergency medical attention, you should still seek a prompt medical evaluation.
Inform the doctor that you were involved in a truck accident.
A doctor’s evaluation will provide an independent description of your injuries and will be relied upon by insurance adjusters if you eventually need to file a claim.
Report the accident to the police or ask someone else to summon the police if you are unable.
Do not let the truck driver talk you out of reporting the accident. Without an official police report, you will have more difficulty proving that the truck driver caused your injuries. It will be your word against that of the truck driver.
Exchange vehicle registration and insurance information with the truck driver.
Do this while you are waiting for a law enforcement officer to arrive. If the truck driver is uncooperative, wait for the police to arrive. The police will collect information.
Provide the facts of the accident to the police.
Do not discuss the specifics of the accident with the other driver. Do not try to reassure the other driver that you are unharmed. Even if you feel uninjured immediately after a crash, you may wake up very stiff and sore the next day.
Take photos of the accident scene.
If you can do so safely, use your phone camera to take photos showing damage to the vehicles, skid marks and debris in the road, and your injuries. Accident photos can provide evidence to support your claim.
Disclaimer: The San Antonio car accident attorneys at Herrman and Herrman are dedicated to keeping you and your loved ones safe. We hope that our traffic accident reports will help you protect yourself and avoid an accident whenever possible. This article is not intended to provide legal or medical advice. If you were hurt in a car accident and need legal counsel, contact Herrman and Herrman today.