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Texas Personal Injury News

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Injured by a big rig? Contact an East Texas Truck Accident Lawyer

If you have ever traveled on a Texas highway with 80,000 pounds of 18-wheeler bearing down on your bumper, you know that it can be quite intimidating to share the road with the big rig behemoths. Because commercial trucks need extra time to both speed up and slow down, it is imperative that they allow enough room between them and any passenger cars. When factoring in the blind spots inherent in the design of all 18-wheelers, motorists can find themselves at considerable risk from negligent truck drivers. 

The life you save may be your own

There are certain driving behaviors motorists can adopt to help give them an edge on highway safety. Taking these tips and suggestions into consideration when behind the wheel may help you avoid a deadly accident and injuries. Keep the following precautions in mind when cruising down the interstate:

  • Avoid the trucks' "No Zones." If a truck driver can't see you or your vehicle, you are at risk. These big rigs have four primary blind spots where other motorists appear suddenly invisible to truckers. While it may be necessary to briefly occupy these spots while in transit or changing lanes, avoid driving for long periods immediately in front of or behind a truck, as well as the areas to the left and right just behind the cab.
  • Use care when passing 18-wheelers. Don't cut off a truck, as the truck driver is unable to stop on a dime. When passing a big rig, use your mirrors to verify that you can see the whole truck before shifting back to the lane. It is recommended that motorists leave a minimum of four car lengths' space between them and large trucks.
  • Leave room for right turns. Have you ever noticed how widely a truck driver swings his rig to the right when turning? If you are in between the truck and the roadside, you could be in a danger zone.
  • Don't tailgate. A car is at a definite disadvantage when it runs up against the bumper of a semi-truck or 18-wheeler. What can be a minor fender-bender for the truck can cause catastrophic injuries or death and total most passenger vehicles. The bumpers on most commercial trucks are not designed to absorb an impact. Due to size disparities, they are not likely to line up with those on a car. Running into the back of an 18-wheeler can open up your car like a can of sardines.
  • Give them plenty of room. The more distance between your passenger car and a big rig, the less likely they are to collide. As a collision between a truck and a car does not usually bode well for the occupants of the 4-wheel vehicle, this is an important safety precaution to observe. One way to make sure there is enough distance between you is to note a stationary object ahead, like a road sign. When the trucker passes this object, begin counting. If your car passes the stationary object before you can count to two seconds, you are too close for comfort.
  • Don't drive behind a truck backing up. This is more of a hazard in parking areas and loading zones than on the interstates, but never place your person or vehicle behind an 18-wheeler as it attempts to back up.

Truckers bear increased financial responsibility

The Texas Department of Public Safety promotes safer driving by truckers through voluntary compliance with safety guidelines. But in reality, accidents happen every day on Texas highways and surface streets. Because collisions between cars and semis can be so devastating, big rig drivers or the companies that employ them are required to take out additional insurance coverage far above the minimum limits of passenger vehicle drivers.

This means that the drivers or companies must have sufficient coverage in place to meet the minimum liability requirements for any environmental or property damage, as well as bodily injuries, for which they are deemed to be responsible.

It's not pleasant to contemplate, but lives are changed in the blink of an eye when vehicles collide on a roadway or interstate. Even those lucky enough to walk away without a scratch may face extensive vehicle repairs or even replacement. But the fact is that far too many don't walk away.

Some motorists and passengers may suffer physical injuries that leave them incapacitated and unable to work or carry out activities of daily living. These injuries may be temporary or permanent; they can wind up with life-long disabilities or disfigurements after a crash with a large commercial vehicle. Few, if any, will have the necessary insurance coverage to meet all of their medical bills and rehabilitation costs. This is one reason behind the disparity in the amount of coverage that trucking companies and drivers must carry when compared with 4-wheel vehicle insurance policies.

Some damages don't leave a scar

Survivors of horrific collisions often are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome months or even years after the accident. The mental and psychological traumas from which these accident victims suffer are very real and can severely inhibit their ability to resume normal activities like simply driving to and from work each day.  

Just for a moment, imagine how difficult your life would suddenly become if you were unable to drive or even ride in a vehicle due to lingering psychological scars from a previous wreck. You or a loved one might suddenly no longer be able to do some, or even all, of the following:

  • Commute to and from a job
  • Pick up or drop off your children at school or other activities
  • Shop independently for clothing, groceries or household necessities
  • Transport you and other family members to medical and dental appointments, leisure or worship activities

Instead, you could become completely dependent upon another person, and the vagaries of their own day-to-day schedule, for the most minor and intimate activities.

When bad things happen to good people, it is often not enough to trust that the system will provide for them and their present and future needs. Insurance companies have a duty to keep their profit margins high and their settlement offers low. They retain entire firms of high-priced attorneys whose sole responsibility is to prove that their client bore no liability for an accident victim's injuries, pain, suffering and reduced quality of life.

Where to turn after an accident with serious injuries involving a big rig?

Some accident victims elect to pursue justice on their own because they believe that they will fare better financially without retaining an attorney to vigorously pursue their claims for damages. This can wind up being penny-wise but pound-foolish. Personal injury attorneys can closely estimate the worth of a case and deflect settlement offers that fall far short of the mark. They can put legal pressure on defendants to release documents that would demonstrate their liability for an injured motorist's injuries and medical bills.

If you have been injured in a collision with a big rig, consult with the Truck Accident Lawyers with Chandler, Mathis & Zivley.


Sources:
 

http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/InternetForms/Forms/MCS-9.pdf#page=53

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rejoining-joy/201108/psychological-injury


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