Operating a motor vehicle is a task performed so regularly that it is taken for granted. Climb in, fasten your seat belt, turn the key, press the gas and away you go. Sometimes, drivers forget that they are operating heavy machines that are traveling at high rates of speed. Even truckers can fail to appreciate the power they wield when they share the roads.
The average 18-wheeler weighs about 80,000 pounds, or 40 tons. A collision with one of these commercial vehicles may easily cause a devastating injury or loss of life.
Fatal accidents in Southern Texas
Recently, there were two fatal truck accidents in Southern Texas. In one, a truck driver died after hitting a concrete center wall on I-35 over the Medina River. Another involved a woman in her thirties who was in a head-on collision with an 18-wheeler near La Vernia. Sadly, Texas ranks No. 1 in large truck accident fatalities with almost 500 during 2013, nearly double the number of second-ranked California.
While truck drivers have additional driver training and safety guidelines, operating a big rig is no easy task. The weight, breaking time, visibility and sheer mass of these vehicles poses maneuverability challenges. This is why the average driver can be in harm's way when near big trucks. If you are in an accident with a truck, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Involve law enforcement: Sometimes a truck's rear wheels can catch curbs and other vehicles while turning. This may result in what seems like a small fender bender. However, it isn't wise to just exchange insurance information. A jolt to the back and neck or a bump to the head can have symptoms that appear long after the incident. Always have police make an official report to document what happened.
- Seek medical treatment: Whether you feel fine or not after an accident involving a large vehicle, it's important to be examined by a health care professional. Often the adrenaline that pumps during a heightened emotional event like an accident can mask the pain of an injury. Get checked out properly.
- Document what happened: Take pictures and make a recording of your statement to police on your phone if possible. It's in your best interest to have a detailed account of what transpired in the event these facts are contradicted by others. Texas uses a "fault" system for insurance, so being able to show the other driver was negligent - and not you - can only help your attorney resolve your claim.
If you or a loved one was harmed or fatally injured due to an accident with a truck or large vehicle, it's important to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer. The attorneys at The Begum Law Group proudly represent accident victims and their families, helping them recover compensation for their losses.