Trucks are everywhere, including every route from back roads to interstate highways. It’s easy to assume that someone driving a truck much bigger than many other vehicles on the road and one in which there are likely to be many passengers would be diligent about following the rules of the road. Unfortunately, that’s far from true. The Texas Department of Transportation (DOT) reported in 2021 that there were 19,000 commercial vehicle accidents in the state, leading to 685 deaths (almost two per day) and more than 3,800 serious injuries. Read on for what you should know about speeding truck drivers.
What Could Happen if a Truck Driver is Speeding?
Many things could happen, all of which can lead to disastrous accidents.
- Decreased stopping distance and reaction time. The faster the truck goes, the more distance it needs to brake and stop. They also don’t have as much time to react to problems.
- Tire problems. Higher speeds increase the risk of a truck tire blowing out.
- Loss of control when turning. Whether turning a corner or navigating a twisty stretch of road, higher speeds lead to the driver having less control of the truck.
What Kinds of Injuries Can Occur in a Truck Accident?
The size and weight of many trucks on the road mean they’re a formidable foe against smaller vehicles such as cars and motorcycles. The kinds of injuries will vary according to many variables, but in general, these are injuries often associated with truck accidents.
- Cuts and bruises. In many ways, this could be the best-case scenario with no serious injuries or long-term implications. But it can still be painful and require a doctor’s exam. There can also be scarring, sometimes extensive, in visible places like the face or arms.
- Broken bones. Any bone in the body can be broken in a truck accident.
- Burns. These can be enormously painful and potentially need surgery for years down the road. Initially, they can also lead to dangerous infections.
- Back and neck injuries. Besides being painful, these can have long-term, even lifelong, implications.
- Brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), of which concussions are a subset, are common in truck accidents. Some TBIs heal on their own, but others have complications or lifelong conditions as a result.
- Spinal injuries. If the spinal cord is injured or fractured, it can lead to partial or complete paralysis. The most severe forms can lead to someone being unable to breathe without assistance.
What if I’m Partly Responsible for the Accident?
Texas follows something known as the 51% modified comparative negligence law. That mandates that the injured person must not be 51% or more responsible for the accident, or they won’t be allowed to file claims or lawsuits.
Even if the injured person is under the 51% threshold, it can affect their ability to receive total damages. Comparative negligence means that if the injured party is found partly to blame, their damages will be reduced by the percentage of their role in the accident. For example, if a truck was speeding and ran into a car that was running a red light, the court may decide that the car is 40% at fault. They’re still eligible for damages, but if awarded $10,000, their damages would be reduced by 40%, and they’d only receive $6,000.
The truck driver and the trucking company will be motivated to shift as much blame as possible onto the injured person. That’s one of the reasons it’s highly recommended that the injured person contact an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident.
Is There a Statute of Limitations for Filing Claims for Injuries Resulting from a Truck Accident?
A statute of limitations is the period in which someone can legally file claims or lawsuits in a personal injury case, including truck accidents. In Texas, that statute of limitations is two years. That means someone has two years from the date of the accident to file. If nothing is filed by then, the likelihood of being to pursue claims or a lawsuit is almost nonexistent. The other side would request that the claim be dismissed, and the court would likely agree.
One exception is if a minor (under 18) is injured. The minor also has two years to file, but the two years begin not on the accident date but on the day they turn 18.
What Should I Do if I Was Injured in an Accident with a Truck?
If you’re able, call the police and file a report. That may be used as evidence if claims or lawsuits need to be filed later. Then, even if you feel fine, have a physician check you over as soon as possible. There are injuries, including severe ones, that don’t always exhibit symptoms right away. Not having them treated promptly could lead them to worsen and even become life-threatening.
Then call DB Law 24/7 at 346-818-3311 to set up a free nationwide case review. We can help you determine the best plan of action, especially if it can be proven that the bus was speeding.
Something it’s best not to do: Communicate with the insurance representative or lawyer representing the truck driver or trucking company. Their goal is to either get you to accept most or all of the blame or to convince you to settle for a much lower amount than you’re due. If they try to communicate with you in any form, don’t respond but refer all inquiries to your attorney.