From food to furniture, from computers to construction equipment, almost every aspect of the American consumer economy depends on tractor trailers to haul large loads across long distances. Tractor trailer drivers are often under pressure to bring their cargo hundreds, or even thousands, of miles in a short time. With drivers under this much pressure, mistakes can happen all too frequently. These mistakes often lead to an 18-wheeler accident injury, either to the truck drivers or to other innocent motorists who must share the road with them.
Motorists in Texas are familiar with the occurrence of life-threatening accidents that involve “big rigs,” also known as 18-wheeler trucks. Highway reports have indicated that in 2012, there were 3,702 fatal accidents and 4,183 fatalities involving commercial trucks and buses in the United States. These staggering numbers have many drivers wondering what causes these accidents and why they are so frequent on Texas roads and highways.
Types of Texas Truck Accidents
Many forces contribute to 18-wheeler truck accidents in Texas. Among the varied reasons for crashes are conditions outside of a driver’s control –– such as road and weather conditions –– and driver inattention or negligence. With so many accidents each year, the causes of an 18-wheeler accident injury can be nearly as varied as the people involved in these tragedies.
Any individual who chooses to seek legal assistance after suffering from an 18-wheeler truck accident in Texas should know about the various types of truck accidents, including:
- Jackknife collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- Head-on collisions
- Sideswipe accidents
- Rollover accidents
- Wide turn accidents
Between 2018 and 2019, an average of 19,800 non-fatal truck collisions occurred each year in the United States. These serious accidents, regardless of whether or not they were fatal, affect families and victims in many different ways, and some injuries that are sustained as a result of Texas 18-wheeler accidents can be life-changing.
Frequent Injuries from 18-Wheeler Collisions
Commonly, 18-wheelers on the roads in Texas weigh anywhere from 10,000 to 80,000 lbs. This depends entirely on whether or not the cab is attached to a trailer and how much cargo is being transported by the vehicle. The weight and size of 18-wheelers can cause severe damage to other cars and their occupants during an accident. Some of the most common injuries that victims suffer during these 18-wheeler accidents include:
- Soft tissue and muscle injuries: Damage that impacts muscles, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissue. This can include muscular tension, whiplash, and sprains.
- Damage to the spine: Serious injuries from 18-wheeler accidents can result in damage to the vertebrae and spinal cord that can cause paralysis.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI): Some of the most impactful injuries that happen during 18-wheeler accidents are traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) such as concussions, hematoma, coma, or death.
- Broken bones: One of the most commonly reported injuries resulting from accidents involving 18-wheeler trucks is broken or fractured bones. Among the most frequently injured areas are the face, ribs, pelvis, arms, and legs.
Other minor injuries that victims often report include bruises, burns, lacerations, and small puncture wounds. These can occur when the windshield or dashboard is destroyed or damaged on impact. Regardless of the injuries that a victim may have sustained after an 18-wheeler accident in Texas, it is important to prioritize seeking medical care.
Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents in Texas
There have been a high number of cases in recent years in which motorists have endured serious accidents with 18-wheelers. In 2012, over 100,000 people suffered injuries as a result of truck accidents, an average of 275 people each day. Many of these accidents were due to preventable causes related to negligence, including:
- Operating a vehicle while fatigued
- Engaging in distracted driving
- Driving recklessly or speeding
- Driving with a load over the legal limit
- Turning improperly or illegally
- Failing to signal when changing lanes or passing
- Failing to maintain the upkeep of the 18-wheeler
- Driving in excess of maximum driving hours
- Violating local traffic rules
- Inexperience or lack of training
No matter the cause of a truck accident, these life-changing situations can be some of the most challenging moments that victims and their families have to face. To help you navigate your next steps, you may choose to contact a Texas truck accident lawyer.
How Long Does an 18-Wheeler Lawsuit Take in Texas?
After experiencing a serious accident, victims and their families may be unsure of how to move forward with a claim for their losses. Pursuing a case after an 18-wheeler accident in Texas can be a daunting task if you do not have a familiarity with Texas trucking laws.
In Texas, victims and their families have two years from the date of the accident to move forward with legal action. The resolution of the claim, however, may take weeks to months. In some extreme cases, reaching a fair outcome could take years. This may occur if a claim cannot be resolved through settlement negotiations and winds up in court. Ultimately, the time your claim may take depends on the facts of the case.