The investigation into the 100-car pileup over Thanksgiving south of Beaumont involves one couple who were killed by an 18-wheeler in the accident. Whether or not the trucking company, the trucker or anyone else was negligent in causing this accident remains to be determined. Investigators are still hard at work trying to figure out how the accident occurred at all. Where 18 wheelers are concerned, however, there are some particular hazards that people should be aware of and some options that they may have available to them if they lose a family member or are themselves injured in such an accident.
Drivers and Fatigue
A frightening number of drivers who make their living behind the wheels of semi trucks find themselves driving long after the point where they are exhausted, according to multiple reports. Studies have also demonstrated that driving drowsy is just as dangerous as driving drunk. When you combine the hazards that a massive vehicle such as a semi truck poses on its own with a drowsy driver, you have a recipe for disaster.
Sometimes, the drivers themselves are to blame for driving when they should be resting, and sometimes the companies they work for push those drivers far too hard. Either way, anyone who is hurt or the family of a person who is killed by a drowsy trucker should contact a personal injury attorney about the matter. There are labor standards that apply to how much rest time anyone driving a commercial vehicle must have and, if the company or the driver violates those standards, an attorney may be able to help.
One of the other major hazards posed to drivers on the highways by semis comes from 18-wheelers that are not properly maintained. Maintaining a semi truck requires qualified mechanics and requires that those mechanics adhere to a very strict schedule. These vehicles need to be inspected each and every time they go out on the road and they need to be fixed according to standards set forth by state and federal authorities when there is a problem.
There are cases where investigations will reveal that a truck was not properly maintained when it was sent out on the road. In such cases, a jury may very well find that the trucking company was negligent in not providing its driver with a safe vehicle and that the negligence directly contributed to injuries or deaths resulting from an accident.
Never take a settlement check from the trucking company without speaking to an attorney first. The attorney may be able to get you enough money via jury award or settlement to pay for your property damage, medical injuries or the loss of a loved one.