Drunk Trucker Rear-Ends Passenger Vehicle, Killing One



cbs high res 150x150 brooks schuelke

Brooks Schuelke, Esq.
Schuelke Law PLLC

Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) August 22, 2022 – In a recent accident in Houston, an intoxicated trucker, traveling at highway speeds, rear-ended a woman on I-10 in Houston. The victim was killed in the wreck.

The estate of the deceased woman filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the trucker and his employer, alleging the driver was intoxicated, and therefore grossly negligent when he rear-ended the SUV. The driver was also arrested on intoxication manslaughter charges.

In accidents such as this one, there are usually at least two, if not more, possible defendants. The typical defendants include the truck driver and the trucking company. Other possible defendants can also include a truck’s lessee, a trailer’s owner or lessee, the owner of the load on the truck, and the mechanic charged with maintaining it.

A personal injury attorney must prove the trucker was negligent. There are various forms of negligence that can be alleged in 18-wheeler crashes. The driver’s negligence can include speeding, distracted driving, violating rules about driving hours, and more.

“In a case like this one,” said Austin truck accident attorney, Brooks Schuelke, “where the driver was intoxicated, it is pretty clear that the driver was negligent.”

In most trucking accident cases, the company that hired the driver is also a named defendant. There are a number of reasons that a trucking company may be independently liable for a wreck. Often, the trucking company fails in its duty to exercise care in the hiring, training and retention of its drivers. For example, a trucking company may be negligent in its hiring by hiring a driver who has a long history of poor driving. Similarly, a trucking company may be negligent for retaining a driver who looked okay when hired but who has demonstrated poor driving habits while at the company.

There may be other claims specific to particular cases. For example, a trucking company may be liable if it did not properly maintain the vehicles and that defect contributed to the wreck. In other instances, trucking companies may be found liable for encouraging truckers to drive too many hours (there are legal limits on the number of hours a trucker can drive per day) or to drive in unsafe conditions.

There are almost unlimited ways that trucking companies can think of that help increase their profits but decrease their safety, subjecting the companies to liability if a wreck occurs.

Investigation of these factors can be key. “No matter what else you do at the scene of an accident, make certain you seek medical care as soon as you can. Keep meticulous records of everything, from the moment before the crash to every single medical appointment, drug, therapy, and/or surgery you may experience,” Schuelke added. Keeping receipts for all medical expenses is also advisable.

Under no circumstances say anything at the scene of the crash to anyone about who you may think is/was at fault for the collision. “Do not say that you think it was your fault or even partially your fault,” indicated Schuelke, “as this may be used against you by the insurance company when it comes to discussing a settlement for injuries.”

If it is safe, try to take pictures at the scene. You may want pictures of the vehicles, pictures of skid marks or other evidence at the scene, and pictures of injuries.“If it turns out you were partially responsible for the crash, Texas follows the 51 percent bar rule of comparative negligence,” Schuelke explained. That means, as the plaintiff, there cannot be more than 50 percent responsibility assigned. If it is deemed that the plaintiff was 50 percent or less liable for a crash, the damage award is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned. This can be confusing, and it is best to discuss any truck accidents with a skilled Austin truck accident attorney.

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