Prosperity brings dangerous trucks to Texas roadways

With the increased oil and gas production and exploration across many parts of Texas, there has been a surge in demand for truck drivers. Although the high demand has significantly increased the wages for drivers, it has also had a negative effect as far as safety goes. As experienced drivers have become more difficult to find, oil companies have had to turn to drivers with little or no experience.

In addition to inexperienced drivers, the oil boom has significantly increased the number of trucks on Texas roadways. With the increase, the number of safety violations has jumped. A three-day inspection by the Texas Department of Transportation in 2013 took 21 percent of the 9,200 trucks and other commercial motor vehicles that were inspected out of service because of serious safety violations such as defective brakes. In addition, the inspections identified a significant number of drivers that did not have a valid truck license or who were fatigued because they had exceeded the maximum weekly working hours under federal law.

The increase in inexperienced drivers and unsafe trucks on Texas roads puts motorists at an increased risk of being involved in a truck accident. Although a given truck accident can happen for many reasons, in many cases, they are caused by negligence on the part of the driver or trucking company, such as drug/alcohol use, driver fatigue, improper loading or maintenance issues.

Legal recourse

Unfortunately, when a truck collides with a car, the result is often fatal. In such cases, the decedent's loved ones are often left with unexpected losses such as medical and funeral expenses. Fortunately, under Texas law, such expenses can be recouped in a wrongful death lawsuit.

In Texas, the purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to compensate certain family members of the decedent when he or she was killed because of the negligence or carelessness of someone else. In order to recover compensation, it must be shown:

  • That the decedent was caused by the neglect, default, carelessness or unskillfulness of a person, company or government entity; and
  • If the decedent had lived, he or she would have been able to file a lawsuit against the responsible party for damages

Under the law, only certain family members may recover damages in the wrongful death lawsuit. In general, recovery is limited to the spouse, children and parents of the decedent. Eligible parties may recover several types of expenses and losses resulting from the decedent's death such as:

  • Medical, funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of income and support
  • Loss of the decedent's emotional support and love
  • Punitive damages (in certain cases)

Although wrongful death lawsuits cannot bring the loved one back to life, they can provide much needed compensation during a difficult period, allowing family members to move on with their lives more easily. If you have lost a loved one because of someone's negligence, an experienced personal injury attorney can fully advise you on your right to compensation under the law.