Dallas, 10/31/2016 /SubmitPressRelease123/
The Texas big truck accident lawyers of 1800 Truck Wreck report on a truck accident in Fort Worth that killed five and injured 12, where the family alleges that the commercial truck driver’s negligence caused the wreck.
The family of a woman who suffered serious injuries in a big truck accident in Fort Worth has filed suit against the driver of the truck and the trucking company itself.
The truck wreck – which killed five people and injured 12 – occurred at about 2:30 a.m. in the 3900 block of Interstate 30, near the Oakland Boulevard exit.
Police said that a BMW driven by 37-year-old Claudia Barraza hit a concrete barrier on the freeway near Oakland Boulevard.
Barraza pulled her vehicle to the right shoulder of the freeway, and several other vehicles stopped to render assistance.
Moments later, a Ryder commercial truck driven by Dustin Wayne Pool, barreled over a hill, lost control and plowed into the vehicles and the people who were standing outside their cars.
The truck then came to a stop and caught fire.
Barraza was killed in the accident, as were Veronica Gonzalez, 43, Clarissa Banda, Mary Hernandez, 42, and Steven Franklin, 45.
Pool suffered moderate injuries, and was taken to a local hospital.
In the aftermath of the accident, the family of Elyssa Alba, who suffered serious injuries in the wreck, and lost her fiancée Veronica Gonzalez, consulted with a big truck wreck accident lawyer and later filed suit against Pool and Ryder Integrated Logistics Inc.
“You have four lanes of traffic and several vehicles that were able to come to a complete stop and offer assistance to the driver of the BMW,” stated the big truck wreck accident attorney representing Alba. “A total of eight vehicles were hit by the tractor-trailer. That’s what I find the most troubling.”
Alba, who the lawyer described as being “in horrific condition,” suffered serious head injuries, fractures to her jaw and hip, and the amputation of one of her legs.
The lawsuit contends that Pool’s negligence included failure to control his speed, failure to turn to avoid a collision, and failure to keep a safe distance,.
These failures, the suit says, were major contributing factors to the big truck accident.
Furthermore, the suit accused Ryder of not providing the proper training to Pool, which would have helped him avoid the devastating accident.
The plaintiffs are seeking more than $1 million in damages, which the family’s lawyer said was appropriate, especially given the “mental anguish” Alba’s children have suffered since the accident.
“Texas rules require plaintiffs to plea for a minimum of damages,” the lawyer added. “The injuries are catastrophic, so we will seek far more than the minimum based on the facts that come to light.”
Ryder officials did not comment about the lawsuit, but the company did issue a statement through a spokesman, David Bruce.
“Ryder is deeply saddened by the injuries and loss of life resulting from the tragic multi-vehicle accident involving a Ryder vehicle and driver,” Bruce stated. “We are fully cooperating with officials investigating of this accident. With respect to a recently filed lawsuit related to this matter, we will address those claims as part of the litigation process.”
10 Common Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents
The lawsuit against Ryder is more evidence that commercial trucks still pose a danger to motorists, not just because they are bigger, longer and heavier than passenger vehicles, but also because any kind of driver inattention or driver error often results in far more devastating consequences.
“We’ve seen over and over that the reason we place higher safety standards on commercial truck drivers, is because they are driving vehicles that if not properly controlled, easily become weapons of destruction,” stated Amy Witherite, a Fort Worth lawyer at the big truck accident law firm of Eberstein & Witherite, which has offices in Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth, as well as Atlanta, Georgia. “The fact is, a truck wreck that is caused by a commercial driver is nearly always going to be more damaging in terms of injuries or fatalities, than a passenger vehicle accident.”
And that’s why it’s so important to identify some of the most common contributing factors to these commercial truck accidents, and how that knowledge can help lower the rate of wrecks.
Ironically, Ryder recently listed 10 major reasons that big truck accidents occur, in an effort to provide public information to help prevent more of these incidents:
- Failure of truck driver to adhere to or obey the rules of the road
- Speeding or unsafe acceleration
- Under-inflated tires on big rig trucks
- Cargo shifting or improperly loaded commercial trucks
- Truck driver fatigue related to violation of hours-of-use regulations
- Truck driver substance abuse
- Improper braking or deceleration
- Poor truck maintenance or shoddy repair work
- Careless or reckless driving
In fact, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified many of these 10 causes as major contributing factors in commercial truck accidents.
One of the biggest issues within the trucking industry Is that many carriers, especially smaller, independent companies, ignore or manipulate the hours-of-service regulations that the federal government has mandated to mitigate the problem of driver fatigue.
Hours-of-service refers to the number of consecutive hours that a commercial truck driver can operate a vehicle without taking a break.
It has been a political hot potato for several years, pitting safety regulators against truck industry lobbyists who are well funded and use money to sway members of Congress.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that the driver of any commercial vehicle that meets certain conditions, adhere to the hours-of-service regulations that limits the number of hours a driver can operate a vehicle.
In order to try and cut down on driver fatigue, the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations states that truck drivers are not allowed to work more than 60 hours in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days.
But the trucking industry, led by the American Truckers Association (ATA), the most powerful member organization of trucking companies, successfully lobbied Congress to table the proposal, citing a likely increase in traffic congestion that would also likely lead to more – not less – accidents.
The FMCSA promised to revisit the issue at a later time, but the ATA has vowed that it would force the agency to conduct years of study about the effectiveness of any new proposal that would amend the existing hours-of-service regulations.
Truck drivers may only drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty, and must have at least one 30-minute break if they are driving 8 consecutive hours or more.
These regulations apply to the drivers of commercial vehicles that:
- Weigh more than 10,001 pounds
- Are designed to transport 16 or more passengers not for compensation
- Are designed to transport 9 or more passengers for compensation
- Are transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards
“Hours-of-service rules aren’t arbitrary,” Witherite added. “They were established based on studies that determined the level of focus and attention that is lost after a certain number of hours spent driving. But when the FMCSA tried to amend these regulations, and lower the maximum hours commercial drivers could spend operating their vehicles in a week, the trucking lobby flexed their muscles and forced the FMCSA to suspend that amendment. They claimed that the new proposal would generate an increase in traffic, but the truth is that many of the larger carriers knew that they would lose money if the government curbed the number of hours their drivers could spend on the road.”
And what makes commercial truck driver fatigue such a danger to other motorists is the fact that tired drivers often fail to obey the rules of the road, speed in an unsafe manner, improperly brake or decelerate, fail to account for blind spots, and exhibit careless or reckless driving.
With the addition of driver fatigue, these are six of the 10 most common causes of commercial truck accidents that were previously listed.
That’s a scary thing to ponder, the fact that driver fatigue can have so many unintended, but often fatal consequences when a truck accident occurs.
Even more troubling is what Witherite points out about the costs of these accidents beyond just the accident site.
“You’re talking about injured employees, inventory loss or damage, production delays in shipping because a truck is out of operation,” Witherite stated. “There’s also an increase in liability and insurance costs for all drivers because of massive payouts, and a lowering of public confidence in these major truck carriers.”
Finding Justice After A Truck Accident
There’s no way to minimize the devastation that a truck accident can cause to a family. It’s not just the physical damage, which includes injuries and property loss, but it’s also the psychological scars that remain long after. If you live in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, El Paso or Texarkana, we urge you to call 1-800-Truck-Wreck if you have suffered injuries in a truck accident, and talk to a lawyer at Eberstein & Witherite.
Big truck accident victims often feel as if they are battling the truck company by themselves, but that doesn’t have to be the case. We have years of experience knowing how to handle these accidents, and our primary goal isn’t just to obtain compensation that is fair, but to help you fully recover your quality of life. Call us today, or fill out the online form, and a member of our team will get back to you immediately.
Eberstein & Witherite, LLP
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