On behalf of Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP

Log Truck Accident: Who Is Liable in Texas?

Amongst the regular traffic on Texas’s highways are log-hauling tractor-trailers. Carrying thousands of pounds of logs at a time, these trucks are pivotal to the state’s economy. They also make for overwhelming road partners. To keep all drivers and cargo safe, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has imposed many rules and regulations regarding the weight of the traveling logs and the driver’s working conditions. These provisions keep accidents at bay, and failure to follow them can result in catastrophe.  If you have been in a truck accident involving a log truck, there are many potentially liable parties, including the truck company itself. Depending on the specific circumstances surrounding your accident, you may be owed compensation for your damages. To give yourself the best possible chance at adequate compensation, partner with a law firm possessing the knowledge and compassion necessary to establish a liability party and bring your claim to justice. 

Determining Liability After a Log Truck Accident

Liability is determined through the four components of negligence and is used to assign fault in personal injury claims. The four components of negligence include: 
  • You were owed a standard of care
  • That care was breached by a reckless or negligent act
  • The breach resulted in an accident
  • The accident directly caused your injury
There are many potentially liable parties in log truck accidents. Despite their size and stature, log trucks must adhere to the same rules of the road as other commercial drivers. This means no speeding, running red lights, or failing to yield. In fact, regulations on these trucks place even more scrutiny than other drivers. The FMCSA requires they be a certain weight and size. The logs must also be secured in a specific fashion and cannot exceed the allowed weights or lengths. Failure to do so dramatically increases the chance of an accident, putting the log truck company at risk of liability.  Log truck accidents can involve many parts and pieces, and it’s possible the accident wasn’t caused by one party alone. Texas currently follows a modified comparative negligence law, meaning liability can be shared by multiple parties. This proportionate responsibility allows victims to file a claim and recover damages as long as they are deemed to be under 50% responsible for the accident. Their compensation will be adjusted as such. 

How a Dedicated Attorney Can Help

A log truck accident can prove to be catastrophic in nature. Common injuries from accidents with a vehicle that size can include traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and other long-lasting results. For those who have fallen victim to a motor vehicle accident due to the negligence of another driver or log company, the biggest mistake you can make is not partnering with an attorney immediately after your accident. While you focus on resting and recovering from your injuries, our team will get to work on the following important aspects of your case:
  • Filing your claim with adherence to Texas’s statute of limitations
  • Negotiating with the insurance company for a high settlement
  • Gathering and assessing any relevant evidence
  • Maintaining your scheduling
  • Acting as a line of communication for your family and friends
Filing a claim on your own behalf typically results in a low settlement offer or even a dismissed claim. When you partner with an attorney, you are giving yourself the opportunity to receive a settlement offer that actually covers the total cost of your losses and allows you to move forward after your accident. 

Injured in a Log Truck Accident? Consult a Compassionate Attorney Today

Don’t try to navigate the aftermath of your truck accident alone. Relieve some of the stress of filing a personal injury claim by putting your case in the reliable hands of Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP. As one of the most distinguished and oldest plaintiff’s personal injury law firms in Austin, Texas, we pride ourselves on our people-first approach to the world of personal injury. We provide compassionate yet aggressive services that include the guidance of a dedicated attorney throughout every step of the process, from the initial case evaluation to the final settlement agreement.  To see how we can best help you and your specific case today, call our nationally-recognized firm at 512-454-3751 or fill out our contact form today. 

Pedestrian risks in Texas

People in Texas should be able to trust that they are safe when crossing a street, walking from their parked car through a parking lot, or going out for their daily run or dog walk. Sadly, these very basic activities of a person’s daily life may find them in one of the most dangerous positions as they must navigate a sea of vehicles. 

State sees surge in pedestrian deaths 

Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that the number of pedestrian deaths in Texas increased during the decade spanning from 2009 to 2018. In 2009, there were 350 recorded pedestrian fatalities, representing just over 11% of the total vehicular deaths that year. In 2018, there were 612 pedestrian fatalities, representing almost 17% of the total vehicular deaths that year. 

Travis county rate of pedestrian deaths greater than state 

In Travis county, the reality on the streets for pedestrians appears to be even more grim that it does across the state as a whole. In 2014, the county experienced 12 pedestrian deaths, representing 12.6% of all vehicular fatalities. In 2017, 24 people on foot were killed in vehicular accidents, accounting for 20% of the county’s accident deaths. The next year saw 36 pedestrians lose their lives in accidents, representing more than 30% of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes. 

If you would like to learn more about how you or someone in your family may get the assistance needed after being hit on foot by a car, truck or SUV, please feel free to visit the pedestrian injury and crash page of our Texas personal injury and motor vehicle accident website. 

Slow driving can be dangerous

Slow driving can pose a danger on Texas highways and roads. While people may think first of how excessive speed contributes to severe car crashes, drivers operating their vehicles too slowly can also cause accidents, road rage incidents and other threats. There are a number of reasons why slow driving is dangerous. In the first place, it is safer and often required by law for cars to pass on the left. On a multi-lane road, a slow driver blocking the left lane may send many cars to pass on the right, significantly elevating the risk of a catastrophic accident.

In other cases, drivers may turn the corner and expect to drive at a reasonable rate of speed, only to catch up quickly to a slow driver. They may be unable to stop in time in case of an emergency ahead, which could potentially cause a domino effect of rear-end collisions. Just like speeding, driving too slowly is often illegal. People who drive under the minimum speed limit specified for a stretch of road may face a ticket if stopped by the police.

There are several factors that can contribute to excessively slow driving. The danger posed by distracted driving is well-known, but slow driving may be another issue. People who are surfing the internet or texting behind the wheel may fall out of sync with traffic, lingering on the road and creating traffic jams. Senior drivers with visual problems may be likely to drive at a dangerously slow speed, as may new teen drivers who are still uncertain.

Driving too slowly is a form of negligence that can cause serious injuries if it leads to a motor vehicle accident. A personal injury lawyer may help people hurt in a crash to seek compensation for their losses.

When can I be sued by someone hurt on my property?

Premises liability in Texas relies upon the idea that there are two types of people who enter your property — those who have a legal right to be there and those who do not. Property owners have an obligation to protect the safety of the former, but state law relieves them of this obligation in many cases when it comes to trespassers. 

The degree of care you must show visitors is proportional to the right of the person to be on your property. 

Duties to visitors  

Owners are typically responsible to warn guests, invitees and licensees of any dangers of which they should reasonably be aware. For example, a property owner with construction underway must alert guests of potential dangers like exposed nails or hazardous equipment. Similarly, the owner of a dangerous dog should warn visitors of the risk and employ measures to protect them. 

When it comes to trespassers, this responsibility relaxes. While property owners can sometimes be liable for trespassers’ injuries, they generally do not have the duty to keep their property safe for those entering without permission. Property owners should still take measures to maintain reasonable safety — particularly when it comes to land that may be attractive to children — in order to avoid litigation. In other words, it is a good idea to place a fence or sign around areas where you could reasonably predict an injury. While you may not be liable for an incident, taking this extra precaution can sometimes go a long way to exonerate you in court. 

Agricultural and recreational lands 

If your property qualifies as agricultural or recreational land, the law offers further protections from liability. According to state law, these landowners do “not owe a duty of care to a trespasser on the land,” and further, do not owe any guest or invitee “a greater degree of care than is owed to a trespasser.” This means that in many cases, owners of agricultural and recreational property are not liable for injuries. The burden of responsibility typically rests on the visitor to practice caution and use discretion in their actions while visiting. 

Remember that no property owner can intentionally injure a visitor or trespasser — nor can they exercise gross negligence without liability. 

Even drivers who are not drunk can be dangerous

In Texas, like most other states, the legal blood alcohol limit when driving is .08. However, alcohol is still a factor in many car crashes even when there is not a driver who is legally drunk. Lower amounts of alcohol can still inhibit a person’s reflexes and elevate the risk of an accident. The risk is even more pronounced when dealing with younger drivers.

Some states are beginning to change their laws in order to lower the legal blood alcohol level. Utah was one of the first states to make this change, dropping the blood alcohol limit down to .05. Other states are beginning to follow suit, and the results are that the number of alcohol-related crashes in those states has declined. Drivers who have had anything to drink are a risk to other drivers on the road. In fact, 15% of road fatalities in this country over a 15-year period resulted from accidents where the driver was not legally drunk, but alcohol was a factor nonetheless.

Even if a driver has had one drink and is involved in an accident, they may still be legally responsible for that accident because the alcohol caused them to be negligent in some way. The alcohol can be a determining factor of who is responsible for the accident and might lead to compensation for you if you have been involved in an accident with a driver who was drinking but not drunk.

If you have been involved in an accident with a driver who made a mistake behind the wheel, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. You may want to ask a personal injury attorney to advise you of your legal rights. They might then help you file a claim for compensation and negotiate a settlement if it is possible. If no agreement can be reached, the attorney may take your case to court and litigate.