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Truck accidents follow comparative fault rules of liability

Texas highways are riddled with reports of truck accidents involving large trucks colliding with cars and sometimes with much smaller trucks. The cause of these truck accidents is not always clearly evident. Such an accident occurred on the morning of May 22 in Midland when an 18-wheeler and a pickup truck collided on the Garden City Highway.

The driver of the pickup was declared dead by responders. Both vehicles were driving westbound on the roadway when the 18-wheeler moved into the outside lane to maneuver a right turn onto a business driveway fronting on the Garden City Highway, per a Midland police press release. The pickup, traveling on the inside lane, kept going forward until it collided with the turning truck.

The police reported that while the truck was turning, the pickup struck the telephone poles that were being carried on the trailer bed. Two poles went through the cab portion of the small truck, likely impaling and killing the pickup driver. This version of the facts leaves unanswered questions on the legal liability of each driver. The percentage of fault of each driver must often be determined in Texas accidents in order to determine the percentage of damages that the victim or the victim's estate may recover.

Texas has a modified comparative negligence statute applicable to vehicular and truck accidents that says that the plaintiff is allowed to collect as long as he or she is not 51 percent or more responsible for the accident. Thus, in the above accident, the estate of the pickup driver may collect as long as its decedent was not more than half at fault. In this case, it appears that both sides may argue that the other was to some extent responsible, and that the ultimate decision may come from a judge of jury. One interesting and perhaps determinative question is whether the poles were properly fastened down on the trailer bed and how they managed to get loose and go through the pickup's cab.

Source: mrt.com, "Midland man dies in 2-truck wreck", May 22, 2017

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