Rear-end crashes involving a line of cars stopped at a traffic signal are somewhat common events in Texas and nationwide. A pileup of several 18-wheelers in a chain rear-end collision is unusual and rarely seen. It happened recently in Frio County, about five miles south of Pearsall, on I-35 at about 5:45 p.m. It appears that trucking negligence was in some way or another responsible for the accident.
The incident did not involve a traffic signal but instead traffic had slowed down for debris in the road. Four tractor truck semi-trailers crashed into the rear of each other as they tried to slow down. A truck driver was pronounced dead at the scene, indicating either a fatal illness or an intensely violent crash involving high speeds.
Three of the drivers were taken to area hospitals with injuries that were not life-threatening. The Texas Department of Public Safety could not contribute to the mystery of how the accident occurred, stating that all the factors were not yet known. The highway itself had to be shut down for an extended time to give investigators a full opportunity to examine the scene and make forensic tests.
If one of the trucks started the chain reaction by rear-ending the truck in front of it, that operator could be the sole negligent cause of the accident. Under that scenario, if the negligent driver was the decedent, there would be no viable personal injury claims from the accident. However, if a driver other than the decedent is found to be negligent, then that driver and his employer-truck owner will be liable for wrongful death damages to the family of the decedent.
They will also be liable for personal injury damages to the other two injured operators. In some instances, an accident like this could involve trucking negligence of more than one of the truck drivers. In such event, Texas law calls generally for the division of liability in proportion to the percentage of fault attributed to each operator.
Source: news4sanantonio.com, “One dead in multiple 18-wheeler accident“, Aug. 3, 2017