Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Wasn’t My Fault?

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

If you get involved in a car accident where you weren’t at fault, you may imagine a simple claims process that ends in fair financial compensation to pay for your hospital bills and property repairs. Unfortunately, even if you didn’t do anything wrong, you may run into problems and frustration when processing an insurance claim. You may need a Dallas car accident lawyer to assist you. An experienced attorney can provide many key benefits and important services during the claims process.

Allow You to Focus on Your Health

Car accidents can cause life-changing injuries, from burns and broken bones to brain injuries and traumatic amputations. You should not have to worry about the legal side of your case while also dealing with painful, debilitating and expensive injuries. You need the peace of mind to concentrate on healing and moving forward from your accident. When you hire a lawyer, you give your case over to a team of experienced attorneys who can take care of legal tasks for you while you focus on getting well.

Investigate the Crash and Gather Evidence Against the Other Driver

You might know that you didn’t cause the car accident, but your word alone isn’t enough to win an insurance claim. If the other driver is refusing to admit fault or an insurance company is trying to blame you for the wreck, you will need evidence against the other driver. A car accident lawyer can return to the scene of your crash and provide a comprehensive investigation to collect evidence of fault, such as eyewitness accounts, photographs, surveillance video footage and a police report. A lawyer’s work can help you prove a case against the other driver.

Demand Maximum Financial Compensation

Even if you weren’t at fault for the car crash, the other driver’s insurance provider may try to avoid paying you the amount that you deserve. Insurance companies are notorious for putting their bottom lines over their clients. An insurer may try to undervalue your injuries and property damage to offer a settlement that is inadequate. Without an attorney’s assistance, you may accept the offer without realizing that you deserve more. A car accident lawyer can take over insurance settlement negotiations for you, carefully reviewing each offer and submitting counteroffers until the insurance company offers a full and fair amount. While most car accident cases achieve successful settlements, if your lawyer believes that you could make more with a personal injury trial in Texas, he or she can represent you at court, as well.

Protect You From Insurance Company Traps and Tactics

A car accident lawyer will know how to deal with insurance companies and talk to claims adjusters for you. This is critical, as insurance companies are known for taking advantage of inexperienced claimants. There are several defense tactics that an insurer may use against you even if you did not cause the crash. Your lawyer can combat these tactics to protect your right to recover. Defenses may include:

  • Comparative negligence. The argument that you also contributed to the accident, which could reduce your financial recovery.
  • Pre-existing injury. An allegation that you had the injury or condition you are claiming prior to the car accident.
  • Administrative errors. A claim that you made a mistake, such as missing a filing deadline, and that this disqualifies you from coverage.

Having a lawyer advocate for your best interests throughout the car accident recovery process can mean achieving better results with less stress and hassle. Your lawyer will know what mistakes and missteps to avoid in the fight for fair compensation, such as admitting fault and rushing into a fast settlement. Your lawyer will protect your legal rights and fight for justice on your behalf every step of the way. For a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Dallas, contact us.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 12:44 pm

Who is Liable When a Child is Injured in Daycare or with a Babysitter?

Monday, February 21, 2022
In the event that your child suffers an injury under the care of a babysitter or daycare center, the first thing you’ll want to do is confirm that your child is okay. But that concern will quickly turn to anger if you think the childcare provider has been negligent. We all want the best for our children and should feel confident that they will be taken care of when we leave them in the hands of caretakers whose job it is to watch out for them. Unfortunately, negligent conduct is not unheard of and the consequences can be dire.

Are Daycare Waivers Valid in the Event of an Injury?

Nearly all daycare providers require parents to sign waivers of liability before enrolling a child into care. These releases grant provisions for emergencies when the care provider must get medical attention for an injured child when the daycare center can’t contact the parents fast enough. Other sections of the release typically include indemnity clauses stating that the parents forfeit their right to sue in the event that a child is hurt while in their care. However, this does not mean parents have signed away their right to compensation if their child is injured. The courts have said that it’s against public policy to grant immunity to daycare centers before a child is hurt, as this could allow daycare centers to act negligently without consequence. Especially since the victims in question are innocent and defenseless children, the courts cannot condone a waiver that lifts responsibility from the daycare center. Therefore, although parents sign a clause not to press charges in the event of injury, in a court of law, this clause is completely useless. Daycare centers continue to include it in their waivers to discourage parents from filing claims, but informed parents know that this is just a bluff, and if their child is injured, they have a right to file a lawsuit for compensation.

Understanding the Rules of Child Abuse and Neglect

If your child is hurt while under the supervision of a daycare center, babysitter, or another person who was responsible for their care, you may have a case of negligent supervision. In these cases, any person who has accepted responsibility for your child but acts carelessly or inattentively can be sued for negligence. To prove a case of negligent supervision, you must have evidence that the person or organization accepted responsibility for looking after your child. Then, you must prove that the caregiver did not properly monitor your child. You will have to prove that your child’s injury was foreseeable and preventable, and that the supervisor’s failure to monitor your child properly was the cause of the injury. There are extreme cases of child abuse while in the care of a responsible party, including hitting and kicking children. These cases are terrifying and devastating to children and parents, and justice should be pursued actively in a court of law to hold them fully liable for damages.

Seek Help in Your Time of Need

At the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert in San Antonio, we honestly hope we never have to see you in our offices for a case of child abuse or neglect from a daycare center or babysitter. No parent should ever have to go through the reality of a child being hurt due to negligence. In the awful event that this happens, you need to act swiftly against the responsible party.


Contact us today for experienced, aggressive, and dedicated representation that will fight for your rights, your child’s rights, and for full compensation from the defendant. Please reach out to our skilled daycare abuse and neglect attorneys if you see any signs that it may be happening to your child.
Posted by Aaron Herbert at 10:57 pm

What Is Gap Insurance and What Does It Cover?

Monday, February 21, 2022

It is no secret that when you drive a brand-new car off the lot, it immediately depreciates in value – oftentimes, by thousands of dollars. While this is never a positive thing, it can be even more problematic if you get into a car accident soon after purchasing the new car. Gap (Guaranteed Asset Protection) insurance is a financial solution for this specific situation.

What Is Gap Insurance?

Gap insurance pays for the difference – the “gap” – in the amount of money you receive from a car accident insurance claim for a totaled vehicle and the value of the loan you took out to purchase the new car. For example, say you took out a $20,000 loan to buy a new car. When you drove the vehicle off the lot, it immediately depreciated in value to $17,000. Then, you crashed the car while you were still paying off the loan.
Upon reviewing your case, a car insurance company offers you $17,000 for your property losses – the pre-crash value of the totaled vehicle. However, you will still be indebted to your loan service provider for the full $20,000 that you took out to buy the new car. Who pays for the remaining $3,000 – the difference between the pre-crash value of your new car and the amount you owe a loan provider? Gap insurance pays, if you have it.

What Does Gap Insurance Cover in a Car Accident?

Gap insurance pays the difference between what you still owe on your newly bought vehicle and its market value at the time of an accident or incident. It will cover this difference whether you caused the car accident or not, in most cases. Gap insurance can cover this amount after many different types of vehicle-damaging incidents, including:

  • Car accident
  • New vehicle theft
  • Vandalism
  • Storm or weather damage
  • Car fire

Gap insurance does not cover the sale of a vehicle or trade-in. Most policies also do not cover vehicles that are more than a year old. Finally, gap insurance will not help you pay to purchase another vehicle after yours is damaged or totaled; you would need a different type of insurance – new car replacement coverage – to help you pay for a new vehicle.

Do You Need Gap Insurance?

Gap insurance can help you protect yourself financially when you purchase a new car in Texas. It allows for the difference between the value of the loan you took out and the depreciated value of your vehicle once you drive it off the lot – protecting you from having to pay this difference out of pocket should anything happen to your new car. A standard car insurance policy will not cover this difference. You must have gap insurance for this specific type of coverage.
Not every new-car buyer needs to purchase gap insurance. However, if any of the following circumstances apply to you, it may be in your best interest to purchase gap insurance coverage in Texas:

  • You have purchased a car that is brand new or less than a year old.
  • You will owe more on your lease than the depreciated value of the vehicle.
  • You are leasing the vehicle.
  • You purchased a car that depreciates quickly.
  • Your vehicle is a popular model for auto theft.
  • You want peace of mind after taking out an auto loan on a new car.

In some states, an auto dealership is legally required to offer gap insurance when the buyer is purchasing the vehicle. However, this is an optional type of coverage that the driver does not necessarily need to buy. If you’re not sure whether gap insurance is a smart investment for you, calculate how much you would have to pay out of pocket should your car get damaged or destroyed. Subtract the current value of your car amount from your vehicle loan. If you are not comfortable paying this amount yourself, you may wish to invest in gap insurance.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 2:01 pm

Understanding Fault in High Risk Activity Accidents

Saturday, February 19, 2022
What happens if you get injured while rafting, paragliding, BASE jumping, or another extreme sport? Many of these activities require liability waivers, but a waiver does not necessarily preclude an injured individual from taking legal action against the organizer. In 2012, a man in Fort Worth drowned during a mud run. In 2013, a Pennsylvania hospital’s emergency services took in 38 patients during a Tough Mudder (extreme obstacle course) event. Of course, there are many of these kinds of incidents, and they can quickly become tragic. Extreme sports and obstacle courses are exhilarating, in part, because of the risk-factor. Liability waivers are designed to protect organizations from lawsuits arising from certain injuries or death. However, many waivers are not enforceable, even when a participant signs the document.

What Affects the Protectiveness of a Waiver?

Every state has different laws regarding contracts including waivers. Some states may not accept the terms or the structure of a waiver under state law. Assuming state laws do support the enforceability of a waiver, the waiver may still not protect the organization from a lawsuit. A waiver only protects an organization within the limited scope outlined in the document. In other words, an organization may be liable for an injury that goes above and beyond the terms of the waiver. For instance, if you were injured because an organization knowingly changed the hazardous nature of an activity or failed to take reasonable safety precautions (extreme negligence), you may still be able to hold the organization accountable. A good rule of thumb is to look at the nature of the activity and see if the factor that caused harm could have been reasonably eliminated without changing the nature of the activity. If it could have been removed or altered, then the waiver may not protect the organization from a lawsuit.

The Complexity of Waiver Enforceability in Texas

Enforceability of waivers is a complicated matter in Texas. There are no written laws that explicitly define what a liability waiver must contain to remain enforceable. Instead, courts rely on a patchwork arrangement of court opinions and interpretations to determine enforceability on a case-by-case basis. If you have an attorney who understands the framework for enforceability in Texas, he or she can review the waiver and develop a case that either contests enforceability or goes beyond the scope of the waiver. For instance, if a parent signs a waiver for a child to go whitewater rafting, the parent may give up the ability to file a claim, but a child may recover some damages.

Always Talk to an Attorney After an Extreme Activity Injury

After a high risk activity accident, secure a copy of your signed liability waiver. Keep any recordings that capture the time of the incident, and tell your medical provider about your injury. If you were using equipment that malfunctioned, take pictures of the equipment. Some individuals assume a waiver will keep them from recovering damages after an injury. As a result, they never pursue a legal consultation to determine if they have grounds for a lawsuit. At the Law Offices of Aaron A. Herbert PC, our initial consultations are always free, and we can help you determine if a lawsuit is the right course of action. Knowing your rights can help you take action after an accident. You probably don’t need to have your attorney review every waiver before you, but don’t be afraid to reach out to an attorney if you have any questions. You may have options to secure financial compensation that will cover the cost of your injury and rehabilitation. For more information, contact the Law Offices of Aaron A. Herbert PC in San Antonio.
Posted by Aaron Herbert at 11:42 pm

Who Is at Fault in a Chain Reaction Car Accident?

Friday, February 18, 2022

While some car accidents only consist of two motor vehicles, others involve three, four or more cars – leading to more complicated liability disputes. A crash involving more than two vehicles is referred to as a chain reaction car accident if it takes the form of a series of multiple rear-end collisions. The process of recovering financial compensation for a chain reaction car accident in Texas can be complex and require an extensive investigation.

What Is a Chain Reaction Car Accident?

A chain reaction car accident can be depicted as Driver C hitting Driver B, then Driver B hitting Driver A. It can involve more than three vehicles, as well. A chain reaction crash is a series of rear-end impacts, meaning the front of one vehicle strikes the back of the vehicle in front of it, and so on. Chain reaction accidents occur when the driver that causes the initial impact (Driver C in the example above) does so with enough force to propel the next vehicle (Driver B) into the car in front of it (Driver A).

How to Identify the At-Fault Party in a Chain Reaction Car Accident

A chain reaction car accident can cause serious injuries, such as whiplash and broken bones, to multiple drivers and passengers in more than one vehicle. Since Texas is a fault-based car insurance state, the driver most at fault for the collision is who must pay for all related damages – meaning all victims’ medical bills, property damage repairs and other expenses. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to identify the at-fault party in a chain reaction car accident.
In general, the driver of the first vehicle to make contact in a chain reaction car accident is liable for all resultant collisions. In the example above, this would be Driver C – the first driver to rear-end someone else and set off the chain of subsequent collisions. Driver C would be responsible for all other drivers’ losses in the crash in this scenario, even though his or her vehicle never touched Driver A. This is because without Driver C, Driver B never would have hit Driver A, making Driver C responsible for the entire chain of events.
Determining fault for a chain reaction crash typically requires an in-depth investigation into who or what caused the initial impact. An insurance company may send investigators back to the scene of the crash or to examine the physical damage done to all vehicles involved in the wreck to reconstruct the crash. An investigator may also interview all involved drivers, passengers and eyewitnesses for more information. The goal of an investigation is to find the source of the chain reaction – the person behind the initial collision.

Can Two or More Parties Share Fault?

It is possible for a single driver to bear financial responsibility for an entire chain reaction car accident in Texas. This might be the case if a driver was texting and driving or fell asleep behind the wheel, for example, and crashed into another driver, setting off a chain reaction of multiple other rear-end collisions. However, it is also possible for multiple drivers to share liability for a single-car accident in Texas.
Texas is a comparative negligence state, meaning that multiple parties (including crash victims) can share fault for a single accident. If a crash victim who is seeking compensation for a car accident is found to be partially liable for a chain reaction crash, such as for following another vehicle too closely or not paying enough attention, he or she could still be eligible for partial compensation from a defendant. Liability for a crash can be divided among parties based on each person’s percentage of fault. This will become the percentage of the total compensatory award each defendant must pay injured victims.
If you need assistance determining fault for a recent chain reaction car accident in Dallas, Texas, contact the car accident lawyers at The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. to request a free case review. We are highly experienced car accident lawyers who can take on complicated cases.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 12:53 pm

Can I File a Brain Injury Claim on Behalf of a Loved One?

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Brain injuries are often catastrophic, meaning they have an extreme, permanent or life-changing effect on a victim. In many cases, a brain injury survivor does not have the mental capacity to understand his or her rights or take on a process as challenging and demanding as a brain injury lawsuit. This is why Texas law allows certain family members and others to file a brain injury claim on behalf of a victim.

What Is a Brain Injury Claim?

A traumatic brain injury claim is a civil lawsuit filed in pursuit of financial compensation against one or more defendants. The defendant is the party that is allegedly at fault for causing the brain injury. If a brain injury claim succeeds, it can provide financial compensation to the victim and his or her family for related costs, such as necessary medical care, future foreseeable medical needs, lost wages and lost capacity to earn.

Who Has the Right to File a Brain Injury Claim in Texas?

If a brain injury is caused by someone else’s negligence, intent to harm, or wanton disregard for the safety or welfare of others, the victim can file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. Common examples of accidents that lead to brain injury lawsuits in Texas are car accidents, falls, sports incidents, explosions and workplace disasters. If the victim cannot understand his or her rights or take on the legal process independently, a family member may step in to become their guardian and file on their behalf.
The legal guardian of a brain injury survivor has all of the same legal rights as the injured party in Texas. This means that the guardian can file a brain injury lawsuit or make a claim on the victim’s behalf. Under Texas law, if a family member or loved one – such as a spouse, adult child, parent or sibling – becomes the victim’s legal guardian, he or she can file a personal injury claim for the victim to pursue justice and financial compensation. Any settlement or judgment award won will be given to the brain injury victim or his or her estate.

How to Become Your Loved One’s Guardian

If your loved one becomes mentally incapacitated because of a traumatic brain injury, you can become his or her legal guardian to file a brain injury claim for them. You must acquire this title through the proper legal outlets. In general, you must petition the courts for guardianship and prove that your loved one lacks the capacity to manage his or her own legal affairs due to a debilitating brain injury. A lawyer can help you with this legal process, which requires you to notify all next of kin of your petition and prove that you are an appropriate choice of guardian.

What if the Injured Party Is Your Child?

If the person with the brain injury is your child and he or she is under the age of 18, you do not need to petition the courts, as you are already the victim’s legal guardian. Parents in Texas retain the right to file personal injury lawsuits on behalf of their minor children after harmful accidents. Your family should file a petition for your medical expenses right away, while your child may have the right to file a lawsuit for his or her own losses – such as pain and suffering – after he or she turns 18. If as an adult your child does not have the mental capacity to file a lawsuit, you can take over as their guardian.

How Long Do You Have to File a Brain Injury Claim on Behalf of Someone Else?

In Texas, an injured party or acting representative has no more than two years from the date that the cause of action accrues to file a personal injury lawsuit. This means that you have a maximum of two years from the date of the accident to file a brain injury case on behalf of a loved one. If you miss your statute of limitations, you will most likely forfeit the right to bring a lawsuit at all. Contact an attorney for more information about a brain injury case.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 12:13 pm

How to Prove a Doctor’s Negligence Resulted in a Birth Injury

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

If your child gets diagnosed with a birth injury, your family may be at a loss as to how to demand justice against the individual or institution that caused the injury, such as a hospital in Dallas. Before you can be awarded financial compensation by the courts for your child’s trauma, you or your lawyer must prove that a doctor’s negligence caused or significantly contributed to the injury. Proving a birth injury claim may take assistance from a personal injury lawyer.

What Is Negligence?

Negligence in a birth injury case is the failure of a medical practitioner to use a proper, legal or ethical amount of care. Several examples of negligence could result in an injury to an infant during labor and delivery, including:

  • Failing to diagnose or misdiagnosing infections or maternal conditions during pregnancy
  • Prescribing a dangerous medication to an expecting mother
  • Failing to monitor the infant for signs of fetal distress
  • Failing to properly handle birth complications or emergencies
  • Making surgical errors during a C-section
  • Using inappropriate or dangerous birthing techniques
  • Misusing birthing tools, such as vacuums or forceps

Any act of negligence during the birthing process, no matter how small, could result in a significant birth injury to a vulnerable infant.

What Are the Four Elements of Negligence?

A negligence claim of any sort has four main parts, often referred to as the four elements of negligence. To win a birth injury lawsuit that is based on the doctrine of negligence, you or your lawyer must provide evidence that establishes these elements. They are:

  1. Duty of care. A doctor-patient relationship must have existed between you and the defendant at the time of the birth injury.
  2. A violation of the duty of care. The defendant must be guilty of a breach of the duty of care. This can refer to an act or omission that is careless, reckless, willful, wrongful or malicious.
  3. Causation. The defendant’s mistake or act of medical malpractice must be the proximate, or main, cause of the birth injury in question.
  4. Damages. The plaintiff must have suffered compensable losses because of the birth injury. These losses can be economic and/or noneconomic.

Establishing evidence of negligence is not always easy. You or your lawyer must provide proof that the defendant had an obligation to act in accordance with the rules and standards of the medical industry, did something that a normal and prudent practitioner would not have in similar circumstances, and that this is what caused your child’s birth injury.

Evidence of Negligence in a Birth Injury Case

The burden of proof in a birth injury case – and any personal injury lawsuit – is a preponderance of the evidence. This means clear evidence that is enough to convince a court that the defendant is more likely to be at fault for the birth injury than not at fault. It may be necessary to hire an attorney to help you preserve, collect and present compelling evidence to support your birth injury claim in Dallas. Evidence of negligence can include:

  • The injured infant’s medical records
  • An official injury diagnosis and prognosis
  • Photographs or videos of the infant’s injury or condition
  • Eyewitness statements and accounts of the delivery
  • Testimony from an expert medical witness

Expert testimony is often one of the strongest forms of evidence during a birth injury lawsuit in Texas. Birth injury cases involve complicated medical standards of care and the mechanics of an infant injury – topics that can be difficult for a jury to grasp without insights from a relevant medical expert. An attorney will have connections to qualified experts who can provide testimony and help you prove negligence during a birth injury lawsuit.
For more information about how to build a birth injury case in Texas, contact The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. to request a free consultation.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 9:28 am

Truck Accidents Caused By Driver Fatigue

Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Commercial trucking companies and their drivers are responsible for the safety of their transports. Commercial trucks pose significant risks of injury and even a wrongful death to other roadway users. They are much larger and heavier than passenger cars, leading to catastrophic collisions. Unfortunately, truck drivers do not always fulfill their responsibility to drive safely. They often engage in dangerous driver behaviors, such as driving while fatigued.

Is Drowsy Driving as Dangerous as Drunk Driving?

Drowsy driving is a deadly driver mistake. Truck driver fatigue is behind hundreds of fatal commercial vehicle accidents every year. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2018, 4,862 fatal traffic accidents in the U.S. involved large trucks. Investigations have shown that about 13 percent of truck accidents are connected to truck driver drowsiness or fatigue. Studies have shown that driving drowsy is comparable to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, operating a vehicle after not sleeping for 18 hours impairs a driver the same amount as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.05 percent. Driving after being awake for at least 24 hours is the equivalent of a BAC of 0.10 percent. The legal BAC limit in Texas is 0.08 percent. The legal BAC limit for a commercial driver, however, is only 0.04 percent. Both drowsy driving and drunk driving place a driver in a state of impairment that can impede the ability to safely control and operate a motor vehicle. Like drugs or alcohol, fatigue can reduce reaction times, affect coordination, weaken the muscles and make a driver less alert. This can increase the risk of a truck driver causing a serious accident, such as a rear-end collision, chain-reaction accident or jackknife accident.

Why Are Truckers More Likely Than Other Drivers to Drive While Fatigued?

Any driver in San Antonio could be guilty of driving while drowsy or fatigued. However, commercial truck drivers are especially notorious for making this mistake. They are more likely to drive while fatigued than most other types of drivers due to the unique conditions of their work environments. Some of the most common causes of truck driver fatigue include:
  • Long hours on the road alone
  • Reversed sleep schedules
  • Physical or mental exertion
  • Trouble sleeping/inadequate sleep
  • Time changes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Poor diet or obesity
  • Medical conditions
  • The use of stimulants such as coffee
Truck driver fatigue is so common that the FMCSA has a rule in place to try to prevent this dangerous driver mistake, known as the hours-of-service (HOS) regulation. The HOS regulation has a maximum number of hours that truck drivers are permitted to be on the road at a time. No commercial motor vehicle driver may drive beyond 14 hours in a single day. Drivers must also take 30-minute rest breaks after 8 hours of driving time. Many trucking companies, however, encourage their drivers to break HOS rules to make deliveries faster. This can lead to preventable truck accidents.

Who Is Liable for Truck Accidents Caused By Driver Fatigue?

If driver fatigue causes a truck accident in Texas, the person or party most responsible for causing the collision will have to pay for damages. This is how Texas’s tort-based insurance system operates. Although the drowsy truck driver is technically responsible for his or her dangerous mistake, the rule of vicarious liability may hold a trucking company financially responsible for the collision. Vicarious liability holds employers responsible for the actions of their employees who were performing job-related tasks at the time of an accident. If a fatigued truck driver was an employee of a trucking company at the time of the wreck, the company could be vicariously liable for damages. The trucking company could also be directly liable if it contributed to the accident by encouraging a driver to violate safety rules. If the driver was an independent owner/operator, however, he or she may be individually liable for the crash.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney Today

If you believe you were injured in a truck accident caused by truck driver fatigue, contact the San Antonio truck accident attorneys at The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. We offer free and confidential consultations.
Posted by Aaron Herbert at 11:33 am

Truck Accidents and Roadway Lighting

Thursday, February 3, 2022
Roadway lighting plays a large role in driver safety. Adequate road lighting makes it easier for drivers to identify signs, other vehicles, and hazards. Though proper lighting is crucial for all drives, it’s particularly important for those manning big rigs. Commercial truck drivers depend on streetlights to guide them down urban and rural roads and to help stay them awake and alert. Inadequate roadway lighting in Texas can be dangerous and result in preventable truck accidents. It is up to each city to install and maintain roadway lighting to reduce this risk.

The Risks of Nighttime Driving

There were more than twice as many traffic accidents in “dark, not lighted” conditions (29,757) than “dark, lighted” (12,744) in Texas in 2016. It is more difficult for any driver to maneuver safely as roadway light diminishes. Most urban highways in Texas have some kind of lighting system, but rural highways and smaller roads often do not. This increases crash frequency and severity. There is a high risk of accidents when lack of proper lighting is combined with long nighttime driving hours and drowsy truck drivers. Truck drivers aren’t the only ones who suffer in poor lighting. It is difficult to see 18-wheelers in the dark, despite their large size. The non-reflective sides of most trailers make them almost invisible in low-light conditions. Trucks should have reflectors or lights on the top and bottom of the trailer to help improve visibility. Broken lights or no lights at all can lead to another driver plowing straight into the truck. In these cases, the trucking company may be liable for the accident. The city also may also be responsible for poor roadway lighting.

Who May Be Liable?

After a truck accident, a victim’s first thought is likely to hold the driver liable. This may be the case if the driver behaved in a way that breached industry standards, such as falling asleep behind the wheel. If a dangerous roadway condition contributed to the crash, you may be able to hold the city of San Antonio (or other municipality) responsible. Inadequate roadway lighting is a dangerous condition in the eyes of the law. What constitutes “inadequate lighting” depends on the specific area. Factors a city must consider when deciding where and how to install lights include:
  • Traffic volume and speed
  • Nighttime road use and crash rate
  • Road geometrics
  • General nighttime visibility
  • Style, height, and brightness of the fixtures
Partial lighting may be adequate and reasonable for conditions in some areas. In others, a specific type or brightness of light may be necessary. An investigation will reveal whether the city fulfilled its duties in installing a certain type of light for the particular section of roadway. If the courts decide that the city failed to provide lighting to protect drivers, victims of light-related truck accidents may be able to recover compensation. Suing a municipality in Texas is possible, but it is more difficult than typical lawsuits. Since commercial vehicle accidents are very different from car accidents, you should seek help from an attorney specializing in large truck accidents if you think you have a case against the city for inadequate roadway lighting.
Posted by Aaron Herbert at 12:44 pm