Texas Trucking: Accidents and Injuries Across Midland-Odessa & the Permian Basin
In this article, Attorney Stuart Starry covers:
- The common causes of trucking accidents in Midland Texas and the Permian Basin.
- The nature of commercial accidents and the injuries commonly caused by them.
- How to recover damages and costs for injuries from commercial accidents in Texas.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Truck or Commercial Vehicle Accidents in Midland Texas and the Permian Basin?
The most common source of trucking dangers in Midland, Texas, and the Permian Basin is the oil field.
In the oil industry, time is money. As a result, all the oil companies, upstream services, equipment suppliers, pump suppliers, pipe suppliers, dirt workers, and water suppliers are in a hurry to make deadlines. Unfortunately, this includes most commercial drivers, as well.
Even worse, people in this industry often work late, and log long hours. This means that many drivers are frazzled, overworked, and given deadlines that they will struggle to meet. Because of that, they do not always obey the rules, and accidents have become far more common.
Alternatively, many truck-related accidents in the Midland area are a direct result of the poor state of roads throughout the area. Many roads are permanently under construction and new roads are constantly being added – many of them are dirt roads.
Trucks will pull off a dirt road (locally called a lease road) onto a public road. If the intersection is not well-lit, marked, or properly designed, it can easily cause an accident. If the person who designed the road or the construction company that was putting up pylons or barricades did not do it right, they can be held responsible.
What Kinds of Commercial Vehicles Cause These Accidents and Who Is to Blame?
While many accidents do involve 18-wheelers, there are plenty of other types and sizes of vehicles that can be involved.
For example, a recent and tragic Texas case involved a plumber’s truck pulling a trailer with plenty of weight behind him. The driver was getting ready to do some septic work and ran a stop sign in his hurry. He killed one person and put another person in crutches for life.
These cases are very serious, and while drivers have their share of the blame, much of it also lies with upper management. Because the managers of these Midland and Permian Basin companies are often telling their drivers to go faster, deliver more, and meet tight turnaround deadlines, the drivers make mistakes and become a great danger to everyone else on the road.
Why Are Pilot Cars and Pilot Trucks So Important for Massive Loads?
When a big truck pulls out onto a heavily trafficked road, it often takes considerable time to maneuver and get moving. They start slowly because they’re so heavy and have trouble stopping, as a result, they often end up obstructing traffic. This is where pilot vehicles come in.
Pilot vehicles go in front of and behind oversize loads to warn others that the truck is coming, protecting other drivers from making moves on the road that could put them directly in harm’s way. This means that pilot vehicles need to be in place, and they need to be well-coordinated.
Properly trained pilot vehicle drivers can prevent disasters. Without them, trucks will pull out into traffic and other drivers won’t realize until it’s too late that the truck is not going to make it past oncoming traffic. Of course, that’s just one way such collisions occur.
The danger is doubled, if not tripled, at night if a truck’s trailer is not properly marked with reflective material on the sides. Without these materials, drivers cannot see them coming out in front of traffic because their headlights aren’t facing forward – and that’s when terrible accidents happen.
What Kinds of Injuries Are Seen in Trucking Accident Cases?
1. Neck and Back Injuries
The most prevalent types of injury involved in trucking accident cases, as with most car accidents, are neck and back injuries. Because our necks and backs are pressed up against a seat when we are driving, an auto accident can cause extreme damage, especially upon high-speed impact. Thus, unfortunately, neck and back injuries are the most commonly witnessed injuries on Texas roads.
2. Head Injuries
A lot of people may not realize it, but if your head hits a windshield or a window during an accident, it may cause a serious neurological and cognitive problem known as a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). Texas roadways and personal injury lawyers have witnessed cases in which people’s personalities have changed. In some cases, the personality change experienced by the person with the MTBI is so great that it leads to a divorce.
The neurological aspect of truck and automobile injuries is important, sometimes even more so than the physiological aspect. Sometimes the brain injury is more significant than the back and neck injury. It takes an expert attorney to pursue this unique aspect of a personal injury case.
What Are the Most Common Injuries in West Texas Oil Field Trucking Employment Accidents?
West Texas roadways have witnessed broken bones and internal injuries, like ruptured spleens, damaged kidneys, punctured lungs, and broken ribs. But sometimes, trucking and oil field injuries happen on the job.
One horrible case involved a man who crawled underneath a tractor-trailer to work on it, while another truck driver got in the cab and pulled the truck forward. Two crossbars caught the man, crushing his chest. As a result, he suffered serious lung injuries, which, unfortunately, proved to be fatal.
The truth is that almost any part of our often-fragile bodies can be injured in the oil field. Hands and limbs get injured frequently in the oil field, though back, neck, and head injuries remain the most common injuries in trucking cases.
What Are the Repercussions and Complications of Trucking Accident Injuries?
Neck and back injuries are as complicated as those parts of our bodies. Cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral vertebrae, along with the soft tissue, discs, and nerves surrounding them are all complex and interconnected.
These different areas have different types of problems in auto, truck, and industrial accidents – and the immediate consequences are not necessarily the end of an injury’s complications.
Take blood clots for example, few realize that blood clots can be a serious problem after an injury. One incident involved a man with a broken femur, which is already very serious, but the fracture led to a blood clot that went into his brain and lungs. These kinds of complications can compound the injury.
Can I Recover Damages for Injuries That Impact Other Areas of My Life?
Knees and hips are frequently injured in trucking accidents and the costs of such injuries are often underestimated, as is the impact they can have on one’s life. For example, people whose knees are injured badly might limp for the rest of their life unless they get a full knee replacement.
However, even if one gets a knee replacement, that person may have to change jobs because they’re not able to do the things that they used to do with an artificial knee, which doesn’t have the range of motion that a natural knee has. Bodily injuries can have entirely unexpected consequences, and it is important to have an attorney who understands this.
One injury case involved a broken ankle that cost a man his job, as a dentist of all things. His ankle was hurt so badly that he could no longer press the foot pedal and operate his dental equipment. It cost him considerable sums of money from lost work because he couldn’t operate his drill anymore. Fortunately, our firm helped him to recover those damages so that he could pursue a new path forward.
What Should I Do if I Have Been Injured in a Trucking Accident?
From head to toe, all parts of your body can be in the wrong place at the wrong time during an accident sequence. They can be severely injured and have serious repercussions on your life and work.
The first thing to do if you are ever injured in a trucking accident or in the oil field in the Midland-Odessa area, the Permian Basin, or West Texas is to seek immediate medical attention. The second thing to do is to seek legal counsel from lawyers specializing in trucking and oil field personal injury cases. This will make sure you recover everything you are owed and have the resources you need to get back on your feet.
With the guidance of a skilled attorney for Trucking Accidents and Oil Field Injuries, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that an expert is on your side. For more information on Trucking Accident Cases and Oil Field Injury Cases in Texas, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (432) 653-1899 today.
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