Truck accidents across the state of Texas are literally an everyday event. Because of the size of a tractor-trailer versus the size of a pickup truck or passenger car in most semi-truck accidents, serious injury is a foregone conclusion.
In most 18-Wheeler accident cases, the cause of the truck accident is simple negligence on the part of the commercial driver. The truck driver not paying attention, speeding, following too close, or being distracted by something in the cab causes a wreck.
When a Truck Driver Commits a Crime
In a few cases, the truck driver’s conduct goes beyond simple negligence; in those cases, criminal charges and punitive damages can be appropriate.
Examples of trucker behavior that have resulted in substantial jury verdicts in civil court and lengthy criminal sentences are the drug-using trucker or the intoxicated truck driver. We have won many huge settlements when able to prove outrageous conduct by the truck driver or his company.
Drug and alcohol use are some of the most serious types of criminal truck driver behavior, the conduct is even more offensive to our community given an 80,000-pound vehicle with the potential to wipe out whole families in a fraction of a second.
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When the Driver Cheats on Logbooks
In other 18-wheeler accident cases, actions such as falsifying logbooks to drive more miles or truck companies putting to work unqualified and inexperienced drivers, allowing an out-of-service vehicle to be used on our roadways can lead to the potential for punishment or exemplary damages, also called punitive damages in a truck accident lawsuit.
Difference between Civil and Criminal Cases
Most truck accident injury cases or simply civil claims are made against the truck driver and his employer because of the driver’s negligence. However, when a truck driver commits a crime, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there may be civil and criminal cases.
A civil case and a criminal case are separate. A District Attorney in Texas will determine whether charges are appropriate for the driver’s conduct. If the driver is found guilty, they may be fined or sentenced to jail. unfortunately, sending the truck driver to prison does not help the family who has lost a loved one or someone who has been severely injured in the accident.
With a personal injury, you may elect to pursue a civil case for personal injury or wrongful death damages through an attorney experienced in truck accident litigation.
Preserving Evidence from the Criminal Case
If the truck driver has been charged with a crime, critical evidence must be preserved from the criminal investigation. Evidence such as videos of sobriety tests, lab tests for drugs or alcohol, and other matters should be obtained.
The family should engage a competent attorney as soon as possible so they may take steps to ensure that the incriminating evidence in a criminal case does not get destroyed. Criminal defense attorneys routinely request the destruction of evidence after a plea arrangement. Taking action to prevent that is necessary to ensure the availability of that critical evidence.
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Get a Free Consultation from a Preeminent Big Rig Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a Texas truck accident and want to speak with the leading Texas truck accident lawyer, call 1 (866) 758-4529 to learn your rights, options, and next steps.
Our truck accident firm has been handling Texas truck accident claims for over 35 years and has an unmatched record of success.