Four people, between the ages of 21 and 31, tragically lost their lives in a horrific pileup accident that occurred along Northbound I-35 near Berry Street in Fort Worth. Reports indicate a black Chrysler 200 was traveling northbound on I-35 when the vehicle struck the center median. Multiple motorists stopped to check on the operator of the Chrysler, including a pickup truck, a semi-truck cab, and two Hyundai vehicles.
Tragically, these good Samaritans’ lives were cut short when a white Freightliner semi-truck traveling in the far left lane suddenly crashed into the accident scene. The impact from the semi-truck caused several of the vehicles to then crash into the good Samaritans.
We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the four victims. Losing someone you care about is a gut-wrenching, traumatic event. That pain is only deepened when the loss is sudden, unexpected, and the result of what appears to have been a preventable accident caused by the truck driver, who appears to have been illegally driving in the left lane.
18 Wheeler Driver Involved in Tragic Fort Worth Truck Accident May Have Violated the Law
The investigation into the deadly truck accident remains ongoing, including whether the operator of the 18-wheeler will be charged or cited for traveling in the fast lane on I-35, which is prohibited on the stretch of road where the deadly collision occurred.
TxDOT and the Regional Transportation Council confirmed to NBC 5 News that there are left lane restrictions on the stretch of I-35 where the fatal truck crash occurred. In addition, NBC 5 News confirmed there are signs posted near the deadly truck accident site: NO TRUCKS LEFT LANE.
18-Wheelers Prohibited from Traveling in the Left Lane on I-35 in Texas
According to the Texas Motor Vehicle Code, the left lane should be used for passing only. It also restricts vehicles from traveling at a speed that would impede the flow of traffic. In addition, the Texas Motor Vehicle Code authorizes local governments to place truck-lane restrictions on specific highways. Regarding I-35, semi-trailers are not allowed to travel in the left lane, unless the semi-truck driver was passing another vehicle, or traveling in a construction zone.
If the 18-wheeler driver uses the left lane as a travel lane, law enforcement can cite the truck driver for violating the Texas Transportation Code. Some areas have a Truck Enforcement Unit tasked with patrolling highways with truck-lane restrictions and issuing citations to tractor-trailer operators who violate these restrictions. The Texas Highway Patrol is also authorized to issue citations to 18-wheeler operators who violate these left-lane restrictions.
Law enforcement has the authority to issue a left-lane citation to a truck operator, even if the truck was not impeding traffic. It is important to keep in mind that all motorists, including operators of tractor-trailers, are obligated to follow and respect posted traffic signs. If a semi-trailer operator uses the left lane to travel, they are violating the law and putting lives at risk.
Unfortunately, truck accidents are a significant safety issue in Fort Worth and elsewhere in Texas. For example, a significant percentage of fatal vehicle accidents involve commercial trucks and 18 wheelers. And those who lose their lives in collision with 18-wheelers are most often the occupants of the smaller vehicle. The risk of a deadly truck accident occurring in Texas is, unfortunately, quite high.
Violating Left-Lane Restrictions Can be Evidence of Negligence in a Truck Accident Wrongful Death Case
If you were injured, or lost a loved one, in an accident involving a commercial truck using the left lane improperly, that traffic violation by the truck driver will likely be admitted as evidence of the truck operator’s negligence in a truck accident personal injury lawsuit. This is important because a truck accident injury case requires evidence that the defendants (i.e., the truck driver and the trucking company) were negligent and that their negligence proximately caused the crash.
Overview of a Family’s Legal Rights in a Texas Truck Accident Wrongful Death Case
If you lost a loved one in a Texas truck or 18 wheeler accident, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault truck operator, and the truck company employing the drive, to hold them financially accountable.
Pursuing monetary damages through a wrongful death lawsuit may seem of little consolation after tragically losing a spouse, child, parent, or loved one. But unless you take action, the trucking company will escape responsibility, because, a wrongful death lawsuit is the only way to hold negligent trucking companies accountable for dangerous and reckless behavior.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Truck Accident Lawsuit in Texas
Under Texas law, the following surviving loved ones have the legal authority to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a decedent:
- Surviving spouse
- Child, or children, of the decedent
- Parent, or parents, of the decedent
If the decedent didn’t have children or wasn’t married at the time of death, the wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by the decedent’s parents or by the estate itself, through the Executor or Administrator.
If you don’t have an estate created, which is required to pursue and recover survival or “pre-death” damages, our Texas Truck Accident Lawyers will create the estate and, if you agree, seek to have you appointed as the “administrator” of the estate.
Damages Available in a Texas Truck Accident Wrongful Death Case
Under Texas law, the surviving family members in a truck accident wrongful death case can pursue substantial compensation in the form of “economic” and “non economic” damages. Examples of these damages include:
- Economic damages stemming from the cost of the decedent’s burial and funeral
- Economic damages for lost income and lost future earnings of the decedent
- Economic damages for the loss of both past and future household services and assistance that would have been provided by the decedent
- Economic damages for the loss of inheritance
- Non-economic damages for the loss of companionship Non-economic damages for the mental anguish, anxiety, and emotional distress suffered by the decedent’s loved ones as a result of their loved one’s unexpected passing
The objective of a truck accident wrongful death claim is to hold the negligent truck operator, and the truck company, accountable for their negligence, or gross negligence, in causing the deadly accident. Holding negligent parties accountable is important because it provides you with the financial compensation to care for yourself and your family in your loved one’s absence and helps reduce the likelihood of the same reckless conduct injuring or killing others in the future.
Survival Actions in Truck Accident Wrongful Death Cases
In addition to filing a wrongful death case, an experienced Texas 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer may also file a “survival action” against the negligent truck operator and trucking company. The objective of a survival claim is to pursue recovery of damages for any pain and suffering the decedent, themselves, suffered in the minutes, hours, or days leading up to their untimely and unexpected death. These “pre-death suffering” damages are intended to provide compensation for the intense pain, fear, and suffering endured by the victim in the final moments of their life.
Contact Our Undefeated Texas Truck Accident Lawyers for a Free Consult by Calling 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here
Our Undefeated Texas Semi-Truck Accident Lawyers have won Billions, including the #1 largest truck and 18 wheeler accident recoveries in Texas, for our clients.
We know how to hold trucking companies accountable and will devote whatever resources necessary to ensuring that you have the financial resources to care for yourself and your family in your loved one’s absence.
If you lost a loved one in a Texas truck or 18 wheeler accident, we’ll answer your questions, explain your options, and make sure that you have the information you need to decide what’s best for you and your family.
Call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form.
Your consultation is free, and because we only work for a contingency fee, you owe nothing unless we win your case.