Archive for July, 2013

San Antonio Rollover Accident Important Reminder of the Dangers of Speeding in Trucks

Early this July, a San Antonio driver was reportedly speeding in his pickup truck when he took a curve on Terron Road and lost control of his truck near Roland, causing the vehicle to roll over. The truck was wrecked in the rollover accident, although fortunately there are no reports that anyone was seriously injured. The truck was the only vehicle involved in the crash.

The driver was arrested following the crash, with Fox San Antonio indicating that he may have been intoxicated. While his intoxication likely played a role in the accident, our San Antonio truck accident lawyers know that even sober drivers are prone to rolling over when they take curves too fast. This is especially true if the driver is operating a truck or SUV at the time of an accident.

Trucks Prone to Rollover Accidents

Rollover accidents occur when a vehicle starts to skid sideways and the car tips over.  These types of crashes are most likely to occur:

  • When a vehicle has a narrow track width, which refers to the distance between the left wheel and the right wheel of the vehicle.
  • When a vehicle has a high center of gravity.
  • When a vehicle is traveling at high speeds.
  • When a vehicle is traveling around curves.
  • When the roads are wet or slippery, affecting traction and increasing the chances of a vehicle skidding sideways.

Unfortunately, trucks, SUVS and minivans are the three types of vehicles most likely to be involved in rollover crashes. These types of vehicles are prone to rolling over as a result of the fact that the center of gravity is normally higher.

Those who carry heavy loads in their trucks may also exacerbate the risks associated with rollover crashes if they fail to balance their loads properly. While professional truck drivers are expected to ensure that their loads are balanced as part of the work they perform in delivering goods and materials, individuals with pickup trucks may be unaware of how to ensure that their vehicle loads are properly balanced.

The Dangers of Rollover Crashes

The San Antonio driver who was recently involved in the rollover crash was very lucky that he did not seriously injure himself or others. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has indicated that more than 10,000 people die each year as a direct result of rollover accidents, with many of the fatal crashes involving the driver of the vehicle being thrown or ejected. There are around 280,000 total rollover crashes each year, many of which are single car accidents that happen at night and that often involve males under the age of 25.  These rollover accidents often involve alcohol, as this recent crash likely did.

If the driver is found to have been intoxicated at the time of the rollover crash, he faces charges for driving under the influence. If he had injured any others in his rollover accident, he also would have been liable to the accident victims for injuries they sustained.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a free case evaluation.

Recent Oilfield Accidents Draw Attention to Dangerous Industry

Working in an oil field can be a lucrative profession but it is also a profession that brings with it many risks. Those who work in oil fields are in danger of injuries due to explosions, collapses, exposure to extreme temperatures, driving and operating machinery, and overexertion or stress on their bodies.

Our San Antonio injury lawyers know that employers need to follow safety precautions and that employees need to be aware of the risks of oil field work in order to reduce the number of accidents and injuries that occur. Unfortunately, towards the end of June, there were two fatal oilfield-related accidents in Texas within just a few days of each other. These two accidents served as an important reminder of how dangerous oilfield work can be.

Oilfield Accidents Lead to Deaths

According to KENS 5 San Antonio, one of the two workers who died was a Big Spring man who was crushed in an oil rig collapse.

The other fatal incident occurred when two employees of Earthco were working on a large heater tank that was intended to be used to prepare oil to be transported. The large tank rolled into a 59-year-old worker who was helping to work on the tank. The older worker was caught between the large heater tank and another piece of equipment. He suffered injuries as a result of being crushed between the two pieces of equipment. Although he was taken to the hospital and received medical attention, he later died of his injuries.

Crushing accidents can cut off blood flow and circulation to affected body parts, can cause nerve injury and secondary infection, can damage blood vessels and can cause bone fractures. The injuries sustained in crushing accidents are often very serious and, as in this case, can often lead to the death of the accident victim.

Unfortunately, crushing accidents are just one of many serious risks that workers face on oilfields, especially if employers fail to live up to safety obligations. Employers involved in these recent fatal accidents on oilfields are currently under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, according to KENS 5.

Workers Rights in Oilfield Accident Cases

Workers injured in accidents on oilfields may pursue workers’ compensation claims to obtain payment of medical bills and to provide payment of disability income.

Often, oilfield work requires an employee to be in great physical shape in order to do strenuous manual labor and to withstand the conditions in the oil field. As a result, even a more minor injury can effectively end a career in oilfield work and can result in a worker receiving either partial or permanent disability benefits depending upon whether the worker cannot work at all or is simply left with no options other than to take a lighter-duty, lowering paying job.

When the oilfield work leads to fatalities, as it did in these two Texas accidents, then the surviving family members could obtain death benefits from workers’ compensation, which would provide support to spouses and kids of the deceased.

Oilfield workers who are not employees covered by workers compensation or who sustain injuries that result from the negligence of a non-employer could also be entitled to make a personal injury claim for damages, while the family members of workers who are killed under these circumstances could pursue a wrongful death claim for compensation.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a free case evaluation.

Truck Drivers Speak Out Against Increasing Truck Size and Weight Limits

As part of a traffic and highway law called Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century,  Congress mandated that the Federal Highway Administration conduct a study to determine the impact of increasing truck size and weight limits. The mandate comes at a time when lawmakers are also proposing increasing the national weight limit from the current 80,000 pounds on five axles to a new maximum of 97,000 pounds on six axles.

Those pushing to increase size and weight limits of trucks believe that doing so would help to reduce transportation costs. Unfortunately, our San Antonio truck accident lawyers know that making trucks larger, longer and heavier could also increase the risk of serious truck accidents occurring. Many professional drivers are also concerned about the impact of larger trucks on the road and the Owner Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) is speaking out against any increases.

Professional Drivers Speak Out Against Increasing Truck Size & Weight Limits

OOIDA has an estimated 150,000 members, all of whom are professional truck drivers and motor carriers.  Recently, three OOIDA members who had a combined 70 years of trucking experience submitted comments to the Federal Highway Administration in response to the FHWA’s request for comments.

Over the years, OOIDA has fought against increasing size and weight limits, despite the fact that increases are supported by a small number of mega-carriers and a large number of shippers. Landline Mag indicated that OOIDA members are actively involved in the trucking industry and, unlike many organizations submitting comments to the FHWA, actually feel the real-world impact of changes to trucking regulations. OOIDA members are reportedly concerned not just with added costs of larger trucks but are also concerned about the risks that heavier vehicles would present.

Today, much of the current infrastructure in the U.S. was built before 53 foot trailers became common, so there are already risks on roads where current trucks are too large to pass safely. Bigger and heavier trucks are only likely to exacerbate the dangers faced by truck drivers and others on the road. In fact, as the OOIDA members and professional truck drivers indicated in their submitted statement, “any seasoned driver will tell you that extra weight means extra responsibility and a reduced margin for errors.”

Larger trucks could not only increase the chances of an accident happening but could also make it much more likely for the accident to be very serious. The larger the truck, the more momentum and force the vehicle will have and the greater the impact if a truck accident occurs.

Hopefully, the new FHWA study will reveal the true risks associated with increasing truck size so that an informed decision can be made that takes highway safety into account. The FHWA is expected to report the findings of its study to Congress in the fall of 2014 and it is likely that many more professional drivers will weigh in with their own opinions on increasing truck size before the final recommendation is submitted.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a free case evaluation.

Texas DOT Puts Drunk Driving Victims in the Spotlight to Prevent DUI Accidents

Jul 2013

Drunk driving accidents can be devastating to those involved and the state of Texas has consistently lead the nation in terms of both high rates of drunk driving accidents and high rates of deaths as a result of DWI crashes. The Texas Department of Transportation is currently trying to reduce the number of drunk drivers in Texas with a new public education campaign.

Our San Antonio injury lawyers know that the summer is a prime time for drunk driving, with both the Fourth of July and Labor Day providing time off for people to enjoy beers and barbecues. Teens off for summer vacation who may be spending time out with friends may also be more likely to drive drunk. Hopefully, the new Texas DOT campaign will encourage drivers this summer and beyond to think twice about getting behind the wheel drunk.

Texas DOT’s New Drunk Driving Awareness Campaign

The Texas DOT’s new campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of intoxicated driving is called “Faces of Drunk Driving.” According to Fox San Antonio, the campaign involves sharing the stories of people who have been personally affected by a drunk driving accident.

The idea behind the campaign is to show the real-world impact that a decision to drive drunk can have on people’s lives. While drunk driving statistics shed light on the high number of fatalities and injuries, these statistics are just numbers and people may not be swayed to change their behavior as a result of a tally of faceless, nameless victims.

When real people share their own personal life experiences, on the other hand, drivers may be more inclined to stop and think about whether the risk of drunk driving is really worth taking.

One of the victims speaking out is a nine-year-old girl, a native of Fort Worth who was just shy of eight years old at the time when she was involved in a drunk driving accident. The young girl was in a mini-van when the drunk driver hit her on her way back from a haircut and she is now paralyzed for the rest of her life. reported that the young girl said she was sad she could no longer play with her brother and that she said she prayed every day to be able to walk again.

Other victims who are part of the campaign include parents whose son was killed by an intoxicated driver. The parents not only tell their story but also travel with the wrecked car that their son was in at the time when the intoxicated driver hit him.

These and other victims will be featured in videos and will be part of events held throughout Texas that have been organized by the Department of Transportation. Hopefully when they share their stories, any driver considering getting behind the wheel drunk will realize that the chances of a serious crash are just not worth it.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a free case evaluation.