Texas attorney Jorge Herrera, who has investigated fatal truck accidents on behalf of families who have lost loved ones, says a horrific accident in Dallas that claimed the lives of four people raises complicated questions about liability and negligence.
An SUV and 18-wheeler collided in the early morning hours of Sept. 5, resulting in a massive explosion, according to news reports. A pregnant woman, another adult and two children died in the crash near Interstate 20 and Interstate 35E. The SUV was found wedged underneath the tractor-trailer, according to reports.
In the moments after the crash, burning lumber fell off the truck from a ramp on Interstate 20 and onto I-35E, according to an NBCDFW.com report.
While the accident remains under investigation, Herrera said the crash must be reconstructed to find out what happened. That starts with interviewing witnesses, but experts in accident reconstruction should be sent to the scene, said Herrera, a partner with The Herrera Law Firm, Inc. of San Antonio.
"Most car accidents occur because of driver negligence," Herrera said. "But trucking accidents can be very complex and lead to question after question. In this tragic accident, what we do know is lumber fell off the tractor-trailer. Was the load properly secured? Also, the occupants of the SUV sadly died. The truck driver is the only survivor so his account of the accident will be critical."
Herrera said families whose loved ones are killed in accidents should seek legal counsel as soon as possible to protect their rights.
"Law enforcement and other officials will investigate these types of accidents," Herrera said. "The trucking company and its insurance carrier will be at the scene trying to find out what happened. But what about the family members who lost loved ones? Who's looking out for their best interests? That's why people should consult with experienced attorneys promptly after serious accidents involving injuries and fatalities."
Herrera has represented families whose loved ones died in trucking accidents. Recently, he was quoted in a Houston Public Media report about deadly accidents. (Click here to read report). According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the number of fatal accidents in the state has jumped more than 50 percent between 2009 and 2013, from 301 to 454.
In one fatal trucking accident case handled by Herrera, he was able to show that a trucking company negligently failed to maintain its vehicles and failed to provide its drivers with safety training.
"While the cause of the fatal wreck in Dallas is still undetermined, it's extremely important to conduct a comprehensive investigation. It's critical to look at the background of the truck driver and the trucking company to determine if the owners ran a safe trucking operation," Herrera said. "As an experienced attorney who has litigated a variety of trucking accidents, I know that you can't ask enough questions in these cases."