When a Car Wreck Isn’t Just a Car Wreck


On August 1, 2014, I spoke at The Car Crash Seminar sponsored by The University of Texas School of Law. My presentation, “When a Car Wreck Isn’t Just a Car Wreck,” covered litigation of truck crash cases and auto/truck product liability cases. It’s a timely topic because truck wrecks on U.S. highways are increasingly prevalent and the number of auto-related recalls (e.g. General Motors) is up this year. Way up.

When it comes to a large truck colliding with a passenger vehicle, the passenger vehicle loses. Texas, unfortunately, leads the nation in trucking injuries and deaths, followed by California. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) two-thirds of crashes caused by large trucks were caused by either the truck driver’s failure to recognize a potential crash risk – due to distraction or inattention – or poor decision-making such as driving too fast in hazardous conditions, following too closely, or making incorrect assumptions about the other driver’s actions.

Vehicle safety is also important. Crashes should not be caused by defects in our vehicles, and the vehicle should be designed to maintain and protect occupants inside the passenger compartment. Tire safety is particularly important in summer months in hot-weather states like Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and across the South. We see way too many injuries and deaths caused by tread separation in defective tires or tires that are too old for safe use. Another concern, not only during summer vacation months but also year round, is making sure that child safety seats provide adequate protection for young passengers.

If you would like more detailed information, I invite you to read “Shifting Into First – Early Development of the Commercial Truck Crash Case” and “Recognizing and Preserving Auto Product Liability Cases.”