Marvin Adams Killed in Texarkana, TX, Log Truck Accident
Texarkana, TX -- January 5, 2017, Marvin Adams Jr. was killed as the result of an accident where his pickup ran into the back of a log truck.
Officials from the Texarkana Police Department reported that the fatal incident occurred just before 1:30 p.m. along the side of I-369 on North Bishop Street.
According to preliminary reports, 71-year-old Bill Stephens was driving an 18-wheeler hauling logs when he pulled off to the side of the road. He exited is vehicle to enter a nearby business, and he came back to the vehicle some time later.
Stephens pulled the truck back onto the highway into the path of 32-year-old Adams. This caused Adams's pickup to crash into the back of the log truck. Adams sustained fatal injuries in the collision and died at the scene.
Authorities did not say if any charges or citations were being considered. The crash remains under investigation.
Map of the Area
Accidents like these tend to get under my skin because despite being entirely avoidable, they're incredibly common. It's difficult to see someone fall victim to the negligence of others, and it's important to hold reckless drivers accountable for their actions. A lot of people will see this crash and think that the fact pattern is pretty straight forward. A guy crashed into the back of a truck, therefore he is at fault. The truth is that this accident isn't all that simple, and the context changes things significantly.
Looking at the road on which this accident occurred, we begin to see how the idea that the trucker couldn't be at fault for the crash starts to fall apart. According to reports, the truck driver stopped the truck on the road to go into a nearby business. He then returned to the truck before beginning to drive forward. This is when Mr. Adams's vehicle hit the back of the truck. This stretch of road is not only narrow--only two lanes--but there is no shoulder to pull off onto. This means that the truck driver pulled over in a lane of traffic and left the vehicle. Even if he was using emergency signals, this is incredibly hazardous.
Now I understand that some roadways are very inconvenient for truck drivers, but convenience is not the top priority: safety is. That's just the nature of the beast. If a truck driver has to go out of his way to find a safe place to park, then that's what has to happen. Unless a truck suffers some sort of catastrophic failure that prevents it from leaving the road, there is no excuse for blocking traffic lanes. This doesn't just violate general notions of safety, this violates Texas law.
Chapter 42.03 of the Texas State Penal Code says that a person commits an offense if, through their negligent actions, they block a street or a highway with their vehicle. A truck driver should have the wherewithal to pull their vehicle off the road to a safe location before exiting their vehicle. It is a legal duty. The fact that this truck was stopped in a traffic lane shows recklessness and disregard for the safety of others.
Thinking about this aspect of the accident, we can see that the conditions created for the driver of the pickup are a lot more complex than they first seem. The story might be different if this was on the interstate and the victim ran into a line of traffic. Instead, the driver ran into an 18-wheeler that had illegally stopped in the roadway. Also consider that reports say the truck was pulling forward when he was hit. This means the truck was accelerating, therefore the brake lights probably were not on. Despite these facts, trucking companies will still depend on the misconception that rear-end accidents are always the fault of the one who rear-ends.
It is a common legal myth that when someone rear-ends another vehicle, they are automatically at fault for the accident. We often talk about how many people assume that when another's negligence causes them harm, the other person has to give them compensation. There is an inverse problem, where people with legitimate claims don't know that they have one and never pursue it. According to the most recent scholarly research, as many as 9 out of 10 people with a personal injury claim never try to obtain compensation. While some people may not wish to pursue claims for personal or ideological reasons, a fair number of people don't even think they have a case, because of legal myths like, "The person who rear-ends someone is always at fault."
Trucking companies know this is the case, and they use it to their advantage whenever possible. This is a common tactic trucking company's use where they attempt to avoid liability by blaming the victim. The reason a trucking company does this is because in Texas, a plaintiff cannot collect compensation if they are at least 51% at fault for an accident. In other words, if the trucking company convinces a jury that the victim was 51% at fault for the accident, then the trucking company is not liable for any of the damages and therefore pays nothing. Even if the truck driver is found liable for the accident, each percent of fault they push off onto the victim saves them money. You better believe they'll try everything they can to put things in their favor.
Trucking companies know they have a lot to lose and will fight hard to avoid liability. Victims and their families need to be prepared for these obstacles and take necessary precautions as soon as possible. If actions aren't taken quickly, the trucking company is allowed to influence investigations and proceedings to their advantage. With the right preparation and a case built upon convincing evidence, barriers put in the way of those affected by truck accidents can be overcome, and negligent drivers can be held accountable for their actions.
--Grossman Law Offices