• March 15, 2017

William Sims, Teen Injured in Harris Co., TX, 18-wheeler Accident

Harris County, TX -- March 13, 2017, William Sims and a friend were injured after an accident where their pickup went under an 18-wheeler on Decker Drive.

Deputies from the Harris County Sheriff's Department responded to the accident scene in the evening hours of Monday. The crash occurred near the intersection of Decker Drive and Oakland Street.

According to preliminary reports, 18-year-old Sims and a 17-year-old girl were in a pickup traveling eastbound on Decker. Reports claim they were speeding. As they traveled, an 18-wheeler pulled out of a driveway onto Decker. The pickup could not stop in time and crashed into the side of the trailer.

The vehicle went under the trailer, nearly sheering off the roof of the pickup. Both passengers suffered serious injuries as a result of the collision. They were transported to a nearby hospital via helicopter. The 18-wheeler driver was not injured.

Authorities did not report any charges or citations resulting from the crash. Investigations are ongoing.

Map of the Area


I see news reports get things wrong all the time when reading about accidents. One thing I'm seeing with a lot of the reports on this accident is that the pickup was speeding. Now that may not necessarily be a mistake, but rather a distraction of the real issue here: the 18-wheeler pulled out in front of them. Even if a vehicle is speeding, truck drivers, like any other driver, have a duty to make sure they can safely execute a turn before blocking traffic lanes. Besides, looking at where this happened, based on reports and video footage, the "curve" some reports are talking about is several hundred feet back. The truck driver should have been able to see them coming.

This implication that news sites are putting out there is actually a valuable resource, however, because it gives a glimpse into the kind of thinking that jurors would be capable of in a case about this accident. Without the right evidence to counter the notion, members of a jury could easily see how speeding would contribute to this accident. News sources are often a small sample of what people would think of an accident at a glance, so it's a rough measuring tool for the opinions of potential jurors.

And if insight into a jury's mindset is as easy as finding a news report, then it goes without saying that a trucking company's defense team is going to be well on top of it. Seeing a news report like this just bolsters their defense that it wasn't their driver blocking traffic that caused the accident; it was the speeding pickup. They can point their fingers and say, "The news says we're not at fault, so we're not at fault." A simple news report is hardly solid evidence for determining liability, but it can be convincing to a jury if there is no counter to such arguments.

So how do victims and their families challenge this blame-shifting strategy and get justice for the pains they've suffered? The first step is to ensure an independent professional thoroughly investigates the accident. A news report amounts to nothing more than second-hand hearsay. Having tangible evidence from the scene allows a jury to see the accident recreated, step-by-step, and properly assess the actual sequence of events. The second step is to ensure the evidence is put together and presented by someone experienced with these kinds of accidents. Knowing the strategies of trucking companies ahead of time allows victims and their families to prepare themselves properly and prevent the scales from being tipped in the trucking company's favor.

--Grossman Law Offices


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