The United States Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Administration estimates over 500,000 truck accidents every year. When truck accidents occur, an experienced accident attorney can help distinguish parties whose acts may have contributed to the accident.
Establishing fault in Texas.
Texas is an “at fault state” which means that the party found to be responsible for the accident will have to compensate the other party involved in the accident. In many instances multiple parties can be named as defendants in a legal claim as they may have had some direct or indirect action that led to a truck accident.
Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine that holds a person responsible for the actions of another person. For example, in the case of a trucking accident, even though the driver may have had some degree of fault, if a truck had mechanical problems that the trucking company should have addressed, they will be liable for the accident as well.
Parties that can be named in a trucking accident insurance claim or lawsuit include:
- the driver of the truck;
- the trucking company (motor carrier);
- manufacturers of the trucks;
- manufacturers of parts that are basic to the truck’s safe operation;
- municipalities that maintain roadways for safe driving;
- truck maintenance providers;
- truck or trailer owners;
- people responsible for cargo loads;
- other vehicles that may have caused a truck to react in a way that exacerbates a crash situation.
Safety records, maintenance records, driver’s logs and information regarding licensure and past citations, or offenses of any of the parties will play a part in supporting legal action regarding a specific accident situation.
Texas negligence laws stipulate that damages are proportionate to the claimant’s degree of fault, but utilizes the 51% rule, whereby an injured person can be up to 51% responsible for an accident and still collect damages.
Damages and compensation.
Damages covered may include medical bills, lost wages, property replacement, and wrongful death claims with a whole plethora of future financial and personal losses to consider. If the injured driver’s injuries or damages exceed the coverage amount of the at-fault driver’s insurance, then the injured driver would be able to sue the at-fault driver to collect the difference. There can be more than one legal action against truck drivers and commercial companies when there are multiple injured parties to an action.
Compensation for injuries, property damage, or the loss of a loved one due to negligence of a truck driver and trucking company in the Austin area will address medical expenses, property damage, disability for permanent injury, funeral costs and wrongful death cost burdens left on accident victims, and their families.
Knowledgeable legal representation.
Hiring a knowledgeable truck accident attorney is important because things can get confusing in a truck accident with multiple parties. The driver may not be the only person you can sue if severe injuries or death occurred. A truck driver may not have the ability to pay for the damages, or may be seriously injured as well. If the truck driver was working when the accident happened, the trucking company can be sued along with the driver. As long as a truck driver was acting in the scope of his job description, an employer can be sued for injuries through vicarious liability claims. If the trucking company was in violation of federal trucking regulations, punitive damages may be sought along with compensatory damages to cover the losses caused by an accident.
TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE § 33.011(1)