Most truck accidents in Texas are caused by reckless truck drivers and negligent trucking companies. If you’ve been injured in a semi-truck or tractor-trailer collision, you’ll need to hire a truck accident lawyer to pursue compensation.
To obtain the truck accident damages you need to cover your medical bills and other expenses, your attorney must determine who caused the crash. They’ll collect evidence and analyze the facts to determine if the truck driver or the trucking company was responsible for the accident.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Truck Accident?
When a truck accident occurs, a number of parties may be held responsible for the injuries and damages suffered by the victim. In most cases, the driver or the trucking company they work for will be held liable. However, there are several other third parties that may be at fault, such as:
- The truck manufacturer
- A cargo loading team
- A truck maintenance crew
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Truck Drivers Can Be Held Responsible for an Accident
If the truck driver that caused your accident is a self-employed contractor, or if they caused the crash deliberately, they may be held fully responsible for your loss. If they work for a trucking company, they may also be held liable.
An attorney may advise you to take legal action against a truck driver if it’s found that they committed one of the following acts:
- Aggressive driving
- Following too close
- Driving while intoxicated
- Driving while distracted
- Unsafe passing or lane changing
- Using poor braking techniques
- Disobeying traffic signs
If it’s found that the truck driver was engaged in one of the reckless acts mentioned above during the time of the crash, your attorney will file a claim with their personal liability insurance provider. That being said, trucking companies can also be held responsible for the actions of their drivers.
The Trucking Company May Bear Responsibility for Your Accident
Another party that’s often held responsible for a big rig accident is the trucking company that employs the truck driver who was involved in the crash. Such companies are expected to properly vet their drivers and ensure that employees don’t have a history of behaving recklessly or acting negligently on the job.
Trucking companies are also required to adhere to several different federal regulations. Such regulations are meant to prevent accidents and protect all motorists from serious truck collisions. These regulations include:
License and Training
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict regulations regarding the responsibilities of a commercial truck driver. The FMCSA requires that all drivers must be trained and licensed before operating any vehicle with a gross weight of over 26,000 pounds.
If the driver that caused your truck accident was unlicensed or improperly trained, their employer may be held responsible for the medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle repair costs you’ve been burdened with.
When trucks lack the proper safety components, serious crashes can occur. Commercial vehicles are required to have multiple safety features, including:
- Air brakes and trailer brakes
- Anti-lock brake systems (ABS)
- Steering limiters
- Tire pressure monitoring systems (TPM)
Your attorney will work with an auto engineering expert to determine if the truck that caused your accident lacked a critical safety feature. If your lawyer finds that the truck was missing one of the components listed above, they will likely file a claim or lawsuit against the trucking company.
Trucking companies are required to ensure their drivers have a valid CDL endorsement with no disqualifying convictions or violations on file before hiring them. If they don’t do this, they could be found liable for any damages caused by an inexperienced driver who shouldn’t have been behind the wheel in the first place.
Trucking Companies That Pressure Drivers to Skip Rest Breaks
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has documented many cases in which truck drivers were fired after refusing to skip mandatory rest breaks. Unfortunately, this is a common practice in the trucking industry, as it allows companies to get goods delivered faster.
If it’s suspected that the truck driver who caused your accident was fatigued, your attorney can check their driving log to see when they took their last break. If your lawyer finds that the driver had been working for hours on end without rest, they’ll try to find out if their employer has a history of pressuring drivers to break safety rules.
If it’s found that the trucking company had incentivized the driver to skip a break or threatened to fire them if they didn’t, your lawyer will likely take action against the company.
The Driver and Trucking Company May Share Liability for an Accident
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, the trucking company and the driver may share liability. If it’s found that both parties acted negligently, then both of them may be held responsible for the victim’s losses.
In cases of shared liability, a lawsuit or claim may be filed against both parties. A truck accident lawyer can determine each party’s percentage of fault and how much each of them owes you for the pain and financial loss you’ve endured.
How a Truck Accident Attorney Can Help You
After being involved in an accident with a semi-truck, you may wonder: who was at fault? Did you do something wrong, or did the truck driver make a mistake that caused the crash? There may also be multiple drivers involved in the accident, making it very difficult to determine who is responsible for it.
If there is any uncertainty about what happened, then it is best to contact an attorney before agreeing to an insurance company’s settlement offer. A lawyer can help you assess all aspects of the case and make sure that you receive compensation for all injuries and losses caused by the incident.
An attorney can also ensure that your case complies with regulations and laws imposed by the state. According to Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003, truck accident lawsuits must be filed within a year of the crash date. Failure to file before Texas’ deadline could prevent you from receiving compensation. Hiring a lawyer ASAP will ensure that your suit is filed on time.
Our Firm Can Protect Your Rights After a Truck Crash
While there are several third parties who may be held liable for your truck accident, the majority of claims are filed against the driver or their employer. A skilled attorney can help you determine if the truck driver or the trucking company was responsible for your accident. A lawyer can also identify instances of shared liability and take the appropriate legal action.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you have the right to pursue compensation for medical bills, vehicle repair costs, lost wages, and a number of other losses. Contact the Buzbee Law Firm today to get the reliable representation you deserve.