Are Truck Drivers Responsible for Damages Caused in Accidents in Texas?
Many truck accident victims face injuries in the crash. With 18-wheelers, big rigs, and tractor-trailers being larger than most private vehicles on the road, the drivers of other cars usually face the consequences of a truck accident. Truck drivers often face minor to moderate injuries, while others can be left with permanent injuries and death. But does that mean that the truck driver is responsible?
In general, a closer analysis of the facts of each accident case is needed to determine who is responsible. Often, at-fault truckers can be sued directly for the injuries they cause, but it is often better to seek monetary damages from their insurance and their employer.
An Arlington truck accident lawyer like those at The Queenan Law Firm can help you get compensation after a truck accident. We can hold truckers, insurance companies, and trucking companies responsible for medical care costs, lost wages, and other damages. For a free case evaluation, call our injury attorneys at (817) 476-1797.
Are Truck Drivers Always At-Fault for Truck Accidents in Texas?
Just because truck drivers are often the ones responsible for truck crashes doesn’t mean that they are always responsible. Trucks are a necessary part of our economy, and the goal of most truckers on the road is simply to do their job and get home safely at the end of the day. In general, truckers are quite likely to be liable for truck accidents, but other parties could be responsible, too.
When Truckers Are At-Fault
If the truck driver did something wrong behind the wheel to cause the crash, they are usually liable. Truck crashes are most commonly caused by driver inattention – situations where the driver fails to check their blind spot or keep a proper lookout around the truck. In these crashes, the truck driver is often the one to steer into another car, so the driver is usually responsible.
Truck crashes can also be a trucker’s fault if the driver was speeding, driving under the influence, texting while driving, or violating some other traffic law. Truckers can also be at-fault when the crash is caused by an equipment failure that they should have been aware of (or were legally required to check for). Truckers may also be responsible for a crash if it happened because they loaded the cargo in their truck unsafely, causing the trailer to fishtail or shift during transit.
When Trucking Companies Are Responsible
Many truckers do not own the trucks they drive. If the trucking company they drive for owns the truck, then the trucking company is responsible for proper maintenance, inspections, and other equipment issues. If any of these issues caused the crash, the trucking company will likely be at fault instead of the driver. In many of these cases, the truck driver is a victim of the company’s negligence, too.
Trucking companies can also share fault in a crash when they should have known their driver was unsafe. Trucking companies are required to screen drivers and make sure that drivers with a history of DUI, serious crashes, revoked CDLs (commercial driver’s licenses), or vehicular assault are kept out of truck driving jobs. If they did not properly screen their drivers or kept drivers on staff after known issues, accidents could be blamed on the trucking company.
Your Dallas truck accident attorneys can help you determine whether the trucker or the trucking company was at fault – or whether both parties are responsible.
When Other Drivers Are Responsible
If you were hit by a truck through no fault of your own, you might not have to worry about being held responsible. However, multi-car pileups and other truck crashes could be the fault of other drivers on the road.
Other drivers often drive dangerously around trucks. Cars seeking to pass truckers could speed past them, make multiple lane changes (often without signaling), or even cross in front of trucks without giving them enough space. When a driver stays in a truck’s blind spot, they could also share fault in causing a crash if they get in the trucker’s way and the trucker can’t see them. Other mistakes like drunk driving are often cause to hold another driver responsible as well.
Do Truck Drivers Pay Damages to Victims of Trucking Accidents?
In many cases, going after the individual truck driver for damages after a crash will not result in the payments you need. Typically, truckers are just regular people who cannot afford to pay for serious injuries out of pocket. Like any other driver on the road, truckers are required to carry insurance – and their insurance may provide higher coverage for commercial drivers. The insurance company and the driver’s employer are often able to pay for damages in a way that the trucker cannot.
Filing an insurance claim against the trucker who hit you might get you the compensation you need. Insurance ends up paying for most auto accidents, with the truck driver’s personal or company policy covering the damages. However, if the insurance claim is not going in your favor, you may need to take the driver and their insurance company to court.
Trucking companies can also be sued in place of their driver in many cases. Texas law allows victims to sue the at-fault driver’s employer if the accident occurred during the scope of the driver’s duties while they were on duty. This kind of case against the trucking company might help get all of your damages paid by the company rather than the induvial truck driver who hit you.
Call Our Texas Truck Accident Attorneys Today
If you were hit by a truck driver, the Fort Worth truck accident attorneys at The Queenan Firm may be able to help you. For a free review of your case, call us today at (817) 476-1797.