Suing a trucking company can often open up additional damages that you would not be able to claim in your case if you only sue the truck driver. Trucking accident injuries are often severe for drivers of cars and SUVs hit by semi trucks and 18-wheelers. It is vital to talk to a lawyer about your case to determine whom you can sue and how much money you can claim to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to your case. For help with your truck accident injuries, call the Dallas trucking accident lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm today.
Should You Sue the Driver in a Truck Accident Case in TX?
The driver is ultimately the main person responsible for their actions behind the wheel. Whether you were involved in a car accident or a truck accident, the driver is typically the first person you’re going to sue in an injury claim. If they were responsible for crashing into you or driving you off the road, they should pay for the damages related to your injuries. However, there may be some problems with getting full compensation out of a driver.
A truck driver is rarely in a position to personally cover your expenses in the event of a serious truck accident. Truck drivers must carry insurance in Texas, and this often covers higher amounts of damages that the victim could face after a crash. However, if the victim just files through insurance, they might not get everything covered; insurance claims often do not cover damages in full and do not pay for pain and suffering.
To get additional damages, the truck accident victim might need to sue the truck driver’s trucking company as well as the individual driver.
Can You Sue a Trucking Company for a Trucking Accident?
The trucking company can typically be “joined” as a co-defendant in a lawsuit. In the case of a trucker working as an employee at a trucking company, the company is typically responsible for any negligent acts the driver commits while working within the scope of their job duties. This means that the trucking company can usually be held liable for the driver’s bad driving, paying victims for the injuries their drivers cause.
However, trucking companies are not liable for everything their drivers do. In some cases, owner-operators and other independent contracts are not “employees” of the trucking or shipping company that gave them the assignment. This often means that the trucking company should not be held liable for the actions of the independent driver. Moreover, truck drivers sometimes go off-schedule or take the truck for personal needs, which might put them outside the scope of their employment at the time of the crash. These situations might block you from suing the trucking company, but you should talk to an attorney anyway to see if there is a way to hold them responsible.
When you sue a trucking company for its driver’s negligence, it doesn’t mean that the trucking company was directly at-fault for the crash. Instead, it means that the driver was responsible for the truck crash, but their employer is going to pay for the damages because they were in charge of the employee. This is similar to how insurance companies typically pay for damages because of their contract with the at-fault driver, even though the insurance company did not actually do anything wrong. In other cases, you can sue the trucking company directly for its own mistakes and errors.
Holding Trucking Companies at Fault for Truck Accidents
Many trucking companies are responsible for more than the payments in a commercial truck accident. Trucking companies who fail to provide their drivers with safe equipment or force their drivers to break the law may share partial responsibility for their drivers’ mistakes, counting them partly liable for the accident. Similarly, companies who fail to properly screen their drivers might also face direct fault in a truck accident case.
Trucking companies owe a duty to their drivers and other drivers on the road to make sure that their trucks are in good working order. In general, everyone who owns a vehicle or a trailer or other equipment that will be going out on the road owes everyone around them a duty to make sure that the equipment is reasonably safe. Since trucking companies typically own and maintain their fleet of trucks, any equipment problems or maintenance errors can typically be pinned on the trucking company rather than the driver.
Similarly, trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that the drivers they decide to put behind the wheel can do their job safely. If a trucking company hires a driver they should have known had a bad history of accidents, drunk driving, falling asleep at the wheel, or otherwise causing injuries while driving, they should be held responsible if that driver injures or kills someone. The same is true if the company has an employee that caused previous accidents or committed other mistakes under their watch; they are on-notice that the driver is dangerous, and failing to fire them could be considered negligent. These types of claims against trucking companies are typically called “negligent hiring” or “negligent retention” claims.
Call Our Dallas, TX Trucking Accident Injury Attorneys for a Free Legal Consultation
Victims of auto accidents involving semi trucks and 18-wheelers can often face substantial injuries and expenses if they were hit by a much larger vehicle. These cases can often be filed against both the driver and their employer, the trucking company. Our Dallas personal injury attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm offer free consultations to help injury victims and their families get the compensation they need for truck accident injuries. To schedule your free legal consultation, call us today at (817) 774-9627.