Can Truck Drivers be Sued for Negligence in Texas?
Truck accidents can be devastating. If you or a loved one was involved in an accident with a large truck like a tractor-trailer, you could be facing very high medical bills, missed work, and serious pain and suffering. In many cases, you may have even lost a loved one to the accident. While there may be many parties you can sue to recover compensation for your injuries, the truck driver will almost always be one of the people you sue. An Arlington, TX truck accident lawyer at The Queenan Law firm explain how these injury lawsuits work, and how you may be able to recover compensation.
Do I Sue the Truck Driver or Trucking Company for a Commercial Truck Accident?
When you are injured by someone else’s actions, you can usually go to court to get compensation. The first person you should sue is the individual that actually caused your injuries. In a truck accident, this usually guarantees you will be suing the truck driver him/herself as part of the lawsuit. However, the truck driver is likely not wealthy, and may not be able to cover your medical bills and other injury costs. Because of this, there are usually other parties involved in this lawsuit.
First, there is usually an insurance company involved. In Texas, the at-fault driver’s insurance usually pays for the injuries. Since commercial truck drivers are legally required to carry auto insurance, there is often an insurance company that can pay for injuries. This may be paid from a policy the driver personally carries, or a plan provided by their employer.
Second, the driver’s employer can often be held liable for their employee’s failures. Since the truck driver was working within the scope of their employment when the accident happened, their employer is partly responsible for their actions. If the driver was on-the-job, their employer can be held fully responsible for the accident under what is known as “vicarious liability” or “respondeat superior.” If the trucking company hired a driver knowing they had a bad driving record, history of DUI, or serious medical condition that made them unsafe, they can also be held personally responsible. Negligent hiring or negligent retention of an employee is a serious error that can make them liable for your damages.
To involve the insurance company and the driver’s trucking company in the lawsuit, you must still sue the driver. Suing the driver directly is necessary to reach the other parties, but that does not mean the courts will make the driver pay. Because these other parties may be more able to pay for damages, and because the trucking company or insurance company may be required to cover the damages, the money you win ultimately comes from someone other than the driver in most cases.
Damages for Truck Accident Liability
If you were injured in a truck accident, you can often get substantial compensation for serious injuries. Many truck accidents cause life-changing injuries, like traumatic brain injury or paralysis through a spinal cord injury. These kinds of injuries carry high medical bills, expensive ongoing care, and other costs. They may also keep you from returning to work, meaning you cannot support your family. The physical pain and mental suffering may also be intense.
Under Texas law, you can recover damages for these areas from the parties who caused your injury. If the driver and the trucking company each contributed to the injuries, the court may split the damages among them (with insurance covering damages as necessary). Otherwise, the accident may be placed fully on the trucking company.
Proving these damages is an integral part of proving your case in court, and is often one of the most contested parts of an injury lawsuit. To prove damages like medical expenses, it is important to keep a good record of your bills, payments, procedures, and care providers. To prove your lost wages, you often need to provide records of your previous paychecks. A financial expert can examine these and other aspects of your financial situation to project the future earnings you will miss because of the injuries. This can also be compensated in court.
The last major piece of damages is often one of the largest: pain and suffering damages. Because Texas law puts no cap or limit on these damages, you can often recover substantial pain and suffering damages. These generally grow with the severity of your injuries, and can make up most of your winnings.
Truck accidents may also include additional damages to punish negligent truck drivers and trucking companies for violating trucking regulations.
Dallas Truck Accident Lawyer
An Arlington TX personal injury lawyer at The Queenan Law firm may be able to help you with your truck accident case. Contact our law offices today for a free consolation on your case, or to begin filing a truck accident lawsuit. If you were severely injured in a truck accident or are suing for the wrongful death of a loved one, call our law offices today at (817) 476-1797.