Houston Commercial Truck + 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer
Commercial trucks are often nuisances on the highway that push drivers into dangerous situations or block their view of other cars on the road. For many in Texas, their experience driving around trucks might be even worse. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident with a commercial truck or 18-wheeler, you may be entitled to take the driver and the trucking company to court.
For a free legal consultation on your truck accident injury case, call the Houston commercial truck and 18-wheeler accident lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm. Our attorneys represent injury victims and their families in lawsuits against dangerous trucking companies and drivers who put profits over other peoples’ safety. For a free legal consultation on your case, call our law offices today at (817) 476-1797.
Suing Trucking Companies for Commercial Truck Accidents in Texas
Truck drivers are personally responsible for errors they make behind the wheel, but their employers may also share responsibility for the injuries their drivers cause. This can usually happen in two ways.
Suing Trucking Companies for Driver Errors
Trucking companies are often responsible for their employees’ errors. The drivers that they hire are part of their business operations, and if their mistakes or judgment errors on the road cause serious truck accidents, the trucking company is often responsible for the harms its drivers cause.
This is typically known as “vicarious liability” and follows a legal doctrine called “respondeat superior.” Under this doctrine, the trucking company can be held liable as long as the driver was working for the company’s benefit and in the normal scope of their duties when they caused the accident. Any time the truck driver is behind the wheel of the truck, they likely fulfill these qualifications.
Suing Trucking Companies for Negligence
Sometimes the trucking company shares direct fault in causing the accident. Trucking companies are responsible for whom they hire and put on the road. This means that if they hired a driver with a history of serious negligence behind the wheel, drunk driving, or reckless driving convictions, they may be responsible for problems those drivers cause. This is typically called “negligent hiring” and also extends to “negligent retention” if they keep a driver on staff after they committed serious fireable offenses.
Negligent hiring and retention can also extend to hiring or keeping a driver that the trucking company should have known did not qualify due to health issues. Truck drivers must have good vision, hearing, and limb control and may not be qualified if they have certain disabilities or conditions (such as diabetes). If a trucking company hires this driver anyway, and then that driver causes an accident, the trucking company might be responsible.
Trucking companies are also typically directly responsible for upkeep and maintenance on their vehicles. This means that if the truck accident was caused by bad maintenance, dangerous tires, or other equipment problems, the trucking company might be directly liable for contributing to the accident.
Trucking Regulations and Dangerous Truck Accident Injuries
Many accidents occur when truck drivers and their employers violate state and federal regulations designed to keep other drivers safe. As mentioned, some rules require truck drivers to meet certain health qualifications, but other rules deal with the day-to-day operations of a trucking company and its drivers. If the driver who hit you violated these regulations, you may be entitled to sue them and their employer for the injuries you suffered in the crash.
Some of the most vital of these regulations are the “hours of service” rules. These rules limit how long a driver can stay on duty and how long they can actively drive during a day. Typically, drivers are limited to the following limitations:
- No more than 11 hours of driving in one workday
- No more than 14 hours on duty in one workday (including breaks)
- No more than 8 hours of driving without a 30-minute break
- No more than 60 hours driving in a 7-day workweek (or 70 hours driving in an 8-day workweek)
In many cases, trucking companies have been accused of withholding paychecks and forcing drivers to falsify driving logs so that they can spend more hours on the road and deliver more cargo. Drivers have also been accused of doing this on their own so they can seek overtime pay. In either case, staying on the road beyond these limits increases the risk that a driver will lose focus, fall asleep behind the wheel, or turn to drugs and alcohol to stay alert or “buzzed” while driving.
Damages in Commercial 18-Wheeler Accidents in TX
Victims of commercial trucking accidents may be entitled to substantial compensation for their injuries. In cases involving serious injuries and disabilities, you may need ongoing compensation for lost wages, reduced earning capacity, and medical care costs. These should be paid in full in a lawsuit against a trucking company. If you lost a loved one in a truck accident, the trucking company may be liable for other damages, such as their lost companionship, lost inheritances, lost household chores, and other expenses.
You can also typically claim damages for intangible harms such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress caused by a truck accident. Talk to an attorney about what these damages are worth in your case.
Call Our Houston Commercial Truck and 18-Wheeler Accident Attorneys for a Free Legal Consultation
If you or a loved one was injured in a crash with a commercial truck or an 18-wheeler, call our law offices today. The Queenan Law Firm’s Houston commercial truck and 18-wheeler accident attorneys represent injury victims and the surviving family of those killed in truck accidents. For a free legal consultation and help understanding what your case might be worth and how to move forward with your injury claim, call our law offices today at (817) 476-1797.