Who Is Liable for a Commercial Truck Accident in Texas?
If you were injured in a truck accident, you may be wondering who will be held financially responsible for the crash. First, the issue of who is actually at-fault is up to the specific circumstances of the accident. Second, the issue of who to hold financially responsible is a legal issue that our Plano personal injury attorneys may be able to help you understand.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. The Dallas truck accident attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. may be able to help you get compensation for your medical expenses, your lost wages, and your pain and suffering. Call today for a free consultation on your case.
Determining Fault in a Commercial Truck Accident
There are no automatic rules regarding fault or guilt in a Texas car accident. Everything depends on the totality of all circumstances involved, and may require a neutral third party to determine who was at fault. Even in cases where one party is mostly at fault, other parties may be partially responsible as well. Parties may even be partly responsible for their own injuries, which can complicate matters in a car accident case.
The rules of the road in Texas help identify responsibility for a car crash. A driver who drives the wrong way on the highway, makes an illegal turn, or runs a red light is quite clearly responsible for an accident they cause by doing so. Commercial truck drivers face additional rules beyond traffic regulations. The federal government’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) writes regulations that govern truck drivers and their safety requirements.
If a commercial truck driver or their trucking company violates the FMCSA regulations, you may be able to use those violations as proof of their fault in the accident. Some regulations deal with the physical ability of a truck driver to safely drive, and these rules may weigh the strongest in blaming the truck driver for the crash. Truck drivers in the US must have a medical card that proves they underwent medical examinations, certifying their health. This includes proving their eyesight, hearing, limb control, and other abilities are safe for driving. Additionally, “Hours of Service” rules limit how long a driver can stay on the road to help avoid tired driving.
If you were partly at fault for your accident, you may still be able to recover. Under Texas’s “comparative negligence” rules, you may still be able to recover for an accident you helped cause, so long as you were less than 51% responsible. This works to hold the party who is mostly responsible for the accident financially responsible. If you were partly responsible for your own injuries, your damages may be reduced by your portion of fault. For instance, if you were 15% responsible for your injuries, your damages will be reduced by 15%.
Who Pays for A Commercial Vehicle Accident Settlement in Texas?
If you were injured by a truck driver, you may be able to take them and their employer to court to make them pay for your injuries. The driver who crashed the truck may be held personally responsible for the crash. However, truck drivers may not be able to afford all of the compensation you need. This often means you can take the trucking company who hired the driver to court as well. In most cases, these parties may also have insurance. This means the process of finding compensation may be complicated.
In order to hold the trucking company responsible, there are two possible theories. The first is direct liability for their own errors. While the truck driver may have driven the truck that injured you, the trucking company hired the driver and put them behind the wheel of the truck. If the trucking company was negligent by hiring a bad driver or failing to keep the truck in good working order, this may have helped contribute to the crash. In that case, the trucking company is personally responsible for some portion of the damages.
Alternatively, the trucking company may be “vicariously liable” for the negligence of its employee. The truck driver works as an agent of the trucking company. If they injured you while working within the scope if their duties, the trucking company may be held liable to cover injuries their employee caused.
In any case, insurance may be able to help cover injuries. However, the damages that an insurance company pays may not include full damages, especially damages for pain and suffering and damages to penalize the negligent trucking company for violating FMCSA regulations. Talk to an attorney before accepting anything from a trucking company.
Dallas Truck Accident Lawyers
The Dallas personal injury attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm may be able to take your tractor-trailer accident case and help you get compensation for your injuries. For a free consultation on your case, call our Texas personal injury lawyers today at (817) 476-1797.