Who Do You Sue if You Get Into an Accident With an 18-Wheeler in Texas?
There are few things on the roads of Texas as big as an 18-wheeler. These massive trucks travel across the state, serving a vital role in local and national commerce. However, when one of these large commercial trucks causes an accident, the resulting damage and injuries are often devastating. While many victims of 18-wheeler accidents believe they can file a personal injury lawsuit to seek monetary compensation for their pain and suffering, they are rarely aware of the number of parties that could be held liable. Our Arlington, TX truck accident lawyer at The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. looks at who could be held financially accountable for an 18-wheeler accident.
Driver Liability in an 18-Wheeler Truck Accident in Texas
In many truck accident cases, the negligent conduct of the truck driver will come into play. Typically, the driver’s behavior is a significant reason an accident occurred.
Truck drivers are guilty of the same careless behaviors that cause car accidents, plus a few others particular to their job. 18-wheelers are massive vehicles that are much more challenging to maneuver than a smaller car. Therefore, trucks require substantially more distance to stop, turn, or even change lanes. When a truck driver operates their 18-wheeler recklessly, by speeding, improper lane changes, or ignoring traffic regulations, they are likely to cause an accident.
The hours a truck driver is allowed to be on the road are federally regulated. However, in order to complete a delivery faster, the driver of an 18-wheeler might not comply with the time restriction. This behavior could lead to a driver operating their truck while fatigued or turning to artificial stimulants to stay awake. Either of these situations endangers other motorists on the road.
One of the most dangerous things on any Texas highway is a distracted driver. Texting, eating, or changing stations on a radio have all contributed to catastrophic accidents. Truck drivers are especially vulnerable to being distracted because of the long days they spend alone on the road. Due to the size, lack of maneuverability, and large blind spots of an 18-wheeler, a distracted truck driver is exponentially more dangerous.
Holding Trucking Companies Accountable for a Texas Truck Accident
In some cases, the victim of an accident could hold the trucking company that employs the truck driver accountable for an accident. Many trucking companies will claim that a driver is an independent contractor to avoid liability. Our Fort Worth truck accident attorney will thoroughly examine the employment relationship between the two to determine if this is a valid defense.
A trucking company could be held liable for their hiring or training practices. For example, if a company hired a driver with a known record of traffic offenses, such as driving under the influence, they could be held responsible if the truck driver caused an accident while drunk. Additionally, if a company trains its drivers and allows an inadequately trained one to operate one of their 18-wheelers, they could be held liable for any injuries.
If the trucking company owns the 18-wheeler, then it should ensure that the truck is maintained and in a safe driving condition. Trucks are complicated machines and if there is a preventable mechanical malfunction, it could result in an accident involving the 18-wheeler and other vehicles on the road. Therefore, if a truck does not receive routine maintenance or is inspected regularly, the trucking company could be at fault if something goes wrong.
In many cases, it is preferable to include the trucking company in a personal injury lawsuit due to their higher insurance coverage and more significant assets.
Suing a Shipping Company for an 18-Wheeler Accident in Texas
It is possible that the shipping company shared liability for a truck accident. The cargo in a trailer must be safely stored and secured. If the load is unsecured or off-balance, it could make safely controlling an 18-wheeler impossible. Additionally, there are weight restrictions for 18-wheelers. If a trailer is packed with too much cargo, the truck presents an unreasonable risk to the truck driver and others on the road.
Suing a Truck Manufacturer for an 18-Wheeler Accident on a Texas Highway
Some accidents occur because there is a mechanical defect or design flaw in the 18-wheeler. Under these circumstances, it is possible there was nothing the truck driver could have done to prevent the accident. When the defect is in the design or manufacturing of the truck itself, it could be possible to hold the designer, manufacturer, or another party in the supply chain responsible for any injuries sustained in an accident. Our Dallas 18-wheeler truck accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate what contributed to your crash.
Call Our Texas 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Attorney to Schedule a Free Consultation
Accidents involving large commercial tractor-trailers often result in life-altering injuries. Victims of truck accidents could be facing substantial medical expenses, years of physical rehabilitation, and a significant loss of income. Our Texas truck accident attorney is dedicated to holding those parties at fault accountable for the damages you suffered. In many cases, the fault lies with more than just the truck driver. You need an Arlington, TX personal injury lawyer familiar with truck accident litigation to ensure all appropriate parties are included in your lawsuit. Call The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. at (817) 476-1797 to schedule a free consultation with our Texas personal injury lawyers and discuss who should be held liable.