Who Is Liable for a Texas Truck Accident?
The dangers of truck accidents on Texas’ expansive roadways are ever-present, and understanding who is responsible for such collisions is key in determining the rightful holder of liability. In the Lone Star State, a variety of factors have been identified as potential causes of these unfortunate incidents, and the laws of Texas dictate just how responsibility will be assigned by way of fault.
At Genthe Law Firm, our experienced truck accident lawyers in Dallas/Fort Worth are well-versed in Texas’ relevant legal guidelines and can provide valuable insight into the process of assigning truck accident liability. Through careful examination and analysis, they can advise victims on how to seek compensation for damages suffered due to negligent third parties.
When it comes to assigning fault after a truck accident, it’s important to consider all possible liable parties. This can include the driver, the trucking company, or even an equipment manufacturer whose defective part may have been a contributing factor. Our attorneys apply their expertise in order to assess all possibilities and determine which party bears the most culpability for the incident.
If you have been involved in a truck accident in Texas, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at Genthe Law Firm. We can provide guidance and assistance in navigating the complexities of the state’s legal system while working towards obtaining the maximum compensation available for your case.
Texas Trucking Laws & Regulations
If you have been involved in an accident involving an 18-wheeler, it is important to understand your legal rights and obligations under the Texas Transportation Code. Drivers are held to a standard of “due care,” meaning they must avoid any careless or reckless behavior that may jeopardize the safety of others on the road. As such, truck drivers must also adhere to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations that dictate acceptable parameters for vehicle operation and hours of service. A failure to abide by these laws could potentially lead to liability in the event of a trucking accident.
Trucking companies also have a responsibility to ensure their vehicles are kept in a safe and roadworthy condition at all times. This includes performing maintenance checks regularly and making repairs whenever necessary. If an accident occurs due to a faulty part, the trucking company may be liable for damages sustained.
If you have been involved in an accident with a large commercial vehicle, it is critical to contact a Dallas/Fort Worth injury attorney experienced in handling truck accident cases. Doing so may help ensure that you receive adequate compensation for your losses.
Who is Responsible in an Accident with a Truck?
The sheer size and ground clearance of large trucks on the roads can lead to utter devastation when they collide with other vehicles. Sadly, many passenger vehicles incur most of the damage, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Knowing who is liable for any associated injuries or wrongful death following a truck accident is important if you plan to pursue legal action. Our Texas truck accident attorney can help you identify potentially accountable parties in your injury case.
When it comes to truck accidents, there are several parties who may be held responsible for an individual’s injuries. These include:
It goes without saying that the driver behind the wheel of a truck will likely be held liable for any damages that occur as a result of their negligence.
It is the responsibility of truck drivers to follow important safety guidelines before, during, and after their journeys. Before setting out, they must be sure to conduct a thorough pre-trip inspection of their tractors and trailers, making sure that tires, brakes, and mirrors are all in good condition and that the load is properly secured. When driving, they must take special care to control their speeds, maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, clear intersections before entering them, make safe turns both left and right, and look ahead for any potential hazards. These requirements are essential for keeping other motorists safe and ensuring their own truck is operating as intended. As such, if an incident occurs, the first port of call is to review whether the truck driver has followed these procedures to the letter.
The trucking company or employer of the driver may also be held responsible for issues like improper maintenance, violation of safety procedures, or inadequate training.
When it comes to hiring and retaining truck drivers, trucking companies have an array of responsibilities. These include:
- conducting thorough background checks with previous employers
- assessing driving history prior to hiring,
- keeping a driver qualification file in line with applicable laws
- monitoring the truck driver’s performance,
- ensuring compliance with regulations such as hours of service
Unfortunately, inadequate adherence to these important requirements can lead to serious truck accidents and resulting injury to the public. By vigilantly adhering to their obligations, trucking companies can help protect both themselves and the public from harm.
Lessor of the Truck or Trailer
A third party may be responsible for leasing the truck and/or trailer to the company.
When leasing a truck tractor to a trucking company, the owner-operator cedes exclusive possession, control, and use to them. The trucking company is then responsible for directing and controlling the vehicle as if it were their own. This responsibility extends to any incidents that may occur while the vehicle is in their possession, so should an accident occur they can be held liable in the same way they would for one of their own drivers. With this arrangement, both parties can gain financial security and peace of mind.
Cargo Shippers or Loaders
When it comes to the loading of cargo, shippers and cargo loaders must adhere to certain rigid standards set forth in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSA). If these regulations are not followed and any accidents occur due to improperly loaded cargo, the shipper may be held liable for damages. To ensure safety, it is essential that all cargo is properly balanced, secured, and loaded according to the relevant federal regulations. Failure to do so could result in costly accidents and even legal liabilities.
When road conditions contribute to an accident, such as potholes and poor design, a government entity may be responsible for any ensuing damage.
Determining Liability in a Texas Truck Accident
In the aftermath of a truck accident, investigators will work to piece together the details of the collision and determine who is liable. Evidence from the accident can be used to craft a personal injury claim that holds liable parties responsible for their negligence. This can ensure that victims receive the financial assistance they require for their medical bills, lost wages, and other losses caused by the collision.
Negligence is a major factor when determining liability in the event of a truck accident. By definition, negligence refers to any dangerous or irresponsible behavior that endangers other drivers on the road. Assessing negligence requires conducting a careful review of several variables related to the case.
Common examples of negligent driving behaviors include driving while intoxicated, disregarding stop signs, and utilizing a cell phone behind the wheel. While a truck driver may be found at fault for his or her negligent actions, other entities can also be held liable for their involvement in the accident.
For example, if it can be demonstrated that a trucking company failed to properly maintain the vehicle in question, then they can be found guilty of contributing to the cause of the accident. Additionally, the vehicle manufacturer may be held financially responsible if a flaw in the truck’s design was a factor in the crash.
Four Elements of Negligence
To prove someone or something is responsible for a truck accident, four elements must be proven: legal duty of care, breach of duty of care, causation, and quantifiable damages.
Legal Duty of Care
Truck operators on Texas roads have a legal duty to abide by road rules and take all reasonable actions to avoid any behavior that could lead to an accident. Trucking companies are also responsible for hiring qualified drivers and maintaining their vehicles in safe working conditions.
Breach of Duty of Care
When truck drivers speed, drive carelessly, act negligently, or drive while fatigued or intoxicated, they breach their legal duty of care. Likewise, a trucking company breaches its duty if it fails to properly screen its drivers or maintain its trucks. In order for liability to be established, it must be proven that the liable party’s negligent action was unreasonable and directly contributed to the truck accident.
Evidence must show that the alleged liable party’s actions were directly linked to the accident. This includes demonstrating that the negligent behavior caused the truck crash in question.
Victims must provide evidence that shows they sustained financial losses as a result of the accident. This could include documentation such as medical bills, family testimony, income statements, and expert witness opinions. All of these pieces must corroborate the total value of the victim’s damages.
Understanding Fault in Texas Truck Accidents
Overview of Comparative Fault Rules
Texas follows a “modified comparative fault” rule when it comes to truck accident liability. This means that even if the victim was partially responsible for the incident, they may still be able to receive compensation from the at-fault party as long as their negligence did not exceed 50% of the total responsibility.
Compensation Calculations in No-Fault States
In order to calculate the amount of compensation awarded in such situations, the degree of fault for each party is calculated. The at-fault party is then responsible for any damages caused that are equal to or less than the percentage of their fault. For example, if an at-fault driver was found to be 20% responsible for an accident, they may be required to pay damages that do not exceed 20% of the total damages incurred by the victims of the crash.
Benefits of No-Fault States
In no-fault states, victims of truck accidents are often able to obtain compensation more quickly and easily than in states that follow a strict negligence standard. As such, many states have adopted no-fault laws as a way to reduce the burden on both victims and insurance companies alike.
Our Attorneys Can Help You Pursue Justice
Have you been injured in a truck accident? Don’t wait to contact the experienced Tarrant County lawyers from Genthe Law Firm. Understanding who is liable for truck accidents in Texas is crucial to getting adequate compensation. Liability can stem from negligence on the part of the driver, trucking company, or manufacturer of vehicle parts. All parties involved have a responsibility to ensure their vehicles are operated and maintained safely, and any failure to do so could result in liability for an 18-wheeler accident.
At Genthe Law Firm, our highly skilled truck accident lawyers have a proven track record of success when it comes to fighting for victims’ rights and obtaining favorable outcomes. We will work tirelessly on your behalf and make sure that you receive all the damages you deserve. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Texas, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.
- Who Is Liable for a Texas Truck Accident?
- Texas Trucking Laws & Regulations
- Who is Responsible in an Accident with a Truck?
- Determining Liability in a Texas Truck Accident
- Understanding Fault in Texas Truck Accidents
- Our Attorneys Can Help You Pursue Justice