How is Fault Determined in a Truck Accident? 

Truck accidents are different from other motor vehicle accidents. These accidents are usually more severe, and liability can be more complicated. This post describes who may be liable for a truck accident and how to determine fault.

If you have been hurt in a truck accident, contact The Francis Firm. If the truck driver or company caused the accident, a truck accident attorney could help you file a claim or lawsuit.

Determining Truck Accident Fault

When determining truck accident fault, there are usually three parties to consider. In some cases, more than one person or entity could be responsible for the truck accident:

Truck Driver

As in any motor vehicle accident, law enforcement will scrutinize the drivers. Truckers receive specialized training to handle their rigs safely. In addition, they must obey stricter driving rules than regular drivers.

Common reasons a truck driver may be liable for an accident include:

  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Distracted driving
  • Tailgating
  • Drunk driving

The truck driver could also be responsible if he fails to do a safety check on the truck. Ignoring pre-trip safety checks can lead to malfunctions and mechanical failures. Brake problems are common with big rigs, so they must be checked often.

A truck accident attorney in Dallas will review the trucking company’s safety records. If the truck that struck you was improperly maintained, this could determine truck accident liability.

Trucking Company

Some truckers are independent contractors. Therefore, you may need to sue them personally if a contractor injures you in a truck accident. However, most truck drivers are full-time employees of the trucking company.

If the driver is an employee, the firm’s commercial insurance policy is in effect. Therefore, trucking companies must carry larger insurance policies than regular drivers. This can be helpful if you are severely injured in a truck crash. More money could mean more compensation for you and other injured parties.

A trucking company could be liable for the truck accident for one or more of these reasons:

  • Improper driver screening and hiring
  • Not testing drivers for drug and alcohol use
  • Not training drivers appropriately
  • Truck maintenance failures
  • Encouraging drivers to violate national hours of service rules

Truck Manufacturer

Sometimes the firm that designed, manufactured, or sold the truck could be liable for the crash. These entities are required to make sure their vehicles and parts are safe. If something on the truck fails, a product liability lawsuit could occur.

How To Determine Fault?

The crucial part of determining fault for a truck accident is deciding who was negligent. Courts and insurance companies will assign blame for a truck accident based on someone not exercising “duty of care.”

The more reckless or careless party is considered to be at fault for the truck crash. Negligence in a collision is determined in several ways, including eyewitness statements, video footage, police citations at the scene, and more.

Law enforcement usually interviews all drivers and passengers involved in the crash. They also will complete a police report that offers their opinion on who was at fault.

However, the police report is not the last word on determining truck accident fault. The court or insurance company could conclude that a police report is inaccurate. Or, they may deem what is in the report inadmissible in court. That said, traffic citations can help determine truck accident liability.

For example, if the police cite the trucker for texting and driving, this could be a vital piece of evidence in the case. Or, the police could cite the trucker for speeding before the accident.

Liability can apply to more than one party in a trucking accident. However, most truck accidents involve liability on the part of the truck driver or company. Many things a trucking company does can be responsible for causing a truck accident. Your trucking accident attorney's responsibility is to prove the trucker, company, or another entity showed negligence and caused the crash.

What If You Were Partially At Fault?

Some truck accidents involve complex liability issues. For example, you and the truck driver could share responsibility for the accident. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot collect damages for your injuries.

Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. This means your percentage of responsibility for the accident can reduce the compensation you receive. For example, if you were 30% responsible for a truck crash with $30,000 of damages, your settlement would only be $21,000.

Having a skilled attorney in your corner is important if you were partially at fault for the accident. They will try to reduce your liability for the crash so you can get more compensation for your losses.

A Truck Accident Attorney Can Help With Medical Care

A personal injury attorney can assist you with filing a lawsuit or claim for your damages. However, many injured parties don’t realize their lawyer can help them with getting prompt medical care.

A common issue in personal injury cases is doctors don’t want to provide treatment. Truck accident litigation takes a lot of time, and the physician could face delays in getting paid for your treatments.

A Texas truck accident attorney usually networks with local medical professionals. The attorney may set up an agreement with the doctor agreeing to treat you without upfront costs. They would receive compensation when the case settles or reaches a verdict. So, your attorney can ensure you receive the medical care you need.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney Now

If you were injured in a Dallas or Fort Worth trucking accident, it is critical to determine who was liable for the accident. Determining fault will influence who must compensate you for your truck accident injuries. Unfortunately, truck accidents are complicated, and liability can be challenging.

A Texas truck crash attorney has the skill and experience to determine fault so you can receive just compensation for your losses. Contact the truck accident attorneys at The Francis Firm today for a free consultation.