Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident?
After a tractor-trailer accident, you could be shocked and confused. How did the accident happen, and who is responsible? Unfortunately, truck accidents happen for many reasons, and more than one person or entity could be liable.
This post covers who may be liable for a trucking accident, including the truck driver or trucking company. Talk to The Francis Firm immediately if you’re injured and don’t know what to do after a truck crash.
When you’re in a truck accident, the crash scene can be confusing and involve several vehicles. Depending on the circumstances, one or more of the following could be liable in the truck accident:
Truckers hold a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) and follow strict driving rules set by the state and federal governments. Truck drivers also conduct frequent vehicle inspections to ensure their rigs are safe.
If the police cite the driver for unsafe driving, this could be a key to determining truck accident liability. However, the truck driver still could be found at fault even if the police don’t issue a citation.
The trucking company must follow many rules when hiring, training, and managing truck drivers. For example, the company must perform a background check and review each trucker’s driving history. The firm also must check that the driver follows federal hours-of-service rules. This ensures the driver isn’t driving tired, which is a severe accident danger.
If the trucking company is liable for the accident, more insurance money could be available for your losses. This is because trucking firms must carry a commercial insurance policy in case of an accident.
Other potentially liable parties in a truck accident are:
- The truck owner-operator if the trucking company does not employ him
- Shipping company
- Truck or truck parts manufacturer
Many truck accidents involve liability by the truck driver and trucking company. For example, a trucking firm in Texas may be liable for the truck driver’s negligence that caused a truck accident. This might be the case if the driver worked for the trucking company when the accident happened.
This legal theory is called vicarious liability and may be in effect if:
- The trucker was working under the control and direction of the trucking company
- The company had the ability when the accident happened to control the trucker’s actions
- The driver’s negligent actions happened when he was working for the company
Establishing vicarious liability in a Texas truck accident is significant. When seriously hurt after a truck wreck, it’s essential to pinpoint every liable party. When several parties are at fault, you may receive more compensation in a lawsuit or settlement.
Suppose you have $100,000 in medical bills after a truck accident. You suffered a broken hip, head injuries, and a punctured lung. If you file against the truck driver’s insurance, you may find out there isn’t enough coverage to pay your damages. You also may be out of luck if you miss a month of work. If there isn’t enough insurance coverage, you have few legal options.
However, trucking companies must carry commercial insurance policies with higher policy limits - usually between $750,000 and $1 million. If your attorney holds the company liable under vicarious liability, you might settle with the trucker and his employer. In this situation, you could have more than enough money for your medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.
A Dallas and Fort Worth truck accident attorney can help you receive compensation for your losses and damages. But did you know the attorney may also help you get essential medical treatments for your injuries?
Medical professionals decline to treat personal injury patients. Why? The doctor may be concerned about months of litigation and delays in payment. Many medical professionals may want thousands of dollars upfront to treat you. Can you afford that?
The good news is your attorney probably networks with a group of medical professionals. The law may agree with these healthcare professionals to get you the necessary treatments. In turn, they will wait to be compensated from your settlement or jury award.
So, a truck accident attorney can be critical to getting you the treatments you need to recover, and it might even be with no out-of-pocket costs.
Were you hurt in a recent Dallas or Fort Worth trucking accident? You may have serious injuries, weeks or months of lost wages, and constant pain. How will you recover and continue to pay your bills? If the truck driver was at fault, holding him accountable is critical. The trucking company also could be liable for poor vehicle maintenance, improper training practices, negligent hiring, and more. A Texas truck accident attorney can hold the responsible people and entities accountable for your losses. Talk to a truck accident attorney at The Francis Firm today for a complimentary consultation about your truck accident injuries.