Can You Sue a Trucking Company for an Accident in Texas?

sue trucking companyTrucking companies in Texas are responsible for keeping others traveling on Texas highways safe. A truck driver may be assumed accountable for an accident involving an 18-wheeler. However, multiple parties are responsible for the safe operation of a truck.

Proving fault in truck accidents can present some of the most difficult legal challenges. Truck accident victims in Texas may feel like giving up on proving fault or settling with the insurance company, leaving behind the maximum compensation possible. By working with a Pearland truck accident attorney, you can have a stronger chance of securing what you deserve after a truck accident in Texas.

How Can a Trucking Company Be Responsible for a Truck Accident in Texas?

A trucking company is responsible for the trucks they put on the highway long before the driver gets behind the wheel. Even when working with independent trucking contractors, the trucking company plays a part in the safe operations of a truck. Texas averages over 38,000 commercial motor vehicle (CMV) accidents yearly, with Harris County experiencing more than 6,000 accidents annually, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

With the high number of trucking accidents in Texas, it is vital to understand what duties and responsibilities a trucking company has in the safe operations of a truck. When a trucking company fails to meet these essential duties, it may be possible for an injured truck accident survivor or their loved ones to sue a trucking company.

Safe Hiring Practices

hiring truck driversTrucking companies in Texas should ensure their drivers have the necessary qualifications before getting behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer. Additionally, a background check is critical to hiring qualified truck drivers in Texas. A truck driver’s history may indicate the following:

  • A history of substance abuse
  • Poor driving record and multiple accidents
  • Reckless behaviors
  • Criminal history
  • An expired or suspended commercial driver’s license

To use this information in your case, you will need legal assistance from a skilled truck accident attorney. They can help you file the appropriate paperwork and gain critical information about the truck driver. This material can demonstrate negligence by the company.

Adequate Driver Training

State and federal training guidelines play a vital role in a truck driver’s ability to operate a big rig in the United States. Trucking companies should ensure their drivers have completed the required training. These regulations apply to individuals and employers of longer combination vehicles, such as tractor-trailers. Without drivers meeting these regulations and standards, no employer may:

  • Allow, require, or give permission to any driver to operate a truck
  • Allow, authorize, permit, or require a driver to operate a truck without a CDL, driver-training certificate, or a CDL endorsement
  • Employ or contract with a driver without proof of the required certifications

Continuing education training also plays an essential role in safe truck operations. Failing to verify a driver has the required training to operate a truck can lead to a trucking company’s responsibility for an accident.

Meeting Safety Standards

cargoSafety practices apply to multiple facets of a truck’s operation. First, a driver should operate within the hours of service regulations set forward by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In an attempt to meet pressing deadlines, trucking companies may press drivers to exceed these limits, creating safety hazards for other drivers.

Trucks should be maintained and kept mechanically sound to keep other commuters in Texas safe. Maintenance records tell the story of whether a truck has been properly serviced. Failing to provide regular truck maintenance may lead to:

  • Improper braking abilities
  • Worn tires
  • Steering issues
  • Broken headlights and tail lights

Proper Cargo Loading

How a trucking company loads its cargo also impacts the operation of a truck. An accident may occur when the trucking company fails to distribute cargo weight appropriately, overloads a truck’s cargo, or fails to secure cargo. Trucking accidents caused by unsafe cargo loading may lead to a trucking company being sued.

How Does Your Attorney Demonstrate Liability in a Texas Truck Accident?

Texas law assigns proportionate responsibility in accidents. Any driver found more than 50% responsible for an accident in Texas cannot recover compensation. The injured party bears the burden of proving their injuries resulted from a trucking company’s negligence.

Additionally, the trucking company’s insurance company will work to determine if the injured driver’s actions contributed to the accident. Any responsibility the injured driver has in the accident reduces the compensation an insurance company will pay.

Your trucking accident attorney will demonstrate liability by investigating the crash, gathering the relevant evidence, and establishing negligence by the at-fault parties. They will also show how the other parties failed to uphold the duty of care they owed you, resulting in your injuries and damages. They will complete their arguments by presenting receipts and calculations of your losses that should be repaid.

What Evidence May Be Required to Sue a Trucking Company in Texas?

Some of the most vital evidence in a truck accident is in the hands of the trucking company. Working efficiently to acquire the documentation is imperative to a successful lawsuit. The following documentation may be used to prove a trucking company’s responsibility in a case:

  • Hiring records
  • Training information and verification
  • Maintenance records
  • Cargo documentation
  • Black box data
  • Hours of service logs
  • Pictures and video evidence from the accident
  • Accident history for the trucking company

A truck accident lawyer may also speak with witnesses to the accident. Reconstruction specialists and medical experts may also play a pivotal role in a truck accident lawsuit. All this work is meant to present the most powerful case possible on your behalf to maximize your compensation.

Could Other Parties Be Liable in a Truck Accident in Texas?

According to an FMCSA report to Congress, truck drivers’ actions may contribute to truck accidents in Texas. However, parties other than a truck driver and the trucking company may be found liable for your injuries. A thorough investigation is the most proven way to determine who may be responsible for the compensation you deserve. Other parties who may be responsible include:

  • Maintenance departments or companies: Failing to perform diagnostics, maintenance, and repairs on a truck may lead to any department or business responsible for a truck’s maintenance being found liable for damages.
  • Truck parts manufacturers: Producing faulty parts and components used in a truck could lead to a manufacturer being liable in a truck accident.
  • Cargo loaders: A trucking company may distribute cargo for multiple companies, requiring their cargo handlers to load and secure their products safely. Failing to follow safe loading procedures may lead to a cargo company being responsible for an accident and any damages.

The complexity of truck accidents requires injured individuals to take action as soon as possible. Injuries from these incidents are often severe, limiting an individual’s capacity and focus. When you contact a truck accident lawyer in Texas, someone can look out for your best interests while you recover.

How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit Against a Trucking Company in Texas?

The statute of limitations for taking action against a trucking company or anyone responsible for your damages in a trucking accident in Texas is two years from the accident date. Waiting to file a lawsuit may result in losing critical documentation necessary to prove negligence, particularly when the responsible parties may have control over the evidence. Failing to act within the statute of limitations may leave the injured party responsible for the costs associated with the accident.

J.D. Silva & Associates, PLLC believes in your right to seek fair compensation for your injuries. We remain committed to legally fighting for every individual injured in a Texas truck accident. Our team is confident in our ability to take on the trucking industry when necessary.