How To Prove a Commercial Trucking Company is liable in an 18-wheeler accident in Houston.
Although these vehicles have economic value, they pose a significant risk to other motorists. If you were involved in a truck accident in Houston, our Houston truck accident attorneys could help you recover compensatory damages.
Commercial truck accidents are different from other traffic accidents because they often result in severe damage. This is due to the sheer size difference between a truck and a passenger car.
A truck usually sustains little to no damage in a collision. In contrast, you could sustain serious injuries, such as limb loss, broken bones, spinal cord injury, and head or brain trauma. In some cases, negligence can lead to a fatal truck accident.
With the help of a Houston truck accident attorney, you could file a claim for damages against the trucking company, the negligent truck driver, the truck manufacturer, or another third party. Here are some situations and scenarios where you can hold the trucking company liable for your losses.
IS THE TRUCKING COMPANY LIABLE FOR A HOUSTON, TRUCK ACCIDENT? WHEN IS A TRUCKING COMPANY LIABLE?
A trucking company can be held directly or vicariously liable for truck accident injuries. Direct liability is when the company is involved in negligence that directly contributed to the crash. For example, the company is liable if it is responsible for maintaining its fleet, but a brake failure causes a truck crash.
When a company is held indirectly liable for a commercial vehicle accident, this is referred to as vicarious liability. This involves a legal concept known as ‘respondent superior,’ which means ‘let the master answer.’
In most truck accidents, the trucker can be held vicariously liable for the truck driver’s negligence.
This is because the driver is an employee or legal agent of the trucking company. As the company is responsible for hiring and supervising the drivers, any mistakes or negligent actions committed by the drivers can be attributed to the company. If a drunk driver causes a truck accident, the driver is clearly liable. On the other hand, the company can be held vicariously liable for hiring a driver with a substance abuse problem.
To substantiate your claim, in any case, you will need relevant evidence such as employment records, medical records, witness statements, and the accident report for the incident.
WHY HOLD THE TRUCKING COMPANY ACCOUNTABLE?
The majority of truck accidents in Texas are caused by driver negligence. This may include driving under the influence, speeding, and other behaviors that endanger other motorists. This is why a truck accident claim is first filed against the truck driver. It is easier to prove the driver’s negligence, so truck accident compensation is more likely to be awarded.
However, truck accidents are often life-threatening. Truck accident victims may sustain injuries ranging from severe to critical, as well as long-term pain, in some cases necessitating lifelong help and support for the injuries or wrongful death. You may also suffer other losses, such as property damage and lost wages.
You can file a claim for such damages with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, the truck driver may only have minimum liability insurance, which will most likely not cover the full extent of the damage. This is the time to consider naming the trucking company as a liable party and filing a claim under the company’s insurance policy for damages.
It is critical to note that you can only recover compensatory damages from the trucking company’s insurance provider after you have exhausted the at-fault truck driver’s insurance coverage. In most commercial vehicle accidents, the trucker can be held liable. In the event of deliberate negligence, you may also want to hold the company liable for punitive damages. Here’s how you can hold the company accountable and some scenarios proving the trucking company’s negligence.
Examples of Trucking Company Negligence
Trucking company negligence can take many forms. You may believe that the driver is liable, but in many cases, the company is. Here are some examples of trucking company negligence.
- Hours of Services Rules Violations. Texas law requires all truck drivers to take an eight-hour break before beginning a driving shift. The shift itself must not exceed 12 consecutive hours of driving. Furthermore, federal hours of service rules apply. The company may be liable if a trucking company fails to adhere to these time limits and a crash occurs.
- Negligent Hiring and Supervision. A trucking company’s responsibility is to ensure that all commercial drivers it hires have the necessary qualifications. Additionally, the company must conduct background checks to ensure that drivers have no history of substance abuse. In addition, the company is obligated to monitor the drivers to ensure that they abide by the relevant laws and regulations. If the company is negligent in hiring or supervising the drivers, it can be held directly liable.
- Knowledge of Driver Violations. Trucking companies do not always follow state and federal commercial vehicle regulations. Such failure can be intentional, as truckers manipulate logbooks to allow drivers to stay on the road longer. A company may also give its drivers unrealistic deadlines, forcing them to work long hours, resulting in driver fatigue and an accident.
- Cargo Loading Negligence. A trucking company tasked with cargo loading must also ensure that the cargo is secure and does not exceed the weight and volume limits for different types of cargo. The company will be liable for any resulting accident if the truck is overloaded or the cargo is not properly secured.
- Truck Maintenance. When a company owns commercial trucks, it is also responsible for keeping them in good shape and making sure they get regular inspections. If any repairs are needed, they must be done as soon as possible. If the company fails to do its job and a vehicle failure results in a crash, it will likely be held liable.
These are just a few of the many scenarios in which a trucking company’s negligence is involved in causing a truck accident. An experienced Houston truck accident attorney can review your specific crash to determine whether or not you have a legal basis for filing a personal injury claim against the trucking company.
CLAIMS AGAINST NEGLIGENTLY-TRAINED TRUCK DRIVERS IN HOUSTON, TX
When truck drivers lack the training to maneuver their vehicles in dangerous conditions safely, they and their employers may be held liable for the injuries sustained by victims of these major accidents. Your Houston trucking accident lawyer has investigated and prosecuted claims against negligent tractor-trailer drivers and the companies that hire them.
They will be an aggressive and dedicated Houston truck accident attorney you need on your side if you have been injured in a truck accident in Houston, Texas.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN 18-WHEELER TRUCK JACKKNIFES ON THE HIGHWAY?
Tractor-trailer jackknife accidents frequently cause large truck injury accidents. Jackknife accidents can occur when the powered front wheels of a large truck or 18-wheeler lock up, but the trailer’s rear wheels continue to travel forward toward the front of the truck. This can result in the truck driver losing control of the vehicle and, in some cases, the semi-truck or big rig rolling over if the truck travels at high speed when it jackknifes.
Jackknife accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. Trucks are more likely to jackknife when there is rain, snow, ice, or any other slipping hazard on the road. Trucks are also prone to jackknifing if the driver is forced to use evasive maneuvers to avoid a hazard on the road ahead. In such situations, the driver’s alertness, training, and skill become critical in avoiding an accident.
Truck drivers can break their vehicles in various ways, including locking the trailer axles, steering axle brakes, or drive axles. The driver must choose which brakes to lock based on the current conditions, electing the means that will do the least harm to other drivers on the road nearby.
DO I NEED TO FILE A POLICE REPORT AFTER INVOLVING AN 18-WHEELER ACCIDENT?
People must file an accident report after being involved in an 18-wheeler or a car accident involving a truck. Crash reports can be obtained from the Texas Department of Transportation through its online ordering system or by mailing a request form. It is critical to establish that an accident occurred and to have police officers thoroughly investigate the accident.
Your Houston truck accident attorney has found that most insurance companies and corporations refuse to pay for any type of property damage or personal injury because there was no official source to investigate the accident properly. It is important to file a report every time.
WHY HIRE A HOUSTON TRUCK ACCIDENT ATTORNEY?
In a Houston truck accident, multiple parties may be held liable. In certain instances, various parties may be liable for a given crash. In cases where deliberate negligence, malice, or recklessness is proven, you may be eligible for damages for physical pain, mental anguish, and punitive damages.
This is why it is critical to seek sound legal counsel before filing a truck accident lawsuit or claim. A good personal injury lawyer will help you identify the negligent party or parties liable for your losses. The attorney will then work with you to gather the necessary evidence and file insurance claims for financial compensation. If a commercial trucking company denies your claim, trucking accident lawyers can help you file a lawsuit and take your claim to court.
This is precisely what a Houston Truck accident attorney will offer. They will want to help you get a truck accident settlement covering all your losses. We also use our extensive experience to ensure that any insurance settlement you receive is fair and does not underpay your claim.