Potential Defendants in a Texas Truck Accident Case
Many defendants might be fully or partially responsible for your damages in a truck crash.
The Truck Driver
The driver of the truck that hits you, whether an employee of a trucking company or an independent contractor, could be found negligent due to:
- Speeding or driving recklessly to meet delivery deadlines or to receive financial incentives for delivering on time
- Drowsiness or fatigue from driving more than the number of hours legally permitted by Federal regulations
- Distraction by a cell phone, food, drinks, a radio, a GPS device, or a passenger
- The influence of alcohol or alcohol
- Failure to inspect the truck and its cargo for safety issues before driving
The Trucking Company or Carrier
The company that employs the driver or owns the truck is held to high safety standards and strict Federal regulations. It might be partially liable for your damages because:
- It failed to perform regular maintenance to keep the truck in a safe operating condition.
- It allowed or encouraged the driver to put in more than the permissible number of consecutive hours behind the wheel.
- It hired a driver with a poor driving record or previous safety violations.
- It failed to provide proper training for the driver.
The Truck Owner or a Leasing Agency
If the truck is owned by someone other than the carrier, that owner or leasing agency is responsible for keeping the truck in safe operating condition.
If defective equipment, such as the brakes or steering system of the truck, played a role in the accident, the truck manufacturer or a manufacturer of replacement parts used on the truck could be partially liable.
A Mechanic or Repair Service
If the truck is maintained or repaired by a third party, that party could be responsible for the mechanical failure that led to your wreck.
Cargo Loading Personnel
If the truck is improperly loaded or overloaded, its cargo might shift and cause the truck to jackknife or rollover.
A State or County Government Agency
If bad road conditions, unclearly marked lanes, or missing traffic signs or signals were responsible for your wreck, the government agency responsible for maintaining the roads could be partially liable.
The Need for an Attorney After a Truck Crash
The job of identifying multiple defendants, determining their respective percentages of fault, filing claims against multiple insurers, negotiating for fair settlements, and filing multiple lawsuits if necessary, are best handled by an experienced truck accident lawyer. The legal complexities of seeking compensation from more than one defendant are generally more than the average person can handle, especially when recovering from the serious injuries that can result from truck crashes:
- Broken bones
- Lacerations and scarring
- Dislocated joints
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury (SCI)
Injuries like these can lead to extremely high medical bills and very expensive claims for the insurance companies of the defendants. To save money for company shareholders, the insurers are very likely to dispute your claim or offer you a quick, low settlement before you even know what your future medical expenses might be. You should never accept such an offer without consulting your lawyer.
How Your Attorney Can Help
A truck accident lawyer can help you by investigating your crash with the assistance of an accident reconstructionist to prove liability on the parts of one or more defendants. Your attorney can also interview witnesses, determine each liable party’s percentage of fault, consult with your doctors to determine your long-term medical needs, put a dollar amount on your pain and suffering, and obtain important evidence from the truck’s “black box” data recorder, dashboard camera, and other on-board recording devices.