After an accident with a commercial truck, do you sue the company or the driver? You can, but it is an unlikely legal route to take, as the driver’s employer is usually the one who is financially liable for your damages.
After a Truck Accident, Can I Sue the Company?
The legal doctrine of vicarious liability holds an employer liable for the actions employees take while on the clock. This doctrine applies any time the employee is working and engaged in activities that benefit their employer. These employees include truck drivers who drive in a careless or reckless manner behind the wheel of a semi truck or 18-wheeler.
If we can prove the trucker acted negligently, we can hold their employer liable for your injuries. Doing so requires us to provide evidence to show:
- The trucker had an obligation to act in a reasonably safe way, including following all rules and regulations for motorists and truck operators;
- They failed to uphold this obligation, putting you in danger;
- This failure led to your crash and your injuries; and
- You suffered financial damages because of the accident.
Sometimes, the accident wasn’t the truck driver’s fault. Another car driver or a government agency might have acted negligently and caused the trucker to hit you. By using our resources and available evidence, we can determine who and what the culprit was.
What are the Benefits of Pursuing Compensation From the Trucking Company?
While it can be more difficult to take on a large company than an individual driver, there is a major benefit of vicarious liability. Texas auto insurance laws require individual motorists to carry only $30,000 in coverage to pay for their damages. Legally, they need to only pay $60,000 per accident, which could leave you with little coverage if several people suffered injuries in your truck crash.
Trucking companies usually have much larger corporate liability policies. This coverage is important if you suffered a catastrophic injury, such as a traumatic brain injury. Many victims require compensation to cover significant losses above and beyond their initial medical bills and pain and suffering. These damages may include:
- Loss of future income and benefits
- Ongoing care costs
- Future care costs for additional surgery or therapy
- Wheelchairs, walkers, and other assistive tools
By pursuing compensation based on the trucking company’s liability policy, your Houston truck accident lawyer can request a higher settlement amount without worrying about the limits of a driver’s insurance coverage.
What Can I Expect From the Claims Process?
A Houston 18-wheeler accident lawyer will not be afraid to face any large corporation to get the financial recovery you deserve. We fully investigate your accident, identifying all possible evidence and enlisting the help of accident reconstruction specialists to understand how the trucker caused your crash. These services allow us to build a solid case to back your claim, which we will present to the insurance company when we demand compensation for your damages.
Note that Texas truck accident claims can be more difficult than a typical car accident case. Not only do most trucking companies have an entire team of corporate attorneys trying to minimize the money spent on your claim, but the company also has possession of important evidence in your case.
Typical Evidence in a Commercial Truck Accident Case
Much of the evidence necessary to build our case is in the hands of the trucking company. Because of state and federal regulations, there is more information available about what happened before and during a truck accident than in most crashes.
The trucking company has access to the driver’s rest logs, data from the truck’s onboard computer, and sometimes even dashcam video of the crash. To ensure the company protects this evidence and allows us access to it, we need to send a spoliation letter as quickly as possible. This letter legally obligates the trucking company to keep this evidence safe.
How Long do I Have to File a Lawsuit In Texas?
Texas laws restrict the amount of time you have to file suit after a truck accident. Under the statute of limitations, we have two years to file a civil suit. While this deadline applies only to lawsuits, it also plays a key role in our insurance claim.
Knowing you could sue provides an important incentive to the trucking company and its insurer to offer a fair settlement. No business wants to face the costs and the publicity associated with a court battle.
Abiding by the statute of limitations is also crucial for your receiving financial recovery. As such, if you do not file by the end of the two-year window, your case might be thrown out of Texas court, which would release the liable party from reimbursing you for your damages. It would then be your responsibility to pay for your losses. Although there might be exceptions to extend the deadline, they are rare.
Protecting Your Case After a Commercial Truck Accident
Since the accident is over and you’re struggling to recover from your injuries, you might feel like there is only so much you can do to help your case. The good news is there are a few things you can do to influence the entirety of your case, such as:
- Keeping a journal: You can log in your levels of pain, your daily activities, what was difficult for you to do, your mental state, and doctor’s appointments.
- Direct all communications to your lawyer: The other party’s insurer might try to contact you to take a recorded statement. They might try to trick into admitting fault or accepting a low settlement. We know their tactics, so let us deal with them.
- Refrain from posting on social media: If the other party’s insurance company finds pictures or posts you’ve made—regarding the accident or not—they might use them against you as a reason to not reimburse you for your losses, claiming that you are fine. Even the most innocent picture of you at an event can be twisted to fit their narrative.
How Can I Talk to a Lawyer About My Case?
The Houston personal injury team from D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™, can help you understand your rights after a semi crash. We will explain your options and help you go after the trucking company for the money you need and deserve.
Call us today at 713-850-8600 for a case evaluation.