Who Can Be Liable for a Truck Accident in Texas?

Several parties could be liable for a truck accident in Texas. Liability refers to the party or parties who must pay for your losses after an accident. It might be easy to assume that the commercial truck driver responsible for causing your accident is also responsible for your financial recovery, but that is not always the case.

In fact, multiple parties may share financial responsibility for your truck accident—including the trucking company. You have the right to pursue legal action against each party responsible for your injuries and losses. A truck accident lawyer could help you identify who could be liable for paying you and seek a fair recovery on your behalf.

The Truck Driver Is Often At Fault for an Accident

There is a reason that many people point the finger at commercial drivers following a truck accident. According to a study by Kansas State University, 73 percent of all truck accidents occur as the result of truck driver error. Failing to pay adequate attention to crucial driving tasks, such as changing lanes, was cited as a top form of truck driver error.

Many examples of truck driver negligence are similar to forms of negligence that lead to other vehicle accidents. Drivers that are careless or aggressive could cause a collision that results in severe injuries. Some examples of negligence could include:

  • Speeding
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Following too close
  • Failure to yield
  • Driving the wrong way down a one-way street
  • Running a stop sign

The trucking industry is heavily regulated, and any failure to comply with these regulations could also be used as evidence of negligence if an accident occurs. One common example involves a commercial driver’s refusal to take the federally required number of rest breaks.

To combat fatigue among commercial drivers, federal law limits the hours a driver can be behind the wheel. These limits apply on both a daily and weekly basis. If a truck driver ignores these so-called “hours of service” rules and their fatigue leads to a collision, they could be on the hook for any damages they cause.

The Trucking Company Could Share Liability

If a truck driver’s negligence causes an accident, they may be at fault—but ultimately, the trucking company could also be financially responsible for your losses. This may be the case even when the business owner was not directly involved in the accident. A trucking company can be vicariously liable for its employee’s negligence on the roads.

Additionally, the trucking company’s negligence could also be used as evidence in the case. For instance, an employer is responsible for their hiring decisions. If the trucking company hired a driver with a suspended license or a history of careless or aggressive driving, they could be liable if that driver causes an accident. Allowing the driver to skirt federal requirements like the hours-of-service regulations could also qualify as trucking company negligence.

Shippers and Cargo Loaders Could Also Cause an Accident

Other third parties who were not directly involved in the accident could also bear some responsibility. One common example includes shippers and cargo loaders. These parties are responsible for loading the cargo onto the truck and ensuring this transportation can occur safely. Cargo loaders have a duty to ensure that the goods in the truck are secured property to prevent them from falling from the vehicle.

Shippers should also pack the trailer so that it is not overweight or top-heavy. Top-heavy trailers are more likely to flip and roll, while overweight trucks are difficult to bring to a complete stop in time. When these circumstances result in an accident, the cargo loader could face liability.

Some Accidents Occur Due to Defective Truck Parts

Not all accidents result from human error. Some truck accidents only occur because of mechanical failures brought on by defective truck parts. Defects could occur throughout any part of the truck. Some of the most common examples that lead to accidents include issues with braking systems, transmissions, and steering columns.

If an accident occurs due to a defective part, holding the manufacturer accountable through a civil lawsuit could be possible. In some cases, you could pursue a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the truck as well as the maker of the individual defective part.

Get a Free Consultation About Your Texas Truck Accident

If you were injured in a collision with a commercial vehicle, it might not be immediately obvious who was at fault. It could take an extensive investigation to fully understand how the accident happened. Thankfully, you are not required to determine who is liable for a truck accident in Texas on your own.

D.Miller & Associates, PLLC™ could help you investigate the nature of your truck accident and identify each of the parties that were at fault. If you are ready to move forward with your personal injury case, call as soon as possible for your free consultation.