Who Is Liable After a Truck Accident?
With long stretches of rural roads and plenty of interstate commerce, it’s little wonder that Texas has more fatal semi-truck accidents than any state in the country. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Texas had over 484 fatalities from truck accidents in 2016, or 60% more fatalities than California, the next most dangerous state for truck accidents.
Even if you do survive an accident with a massive 18-wheeler truck or another commercial motor vehicle (CMV), you could be left with catastrophic and life-altering injuries. If either the truck driver or the trucking carrier company was negligent, you could be eligible to pursue compensation for your losses in the form of a personal injury lawsuit.
Of course, it can often be difficult to figure out who is responsible for your injuries, as truck accidents are some of the most complicated crashes. At the Law Offices of Vic Feazell, P.C., we will apply our years of experience to fight on your behalf. We believe in seeking fair compensation for the injured and delivering justice for them and their families – especially in the wake of a devastating truck accident.
Texas Truck Accident Fault Laws
To determine who is liable for your truck accident injuries, you must first understand how liability works in such cases. In Texas, liability for any accident involving two or more drivers is determined based on the concept of fault. To prove fault in a vehicle accident, you must demonstrate that the other driver acted in a negligent manner and failed to consider your safety on the road.
When a truck driver engages in any of the following behaviors, they could be considered at-fault:
- Distracted driving, such as texting or talking on the phone
- Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol
- Fatigued driving and violating hours of service regulations for truck drivers
- Road rage and aggressive driving
- Speeding too fast for weather conditions or the law
- Failing to use proper turn signals when merging lanes
In some cases, you may share part of the responsibility for your accident and assume that you don’t have a case. However, because Texas observes the rule of comparative negligence in accidents, you can still bring a personal injury lawsuit even if you were also at fault. Your total compensation will simply be reduced by your percentage of involvement – meaning that you would only receive 60% of the total damages if you are 40% at fault. You also cannot receive any compensation at all if you are found to be over 50% responsible for the crash.
Why Are Truck Accidents So Complicated?
Although truck accidents are governed by the same laws as other motor vehicle accidents, they are still considered to be more complex from a legal perspective. This is mainly because truck drivers are also commercial vehicle drivers who are working on behalf of a larger trucking company, which means there could be multiple parties involved in the accident. Additionally, through a theory called “logo liability,” trucking carrier companies may be considered to have a certain level of responsibility for their independent contractors and truck drivers.
Because many of America’s tractor-trailers are owned by small businesses, larger carrier companies often hire out these businesses on an ongoing independent contractor basis and lease their equipment. Once the trucks are under lease, the larger companies often emblazon the sides with mandatory carrier logos. While logo liability isn’t applied equally in every state or every case, companies that place a clear and visible logo on a large truck could potentially share some of the responsibility.
Identifying the Right Party in Your Truck Accident Claim
Truck accidents tend to be more catastrophic for passenger car drivers, for the obvious reason that these vehicles are dwarfed by larger 18-wheelers and commercial vehicles. If you’ve sustained injuries in a major trucking accident, you may need long-term financial assistance in order to account for medical treatments, time off work, lost wages, and other expenses.
Our truck accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Vic Feazell, P.C. are ready to fight on your behalf and seek compensation for your injuries. No one should have to face mounting medical bills on their own, particularly if they were caused by another party’s negligence. With compassionate counsel and powerful advocacy, we’ll offer the representation you deserve.
Call (254) 938-6885 for more information about our legal services in Waco.