Following a motor vehicle accident involving a truck, people often quickly point fingers at the truck driver or the trucking company. However, a passenger vehicle such as a car, small truck, or SUV could also be found responsible for a truck accident.
Following a semi-truck accident or car accident, it is common for more than one party to be liable. The trucking company, truck driver, another driver, loading company, or manufacturing company could all have contributed. An experienced car accident attorney will help you determine what factors contributed to the accident and will help you explore every avenue to compensation.
Truck accident liability is complex, and to have the best chance at securing fair compensation, you should speak to an experienced attorney. At Abraham Watkins, we have been dedicated to personal injury victims in Texas for more than seven decades. No one who suffers an accident that wasn’t their fault should be left with mounting medical bills and lost wages. That is why we offer a free consultation and work on a no-win no-fee basis.
Our services to personal injury victims have won us numerous awards, including U.S News & World Report Best Law Firms 2023. Arrange a free consultation with one of our experienced truck accident lawyers today at 713-535-9319.
Who is Responsible For a Truck Accident in Texas?
When a truck accident happens, it is common for people to blame truck owners quickly. However, there are many people who can be held responsible for a truck accident, and often, more than one party shares the liability.
Some possible parties who could be responsible and therefore liable for the damages of any victims include:
A Passenger Vehicle
It is possible for a passenger vehicle to be responsible for a truck accident. For example, if a car driver runs a red light and crashes into a truck, then they could be at fault for the accident. Or in some cases, a car driver could cause a truck accident, even if they are not directly involved in the crash. For example, if a car cuts off a truck and causes the driver to swerve and lose control of the vehicle, then they could still be found liable.
The Trucking Company
Following a truck accident, it is common for the trucking company to bear some responsibility. Trucking companies must adhere to strict federal regulations designed to keep road users safe from the potential dangers of trucks. If they fail in their duty, then they can be held liable for the damages that result.
For example, perhaps the trucking company failed to run proper background checks or train its staff. Or perhaps they encouraged their staff to drive for long periods of time without taking adequate breaks.
Trucking companies must ensure that their vehicles and their staff are held to high standards to prevent harm to other road users. A truck accident attorney will take stringent measures to determine whether a trucking company behaved negligently. If they did, not only will your attorney fight for fair compensation, but they will also place pressure on them to improve their practice and make the roads safer as a result.
The Truck Driver
Often, the truck driver is liable for a truck accident. Truck drivers are held to very high standards due to the sheer size and weight of their vehicles. For example, while drivers of passenger cars are not considered to be driving under the influence if their BAC is 0.08% or below, for truck drivers, this is lowered to 0.04%.
If a truck driver was driving while distracted, fatigued, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then they may be responsible.
Many trucking companies use third-party organizations to load and unload their vehicles. If cargo is loaded or secured incorrectly, then it could fall off or move around during transport, which could cause the truck to be thrown off balance.
Trucks are made up of hundreds of components, such as an engine. wheels, brakes, and electrical systems. If any part of the truck is faulty, then it could cause a serious accident. In this situation, victims may be able to claim damages from the manufacturer of the defective part under strict liability.
Strict liability means that the manufacturer does not need to be found negligent in order for you to be able to claim compensation.
How do I Prove Who Was Responsible For a Truck Accident in Texas?
The best way to establish who was responsible for a truck accident and who therefore is liable for your damages is to hire an established attorney. Your attorney will gather evidence and determine which parties could be liable.
Depending on the facts surrounding your truck accident claim, you may be able to seek compensation based on negligence or strict liability. However, most truck accident cases are based on negligence.
Negligence is an action or omission (failure to act), that is different from how a reasonable person would act in similar circumstances. In order to have a personal injury claim based on negligence, five elements must be established:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. For example, all road users owe a duty of care to follow the rules of the road to keep those around them safe.
- The at-fault party breached their duty of care. For example, if a truck driver was driving under the influence of alcohol, then they broke their duty of care to you.
- The at-fault party’s negligent behavior must have directly caused the accident that caused you injuries as a result.
- The at-fault party’s actions must have carried a foreseeable risk.
- The accident resulted in damages such as medical bills and lost income.
More Than One Party Could Be Responsible After a Truck Accident in Texas
After a truck accident in Texas, it is common for more than one party to be held responsible. Due to the severity of truck accidents, it is common for victims’ damages to exceed an insurance policy limit. Therefore, claiming from more than one party can help make sure you are properly compensated.
This is possible because Texas operates under comparative negligence. That means that if more than one party contributed to your accident, then they will be liable to the degree that they were at fault. For example, if a truck driver was fatigued, but the trucking company encouraged long hours, then the trucking company could be found to be 70% at fault for the accident. In this case, they may be required to pay for 70% of your damages.
In Texas, so long as you were less than 50% at fault for the accident, you can still make a claim. However, if you are found to be partially to blame, then your settlement will be reduced to reflect your percentage of fault. So if you are found to be 10% at fault for the accident, your settlement will be reduced by 10%. Your attorney will help to establish the facts of your case and will ensure that the at-fault party does not unjustly assign fault to you.
Negotiating with multiple insurance companies is complex, and it is important to have the help of an experienced truck accident attorney.
Damages Available in A Texas Truck Accident Case
If you or someone you love has been in an accident with a truck, then you are likely to be suffering significant financial and emotional hardship. Between your medical bills, lost income, and the trauma of a truck accident, it may feel difficult to know what to do next.
An experienced truck accident attorney will establish liability and determine the value of your damages so that they can fight for a fair settlement. Some of the damages that you might be able to claim include the following:
In the United States, medical expenses, including hospital bills, rehabilitation, and medication costs, and transport to and from appointments can be insurmountable. In a successful truck accident case, you should be able to claim all of your medical expenses.
If your injuries are ongoing or even lifelong, then you should also fight for your future costs. A truck accident attorney will help you to establish what your future costs are likely to be so that you don’t end up out of pocket in the future.
Passenger vehicles usually come off much worse in a truck accident than the truck itself. The cost of your vehicle repair or replacement should be included in your settlement figure.
On top of mounting medical bills, if you have been left unable to work, then this can create a significant financial struggle. If your injuries are life-limiting, then as well as your lost wages, you could also be compensated for a lifetime of lost earning capacity.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is the legal term for your non-economic losses; examples include:
- Mental anguish;
- Physical pain;
- Psychological trauma such as PTSD; and
- Loss of enjoyment in life.
All of these factors should be considered in your settlement, and although they can be difficult to prove, an experienced truck accident lawyer gives you the best chance at securing a fair settlement.
Wrongful Death After a Truck Accident in Texas
Losing a loved one in a truck accident is incredibly difficult and no amount of money can begin to heal your grief. However, families should not be left suffering financially because of someone else’s negligent actions.
In Texas, the spouse, parent, or child of someone who is killed in a truck accident may be able to claim compensation in a wrongful death case. Wrongful death claims aim to compete with victims for funeral costs, medical expenses, lost income to their family household, and pain and suffering damages such as loss of companionship.
At Abraham Wakins, we are uniquely prepared to handle wrongful death claims. We understand the care and dedication required for these types of cases and will fight tirelessly to secure compensation in your case.
Can Passenger Vehicles be Responsible for a Truck Crash?
Passenger vehicles can sometimes be responsible for a truck crash. However, the best thing you can do after a truck accident is to secure compensation from an experienced attorney. They will gather evidence, determine the liable parties, and help you to explore every avenue to compensation.
At Abraham Watkins, we believe that all personal injury victims deserve access to high-quality legal representation, which is why we work on a no-win no-fee basis and offer a free consultation. At the very least, you can gain clarity about your next steps.Arrange a free consultation with one of our truck accident lawyers at 713-535-9319 today.
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If you have additional questions about your accident or injuries – or if you wish to speak to one of our attorneys about your legal options – please complete our online contact form or call our Houston law office at 888-261-8831 or 713-244-5486.
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