Truck accidents are some of the most serious and complex personal injury claims. Truck accidents have the potential to cause catastrophic injuries, and it is often difficult to know who you can claim compensation from. There is often more than one at-fault party, which means negotiating with more than one insurance company to ensure that you are properly compensated.
Possible at-fault parties who you might be able to sue include the trucking company, the truck driver, a mechanic, and a government agency. While a truck accident lawsuit is a possibility, it is more likely that you claim compensation from the at-fault parties without going to court.
The only way to know for sure is to seek a free consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer who can assess your case and help you explore every possible avenue to fair compensation.
Abraham Watkins has been helping victims secure compensation in personal injury claims for more than 70 years. Our dedication has won us numerous awards including U.S News & World Report Best Law Firms 2023. All of our attorneys are board certified and boast an impressive track record of success.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a truck accident or car accident, then we want to help. Arrange a free consultation with a dedicated personal injury lawyer today at 713-535-9319.
Victims May Be Able to Claim Compensation From Multiple Parties After a Truck Accident in Texas
There may be multiple parties who contributed to a trucking accident, which can make your claim particularly complex.
Personal injury cases in Texas operate under comparative negligence. That means you can claim from multiple insurance companies, depending on the degree of fault of each party. For example, if the trucking company is found to be 70% at fault for the accident, then they may owe 70% of your settlement. The truck driver themselves may be responsible for the other 30%.
If you also contributed to the accident, then your settlement would be reduced by the amount you are determined to be at fault. However, so long as you are less than 50% at fault for the accident, you can still make a claim. So if your settlement is worth $500,000 and you are found to be 10% at fault, your claim would be reduced to $450,000.
Comparative negligence can be complex, and it is best to have the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer who can determine who is liable for your injuries and to what degree they are at fault. They will also help ensure that blame is not placed upon you unfairly in an attempt to reduce your settlement.
Who Can I Claim Compensation From After a Truck Accident?
There are multiple parties who could have contributed to a truck accident in Texas. Common at-fault parties include:
The Trucking Company
It is common for trucking companies to be held liable when their staff is in road traffic accidents. Often the truck driver is also a victim and has been subjected to negligent workplace practices, which means that they may also be pursuing compensation.
You may be able to claim from or sue a trucking company if it is found that their negligent behavior contributed to the crash. Some common examples include:
- Inadequate Training – Trucking companies are responsible for properly training their staff and ensuring that they have the proper licenses to drive their vehicles.
- Negligent Hiring Practices – Trucking companies should run proper background checks to ensure that their drivers do not have a history of negligent driving behaviors such as DUIs or reckless driving.
- Encouraging Bad Practice – Some trucking companies encourage their drivers to drive for long periods of time without taking proper breaks. For example, they may assign them long working hours for multiple days in a row, give strict deadlines, or use pay-per-mile schemes. Pay-per-mile schemes only pay drivers for how far they drive and do not pay them for all the time-consuming responsibilities associated with the job. This can encourage drivers to avoid taking breaks or overloading their vehicles.
- Poor Maintenance – Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that their vehicles are properly maintained.
- Failure to Adhere to Federal Regulations – Trucking companies must adhere to strict federal regulations designed to prevent trucking accidents. An experienced truck accident attorney will be able to review your case and determine whether the trucking company failed to meet the regulations expected of them.
It is essential that trucking companies are held to high standards to prevent the serious harm that their vehicles can cause. When you hold them responsible for their negligent actions, not only do you stand to recover compensation, but you also put pressure on them to change their practices and help make Texas roads safer.
The Truck Driver
Although it is common for the trucking company to be found liable for a truck accident, truck drivers can also behave negligently and cause an accident.
For example, the truck driver involved in your crash may have been driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In Texas, it is illegal for truck drivers to operate their vehicles with a BAC of 0.04% or above; this is a higher standard than for other drivers who can drive with a BAC of 0.08% or below. Or they may have violated the federal hours of service rule.
A truck driver can also be found negligent for actions that all drivers should avoid while on the roads, such as looking at their phone and other forms of distracted driving, fatigued driving, reckless driving, or failure to adhere to the rules of the road.
A trucking company could use a third-party company to load and unload the truck’s cargo. If cargo is not loaded properly, it could fall off or shift during transport, causing the entire truck to be thrown off balance.
Another driver on the road could also have contributed to the crash. For example, perhaps the truck was serving out of the way of a reckless driver, which then caused you to crash into them. In this scenario, the third-party driver could be liable for your damages.
Hundreds of parts make up a truck. Manufacturers of these parts and those responsible for creating the whole truck must ensure that these parts are safe. If a trucking accident was caused by a defective part, such as a tire, brake failure, or failing electric systems, a manufacturer might be liable for paying you compensation.
If a mechanic failed to diagnose or repair a vehicle properly, and this error contributed to the accident, then it is possible for them to be liable for your injuries.
How Is Liability Determined In A Texas Truck Accident?
In order to seek compensation in a truck accident claim in Texas, it is first necessary to establish who is liable. Your attorney will gather evidence in order to establish who is responsible, whether one party was solely at-fault or more than one party contributed to the accident.
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you could have a claim based on negligence or strict liability. However, most truck accident cases are founded on negligence.
Establishing Negligence in Texas
- Duty – First, your attorney will need to establish that the at-fault party owed you a duty of care, meaning they had a legal responsibility to avoid causing you harm. For example, all road users have a duty to keep those around them safe.
- Breach – Next, the at-fault party must have breached their duty of care by acting negligently. Negligent behavior is an action or omission (failure to act), that is different from how a reasonable person would behave in a similar set of circumstances. For example, if a truck driver was struggling to stay awake, then a reasonable person would have taken a break. If they failed to do so, then this could be considered a breach of their duty of care.
- Causation – The breach of duty must have directly caused the accident that caused your injuries in order for you to have a valid claim based on negligence. For example, if the truck driver who failed to take a break fell asleep and this caused your accident, then this could be considered causation.
- Proximate Cause – The actions of the liable party must be sufficiently related to the accident and not out of the ordinary. If their actions created a foreseeable risk, then this could prevent them from being found liable.
- Damages – Finally, the accident must have led to measurable losses such as medical bills.
Damages Available in A Texas Truck Accident Case
Following a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, you should be compensated for your damages. This could be done in an out-of-court settlement, or you may choose to sue the at-fault party in a truck accident lawsuit to secure what you deserve.
Due to the size and weight of the vehicle, a commercial truck accident is often severe. As a result, claiming from one party is often insufficient to cover all of your damages. When you claim compensation from more than one at-fault party, it can help ensure that you are properly compensated.
Your truck accident lawyer will help you establish what damages are available to you and what they are worth. This will allow you to fight for a fair settlement that is truly representative of your losses.
Some of the damages you may be able to claim include:
Truck accident victims are often left with significant property damage to their vehicles. Your vehicle may need to be replaced entirely, and this should be compensated for.
If you suffered serious injuries, then you will likely need to take a significant amount of time away from work to recover. If your injuries are ongoing, then this could even prevent you from returning to the same job in the future.
To determine what you are owed in lost wages, your attorney will determine what your average income was before the accident and how long you were unable to work. If your injuries are ongoing, then your attorney may be able to help you claim for a lifetime of lost earning capacity.
Medical expenses can be devastating for truck accident victims and their families. Fortunately, an experienced truck accident lawyer can help you fight for all of your medical bills and expenses, including the cost of surgery, medication, physical therapy, transport to and from appointments, and more.
If your injuries are severe, then you may require ongoing treatment. Your attorney may need to draw upon expert medical testimony to determine what your future medical costs are likely to be so that you can fight for a settlement that considers your future expenses, as well as your past bills.
Pain and Suffering
Victims of truck accidents may also be eligible to claim pain and suffering damages, which are designed to compensate you for your non-economic losses. To determine their value, considerations include your emotional distress, physical pain, the length of your recovery, psychological trauma, and the life-altering impacts of any injuries such as disabilities or disfigurements.
Pain and suffering damages can be difficult to establish. However, if your injuries are ongoing, then these damages should make up a significant percentage of your personal injury claim. An experienced attorney will understand how to evidence your pain and suffering so you can fight for a fair settlement.
As previously stated, most truck accident claims are settled outside of the courtroom. However, if your case does go to court, then the Judge can determine whether exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages, could be available to you.
Exemplary damages are awarded in cases involving gross negligence, fraud, or malice and are designed to punish the at-fault party or to discourage similar behavior in the future.
What Damages Could be Available if I Lost a Loved One in a Truck Accident?
If you have lost a loved one in a truck accident in Texas, then you may be able to claim compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. Texas state law allows a parent, child, or spouse of a deceased to make a claim if they lost their loved one in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
Although no amount of money can help you process your grief, it can ensure that you and your family are not left in financial difficulty. A wrongful death claim could award you damages such as medical expenses, lost income to a family household, funeral costs, and loss of companionship.
Who Can I Sue if I am the Victim of a Trucking Accident?
If you have been in a truck accident in Texas, then the best thing you can do is seek the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer. They will gather evidence and investigate the possible liable parties.
They will determine what a good settlement looks like in your case and will fight for a fair settlement from all of the at-fault parties. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, then they will help you file a truck accident lawsuit to attempt to sue the other party.
At Abraham Watkins, we are committed to personal injury victims in Texas. That is why we offer a free consultation and work on a no-win-no-fee basis. We get paid as a flat fee percentage if your case is successful, and if it is not successful, then we will not be paid anything. We take on all the risk so that no matter your financial situation, you can secure high-quality legal representation.
Utilizing an in-depth understanding of state and federal law and a long history of successful cases spanning more than seven decades, we will fight tirelessly for fair compensation.
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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