When heading out on Texas highways, you will ultimately come across commercial trucks ferrying goods. Over three million trucks in the United States are heavily relied on as the most accessible means of transporting heavy goods over long distances. Sadly, accidents involving trucks are particularly devastating, causing a heavy financial and emotional burden on victims and their loved ones. Sustaining a catastrophic injury in a Fort Bend County truck accident can be life-changing.
Since many auto wrecks stem from negligence, Texas personal injury laws allow victims to collect damages for harm suffered. To do so, they must initially distance themselves from having contributed to the accident. The comparative negligence laws bar injured persons from pursuing compensation if 50% or more are at fault for their injuries. Usually, determining liability can be contested. The other driver may point an accusing finger at you, and if you don’t have the confidence to face them, you may hurt your case.
The best way to handle an accident where liability is contested is by retaining a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. With their experience and resources, liability of your Fort Bend County truck accident case will be established.
If you or your loved one was a victim in a truck accident, you must learn how liability in a Fort Bend County truck accident case works. Although drivers are often to blame, you must also understand that other parties can be at fault. Texas laws use three major theories to establish liability in an accident case. They are:
All drivers in Fort Bend County are bound by law to follow traffic rules regardless of their state. This means that any driver plying local roads or interstate highways must adhere to Texas traffic laws. More specifically, they must follow safety guidelines set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). They must always maintain a duty of care towards pedestrians, other motorists, and the general public. Failure to do so may constitute a civil lawsuit based on the driver negligence theory.
Commercial trucks are unique vehicles that require careful handling. As such, truck drivers must undergo intensive training and acquire a commercial driver’s license. This is one of the requirements that trucking companies need to look for when hiring a driver. If a trucking company or owner overlooks this requirement, and the driver causes an accident due to recklessness, they may be held responsible for the damages that follow.
Another standard theory used to determine liability in a Fort Bend County truck accident case is vicarious liability. Trucking companies and owners are held responsible for the actions or inactions of their employees (truck drivers) that result in an accident. For this theory to work, you must prove that the truck driver was working for the company at the time of the accident. For example, suppose the driver was making unsafe lane changes and speeding to meet tight deadlines contrary to Texas regulations regarding trucking hours. In that case, their employer may be held vicariously responsible for the accident. The vital factor to consider under this theory is whether the employer had the power to mitigate the crash from happening.
From these theories, the following parties may bear liability in a Fort Bend County truck accident case:
Truck drivers. A truck driver who violates federal laws set to regulate the trucking industry may be held accountable for the injuries and losses caused. Common ways they may be at fault include drunk driving, speeding, aggressive driving, unsafe lane changes, and distracted driving.
Trucking Companies and Truck Owners. These parties are usually responsible for driver hiring and vehicle maintenance. Failure to carry out regular inspections as outlined in Section 396 of federal trucking laws may result in civil and criminal cases against them.
Truck Manufacturers. If a defective part caused your accident, the manufacturer, designer and distributor may be held partially or fully accountable for the accident. Establishing negligence on these parties may require the experience of experts such as accident reconstructionists.
Road Construction Companies and Local State agencies. Poorly designed and unmaintained roads may also be at the center of a truck accident claim. Construction companies may bear liability if unmarked construction zones cause an accident, while state agencies may be responsible for poorly maintained roads.
Determining liability in a Fort Bend County truck accident is not a walk in the park. The vast number of players ranging from contractors, motorists, trucking companies, truck owners, state agencies, and manufacturers make it difficult to establish fault immediately. Our accredited truck accident attorneys are here to help. Discuss your case today by scheduling a free consultation.