Yes, you can sue a trucking company if you get into an accident with a large truck. However, it is important to keep in mind that there are factors to take into consideration to ensure that the trucking company is who you want to go after in a lawsuit. This guide will help you understand how to sue a trucking company as well as other approaches that you might want to take into consideration.3
Are truck drivers responsible for damages?
There are a lot of things that are taken into consideration when determining whether the driver is responsible or if the trucking company is the party that should be held responsible. One of the biggest things that are looked at is whether the driver is a direct employee of the trucking company or if they have been hired as an independent contractor.
It’s important to understand that truck drivers aren’t usually in a position where they can foot the bill for compensation out of their pocket. Even with insurance (which is required by state law in most cases), you still might not receive the amount of compensation that you seek. The truth of the matter is that insurance companies try to minimize how much they pay out on claims. This means that most of the time they aren’t willing to pay for pain and suffering alongside any expenses that you incurred.
When can a trucking company be held liable for an accident?
As it was mentioned in the last section, there are a lot of things that help determine whether a truck driver is ultimately responsible for causing the truck wreck or if the trucking company should be held responsible as well. Usually, the first person that you file a lawsuit against in 18-wheeler accidents is the driver, but there is a chance that the trucking company can be listed as a co-defendant as well.
Here is a closer look at situations that might ensure the trucking company is held liable in a case.
· Anytime that FMCSA violations are allowed or encouraged by the trucking company.
As stated on the FMCSA website, the U.S. founded this administration to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving both buses and large trucks. Ultimately, this is the administration responsible for developing policies to ensure that their purpose is fulfilled, and it requires the cooperation of trucking companies to do so. If a trucking company is negligent and doesn’t take proper action when FMCSA violations occur with their drivers, the safety of those that they share the road with is put at risk and this can ultimately lead to a truck accident.
· Not responsibly hiring their trucking drivers, thus creating a higher risk.
Trucking companies aren’t only responsible for protecting themselves and the safety of their drivers, but they have a responsibility to uphold those that they share the road with. It’s for this reason that regulations have been put in place by governmental agencies. One of these responsibilities is to ensure those that they hire don’t create unnecessary risks.
This means that a company within the trucking industry must perform a check of the driving record of every prospective employee. Not only do they need to make sure there isn’t extensive history when it comes to driving violation, but they must also ensure that the prospective driver can legally drive a commercial motor vehicle, specifically a semi-truck.
· Overlooking the need to perform truck inspections and perform needed maintenance.
Just like with any other vehicle, there is maintenance that must be done to ensure that the truck is fully operational and not at a point where operating it could present a dangerous situation not only for the driver but for other drivers as well. It’s for this reason that routine inspections need to be completed as it’s the only way to make sure things are just as they should be.
· Refusing to provide drug testing to their employees as required by law.
Not only do trucking companies have to perform random drug testing to their drivers, but a drug test is required anytime that a driver might be suspected of drug abuse. Failure to do so puts the company in violation of the requirements set forth on both state and federal levels.
· When the truck driver is a direct employee of the trucking company.
Keep in mind that the driver must be within the “scope” of their duties, and just because they are driving a semi-truck of the trucking company does not mean that they are on the schedule and performing the jobs. There are times when a truck driver may be using their truck for personal use or is otherwise classified as being off-schedule.
Also, independent drivers who lease their truck, pay for their gas, and carry their insurance, are considered as independent drivers who are not employed by the trucking company but rather treated as subcontractors. In either of these cases, there is a chance that your opportunity to sue the trucking company could be blocked.
Do semi-truck accidents go to trial?
For the sake of getting straight to the point, most truck accidents do not end up making it to trial. A very small number of cases end up going through the judicial process as it seems to be best for everyone to embrace the opportunity of 18-wheeler accident settlements in Texas as it not only saves time but it also ends up being a lot more cost-efficient than racking up tons of legal expenses.
Finding the Best Texas Truck Accident Lawyer
Here in Houston, there is a growing number of trucks on the road which means that there comes a higher risk of getting in an accident that involves one. From the ports to the many stores that rely upon them for their deliveries, the need for trucking is one that will continue to remain. When it comes to getting in a truck accident, you want to make sure that you have the best lawyer in your corner.
We’ve got extensive experience when it comes to obtaining settlements from trucking companies for our clients as well as ensuring that all the bases are covered if the case goes to trial. Give our office a call at (713) 572-6446 to schedule your free truck accident consultation.