Various parties can cause truck accidents, from truck drivers and trucking companies to auto part manufacturers and cargo loaders. A Texas truck accident lawyer can help clients determine who is liable for a truck accident in Texas.
To determine who is liable in your case, your attorney can review evidence, including police reports, surveillance camera footage, and statements from experts. This would ensure you sue the right party for the appropriate compensation.
Truck Drivers and Truck Accident Liability in Texas
Operating a truck safely requires proper training, skills, and concentration. Truck drivers in Texas must:
- Go through the appropriate training and licensing procedure, as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires.
- Have a license for the truck they are driving.
- Have no medical conditions that could make it dangerous for them to drive.
- Obey all traffic signs and signals, including yield signs, stop lights, and stop signs.
- Refrain from drinking, doing drugs, or checking their cell phone while behind the wheel.
- Always remain alert so they can react fast if an obstacle, such as another car, gets in their way.
Truck drivers who fail to respect these rules can easily and seriously harm other motorists. Because trucks are heavier and larger than anything else on the road, people and smaller vehicles in their way are more likely to suffer in an accident than the truck or the truck driver.
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How Trucking Companies Cause Truck Accidents
Even if the truck driver behaved negligently, responsibility for the accident may fall on the driver and the company that hired them. Trucking companies are ultimately responsible for licensing and testing their drivers and determining whether they are fit to serve.
In addition, trucking companies can create unsafe working conditions by:
- Not maintaining or inspecting their vehicles regularly
- Allowing unqualified drivers to operate rigs on the road
- Pressuring drivers to work longer hours with fewer breaks than the law requires
- Loading too much cargo onto the truck
Trucking companies may take these measures to save themselves money, not caring about the increased risk of personal injury that comes with them. You may be able to sue the driver and their employer if their combined negligence contributed to your accident.
How Cargo Crews Load Trucks Matters
When considering who is liable for a truck accident in Texas, you might not immediately consider cargo loaders. The trucking company employs or contracts with people to physically place the cargo into the back or bed of the truck.
Safely loading a truck is harder than it may seem. Cargo loaders must consider:
- How much can fit onto the truck
- How to keep the truck’s weight balanced
- How to secure the cargo so that it does not come loose or fall off/out of the truck
- Any hazardous materials they are loading onto the truck
For these reasons, cargo loaders must be careful about how they go about their jobs. If the trucking company hired them despite knowing they were unqualified, the trucking company could be to blame. Otherwise, you could file a suit against the cargo loading company.
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Truck Accidents that Mechanical Problems Cause
If a mechanical problem arises because of a trucking company’s negligence, you can sue the trucking company. However, not every such problem is the trucking company’s fault.
For example, say the trucking company hires a maintenance company it trusts to take care of its vehicles. That maintenance company is then responsible for:
- Carefully inspecting the trucks according to a set schedule and whenever the trucks exhibit a potential problem
- Using the right parts and tools to promptly address any problems they find
- Telling drivers and/or the company when it is OK to put a truck back onto the road
If the maintenance company does not do all these things reasonably and competently, they could be liable for any resulting truck accidents.
Alternatively, there may be an inherent flaw in part of the truck (or part of your car) that contributed to the accident if the part manufacturer neglected to:
- Perform enough testing on the product before selling it
- Issue a timely recall once they realize there is a problem
- Use appropriate, high-quality materials in the product’s construction
Manufacturers may take “shortcuts”—such as using subpar materials—to save themselves money, regardless of the danger that puts their clients in.
You can go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website to find out if there is a recall for any part of your car. A Texas truck accident attorney can help you sue for compensation if a recalled part contributed to your accident.
You need a skilled advocate to protect your legal rights and present your claim in such a way as to maximize your recovery.
Dangerous Roads in Texas Can Increase the Risk of Truck Accidents
Sometimes, it is not a problem with a vehicle that causes a truck accident. The environment in which you and the truck must drive can increase your risk of getting into a collision. A government entity could be responsible for an accident if it:
- Fails to ensure safety at intersections
- Allows large potholes to remain for an unreasonable period
- Do not trim back tree branches or bushes that block visibility or fall into the roadway
- Fails to fix broken streetlights or missing signs
Government agencies are just like any other organization: they are responsible for protecting others by following the law and doing their jobs. If they have failed, your lawyer can find out through an investigation of your accident and sue that agency for negligence.
Learn Today Who Is Liable for Your Truck Accident in Texas
With over 50 years of experience, Carrigan & Anderson, PLLC, has the experience and determination to help clients like you find out who is liable for a truck accident in Texas.
Call our personal injury law firm today for a free case evaluation. We respond to client inquiries seven days a week, so you can reach us anytime.
At Carrigan & Anderson, PLLC we can talk to you about your options and rights.