One Truck, One Driver, Numerous Guilty Parties: Truck Accident Liability Chains
Accidents involving large commercial trucks are rarely as straightforward as car-to-car collisions. With each tractor-trailer accident, there could be dozens of people with an interest in the contents and equipment involved. Many times, the driver is an independent contractor, hired by a company or owner of the truck (who may also have been subcontracted by a different company to haul merchandise). Because of this, it is rare that one entity will step forward to accept the sole blame for your accident. Depending on the cause of the crash, even the individuals responsible for loading the trailer can be held liable for damages.
As a result of this confusing network of potentially guilty parties, it can be very tough to pinpoint who is ultimately responsible for your injuries, medical bills, and damages.
In Texas, truck accidents fall under comparative fault rules, which state that liability isn’t considered to be all-or-nothing. Rather than one person taking full responsibility for an accident, liability can be divided among several parties and assigned percentages—percentages that will then determine settlement amounts. Therefore, instead of being confined into suing one link in the truck industry chain, depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may be able to sue the entire string (or at least parts of it).
A general list of those who might be held legally and financially responsible includes the following:
- The truck driver. Drivers can be determined negligent if they violate federal regulations (such as by driving extended hours or failing to make proper checks along their route) or if they drive recklessly.
- The truck owners or equipment owners. If the cab, trailer, or any other equipment isn’t travel-worthy, the owners can be held responsible for failing their maintenance and safety duties.
- The truck or equipment leasing company. Sometimes semi-truck cabs or other pieces of equipment are leased to companies for extended use. The leasing companies have a responsibility to inspect and maintain that equipment before it is given to another user. Failure to carry out this duty can be considered negligent.
- Truck loaders. Loaders can be responsible if the accident is due to an unbalanced or overweight load.
- Truck manufacturers. Manufacturers can be held liable for defective products that may have contributed to the collision.
Naming the At-Fault Party and Proving Guilt
An experienced injury attorney will be able to investigate the details of your accident and help you determine which party or parties can be held accountable for your injuries and damages. Furthermore, an experienced attorney like Steve Lee will have the resources you need to gather evidence against these parties to secure a strong claim. Call us toll-free at 800-232-3711 for a FREE initial consultation, and see how we can help you receive justice, just as we’ve helped other truck accident victims find comfort over the past four decades.
Make sure you have our contact information in your phone as well, to ensure you have the help you need, when you need it.
Attorney Steve Lee
5823 Gulf Freeway Suite 300
Houston, TX 77023
Toll Free: 800-232-3711