Accidents involving commercial trucks tend to happen with alarming regularity in Texas. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that Texas had the highest number of commercial truck accidents in 2018.
Recovering damages in a truck accident case can be a complicated process as commercial motor vehicles are not only governed by state laws but also by the federal Motor Carrier’s Act (MCA).
How Does a Truck Accident Claim Work in Texas?
The first step involved in filing a truck accident claim in Texas is identifying the parties who can be held liable for your injuries.
The Truck Driver
If the accident was caused as a result of the truck driver’s negligence, they can be held liable for your injuries. Common examples of truck driver negligence include:
· Driving while impaired
· Distracted driving
· Driving while fatigued
· Aggressive or reckless driving
It should be noted that your Texas PI attorney can hold the trucking company responsible for your injuries – even if the accident was caused by the truck driver’s actions – as long as they are able to prove that the driver was acting within the scope of his job duties. This concept is commonly known as vicarious negligence or respondeat superior.
The Trucking Company
If the trucking company in question violated the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, they can be held partially or fully liable for your injuries as well. Keep in mind: the MCA requires companies that operate commercial trucks to carry at least $750,000 in liability coverage. Some carriers have much higher liability limits. An experienced Texas PI attorney can investigate your case and find out whether the trucking company can be held accountable for your injuries.
Common examples of FMCSA violations by trucking companies include:
· Failing to screen the truck driver properly
· Failing to train the truck driver properly
· Forcing the driver to operate the vehicle for more than eight hours without taking a break in between
· Not allowing the driver to take 10 hours off between two consecutive shifts
· Not having a drug and alcohol testing program for drivers in place
Establishing Vicarious Liability in Truck Accidents
In order to establish vicarious liability and hold the trucking company accountable, your attorney will have to prove that they violated the federal motor carrier’s act. They can do so by reviewing the following data.
· The driver’s driving and employment records
· The driver’s drug test records
· The trucking company’s inspection records
· The trucking company’s log book
· The trucking company’s repair and maintenance records
· The data from the truck’s black box
Based on the evidence they gather, your Texas PI attorney can file a claim against the driver, the trucking company, and other parties if needed and demand fair compensation for your injuries.
Under Texas law, you have the right to seek compensation for economic as well as non-economic damages.
Examples of non-economic damages include:
· Pain and suffering
· Mental anguish
· Anxiety and post-traumatic trauma associated with an accident
Beyond economic and non-economic damages, in some cases, if it is proven that the at-fault party acted with malicious intent, you might be awarded punitive damages as well.
Choose the Right Texas PI Attorney to Fight for You
Truck accident claims can be complicated, as the truck company will do everything they can to deny liability. Attorney Dana G. Kirk has represented many truck accident victims over the last 40 years.Rated as one of the top 100 civil litigators in the country, Dana G. Kirk has the expertise and resources to take on trucking companies successfully. Reach us online to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our truck accident attorneys.