Commercial trucks crisscross Texas and beyond, transporting more than 70 percent of America’s freight. Usually, the routes are uneventful, and goods are delivered, but sometimes, tragic accidents happen.
A Harker Heights truck accident lawyer is available to review your case, negotiate insurance settlements, and fight for your right to compensation from a negligent driver and the employer trucking company. Reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case.
Trucking companies are for-profit businesses. Despite Texas and federal safety rules, sometimes truckers exceed the number of hours they are permitted to drive in a day or week to earn bonuses for early deliveries. An exhausted driver is the most common cause of truck accidents, but others include:
A Harker Heights personal injury attorney should review the facts surrounding a truck accident to advise a client about filing an insurance claim or a negligence lawsuit.
To drive a commercial rig, the Texas Department of Public Safety requires truckers to carry a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), which is available after testing and practice driving while holding a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). Those applying must have a valid Texas driver’s license as a Texas resident, and prove United States citizenship or legal residency. Although Texas is committed to trucker safety precautions, a Harker Heights truck collision attorney is available to assist victims if an accident happens.
In Texas, a truck driver may have caused an accident, but the trucker’s employer may be liable, too. Under the doctrine of vicarious liability, also known as respondent superior, an accident victim will have to prove three facts to hold a negligent trucker’s employer responsible for an accident:
Proving vicarious liability in some truck wrecks is easy; for instance, a trucker is speeding down the interstate after an employer offers a bonus for the cargo’s early delivery. The trucker rear-ends a motorist, who loses control, crashes, and is injured. In other cases, an employer may escape liability. For example, employer liability may be muddied when a long-distance trucker stops midday at a rest stop, drinks a beer with lunch while sitting in the truck, and backs into a car when exiting the rest area. The employer could claim it had no control over the trucker drinking a beer, and drinking one was not in the scope of employment. A Harker Heights negligence attorney could sort through evidence gathered after a truck accident to determine the proper defendants.
Trucking companies are required by federal law to carry a lot more insurance than auto owners are required to have by state law. Interstate commercial carriers are required to carry $750,000 in liability insurance and up to $5 million if the freight is hazardous, according to the US Code of Federal Regulations § 387.9. Between the truck driver’s and carrier’s policies, a suitable settlement may be negotiated. But if insurance does not cover the victim’s economic and non-economic injuries, a Harker Heights lawyer could take the additional step of filing a personal injury lawsuit.
You have options if you are injured in a truck accident. Both the driver and carrier may be liable, and the carrier’s mandatory insurance might be enough to compensate you. If insurance is not enough, civil lawsuits may be.
A Harker Heights truck accident lawyer will fight on your side to explore your options and maximize a settlement for you. Call today to schedule your initial consultation.