Accidents with commercial trucks have more parties involved than your standard car accident. A typical car accident has the driver who caused the accident and the driver that person hit. With a truck accident, the liable parties can range from the driver to the trucking company to the manufacturer of the truck itself…and the list goes on.
Here are all the potentially responsible parties in a Texas truck accident case and why they might be held liable.
Liable parties in a Texas truck accident
Usually, a formal investigation has to be done to determine who is responsible for the truck accident and whether or not the responsibility is shared. These are the top 5 parties that can be held liable in a trucking accident:
- The truck driver: The driver would likely be put into question first. There can be a lot of different things a truck driver might do to endanger other drivers around them. These include things like distracted driving, driving drowsy or falling asleep at the wheel, driving aggressively, speeding, texting or using a phone while driving and any other negligent behavior.
- The trucking company (carrier): The trucking company can be held liable if it can be proven that they don’t train their drivers well enough before they put them on the road, or if they don’t keep their trucks well-maintained and serviced. A carrier can also be held responsible if they are in violation of any of the guidelines for truck drivers put out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
- The manufacturer: The manufacturer of the truck, the trailer or any parts that were used to build these 2 machines can also be held liable in a trucking accident case. If any of them are found to be defective — i.e. breaks, tires, etc. — the manufacturer of these parts could be found partially responsible for an accident (product liability).
- Cargo loaders: Sometimes there are different companies involved in the loading and shipping of the contents in a truck, so if the trucking company didn’t load the truck properly and the cargo contributed to the accident, the company that loaded or packaged the cargo could be liable.
- Government agencies: If the truck accident was found to be a result of bad roads, improper or missing signs, some kind of road hazard, etc., responsibility could fall back on the local or state highway safety department.
What kind of evidence is needed?
If you’re involved in a truck accident, it’s important to gather as much evidence as possible to prove who’s at fault. Some important pieces of evidence include pictures from the accident scene, inspection reports from the damaged vehicles, the police report, any witness testimonies and the trucker’s activity log (that shows when they were driving and resting).
Depending on the accident and how complicated it is to prove liability, there may be an accident specialist brought in to analyze the wreck.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, you need to talk to an experienced Texas truck accident attorney. This type of accident can be especially complex, and trucking companies are notorious for trying to take the blame off of them and their drivers. Don’t let that happen to you.