Can I Sue the Truck Driver’s Company for My Injuries After An Accident?
In most cases, you can file a claim or sue the truck driver’s company for your injuries after an accident. This is important to many truck accident victims because an individual driver usually carries a much smaller liability policy than a trucking company. The types of injuries that occur when a truck collides with a much smaller passenger vehicle often require months or even years of treatment, extensive rehabilitation, and ongoing care, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
At Lovins Trosclair, PLLC, we go to work for Texas truck accident victims, preserving evidence, investigating the crash, and handling all aspects of your insurance claim. If necessary, we can also file a lawsuit against the liable parties.
Call our offices in Austin or Dallas today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our knowledgeable truck accident lawyers. Austin accident victims can call us at 512-535-1649. For appointments at our Dallas office, call 214-484-1930.
What is vicarious liability, and why does it matter in my truck accident case?
Vicarious liability is the legal concept that holds a trucking company responsible for the actions of its drivers. It is key in most trucking accident cases because it allows accident victims to recover fuller settlements. And even though you are holding the company liable, you only need to prove the truck driver’s negligence. To prove negligence, we must establish:
- The truck driver’s mistake or carelessness caused the accident
- You suffered injuries in the accident
- The driver was working for the trucking company at the time of the crash
Proving the driver was negligent is often the most direct route to holding the company liable. However, we can also work to hold a trucking company directly liable for negligent hiring or training, forcing or encouraging drivers to falsify hours of service logs, or allowing reckless drivers to remain on the road after receiving tickets or failing drug tests.
Is the trucking company always liable after a Texas truck accident?
The vast majority of the Texas truck accident claims we handle focus on holding the trucking company responsible for the damages our clients suffered. When a commercial truck driver causes the crash or the trucking company’s own negligence leads to an accident, it is responsible for your compensation. However, it is not always the trucking company or truck driver’s fault. Sometimes accidents occur for other reasons.
Consider who might be responsible if a defective truck part prevents the driver from stopping, leading to a crash. The parts manufacturer certainly played a role in causing the accident, and in some cases may be solely responsible. The trucking company may also share responsibility if it knew of the defect or did not properly maintain its trucks.
Other parties who may cause or contribute to a Texas truck accident include:
- Truck or parts manufacturers
- Tire manufacturers
- Truck repair or maintenance companies
- Road designers or builders
- Government agencies tasked with maintaining roads
- Other drivers
We use all the resources available to us to identify any possible liable parties, and collect evidence to prove their contribution to your accident. Identifying all responsible parties in your truck accident case is paramount to ensuring you get the maximum compensation available for your losses.
What type of evidence will prove the trucking company’s liability?
Truck accidents create an unusual situation, because a large amount of the evidence to prove your accident claim is in the hands of the trucking company. The driver’s hours of service logs, truck maintenance records, personnel documents on the truck driver, and post-accident drug and alcohol testing results all belong to the trucking company. For this reason, it is important to act quickly and enlist the help of a skilled Texas truck accident lawyer after a crash.
To preserve this evidence, we will send a spoliation letter to the trucking company in question as soon as possible after a crash. This letter serves notice of your forthcoming claim, and ensures the trucking company does not destroy any documents that might support your case. It is also the first step in getting access to these documents for our own investigation into the cause of the crash.
As an example, a driver who falls asleep behind the wheel will likely not admit to it. Without evidence aside from the police report and eyewitness statements, it may be difficult to provide proof that s/he fell asleep. But by analyzing his/her logs, we may see that s/he routinely skips mandatory rest periods. Or we may find that s/he tested positive for a medication that causes drowsiness. We could even find that the trucking company pushed him/her to work more than federal standards allow.
We may work with experts to inspect the vehicles involved and fully reconstruct the accident scene. Important evidence like skid marks or other markings on the road could be lost if an experienced accident reconstructionist is not on the scene in a timely manner. Similarly, repairs to the truck or deleting of evidence captured by onboard recorders could also be lost if you fail to act promptly. That is another reason to hire a trucking accident attorney as quickly as possible.
What is the legal process like to recover compensation for my injuries?
It is sometimes possible for us to recover fair compensation for our clients without ever filing suit against the trucking company. This means you may get the money you need without stepping foot in a courtroom. Instead, we file an insurance claim with the trucking company’s insurer, and negotiate a settlement on your behalf.
Most of the time, however, we do need to file a lawsuit to maximize your recovery. By building a strong case that proves causation and liability, we can show the trucking company and its legal team they are unlikely to win if we take the case all the way to trial. Since taking a case through trial is expensive, and no company wants to spend money it does not have to, the insurance company is usually much more willing to negotiate with us after it sees the facts of the case. From there, we can use this leverage to push the insurance company to make a just and fair offer.
If the insurance company refuses to offer a just settlement, we will happily take your case to trial to recover the compensation you deserve.
Lovins Trosclair, PLLC: Your Austin and Dallas Truck Accident Attorneys
Lovins Trosclair, PLLC can help you recover the compensation you deserve after a Texas truck accident. We are not afraid to take on trucking companies, and can often secure a settlement without ever going to court. For a free consultation in Dallas, call us at 214-484-1930. After an Austin truck accident, call 512-535-1649.