The Law Offices of R. Shane Seaton, PLLC.

Recovering Compensation In A Texas Trucking Crash

Truck accident laws cover personal injuries sustained by occupants of a passenger vehicle as a result of a collision with a commercial freight truck, also known as an 18-wheeler or big rig. Liability in truck crash cases is generally based on the doctrine of negligence and because the negligent party is a professional truck driver, multiple sources of law will apply. These include traffic laws and civil liability rules, as well as regulations of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).  A common passenger car typically weighs up to 4,000 lbs. whereas semi-trucks potentially weigh 80,000 lbs. or more.

Further differences such as ride height, stopping distance, and driver field of vision further serve to compound problems when these two types of vehicles share the roadway. Truck drivers have financial incentives on their mind that they get for traveling large distances quickly and therefore the safety of nearby cars is not always high on their priority list.  There are many reasons that can cause a trucking crash however some causes are far more frequent. If a driver fails to stop and rest at appropriate intervals, or drives under the influence of sleep-suppressing drugs like methamphetamine that typically leads to an accident. Truck drivers may put other drivers at risk by driving aggressively, making wide turns, carrying an unsafe load, or driving too fast.

Even though a truck may have been traveling within the posted speed limit, they still may be going too fast for road conditions.  Sometimes the accident is not caused due to the driver but due to other reasons. For example, the trucking company may have failed to inspect or maintain the truck as per requirements. There may have been improper loading of cargo or the truck may have been manufactured with faulty lights, brakes, or other equipment. Tires that are damaged may also cause accidents by coming apart at high speeds. The plaintiff has to identify all individuals, business entities, or government officials responsible for the trucking accident in the lawsuit in order to recover any compensation.  It is critical to name all of these parties in the court documents at the time the lawsuit is filed. Leaving any liable party out may absolve them of any responsibility in the crash.

Accident victims typically assume that the proper defendant to sue in a truck accident is the driver. After all, it was the truck driver’s carelessness that caused the accident. While the driver should be named, a number of other parties may be legally responsible as well. In addition to the driver, other defendants typically would be the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, parts companies, mechanics and maintenance companies, as well as others. Once the defendants have been named, the plaintiff in a truck crash suit must establish a theory of liability. The plaintiff’s theory is generally based on negligence asserted against the truck driver. It is a relatively straightforward concept that requires the plaintiff to show that a reasonably prudent driver in the defendant’s position would have acted with greater care.

For other defendants, however, more nuanced aspects of the negligence doctrine become relevant such as If the trucking company knowingly hired a driver with substance abuse problems or failed to properly train the driver, the company may be liable for its own negligence. The plaintiff must show the extent of their damages in addition to proving liability. This is best accomplished through the use of expert witnesses.  Trucking companies and their insurance providers have entire teams of investigators and attorneys ready to go to work on their behalf. You should not face them alone. If you have been hurt in a truck accident in Texas, contact an experienced truck accident attorney in San Antonio to handle your case.

Share this Article

About the Author

Shane Seaton is a highly qualified and dedicated Charleston Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer who can help you in your time of need.