Who Pays Your Damages After 18-Wheeler Crash?

A crash with a tractor-trailer or other commercially owned truck can often cause a person to suffer from a catastrophic injury and even death. Victims can sustain debilitating injuries that require a lifetime of medical care and physical therapy. Here is a photo from a I-35 crash where I have filed a lawsuit to collect my client’s damages.

The key to recovering compensation in a Texas trucking accident is proving negligence. You need to know who was at fault for causing your injuries. There are different people and companies who may be liable.

1. The truck driver 

In most big-rig accidents, the truck driver is at fault. Depending on their cargo, tractor trailers weigh tens of thousands of pounds. As a result, drivers need to be properly trained and supervised, alert, and alcohol and drug-free.

These are their most common violations of federal and state law that I see: 

  • Fatigue: A tired tractor-trailer driver is one of the most dangerous obstacles you can encounter on the road. Unpredictable and erratic, these individuals are perilous to all motorists. Fortunately the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has strict rules regarding how long truckers can stay on the road before resting. For example, truck drivers are only allowed to drive for 11 hours straight following 10 consecutive hours off-duty. New rules requiring electronic logging of hours should help.
  • Distraction: If a truck driver fails to pay attention to the road, he can easily collide with other motorists. Tractor-trailers have big blind spots that can spell disaster for even the most cautious drivers. Activities like texting and talking on the phone, eating and drinking, and using GPS or a CB radio are often illegal and always distracting.
  • Intoxication:  Sometimes truck drivers take illegal narcotics to stay awake to pull long shifts.  On other trips they drink or take drugs just because they want to. When a driver is under the influence of alcohol, prescription pills, or drugs like methamphetamine, disaster is sure to follow.

The trucking company is liable for damages caused by its drivers and will usually carry, at a minimum, a $750,000 liability policy. A skilled attorney can help you navigate every step from filing your claim or lawsuit to get you a good insurance settlement or jury verdict.

2. The trucking company 

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 4,213 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2016. Although truck drivers were responsible for many of those accidents, their employers may have also been partly or solely at fault. The trucking company is the entity that owns the truck. They are responsible for hiring, training, and supervising qualified drivers. Trucking companies also have a duty to inspect and maintain their fleets. The company may be liable for an accident if and when it failed to

  • Hire qualified drivers;
  • Terminate unqualified drivers;
  • Perform routine drug tests on drivers;
  • Inspect the truck; and
  • Perform required maintenance on it.

Since trucking accidents often cause devastating injuries or even deaths, it is vital for victims and their families to recover the maximum damages possible. If the trucking company is responsible for your collision, you may be able to obtain a larger settlement or verdict.

3. The truck or parts manufacturer 

In some cases, the truck manufacturer is the real culprit. An experienced attorney can hire automotive experts and accident reconstruction specialists to determine if your accident was caused by a malfunctioning part or system.

Some examples of vehicle defects that may lead to a Fort Worth trucking accident include

  • Malfunctioning trailer hitches;
  • Defective tires;
  • Braking mechanisms; and 
  • Steering mechanisms

If a reckless truck driver or negligent company or manufacturer causes you injuries, lost wages, and pain, you have the right to file a claim or lawsuit to get reimbursed.

At Berenson Injury Law, we have 38 years of experience fighting for truck accident victims and the families of the those who tragically died. No matter how tough your Texas truck accident case may seem, we are ready to get you the compensation you deserve. 

A good attorney can easily recoup his attorney’s fee by getting you a much larger recovery of money that you will get on your own.

Please give us a call at 817-885-8000 (toll-free at 1-888-801-8585) or contact us online to discuss your case and get more information at no charge.

Not ready to contact an attorney yet? Please review these posts and many others we have here:

Bad truck drivers causing serious crashes in Fort Worth 

How to prove truck’s maintenance violations to get a higher award

What you should do after a tractor-trailer crash

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