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Who’s Liable for a Truck Accident in Texas?

Commercial truck accidents often result in serious injuries and fatalities. Every year, accidents involving tractor-trailers, delivery trucks, tanker trucks and other large commercial vehicles result in more than 4,000 deaths on average nationwide, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

And while accidents involving commercial trucks happen throughout the country, they are especially common in Texas. Often, the Lone Star State has more truck accident fatalities than any other state, according to the National Safety Council. Many years, that figure is more than 650 deaths in a single year. Hundreds more are seriously injured by truck drivers on I-10, I-20 and many other major highways throughout Texas.

So who’s responsible for compensating injury victims for truck accidents in Texas? Who determines who’s liable? And what can injury victims be compensated for? These are very important questions that injury victims and truck accident lawyers deal with every day in Texas. That’s why it’s important to understand how the legal system works here.

What is liability?

Liability is a legal term used to describe who is at fault in an accident. Liability is especially important in legal cases involving serious accidents due to someone’s reckless or negligent behavior. Usually, the injured party can seek financial compensation (known as damages) from the at-fault party. But in order to do so, the injured party needs to prove liability, meaning the other person’s actions or inaction resulted in their injury.

In the case of a truck accident, for example, if someone is found to be at fault for the accident, that person or company is legally responsible (liable) for compensating someone in the event of an accident caused by their actions.

It’s also important to remember that liability laws vary from state to state. In Texas, for example, liability is especially important because it’s an at-fault insurance state. That means the at-fault party is responsible for compensating injury victims for all their accident-related expenses.

Who determines liability for a truck accident in Texas?

When determining liability, insurance companies base their decision partly on the findings of police and other law enforcement officials who investigate the truck accident. In Texas, these individuals may include:

  • The police officer who responds to the accident from the local police department where the crash took place
  • A state trooper from the Texas Highway Patrol, especially if the accident took place on an interstate highway
  • Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), especially in crashes resulting in serious injuries or fatalities

However, the trucking companies also conduct their own independent investigations to determine who was at fault and who’s liable for compensating injury victims. It’s important to remember that the trucking company and their insurance company are not necessarily objective in this investigation. They have a vested interest in the outcome, since it affects their bottom line.

This is why it’s important that injury victims have a truck accident lawyer representing them who can investigate their accident on their behalf and present evidence in support of their injury claim.

Who’s responsible for paying for my accident?

In truck accidents, it’s quite common for more than one at-fault party responsible for financially compensating injury victims. That’s because several different businesses may be responsible for causing the accident, including:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company that employs the driver
  • The truck manufacturer, if a mechanical defect caused the accident
  • The company that loaded the truck, especially in cases involving tractor-trailers loaded improperly, resulting in a rollover or jackknife accident
  • Truck parts manufacturers, especially in cases involving tire blowouts or defective brakes

With so many liable parties, there are also multiple insurance companies involved. It’s typical for the cab and the trailer to have separate insurance, as well as the cargo, the manufacturer, and so on. Determining who’s responsible for causing a truck accident and ultimately liable for compensating injury victims can be very challenging. This is why many people injured in an accident turn to an experienced truck accident attorney to assist with their legal case.

What can I be compensated for?

If a truck driver or anyone else caused your truck accident, you should be financially compensated for all your accident-related expenses. This includes vehicle repair or replacement costs, emergency medical care and replacement income if you cannot work while you’re recovering from your injuries.

What you might not realize is such expenses can go far beyond short-term expenses immediately after your accident. You can – and should – be compensated for all expenses related to your accident, even if such expenses occur years after your accident. Such expenses can include:

  • Follow-up surgery
  • Physical therapy
  • Prescription medications for chronic pain or other long-term medical conditions
  • Modifications to your home (installing a wheelchair ramp, for example) due to your injury
  • Lost future income if you cannot return to work due to a permanent disability

Such expenses can quickly add up to thousands or even millions of dollars. This is why it’s important to have an aggressive legal advocate on your side, demanding the money you rightfully deserve.

How can a Texas lawyer help me?

The stakes are high in truck accident claims. Insurance companies know this. They also understand that you only have one opportunity to obtain all the financial compensation you deserve for past, present and future accident expenses. This is why they hire investigators and attorneys to defend their actions and deny your claim.

When you have an experienced lawyer on your side, you can level the playing field and make a case for the money you deserve. Make sure you hire a lawyer familiar with state and federal laws that apply to commercial truck accidents in Texas. This includes Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, a collection of federal laws enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

In addition, Texas has strict laws when it comes to seeking financial compensation for a truck accident. In general, you must submit a claim, file a lawsuit or take other legal action within two years of your accident, but that can vary depending on the circumstances. Moreover, long before the two-year deadline expires, critical pieces of evidence can legally be destroyed by trucking companies. Such evidence includes Hours of Service (HOS) logs, which record how long the truck driver was on the road before your accident. HOS logs can be destroyed after six months. Another important piece of evidence is truck inspection and repair records, which can be destroyed after one year.

Learn more about how a lawyer can help you after your Texas truck accident. Most attorneys offer free case evaluations. Schedule an appointment with a Texas truck accident lawyer in your area.

Truck Accidents Assistance Personal Injury Assistance
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