When seeking compensation for injuries sustained in a truck accident, one of the most important questions is also one of the most simple: Who is to blame? While it may seem obvious to point the finger at the truck driver, (i) truck drivers often do not have the insurance or financial resources to fully cover all of the costs associated with catastrophic traumatic injuries, and (ii) the truth of the matter is that there are several other parties that could all hold financial responsibility.
Depending upon the cause of the accident, the following parties could all potentially be liable to cover the costs of victims’ injuries sustained in a truck accident:
1. The Truck Driver
Truck drivers are frequently to blame in 18-wheeler accidents. From falling asleep behind the wheel to overcorrecting a steering mistake and causing a jackknife, truck driving errors lead to thousands of accidents every year. Just like non-commercial drivers, if the driver of an 18-wheeler causes an accident, the truck driver and his or her insurance company will likely at least share in the liability for victims’ injuries.
2. The Trucking Company
Trucking companies can be liable for 18-wheeler accidents in two different ways. The first is as a result of driver negligence. Under Texas law, if a truck driver causes an accident while acting within the scope of employment, then the trucking company is deemed to be “vicariously liable” for the truck driver’s negligence.
The second is as a result of the trucking company’s own negligence. If a trucking company hires an untrained driver or fails to properly secure a cargo load, then the trucking company can be held liable regardless of whether the driver was also at fault in the accident.
3. The Truck Manufacturer
If an issue with the truck itself caused the accident, then the truck manufacturer may be liable. These issues, known as “product defects,” can create liability even if the manufacturer was unaware that it sold a dangerous truck. When product defects – such as faulty brakes, tires, and transmissions – cause 18-wheeler accidents, the dealership and other companies involved in the “chain of distribution” can often be held liable as well.
4. A Maintenance or Repair Shop
Non-defective truck parts can also cause accidents if they haven’t been maintained or have been installed improperly. Faulty repair and maintenance jobs can make service shops liable for accident victims’ injuries and losses.
5. A Highway Authority or Private Contractor
Another, often overlooked, source of compensation is the government authority or private contractor that is responsible for the design and maintenance of the road where the accident occurred. Potholes, sinkholes, low shoulders and various other issues can all support additional claims for financial compensation.
This list is not exhaustive. For example, another driver could have caused the truck driver to lose control, or a defect in your vehicle (such as a faulty airbag) could have caused or contributed to your injuries as well. The key to maximizing your compensation after a truck accident is to hire an experienced attorney to conduct a thorough investigation as soon as possible.
Find Out If You Have a Claim – Speak with a Houston 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney at Morrow & Sheppard LLP
To find out who is responsible for your accident, contact our truck accident lawyer at Morrow & Sheppard LLP. Your initial consultation is free and we do not charge any legal fees unless we win, so you have nothing to lose by learning more about your legal rights. Don’t delay and jeopardize your claim – call (800) 489-2216 or inquire online now.