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Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Crash in Texas?

If an accident involving a larger commercial truck causes harm to others on the roadway, victims are often able to recover compensation through an insurance claim or a Houston personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. However, understanding who the “at fault” party is after a commercial truck accident can be challenging. Here, we want to review the potentially liable parties after these types of incidents occur in Texas while keeping in mind that, in many cases, more than one party can be held liable for an incident.

Potential Liable Parties in a Truck Accident

Potentially liable parties after a Houston truck accident can include:

The Truck Driver

The truck driver is often the first person examined when determining what happened in a truck accident. If the driver’s negligence caused the crash, they could be held responsible. Negligence may include actions such as speeding, distracted truck operation, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or failing to adhere to traffic laws. Additionally, truck drivers are required to follow federal regulations regarding hours of service to prevent fatigue. Violations of these regulations can also establish liability.

The Trucking Company

Trucking companies can be held legally liable for accidents involving their trucks, especially if they contributed to the crash through negligence. This includes failing to properly train and supervise their drivers, not conducting thorough background checks, or encouraging drivers to violate hours-of-service regulations to meet delivery deadlines. Additionally, if the trucking company is responsible for maintaining the vehicles, they can be held liable if poor maintenance contributed to the accident. In cases where the truck driver owns the truck and operates as an independent contractor, they may also be considered the trucking company.

Third-Party Loading Companies

Improper loading of the cargo on or in the truck can lead to accidents. If a third-party company was responsible for loading the truck, they could hold liability if the cargo was not secured correctly or if the truck was overloaded. Improperly loaded cargo can shift during transit, increasing the risk of a crash. Evidence showing that the loading company failed to follow safety standards and regulations can help establish their liability.

Maintenance Teams or Mechanics

Regular maintenance is crucial for ensuring that trucks are safe to operate. If a truck accident occurs due to mechanical failure, such as brake failure, tire blowouts, or steering malfunctions, the maintenance team or mechanic responsible for servicing the truck could be held liable. Maintenance records showing that the truck was not properly inspected or repaired can be critical in proving this type of negligence.

Truck Manufacturers

Sometimes, truck accidents are caused by defects in the truck or its parts. In such cases, the manufacturer of the truck or the specific defective part can be held liable under product liability laws. This may include defects in the truck’s braking system, tires, or other critical components. Proving manufacturer liability typically requires expert testimony to show that the defect existed and caused the accident.

Other Drivers

In some cases, other drivers on the road may contribute to a truck accident. If another driver’s actions, such as sudden lane changes, reckless driving, or failure to yield, caused the truck driver to lose control and crash, that driver could be held liable for the accident. Witness statements, dashcam footage, and traffic camera recordings can help determine if another driver was at fault.

Government Entities

Poor road conditions (which can include potholes, inadequate signage, or lack of proper road maintenance, can cause truck accidents. In some situations, government entities responsible for maintaining the road can be held liable. Suing a government entity involves specific legal procedures and shorter filing deadlines, so it is crucial to act promptly if poor road conditions play a role in the accident.

Why an Attorney is Helpful in Determining Liability

Determining liability in a truck accident in Texas is complex and often involves multiple parties. A trusted Houston truck accident attorney can thoroughly investigate the incident, gather and preserve crucial evidence, and identify all liable parties. Attorneys have the expertise to navigate federal and state regulations, obtain maintenance and inspection records, and analyze data from the truck’s electronic logging device (ELD) and electronic data recorder (EDR).

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