Each year, an alarmingly high number of Texans are killed or injured in traffic collisions involving 18-wheeler vehicles. Many grieving families and accident survivors struggle to maintain their prior lifestyles in the aftermath of a collision because they’re burdened by medical debts, funeral expenses, and unexpected probate costs.
Fortunately, these people may have grounds to pursue compensatory damages by filing a wrongful death or personal injury claims.
A majority of our clients logically assume that their claims will be filed against at-fault drivers. They’re understandably surprised to learn that a trucking company can be held partially or primarily responsible for an accident. Our truck accident attorneys at the Stewart Law Firm here in Austin, Texas is here to help you understand who’s responsible for your accident and how you can get your life back on track.
When Can a Trucking Company Be Held Liable for an Accident?
Employer negligence is a term that refers to a situation when a trucking company fails to take the proper precautions in its work environment, typically leading to an accident. In these situations, the company can be found responsible under the law for these accidents.
A trucking company can be held liable in the following circumstances:
- Unreasonable scheduling: Trucking companies in the United States are held to strict federal standards established and overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Per agency guidelines, a trucker can only drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty. The Hours-of-Service Rules also ensure that truckers have time for breaks and sleep. However, these rules haven’t stopped trucking companies from pressuring their drivers to meet unreasonable deadlines just to make a profit. To keep their jobs, a trucker may feel pressured to skip breaks and fabricate their logs. As a result, our roads and highways are filled with fatigued drivers operating 80,000 lbs. vehicles.
- Negligent Safety Standards: A trucking company has the final word when it comes to loading freight and scheduling routes. When a company chooses to improperly load or simply overload a vehicle, it can cause the truck to overturn and harm nearby passenger cars.
- Poor Fleet Maintenance: Improper truck maintenance is a leading – and easily preventable – cause of accidents. Quite simply, trucking companies have a legal obligation to maintain and care for their vehicles. This includes scheduling routine maintenance appointments to identify and repair any faulty parts or defects. Negligent maintenance standards can lead to tire blowouts, brake failures, steering equipment malfunctions, and even cargo hold detachments. A trucking company can be held liable for damages if they’re found to be in violation of this FMCSA provision.
Proving Employer Negligence in a Texas Truck Accident Case
It is the responsibility of trucking companies to ensure that their vehicles and drivers are equipped to handle the job safely. When they fail to do so, these companies should be held liable for the accidents and injuries that result.
An experienced Texas truck accident lawyer can help you prove that the trucking company is negligent in your accident by helping you look at the following information:
- The trucking company’s hiring practices and policies, including background checks and follow-ups
- The training that the truck drivers received
- The company’s written safety standards and processes for loading trucks
- The processes for maintaining trucks
- Information in the driver logs
Any information found in these resources that suggests the trucking company did not do everything they should have to ensure safety can help your case.
Let The Stewart Law Firm Help You Pursue Compensation Today
Trucking companies move quickly after an accident to minimize their losses. If you’re ready to take legal action, it’s critical that you turn to a legal representative who possesses the skills and resources to both protect and maximize your claim. At The Stewart Law Firm, our Austin truck accident attorneys can investigate your case, confidently handle any unexpected legal contingencies, and even litigate against corporate legal teams or powerful insurance companies on your behalf. With our help, you can recover compensatory damages that help you maintain your prior standard of living.
We’re available 24/7! Contact The Stewart Law Firm at (512) 271-5112 to schedule a consultation.