Thousands of truck accidents happen every year, some of them causing devastating results. What can aggravate things is the fact that trucking accidents can be far worse than other traffic accidents in both the amount of damage and injuries caused and in how complex accident claims can become. One of the most challenging factors in any trucking accident is determining liability and if the driver or the trucking company is at fault. Because of this and other legal concerns, anyone injured in an accident with a commercial truck should retain a lawyer experienced in truck accidents.
Who Is Liable - The Driver or the Company?
Who is liable is a huge question that must be asked in every trucking accident where there are personal injuries; and it is a question that does not always have the simplest answer, either. It is essential for a determination to be made as to which party is responsible since the filing of a legal case, and an injured party's settlement could be affected. Simply assuming that the trucking company is at fault is a mistake. Although often the company does hold a certain amount of liability, there are other important factors that must be understood, such as what caused the accident and whether the driver is an employee or an independent contractor.
When the Trucking Company Is At Fault
Often times, trucking accidents are presumed to be the fault of a company, since the company is assumed to be liable for its employees. Whether an accident is related to a problem with a truck, the load the truck was carrying, or a mistake or unavoidable action on the part of a driver, the company is liable based upon the scope of employment, and their liability as a business operator. Yet there are times when the company is not liable, such as when a driver acts outside the scope of employment, or does something they should not be doing. Companies are also not generally liable for a truck accident when the driver is an owner operator, as the driver is essentially a private contractor in these circumstances.
When A Driver Is At Fault
Drivers are at fault when they cause an accident that is outside of the scope of their employment. When a driver does something outside their normal job duties or functions, something that is outside what is normally expected of an employee while working, this removes liability from the company and places it on the driver. This can include anything from driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, ignoring traffic signs or driving laws, or anything else that involves a driver who is willfully disobeying the policies and regulations of the company they employs them. A driver will not usually be held liable for an honest mistake that causes a truck accident; however, if willful speeding caused the accident, the driver can be held accountable since they have more than likely broken a company rule as well as traffic laws. Driver liability can differ in the case of an owner operator truck, since these drivers are responsible for maintaining their own trucks and have more liability than just that of their actions.
Drivers, as well as the companies they work for, may be responsible for trucking accidents. Because of this, it is essential for anyone who has been injured in a truck accident to work with experienced attorneys who know the proper way to investigate these incidents and determine causation. Liability may lay with the driver, the commercial carrier company, or both, depending upon how and why the accident happened. Therefore, a complete understanding and investigation of these events is necessary!
Pearland, Pasadena, Webster, League City, Webster, Manvel, Alvin, Friendswood, La Marque, Texas City, and Galveston
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 408-2190