Truck Accident Liability Attorney in San Antonio
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident?
In most car accidents, one or more of the drivers is at fault for causing the collision and is therefore legally liable for any injuries and property damage that result from it. However, the complexities of the trucking industry mean that it is likely that additional parties might be liable for an accident involving an 18-wheeler. Responsible parties may include:
- The truck’s driver
- The freight company the driver works for
- Whoever owns the truck
- The logistics company that contracts with the freight company
- The crews that loaded the cargo onto the truck
- The company that manufactured the truck or its component parts
Determining which of these parties can and should be held liable for an accident can be difficult, but doing so is a necessary part of getting an injury victim the full and fair compensation they deserve. At the Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover, we’re prepared to do whatever it takes to investigate the accident that caused your injuries, determine who’s liable for your losses, and then hold them accountable for their actions.
For more than 30 years, Troy has helped injured Texans get the compensation they deserve from the people who hurt them. No matter how complex your truck accident case may seem, know that we have the experience, resources, and skills you can trust. Troy is Board-Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, an honor bestowed on just over 1 percent of personal injury attorneys in the state.
If you have been hurt in a truck accident, you could be owed considerable compensation. Let the Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover help you obtain it. Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer in San Antonio.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Crash in San Antonio?
Depending on the circumstances that led to a truck crash, there may be one or more parties that may be held legally and financially liable for the harm you’ve suffered. Some of the parties that may be responsible for a San Antonio truck accident include:
- The truck driver: A driver will often be held liable for a truck crash that is caused by their negligent operation of the vehicle, such as by speeding, reckless driving, fatigued driving, distracted driving, or driving while intoxicated. Drowsy driving is especially dangerous, as truck drivers are often pressured to squeeze in as many miles as possible to get their cargo to its destination under tight deadlines.
- The truck company: The trucking company may be liable if it’s found to have hired unqualified drivers, improperly trained its drivers, pushed drivers to work without appropriate rest periods, neglected necessary vehicle maintenance, or otherwise violated industry regulations.
- The truck’s owner: If the driver or the trucking company does not own the truck, the owner is responsible for completing all required maintenance or inspections.
- The company leasing the truck or trailer: A company that has leased the truck or its trailer may also be contractually responsible for its maintenance.
- The cargo shipper or loader: The people who loaded the truck could be at fault for an accident that was caused in part by improperly loaded or secured cargo. Some trucking companies work as contractors that ship cargo for other parties, and the cargo is generally sealed. In these situations, a shipper or loader may fail in their duty to properly balance or secure the load to prevent it from shifting during travel.
- Truck and part manufacturers: The companies that design or manufacture trucks, trailers, and their component parts, such as tires or brakes, can be held liable if defects cause a mechanical failure that leads to a crash.
What If Multiple Parties Caused the Truck Accident?
It is often the case that multiple parties share blame for the harm caused by a truck accident. A truck crash might stem from improperly loaded cargo that caused the driver to lose control of their vehicle. In that situation, the cargo or freight company is likely at fault. At the same time, the driver may also be partly responsible for failing to inspect the load to ensure safety.
If a truck accident was caused by multiple parties, each will be assigned a percentage of fault for the crash. For instance, if three parties bear responsibility for a truck accident, a jury may find that one party was 50 percent at fault for the accident, while a second party was 30 percent at fault, and the third party was 20 percent at fault. In Texas, each liable defendant will only be obligated to compensate an injured plaintiff in proportion to the defendant’s share of fault. Suppose you incurred $200,000 in losses and expenses because of the hypothetical truck accident just described. In that case, the first party would be responsible for paying $100,000 in compensation, while the second party would be responsible for $60,000, and the third party would be responsible for $40,000.
The most notable exception to this general rule occurs when a liable party is more than 50 percent responsible for an individual’s injuries. In that situation, they can be held jointly and severally liable with all other at-fault parties. This means that an injured truck accident victim can pursue their full losses from that defendant, who would then have to recoup the difference from the other at-fault parties themselves.
What If You Were Partially at Fault?
Being partially to blame for a truck accident in which you were injured can impact the amount of compensation you can recover as well as your right to pursue a claim altogether. In Texas, truck accident claims are subject to the state’s modified comparative negligence rule. This rule states that an injured plaintiff is not precluded from pursuing a legal claim for compensation simply because they were partially at fault for causing their injuries.
However, an injured party who bears partial responsibility for their injuries cannot pursue a claim if their share of fault exceeds the share of fault of the defendant or defendants they are pursuing a claim against. Therefore, you can still seek compensation as long as you were not more than 50 percent at fault for causing your crash.
Note that the law in Texas further states that any compensation you might be entitled to can be reduced in proportion to your share of fault for the truck crash. So, if you were 30 percent at fault for an accident that caused you $100,000 in losses, you would likely receive $70,000 in compensation from the other liable party or parties.
The comparative negligence rule is one of the many reasons that it’s vital to work with an experienced San Antonio truck accident lawyer, who will push back if trucking companies and insurers try to reduce their liability at your expense.
Types of Evidence Used to Prove Fault for a Truck Wreck
At the Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover, we thoroughly investigate accidents to determine what exactly caused a crash and who can be held at fault for our clients’ injuries and losses. We can work to minimize your own liability so that those who are most responsible for the crash are held accountable and brought to justice.
Investigating a truck crash often requires reviewing many types of evidence to prove fault, including:
- The truck driver’s hours of service logs, which show how long a driver has been on duty and driving
- Logs downloaded from the truck’s “black box” or electronic data recorder, which may provide information about speed, cruise control, braking, and airbag deployment
- In-cab camera footage capturing the driver’s behavior
- The truck driver’s cell phone logs
- Trucking company dispatch logs
- Results of any drug or alcohol screens performed on the truck driver after the accident
- Driver post-trip inspection reports and annual vehicle inspection reports for the truck or trailer
- Maintenance records for the truck/trailer
- Post-accident vehicle inspection reports
- The truck driver’s driving and employment records
- The load manifest detailing what cargo was loaded onto the truck or trailer
- Contracts or leasing agreements between the truck driver, trucking company, or truck’s owner or lessee
- Surveillance/traffic camera or dashcam footage
- Eyewitness testimony
- Police accident reports
- Accident scene photos and video
- Accident reconstruction expert reports
- Medical records of treatment and rehabilitation of your accident-related injuries