Being in an accident with a truck that’s much larger than your vehicle can have devastating results. It can also be difficult to pursue damages with a company that may have a large team of lawyers set on paying out as little as possible. Working with an experienced truck accident lawyer can help you receive the best possible outcomes for your claims or lawsuit.
Is It Possible to Sue a Trucking Company if I’m Injured in an Accident with One of Their Drivers?
The short answer is yes, it’s possible to sue a trucking company. Some specific instances apply, usually involving the trucking company’s negligence. Some examples of what could be considered negligence on the trucking company’s part include the following:
- The company either didn’t properly screen its drivers or hired drivers with a history of traffic violations and offenses.
- They encouraged drivers to ignore or violate local or federal traffic laws, including limits on how long they can legally drive in one stretch.
- They didn’t train the truck driver properly.
- They didn’t take adequate care in evaluating or maintaining their trucks.
- The trucks were improperly loaded. Trucks not appropriately loaded can lead to accidents. In this situation, the trucking company could be responsible, or there may be a third-party company that handled the loading. They might be held liable.
Are There Situations in Which I Should Sue the Driver Instead of or in Addition to the Trucking Company?
Sometimes, the driver can be held liable instead of or in addition to the trucking company. A truck accident can have multiple causes. For example, a truck driver might have been speeding (the driver’s fault) while driving a truck that wasn’t properly maintained and had faulty brakes (the trucking company’s responsibility). Working with an experienced truck accident attorney is highly recommended in these complex cases.
- The truck driver was speeding, driving aggressively, ignoring traffic laws, following other vehicles too closely, or was distracted.
- They were under the influence of drugs (illegal or prescription) or alcohol.
- They were tired or driving longer than legally allowed.
What Kind of Damages Can I Sue a Trucking Company For if I’m Injured in an Accident with One of Their Trucks?
There are many, depending on the severity of the accident and the injuries. Here are some of the damages that can be sued for.
- Medical expenses of any kind, including hospital stays, surgery fees, physical or occupational therapy, mental health counseling if the accident caused emotional trauma, and others.
- Repairs or replacement costs for your vehicle.
- Lost income and loss of future income if the injury is such that it makes you no longer able to do your job, whether temporarily or permanently.
- Wrongful death if the negligence of the trucking company or driver killed someone in your vehicle. The deceased’s spouse, children, or parents are the only ones who can only file wrongful death suits (unless they don’t file within three months of the death, then the estate can file).
What if I’m Partly Responsible for the Accident?
Texas follows something known as modified comparative negligence. This means that the injured person can be partly responsible for the accident but still be eligible for some compensation for their injuries. However, in Texas, if the injured person is found to be 51% or more at fault, they’re no longer eligible for compensation. When multiple parties have some fault for the accident, their goal will be to have someone else to have 51% or greater of the liability, so they won’t have to pay the damages.
This is different from several other states. Some states follow contributory negligence, which finds that if the injured person is even just 1% at fault, they can’t receive any compensation. On the other end of the spectrum are states that use pure comparative negligence, in which an injured person who was partially at fault could still receive damages with the amount of money reduced by the percent they’re deemed to be responsible. In states like that, someone could be found 99% responsible but still receive 1% of the damages awarded.
What Should I Do if I Was in an Accident with a Truck?
Call the police as soon as possible to file a report about the accident. If there are people who witnessed the accident, collect their names and contact information. If any buildings nearby might have security cameras that caught video of the accident, make a note of that too.
It’s vital that you see a doctor as soon as possible as well. A thorough checkup is essential, even if you feel fine, because some injuries might not present symptoms immediately, including severe or life-threatening ones.
Call DB Law 24/7 at 346-818-3311 to set up a free nationwide case review. Cases involving accidents and injuries with trucking companies are complicated and benefit from working with experienced, knowledgeable personal injury lawyers. We want to ensure you receive the maximum amount of damages available for your case.
There’s also something you should not do. Don’t enter into any communication with the trucking company’s insurance representatives or attorneys. Their primary goal is to pay out as little as possible. To do that, they may try to ask questions that could lead you to say something that could be interpreted as you taking the blame for the accident.
They may also try to get you to agree to a much lower settlement than you might otherwise get. If you receive any requests for communication, whether by phone, email, or letter, don’t answer them. Forward them to your lawyer.