Tractor-trailers are enormous pieces of machinery. They can be more than 70 feet long, and they can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When they’re involved in an accident with a passenger vehicle, injuries can be catastrophic or even fatal.
These types of accidents can be legally challenging. Determining who might be responsible for a victim’s injuries or death can be complicated. That’s why it operates in the best interests of a victim or a surviving family member to obtain a free consultation and case review with an experienced Texas truck accident attorney from the Law Offices of David Kohm as soon as possible after being injured or losing a family member in a trucking accident. He’s going to listen to you carefully, answer your questions and advise you of all of your legal options.
Trucking Company Negligence
You’ll want to maximize any proceeds that you might derive from a truck accident lawsuit or claim. Of course, truck driver carelessness and negligence plays a role in many truck accidents, but a trucking company could be held liable for damages too. Here are some examples of trucking company negligence:
- Poor truck driver training.
- Unreasonable scheduling that causes a driver to violate hours of service rules and drive fatigued or drowsy.
- Inadequate truck maintenance, repairs or inspections.
The insurer of the trucker might have an investigator at the scene of the crash before the debris is even cleaned up. His or her report isn’t going to provide any information that’s favorable to your side of the case, so you’ll want your own investigation started as soon as possible too. Here are just a few of the details that you’ll want to have examined:
- Statements from any witnesses.
- Police accident reports and findings.
- The truck’s data from its “black box.”
- The driver’s employment records.
- The disposition of any traffic offenses that the truck driver was cited for.
- All of your medical bills, records and reports.
As per the law of vicarious liability, a trucking company, like any other company, is liable for injuries caused by its employees when they’re acting in the course and scope of their employment. What comes to issue in truck crashes is that the driver of the truck who caused an accident might not be an employee. That driver might be an independent contractor. If a court determined that the driver was indeed an independent contractor, the trucking company that he drove for at the time of a crash could avoid liability. There are many factors that a court might look at for purposes of determining whether a truck driver is an independent contractor, but here are a few of the major considerations:
- Can a driver refuse a trip without incident?
- Does the driver have working hours that are set by who he or she is driving for?
- Does the driver use a company truck and equipment?
- Is a company uniform required?
- Does that driver work exclusively for the trucking company?
In the Course and Scope of Their Employment
Another defense that’s typically raised by trucking companies is that the driver wasn’t operating the vehicle in the course and scope of his or her employment. This defense is ordinarily overcome by an experienced truck accident attorney.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, or if you lost a family member in one, call our law offices today at any of our convenient locations and get a free consultation.
Call our law offices today at any of our convenient locations and get a free consultation.
Arlington (817) 522-4451
Denton (940) 222-4060
Dallas (972) 362-6848
Fort Worth (817) 764-1375
Cedar Hill (972) 338-9427
McKinney (469) 522-3688
Lewisville (972) 354-4605
Frisco (972) 725-7681
You can also contact us online by using our quick contact form.