Driver and Company Liability After a Houston 18-Wheeler Accident

In 2012, there were 3,921 people killed in crashes involving large trucks according to the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety[1] Administration. Further, in 2012, there were 104,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks, an increase of 18 percent from 88,000 in 2011.

Who is Liable After a Serious Houston Trucking Accident?

When it comes to truck accidents, many different individuals, and/or entities, may be responsible for a victim’s injuries, including:

  • Truck driver
  • Owner of the truck or trailer
  • Person or company that leased the truck or trailer from the owner
  • Manufacturer of the vehicle, tires, or other parts that may have contributed to the cause or severity of the accident, and
  • Shipper or loader of the truck’s cargo
  • Brokers

The trucking, hauling, and leasing companies often argue among themselves over whose insurance will compensate the victim. For example, the truck company might claim that the accident was caused by defective brakes. In turn, the brake company might then point the finger at the leasing company, claiming that it failed to maintain the brakes in good working order.

Truck Driver Employees Versus Independent Contractors

Federal law mandates that motor carriers are statutorily liable for their drivers whether they are independent contractors or employees. 49 CFR § 390.5[2] states that the term employee “includes a driver of a commercial motor vehicle (including an independent contractor while in the course of operating a commercial motor vehicle), a mechanic, and a freight handler.”  By eliminating the common law employee/independent contractor distinction, the definition prevents the motor carriers from using the independent contractor relationship to avoid liability exposure at the expense of the public.  However, many motor carriers will try to escape liability by using the defense against less experienced lawyers.  

Contact an Experienced Houston Truck Accident Attorney

If you have been involved in an accident with a semi-tractor, you have likely suffered extensive injuries. At the Stewart Guss law firm, our team of highly skilled truck accident lawyers has successfully helped many truck accident victims obtain the recovery they deserve for their injuries and related losses. The trucking company and the other entities and individuals involved will likely mount an aggressive defense to challenge fault and/or the nature and severity of your injuries in order to limit its liability as much as possible. To protect your rights to recovery, it is critical to have an experienced truck accident attorney handling your case. Please call our office today at 800-898-4877.

References

 

[1] http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811868.pdf

[2]  https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/390.5

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