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The Burkett Law Firm Blog

When Can You Sue the Trucking Company After a Truck Accident in Texas?

Most truck drivers in Texas work for a trucking company, which is why it makes sense to wonder, “Should you sue the trucking company or the truck driver after an accident?” In many cases, you can recover damages from both the trucker and their employer, but doing so may require legal assistance from an experienced truck accident attorney in Texas.

Suing a trucking company can significantly maximize the value of your personal injury claim after a truck accident because trucking companies typically have more financial resources than individual drivers to compensate you for your economic losses.

It is important to consult with a Corpus Christi truck accident attorney to determine whether you can sue the truck driver and/or their trucking company and estimate the value of your damages, including medical expenses and lost wages. Call at 361-882-8822 and schedule a consultation with our attorneys at The Burkett Law Firm to determine liability in your particular case.

Suing the Driver After a Truck Accident in Corpus Christi, Texas

In most truck crashes, the trucker is the first person a victim is going to sue for their damages and losses unless someone else’s fault caused the accident. If a truck driver is deemed at fault for causing the collision, they will be ordered to cover the victim’s damages.

Since Texas is an at-fault auto insurance state, the at-fault driver’s insurance is required to pay for the damages their policyholder causes. However, the problem with seeking compensation through an at-fault truck driver’s insurance is that their coverage may not cover your damages in full.

If the cost of your medical treatment and other damages exhausted the truck driver’s insurance coverage, it might make sense to sue the at-fault trucker to recover additional compensation. However, since large trucks can cause serious injuries and devastating property damage, the trucker may not have enough money to cover your losses.

For this reason, you may have the option to sue the driver’s trucking company by naming them as a co-defendant in a lawsuit against the trucker.

Suing the Trucking Company After a Truck Accident in Corpus Christi, Texas

Under the doctrine of vicarious liability, employers can be held responsible for any negligent acts of their employees. Thus, you may be able to sue the driver’s trucking company if your truck accident occurred in the scope of the trucker’s job duties.

You may not be able to sue the trucking company if:

  • The truck driver is classified as an independent contractor or an owner-operator rather than an employee of the trucking company (in Texas, trucking companies cannot be held responsible for the negligent acts of their independent contractors); or
  • The crash occurred when the driver was operating the truck outside the scope of their employment (it is not uncommon for truck drivers in Texas to use their company vehicles for personal needs).

However, it is advised to speak with a truck accident attorney in Corpus Christi to determine whether you could still sue the trucking company. Often, trucking companies misclassify their workers as “independent contractors” to avoid paying them minimum wages, payroll taxes, and other benefits.

Note: You may still be able to sue the trucking company if you can prove that the company was
directly at fault for the crash in Texas, regardless of whether the trucker is classified as an employee or an independent contractor. A trucking company can be held responsible for the truck accident when the crash was caused by its own negligence or carelessness.

Trucking Company Negligence in Texas Truck Accidents

While trucking companies can be held vicariously liable for the negligent acts of their drivers, companies can also be sued for their own negligence. You may be able to sue a trucking company if you can demonstrate evidence of the following forms of negligence:

  • Inadequate training and supervision of drivers
  • Negligent hiring
  • Failure to conduct background checks and screening when hiring drivers
  • Improper inspection and maintenance of trucks
  • Encouraging drivers to operate overloaded trucks
  • Improper loading of trucks
  • Failure to abide by Hours of Service rules (allowing or requiring truck drivers to drive for more hours than legally permitted by federal law)
  • Encouraging drivers to violate traffic rules
  • Setting unrealistic deadlines to complete deliveries
  • Hiring truck drivers despite their substance abuse in the past or criminal record

These are just a few examples of trucking company negligence in truck accidents in Texas. If your Corpus Christi truck accident lawyer can prove any of these negligent acts, you may be able to sue the trucking company to recover damages and maximize your compensation. Speak with our attorney David T. Burkett at The Burkett Law Firm to determine liability in your case and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Call at 361-882-8822.