One of the most common questions that arise after a truck accident is—who do I sue for damages. If your lawsuit is successful, the defendant(s) may have to pay damages related to medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, future rehabilitation costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Suing the right party or parties can make the difference between a lowball settlement and fair compensation. A free consultation with a Reyes Browne Reilley personal injury attorney can help you determine the best course of action.
Suing a Truck Driver
Naturally, you want to hold the person most directly responsible– for causing the motor vehicle crash– liable for injuries. Suing the truck driver seems like a logical conclusion. Drivers can be held liable for speeding, tailgating, failing to yield right of way, failing to signal, driving drowsy, driving distracted, driving under the influence, failing to take legally required breaks, and other infractions.
Some drivers own their trucks and are solely responsible for maintaining safe equipment, another area of liability. This could even lead to a lawsuit against maintenance personnel if failing trucks somehow “passed” inspection– or received shoddy workmanship that led to a hazardous condition, such as brake failure.
While you can certainly sue the driver for damages, focusing solely on this defendant is unlikely to get you the compensation you deserve. While truck drivers must carry commercial insurance in Texas with higher payouts, insurance claims typically do not pay damages in full and do not cover pain and suffering losses.
Suing the Trucking Company
Since trucking firms are often well-insured, a Dallas truck accident lawyer would typically recommend suing both the driver AND the employer. The trucking company enters the suit as a co-defendant and assumes responsibility for screening, hiring, training, supervising, and retaining the driver. Typically, the company can be held liable for anything that occurs while the driver is “on the clock,” representing their business.
There are circumstances where the trucking company can be sued for negligence, recklessness, or intentional malice. Trucking companies are obligated to conduct background checks and hire experienced drivers with clean records. They must provide their drivers with safe equipment, training, and all the information they need to drive under the law. Trucking companies that own the fleet are responsible for maintaining their vehicles to reasonably safe standards.
The circumstances can be complicated if the truck driver is employed as an independent driver rather than a direct employee of the company. Your ability to sue may also be limited if the driver was off-schedule and driving for personal needs at the time of the crash. It’s always worth calling an attorney for a free consultation before discounting your claim, as a number of legal technicalities can come into play in a truck accident case.
Contact our team of Dallas truck accident lawyers for a free consultation
Contact us for free advice. If we take your case, you owe no money until we recover compensation on your behalf. Our experienced attorneys win 98 percent of the claims represented. You are in good hands with our A+ BBB-rated Dallas law firm.