If you are involved in an accident with a large truck, you will likely experience serious injuries and extensive property damage. Unfortunately, depending on the circumstances, the damage and injuries you sustain may be much more than the truck driver can afford.
This means that a negligence claim against a truck driver is only worth as much as the plaintiff can recover from the at-fault party. The driver has to have the resources to repay the plaintiff through their savings, insurance, or personal worth.
Because a truck driver may not have the resources to compensate a plaintiff, it is necessary to seek compensation from other potentially liable parties. This includes the employer of the truck driver or even the manufacturer of faulty equipment that contributed to or caused the accident. Usually, these parties will have more assets and insurance to provide full compensation for a truck accident victim.
To fully recover damages from a manufacturer or carrier after a truck accident, it is necessary to show one of the theories below:
- Lease liability
- Employer liability
- Violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation
- Negligent retention, hiring, or entrustment
- Negligent repair, maintenance, or inspection
Understanding Employer Liability
The Latin phrase “Respondeat Superior” describes the legal doctrine of holding an employer responsible for employee negligence.
Today, many carriers now take steps to distance themselves from truck drivers by hiring independent contractors. In these cases, the negligence of a truck driver won’t be sufficient to hold the employer responsible for the damages that occur.
Understanding Lease Liability
In this case, the carrier leases a driver and truck and has “exclusive possession” based on federal regulations. At this point, it becomes equivalent to Employer Liability. This means that the negligence of the driver will move to the carrier.
Understanding Entrustment, Negligent Hiring or Retention
Trucking carriers must ensure they do not hire, retain, or entrust anyone likely to cause harm to others. This means that if a carrier hires a driver they know is dangerous (or has the potential to be dangerous) or if they use a truck that is not safe to drive on the road, they will be considered liable for the damages that are caused.
Understanding Negligent Inspection, Repair, or Maintenance
According to federal regulations, carriers must keep accurate and updated maintenance records. It is also necessary for them to engage in frequent inspections of all trucks. If an accident is caused or partly caused by mechanical failure, the carrier must produce proper maintenance and inspection records as a source of evidence. This should show that they have (or have not) met the set federal duty. If these records cannot be produced, then they may be held liable for the damages that occurred in an accident.
Understanding Violations of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
When an interstate carrier violates federal safety regulations and this violation results in injuries, the interstate carrier is considered liable. This is the result without having to show negligence.
Hire an Attorney to Help with Your Truck Accident Case
If you are involved in a truck accident, the possibility of extensive damages and injuries is real. Because of this, it is recommended that you contact an attorney to discuss your legal rights and options.
You can recover damages after this type of accident, and a Texas truck accident lawyer can help determine the liable party in your accident case. Make sure you hire a legal professional to help with your case as early in the process as possible, which will help you achieve the desired results for your case.