Texas & New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyers

Are Truck Drivers Responsible for Damages

Texas is a migration route for trucks traveling across the United States, with Houston serving as a hub for one of the largest seaports in the country. With the boom of the trucking business in Texas and its spread into nearby states like New Mexico, other drivers sharing the roads with 18-wheelers must remain diligent about the potential dangers an accident involving a truck may create.

Commercial truck accidents pose unique challenges because truck drivers are not the only parties who may be responsible for an accident resulting in costly damages. You need a Texas truck accident attorney to help you understand which parties may be responsible for your losses in a Texas or New Mexico trucking accident and who will fiercely advocate for your rights.

When a Truck Driver Is Responsible for a Truck Accident

Like all other drivers on the roads, truck drivers are responsible for their actions and the safety of others around them. They spend long hours on the road, often leading to fatigue and distraction. Recent data from the National Safety Council indicates that deaths from large truck crashes in Texas are double that of any other state.

Truck driver error is a primary contributor to truck accidents leading to injury. Causes of driver error may include:

  • Speeding issues, including going too fast and too slow for road conditions
  • Impairment, including fatigue, alcohol, and medication use
  • Hard braking
  • Lane departure

When a driver's actions directly lead to an accident, the driver may be held liable. Whether they are employed by a company or work as an independent contractor can impact how your damages are paid. A skilled truck accident lawyer can investigate your claim to determine which parties are at fault.

Other Potential Parties Responsible for a Truck Accident

By determining who holds responsibility in an 18-wheeler accident, you can decide how to take legal action. Truck accident victims may give up on fully recovering the maximum compensation they deserve when a claim seems too challenging. A Houston truck accident attorney will work effectively to follow all the leads to determine who is responsible for the injuries you suffer.

Trucking Company

Trucking companies hold a significant amount of responsibility for trucks and how they operate. Companies should practice safe hiring standards to ensure the drivers operating their trucks are qualified and have a good driving record. A company's training procedures are also critical in the operation of a truck. Additionally, a truck's maintenance goes a long way in keeping other drivers out of harm's way.

Maintenance Companies

In-house maintenance is not always performed on commercial trucks. Trucking maintenance companies hired to maintain and repair trucks are responsible for every component and system on the tractor-trailer, such as braking, steering, and tire replacement. Poor or negligent services may lead to the maintenance company's liability for your damages.

Cargo Loaders

Proper weight distribution is critical in how a truck responds on the roadways. A truck's cargo can shift when improperly loaded. Without proper inspection procedures, freight may be off-balance, falling off an open trailer or causing the driver to lose control at high speeds. Truck drivers also hold responsibility for the loads they haul and must inspect their cargo before transporting it.

How To Receive Compensation in a Truck Accident

Other parties may hold responsibility in a truck accident, such as a truck parts manufacturing company and government entities responsible for highway safety. Your truck accident lawyer will investigate all potentially liable parties when an accident’s cause is questionable. With all the variables impacting an insurance claim or lawsuit, it’s important to understand all your options for financial recovery following a truck accident.

MCS-90 Endorsement

The MCS-90 endorsement provides an amendment to standard insurance policies for motor carriers transporting cargo or passengers across state lines for business. Additionally, the federal government requires these endorsements for all commercial motor vehicles and private carriers transporting hazardous cargo. The endorsement guarantees the right to compensation for their injuries from an accident, regardless of a truck's standard insurance policy's coverage.

A trucking company must register its transport units with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It must also prove its financial ability to pay for the damages that may result from an accident, whether or not its insurance company agrees to cover the losses. This endorsement means the trucking company's insurance provider will meet the responsibility of most insurance claims due to injury caused by a company's truck.

Limits to MCS-90 Endorsements

Most insurance policies and endorsements have limitations on what they will cover. Navigating the barriers to compensation becomes less overwhelming with the knowledgeable guidance of a truck accident lawyer in Texas. A trucking company must engage in interstate commerce across state lines for the MCS-90 endorsement to take effect.

Trucks operating only within their state's boundaries (known as intrastate) likely do not have this insurance endorsement. Trucking companies operating interstate should have an MCS-90 endorsement to cover another driver's injuries when:

  • A company's primary insurance policy provides no coverage in an accident
  • The carrier's negligence led to another driver's injuries
  • The person filing the claim does not work for or contract with the company
  • No other options for compensation other than an MCS-90 endorsement exist

The type of carriage and the commodity being transported determine the minimum levels of financial responsibility each carrier must have.

Discuss Your Compensation Options After a Texas Truck Accident

Truck accidents produce some of Texas highways' most challenging personal injury cases. An insurance company's goal is to settle a truck accident claim as swiftly as possible, likely reducing the amount of compensation you may legally claim. Instead of being denied the financial relief you need, speak with a legal advocate who will be by your side every step of the way.

The truck accident attorneys at Farah Law are fierce advocates of clients involved in truck accidents in Texas and New Mexico, relentlessly working to uncover who is responsible for compensation for your damages. Schedule a free consultation today to begin financial recovery and learn how an MCS-90 endorsement may cover your damages when other converge options have been exhausted.