The answer to this question is often “yes.” You can sue a trucking company after an accident in some cases. Here are the reasons you may be able to sue, depending on your case:
- Many truck drivers are employees of trucking companies. When drivers drive negligently and cause crashes, the companies they work for can be held liable. This is under a legal doctrine called “vicarious liability.” This doctrine holds employers at fault when drivers commit negligent acts in the course of their employment.
- In other cases, the trucking companies themselves may be directly responsible for accidents. For example, trucks are sometimes overloaded to save time and money, causing crashes. Or drivers may not be given the rest periods required by law, leading to fatigue and accidents. Or the trucking company might not properly maintain their trucks, which can lead to equipment failures and mishaps.
Trucking accidents can be very complex, and each one is unique. Experienced truck accident lawyers know how to determine liability and prove negligence. An attorney can review your specific case and advise you who to hold responsible.
WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF SUING THE TRUCKING COMPANY?
The benefit of suing the trucking company is that the law says they must carry large liability insurance policies. How much liability coverage they will have depends on the truck type. It also depends on whether the truck operates only in Texas or goes interstate.
A truck might have hundreds of thousands in liability coverage or into the millions. For example, oil tankers must have a minimum of $1 million in liability coverage. Trucks that carry hazardous materials have even more than that.
If you have been seriously injured, by suing the trucking company, you will have a greater chance of getting enough compensation to pay for your medical bills. Even though drivers have insurance coverage, if your injuries are serious, that coverage may not be enough to reimburse you for your losses. And a driver most likely simply won’t have the personal means to fully compensate you in a lawsuit.
HOW MUCH MONEY COULD I GET IN A LAWSUIT AGAINST A TRUCKING COMPANY?
How much you might get depends on how badly you were injured. It also depends on proving that the driver and trucking company were at fault. Typical damages that may be asked for in truck accident lawsuits include:
- Payment for all medical bills, both present and future
- Reimbursement for time lost at work because of your injuries
- Lost work capacity if you can’t work anymore or are limited in your job
- Physical pain and emotional suffering that the accident has caused you
- Punitive damages to punish the driver or company if their negligence was especially bad.
CAN TRUCKING COMPANIES BE SUED IF SOMEONE DIES IN AN ACCIDENT?
Just as in an injury crash, if a death occurs in a trucking accident, the trucking company may be held liable. If your family member tragically died in a crash with a commercial truck, you may be able to sue the trucking company. A claim filed on behalf of a deceased family member is called a wrong death lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits can compensate you for things like:
- Your family member’s medical bills related to the accident
- Your family member’s pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost earnings and inheritance
- Loss of support and comfort
- Your own emotional pain and suffering.
Not everyone can bring a wrongful death lawsuit in a trucking accident. You must be the spouse, parent or child of the deceased.
CAN YOU SUE A TRUCKING COMPANY AFTER AN ACCIDENT IF THE DRIVER IS NOT AN EMPLOYEE?
It isn’t always easy to understand how drivers are classified, and so who is liable. Some drivers are not employees of trucking companies. Some are owner-operators or other independent contractors. These drivers must carry their own liability insurance. But if they are driving for a trucking company on an assignment and are being paid by that company, can the company also be held responsible in a crash? The answer to this questions isn’t always clear. You might not be able to sue the trucking company. But then again, you may be able to sue. In these cases, it can be especially important to have a truck accident lawyer look carefully at the circumstances to determine whether the trucking company can also be held liable.
HOW DO I BRING A CLAIM AGAINST A TRUCKING COMPANY?
To bring a claim against a trucking company, be sure to keep a file that contains all the facts related to your crash and the damages it has caused you. Your file should contain the police report, statements of witnesses to the crash, all of your medical records and other evidence.
Also, big trucking companies will have lawyers on their side. You should have one on your side, too. Truck accident lawyers are skilled at handling trucking company lawsuit cases. An attorney can help you gather all of the evidence that you will need to make a strong case. If the trucking company and their insurer doesn’t offer you a fair settlement, your attorney can guide you in the steps for taking your case to court.
TIME LIMITS FOR SUING A TRUCKING COMPANY AFTER AN ACCIDENT
There is a statute of limitations, or time limit, in Texas for filing lawsuits. Generally, the time limit is two years from the date of the injury or death. There are several exceptions to this rule, though. Always speak directly with an attorney to learn what the specific statute of limitations is in your case.
CONTACT OUR SKILLED TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYERS FOR HELP WITH YOUR CASE
Our experienced truck accident lawyers at Hanna Law Firm in West Texas are on your side when you or a loved one has been harmed in a crash with a commercial truck. We understand the trucking industry and have a record of success in getting our clients compensation from negligent companies. Call our law firm today at 432-220-2649 to schedule a free consultation. You don’t pay anything unless we win your case, so you have nothing to lose.