We live in a world of instant gratification. When we order food, we expect it within minutes. When we order products online, we expect them to arrive within hours. It's little wonder that Texas roadways are crawling with commercial trucks.
We also expect that those driving delivery trucks will be careful when sharing the road, but that is not always the case. The sheer proliferation of commercial vehicles increases the odds that they will be involved in a significant number of motor vehicle accidents. In 2022, there were more than 38,000 crashes involving commercial vehicles in Texas. More than 14,500 people were injured in them and more than 700 died from their injuries.
At The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm, we are committed to helping those injured and the families of those killed in commercial truck accidents. They deserve fair compensation for what they have endured, and we are here to help them get it. If you live in Houston or the surrounding communities including Greenspoint, Houston Heights, Katy, Missouri City, Sugarland, or The Woodlands, let us help you.
Are Delivery Trucks Subject to Special Laws?
Everyone on the roadway bears an obligation to everyone else on the roadway. They owe a duty of care to ensure the safety of others by complying with the rules of the road, being attentive, and following the law.
However, commercial trucks are subject to not only those requirements but also rigorous safety regulations. They are, in fact, held to an even higher standard, primarily because they are larger vehicles and drivers spend more hours behind the wheel. Commercial vehicles must comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations which are designed to increase roadway safety. Texas also requires that commercial trucks adhere to the FSCSA regulations, as well as Texas laws.
Whether you've been injured in a delivery truck accident or someone close to you has been incapacitated or killed in one, your truck accident attorney will investigate the truck driver's actions relative to federal and state commercial trucking laws. That is why you want to choose a personal injury attorney with commercial truck case experience.
Common Reasons for Delivery Truck Accidents
Every accident is different, but there are some common causes for commercial truck accidents. These include but are not limited to driver fatigue, distracted driving, driving too fast for conditions, failure to conduct safety inspections, vehicle defects and wear, improper loading of cargo, roadway and weather conditions, and driver inexperience. Drivers are on schedules and as such, they are often rushing from one delivery to another to maintain them.
Many of these reasons are the same for crashes involving passenger vehicles. The difference is that delivery trucks tend to be much larger and heavier which means they are often more devastating.
Who's Liable in a Delivery Truck Accident?
There are multiple parties, other than the commercial truck driver, that may share liability for the accident. You may be wondering, can you sue the truck company after a delivery truck accident?
- The trucking company can definitely be considered liable because the driver was working in its agency and employ. Trucking companies bear the responsibility for training and scheduling their drivers and for ensuring the safety of their vehicles. This high level of accountability is why truck companies are required to carry insurance liability policies with significant coverage limits.
- Say the delivery truck is owned by a company not involved in trucking. For the same reasons, that employer could be liable for the damages their driver causes.
- If the driver is an independent contractor, then the driver's own liability coverage will be on the hook.
- If a failure to conduct a proper safety inspection contributes to the crash, those responsible for the inspection may also be at fault.
- Or, if shifting cargo contributed to the crash, those loading it may be deemed liable as well.
- If a defective part contributed to the crash, the manufacturer of the truck, trailer, or part may bear responsibility.
As you can see, there are many parties that may be responsible. That is why your personal injury attorney will investigate the circumstances of the crash thoroughly, using experts, to ensure that everyone responsible will be held accountable.
You should know that, as the other driver, you can be partially liable as well. Texas observes modified comparative fault, so you can be up to 50% at fault and still be able to pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Just know that any recovery you make will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
What's Involved in the Truck Accident Claims Process?
Making a delivery truck accident claim can be complex, due to the need for preservation of evidence, expert examination and crash reconstruction, and the number of potentially liable parties.
Once liable parties are identified via investigation, your attorney will file third-party liability claims against each of them. It is likely that your lawyer will also advise you to file a lawsuit naming all of them as defendants. The brief, two-year statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death claims makes suing those responsible a wise choice, especially if you are able to settle your claims without going to trial.
Delivery Truck Accident Attorney in Houston, Texas
Our best advice for what to do when you or a loved one has been in a Houston delivery truck accident is to call our office to schedule a free case consultation. There is no time to waste in preserving crucial evidence and launching an investigation. Call The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm in Houston, Texas, now. We are ready to listen to your story and deliver results for you.