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Understanding the rules governing truck accident lawsuits

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2022 | Trucking Accidents

A substantial number of freight hubs in Texas means that large rigs share the roads and highways with other motor vehicles daily. Recent data from the National Safety Council shows that Texas has more truck crash-related fatalities than any other state.

To gain control of the court schedule for truck-related lawsuits, the Texas legislature requires anyone suing a trucking company for damages after an accident to follow a two-phase process.

Phase one lawsuits against truck drivers

According to a recent Texas law, plaintiffs must first prove the truck driver’s liability for an accident to obtain compensatory damages covering medical bills, lost wages and other calculable losses plus pain and suffering. Plaintiffs must prove that an accident is directly due to a truck driver’s negligence, such as driving while intoxicated, speeding, driving while using a cell phone or any other action or inaction.

Phase two lawsuits against trucking companies

Despite a decrease in truck accident-related deaths in Texas over recent years, lawsuits against trucking companies are increasing. Before the new law, Texas trucking companies would seek protection against frivolous lawsuits by paying for significantly more insurance coverage than they would otherwise purchase. However, under the new law, plaintiffs do not have the opportunity to hold trucking companies vicariously responsible for drivers’ actions through negligent hiring, training and staffing practices and seek punitive damages unless they win phase one lawsuits against drivers.

An exception to the timeline for claims against trucking companies involves charges of blatant disregard for state and federal truck safety and maintenance guidelines, which may be part of phase one lawsuits.

Gathering sufficient evidence to build a strong case against a truck driver is essential for pursuing maximum damages against a trucking company in Texas.