Can Trucking Companies Be Held Liable in Personal Injury Lawsuits?

Hundreds of truck accidents occur on Texas roads every year, causing serious injuries and fatalities on a regular basis. As injured people and grieving families become overwhelmed by medical bills, funeral expenses, and other costs, they begin seeking to hold someone accountable or their injuries or the death of their loved one.
Many people assume that if they file a personal injury lawsuit, their opponent would be the at-fault truck driver. After all, isn’t that the person responsible? While it is true that the driver may be part of the lawsuit, the more important defendant is often the trucking company that employed the driver at the time of the wreck.
In this post, we’ll highlight a few examples of circumstances where the negligence of the trucking company itself may lead the company to become part of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

Unrealistic/Unreasonable Scheduling and Drive Time Expectations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict rules about how much time a truck driver is allowed to spend behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler. We’ve written about this in detail before in a blog called Understanding the Rules on How Many Hours a Trucker Can Drive.
Despite the clear drive time rules, trucking companies are known to pressure their drivers to put in more hours or even falsify their log books so they can drive longer and deliver more products. As a result, fatigued truck drivers keep pressing forward to meet unreasonable expectations, and it leads to serious wrecks. In these situations, the trucking company can be held liable for injuries their driver inflicts on other motorists.

Poor Safety Standards

Federal and state law dictate many safety rules that trucking companies must follow. However, it is ultimately up to the trucking companies themselves as to how to load certain materials on their trucks, how to arrange loads so they are stable, and otherwise ensure the safety of the load. The trucking company is also responsible for scheduling its drivers and deciding the routes they should travel. When a trucking company fails to do these things properly, it can expose itself to liability in a personal injury claim.

Improper Maintenance

Poor truck maintenance is one of the leading causes of wrecks. To put it simply, trucking companies are legally required to maintain their fleet of trucks on a regular basis to ensure the safety of their own drivers and all the rest of us with whom they share the road. Trucking companies must inspect tires, brakes, steering equipment, trailers and hitches, and much more in order to keep their trucks safe. Companies that improperly maintain their trucks, or fail to do so at all, can be liable for personal injury damages.

Were You Hurt in a Texas Truck Wreck?

If you and your family have been affected by a commercial truck accident, the lawyers at the Dallas law firm of Ted B. Lyon & Associates are here to help. Contact us anytime for a free initial consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.