Liable Parties in a Houston Truck Accident
Truck accidents are an unfortunate reality, often leading to significant injuries and damages. Diverse parties can be held liable in Houston truck accidents. This post explores the roles of truck drivers, trucking companies, owner-operators, brokers, and shippers how their actions or negligence can contribute to accidents and how a truck accident lawyer can help you along the way!
Truck Driver Liability
Truck drivers, as professional drivers, have a myriad of responsibilities to ensure the safe operation of their vehicles. These include conducting pre-trip inspections, controlling vehicle speed, managing space around the vehicle, making safe turns, and watching for hazards. Failure to adhere to these responsibilities can lead to accidents, making the driver liable.
Proving liability involves your Houston truck accident lawyer demonstrating the driver’s negligence or breach of duty, which can be established through evidence such as violation of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), including unsafe driving, fatigue, failure to inspect the vehicle properly, or inadequate cargo securing.
Trucking Company Liability
Trucking companies are responsible for hiring competent drivers, maintaining driver qualification files, monitoring performance, and ensuring compliance with regulations.
Negligence on the part of the trucking company, such as inadequate background checks, poor vehicle maintenance, or failure to comply with hours of service regulations, can contribute to accidents. Proving their liability entails showing how their negligence or failure to meet legal obligations contributed to the accident.
In owner-operator situations, where a truck is leased to a trucking company, the company is usually deemed to have possession and control of the vehicle. Therefore, the trucking company can be held responsible for accidents involving a leased vehicle.
Establishing liability in these cases requires demonstrating the trucking company’s control over the vehicle and any negligence in its operation or maintenance.
Brokers, acting as intermediaries between shipping and carrier companies, can also be held liable for accidents. Their liability may arise from negligent acts or omissions, such as failing to ensure the carrier’s compliance with safety standards. To prove broker liability, it is necessary to link the broker’s actions or lack thereof to the occurrence of the accident.
Shippers are responsible for properly loading and securing cargo. Under FMCSR, shippers must adhere to specific standards for loading and securing cargo. Failure to meet these standards, resulting in accidents, can lead to shipper liability. Proving this liability involves showing the shipper’s failure to comply with federal safety regulations and how this contributed to the accident.
If a victim of a truck accident, contact a Houston truck accident lawyer to know your rights.
Violations of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR)
Violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) can be a critical aspect in determining liability in truck accidents. These regulations are designed to ensure the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and protect the public from accidents involving these vehicles. Common violations include:
- Unsafe driving, such as failing to comply with traffic laws.
- Driving while impaired due to fatigue, illness, or other causes.
- Inadequate pre-trip vehicle inspections.
- Failure to securely fasten cargo.
- Non-compliance with hours of service requirements.
- Inaccurate or incomplete driver logs.
- Poor maintenance of vehicles, compromising their safe operating condition.
- Neglect in creating or maintaining proper driver qualification files.
- Lack of proper accident registers with detailed information.
When a driver, shipper, or motor carrier violates these regulations, they may be held liable for any resulting injuries or damages. These violations can serve as evidence of negligence or breach of duty in legal proceedings.
If you have been involved in a Houston truck accident, don’t hesitate to consult a skilled personal injury lawyer who can guide you through the process and fight for your rightful compensation.