Interstate Commercial Trucking Accidents in Fort Worth
Texas has seen a general increase in trucks of all sizes in recent years. The oil and gas boom in Texas, centered on the Eagle Forde Shale and Barnett Shale, has resulted in a spike in commercial truck traffic. A shortage of experienced truck drivers has compounded this problem. A collision involving a large truck has a much higher risk of serious injury or death than a standard vehicle collision. If you are involved in a commercial truck accident in or around Fort Worth, Texas, it is important to seek professional representation immediately.
Commercial Truck Accidents are Different than Other Car Accidents
A collision case involving a commercial truck is different than a standard car accident case because that truck is owned by a company and the driver is either an employee or a contracted agent for a larger company. This changes the liability and compensation in the case and usually makes the case much more complicated than a standard collision case. There is potential for compensation from the truck driver himself, from his company, and from that company’s partners, contractors and insurers. This also presents the possibility for multiple lawsuits. The injured party may sue the driver directly but may also sue his company. Some companies will defend their drivers in court. Other companies expect the driver to have their own liability insurance and handle their own defense.
While greater compensation can usually be obtained by a corporate lawsuit, these cases are generally more difficult. The entire company will have assets and attorneys ready to defend in court, and it is important to have professional representation to equal their defense. Companies have a habit of winning cases by running their legal competition out of money, time and energy. Don’t let that happen to you. Hire an attorney that will stick beside you until the case is won.
Determining Fault in an Interstate Commercial Trucking Accident
There are many key factors to consider when examining a commercial trucking accident case. Some common factors include:
1) The driver’s state at the time of the accident. Was he fatigued, intoxicated or otherwise impaired in any way? Remember, many companies are demanding excessive hours out of their workforce, and fatigue is one of the most common causes of serious commercial truck accidents. Interstate drivers may also have long trips and may not be taking recommended breaks.
2) The driver’s history. Has he in the past received any tickets, DUIs or other violations? Most companies to do not hire drivers with a record, and if they do, they may be held to greater liability for doing so.
3) Was the driver using a cell phone or otherwise distracted?
4) Did the accident result from an unsafe load? A truck’s load is another common cause of accidents. An unsafe or improperly prepared load can cause a truck to lose control regardless of the competency of the driver.
5) Did the company have proper safety regulations for drivers, and were they being followed at the time?
6) Did the company have proper logbook requirements, and did the diver complete his logs accurately?
7) Was the truck properly maintained, and was the accident caused by any defective equipment?
In addition to these basic factors, trucking companies in Texas are expected to comply with all the regulations in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act.
If you are involved in a commercial trucking accident, it is important to seek professional consultation immediately.