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America depends on the trucking industry to move all types of goods interstate and intrastate, but, unfortunately, there is a price to the safety of other drivers who share the roads with commercial vehicles that can be well over 10,000 pounds. Despite strict laws that exist to control how long a driver can be behind the wheel, how frequently certain mechanical systems require inspections, and how a load can be secured to a commercial vehicle, Texas had 23,968 commercial vehicle accidents in 2011 resulting in 417 deaths and thousands of injuries.
Because of the size and weight of commercial vehicles, the results of an accident with one are dramatically more severe injuries and greater damage to property. Victims of truck crashes may, however, have some trepidation going after hardworking truck drivers, who are just trying to make ends meet by working hard behind the wheel for countless hours in a much needed industry. Perhaps the injuries sustained in the wreck are so severe that recovery from a struggling truck driver could never make you or your loved one whole. Did you know, however, that the liability of the driver his negligence is shared by many other responsible parties?
The trucking company who employs the commercial vehicle operator can be vicariously liable for his negligent driving. In fact, a commercial driver’s employer can be held independently liable for damages caused by their driver for the employer’s negligent hiring, training, or supervising of the driver, who it should have known was reckless, incompetent, or even unlicensed. Employers must investigate and verify their drivers’ credentials, but they must also entrust drivers with vehicles that are not dangerous for the road. In addition to negligently hiring and retaining drivers, trucking companies can be liable for negligently hiring, training, or supervising safety directors or mechanics.
If the employer of the truck driver was not responsible for maintaining the truck or controlling the details of the driver’s work, then the responsible parties are also liable for injuries and damage caused in a truck wreck. Commonly, the maintenance of a tractor trailer is left to independent contractors. Potentially, the commercial vehicle may be being leased, and maintenance is still under control of the owner. To make things more complicated, the rig and the trailer may be owned by different entities, but both will be insured to cover liability for an accident along with any parties leasing the vehicle for the haul.
If you or a loved one has been in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, do not hesitate to pursue your recovery simply because it will be from a struggling truck driver with empty pockets. Injuries from truck or bus accidents have dramatically greater chances to be severe or fatal, and victims are frequently unaware of the various sources of recovery that can help compensate them. At Zinda Law Group PLLC, our experienced team will find the parties responsible for a truck wreck caused by a negligent driver and ensure that you can be made whole again.