Every truck accident lawsuit will involve the truck driver and the motor carrier who is legally responsible for the driver and the vehicles.
Companies are usually held responsible for an accident under a legal doctrine called “respondeat superior, “a Latin term meaning “let the master answer.” However, the trucking company, called a motor carrier, also has statutory responsibility for the driver’s actions and the truck’s safe condition.
Trucking Rules and Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations were enacted with an eye toward truck driver safety and to make the company responsible for the safety of their driver and the equipment. One of the biggest failings we see as truck accident attorneys is the failure of the company to act with effective safety policies designed to comply with the regulations.
While driver negligence is the most common cause of an 18-wheeler accident, the company is responsible for training and ensuring the driver’s compliance with the rules.
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Motor Carrier Responsibility
Trucking companies must develop safety policies and procedures that ensure that their drivers are adequately trained and able to safely operate the vehicles. Further, they must establish procedures for proper maintenance of the vehicles and inspection procedures for repairing and maintaining their vehicles in proper operating condition.
Truck accident attorneys frequently see driver fatigue caused by working hours outside of the hours allowed under the regulations. A fatigued truck driver is a dangerous truck driver.
Fatigued drivers as an accident factor are a large percentage of over-the-road driver crashes.
Another area we see often is the trucking company hiring truck drivers who are not competent and qualified to safely operate an 18-wheeler. A commercial driver’s license may entitle a driver to operate an 18-wheeler, but it does not necessarily mean that the driver is competent to safely operate the vehicle.
Investigation Needed After Accidents
The majority of rule violations are not known to authorities after an accident. If the truck crash caused a death, the authorities would conduct a more thorough investigation. Still, some safety violations are only discovered with discovery from a lawsuit.
- Cheating on log books
- Bad brakes
- Driving longer than allowed.
It can take a while to discover and may require subpoenas from a lawyer for a truck accident.
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Hire a Real Truck Accident Lawyer
When looking to retain an attorney to help you after a truck accident, look to their experience in actual truck accident cases. Many attorneys call themselves truck accident lawyers who have achieved significant results in other practice areas, but that does not necessarily equate to success and a commercial vehicle accident.
Finding and holding accountable motor carriers and truck drivers after an accident requires experience. Who is responsible for an 18-wheeler accident can surprise many inexperienced attorneys.
Find a lawyer that handles big truck accident cases as a central part of his or her practice. Our 18-wheeler accident lawyers in Houston have been doing so for over 30 years and are very proud of our record of success in winning justice for our clients.
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Preeminent Rated Houston Truck Accident Lawyer
Attorney Greg Baumgartner has been preeminently rated in the truck accident practice for over two decades. If you have been involved in a serious truck accident injury or have lost a family member, contact us for a free no-obligation consultation with a truck accident lawyer in Houston, Texas, as soon as possible.
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