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Establishing a Trucking Company’s Liability for a Fatal Accident in Texas

Commercial Trucking Accitent

Commercial trucking accidents occur less frequently in Texas than regular “fender benders” between passenger vehicles. However, when a commercial truck collides with a passenger vehicle, the smaller car’s occupants often experience catastrophic outcomes. It can be challenging to determine a trucking company’s liability. The significant weight difference between an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer and a 5,000-pound passenger car often becomes a pivotal factor.

Unlike most passenger cars and trucks, strict federal safety regulations govern commercial Big Rigs. For instance, regulations limit the consecutive hours commercial truck drivers can spend on the road to prevent driving fatigue. Both drivers and trucking companies must also conduct regular safety inspections on their vehicles to ensure no critical parts fail on the highway, leading to an accident.

Parents of Accident Victim Sue Trucking Company for Negligent Hiring, Lack of Inspection

Even though all of these federal regulations are well-known and understood by everyone in the commercial trucking industry, there are still lapses that can lead to fatal collisions. A recent wrongful death lawsuit filed in San Marcos, Texas, provides an important–and painful–reminder of this reality.

On May 19, 2023, two people died after an 18-wheel commercial truck slammed into a concrete median on I-35 in San Marcos. The vehicle in question was described as a “tandem axle dump truck.” According to witnesses, a tire blew out on the dump truck. The truck then crossed three lanes of traffic before hitting the median. This in turn spilled gravel from the truck, which struck a second vehicle that was traveling in the opposite direction. The driver of both the truck and the second vehicle, a 28-year-old woman on her way to work, died in the accident.

Lawsuit Filed by Parents of 2nd Driver

The parents of that second driver filed a wrongful death lawsuit on May 28. Specifically, the parents sued the company that owned the dump truck. They alleged the driver failed to properly inspect his truck–including the tires–before making the fatal trip. The parents further accused the trucking company of failing to properly screen the driver, who had a history of poor driving including a DUI charge just last year.

It’s important to note that one can hold a commercial trucking company liable for “negligent hiring.” Essentially, a truck company must hire only qualified drivers for their commercial vehicles. If a company hires a driver without a valid commercial driver’s license, with a history of substance abuse, or even just a poor driving record, the employer can face liability for any accidents that driver causes due to negligent hiring. This claim stands apart from the issue of whether the truck received proper inspection and maintenance.

Speak with a Texas Commercial Truck Accident Attorney Today Accidents involving commercial trucks often raise a number of complex legal and factual issues that are substantially different than your typical passenger car crash. That is why it is important to work with a skilled Texas trucking accidents lawyer who can provide you with expert advice in this area. If you, or someone that you love, has been injured by a commercial truck, call The Stano Law Firm today at (832) 777-0390 to schedule a free consultation.