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How Is Fault Determined in a Texas Truck Accident Case? 2024

Jul 05, 2024

Because commercial trucks are larger and heavier than passenger cars, trucking accidents are among the most catastrophic on the road. How is fault determined in a Texas truck accident case? Liability in these accidents must be determined through a multifaceted process typically involving numerous parties and circumstances.

Potential Liable Parties in a Truck Accident

A truck accident can occur for a number of reasons, and a number of parties can be liable for damages depending on the circumstances. Some parties who may be at fault include:

  • The truck driver. The truck driver may be held liable if they were at fault for the accident, especially if it was due to negligence or careless driving, such as speeding or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.However, it is possible that the truck driver can share fault for the accident. For instance, if the driver has a history of driving under the influence, their employer may be held liable if they failed to perform appropriate background checks on them.
  • The trucking company. The trucking company can be held liable if they fail to perform their proper responsibilities and duties, such as failing to perform background checks, failing to properly train employees, or failing to properly maintain their vehicles regularly.
  • The cargo loaders. Properly loading cargo onto a truck is very important. Trucks travel long distances, often mostly on highways. If cargo were to come loose and create an obstruction on the road, this increases the risk of serious accidents. Improperly loaded cargo can also destabilize a truck, which can lead to loss of control.
  • Truck manufacturer. If an accident was caused by a truck defect, such as faulty brakes or poor steering, the truck manufacturer can be held liable.
  • Maintenance/repair providers. Maintenance or repair providers can be held liable if mechanical issues or faulty repairs caused the accident.

How Is Fault Determined?

Fault generally follows the modified comparative negligence principle. In this principle, a victim of an accident can recover damages if they are 50% or less at fault for the accident. If they are more than 50% at fault, they will not be able to recover damages. This can make the process of determining fault a bit complex, especially if multiple (more than two) parties share the blame.

For instance, if it was determined that you were 20% at fault for an accident and you filed a claim for $10,000, you would be entitled to 80% of your claim, or $8,000.

When determining who is at fault, multiple facts will be examined to see who is at fault and to what degree they are at fault. Some things that will be considered will be:

  • What factors caused the accident?
    Before it can be determined who is at fault, it must be determined what happened. Was the accident caused by faulty brakes, another driver, the truck colliding with another driver because he fell asleep on the road, or poor signage on the road? The cause will help to determine who is responsible.
  • Who is responsible?
    Sometimes determining who is responsible is straightforward, such as in an instance when someone ran a red light and struck another vehicle. However, sometimes determining fault requires more digging.

For instance, if the accident was caused by the driver falling asleep on the road, it may initially seem that this fault rests on the truck driver, but if it is discovered their employer overworked their employer and forced them to drive for longer than the required cap of time and threatened them with termination if they did not do so, the employer would then likely be held liable, at least in part.

These things are usually determined through examining evidence including witness statements, police reports, photos and videos of the accident scene, vehicle inspections, and statements from those involved in the accident.

A truck accident attorney can help put this evidence together and build a case on liability. They will also look at federal and state trucking regulations to make sure that all parties (including the truck driver and trucking company) abide by all laws appropriately.


Q: Who Can Be Held Liable in a Texas Truck Accident?

A: In a truck accident, multiple parties can be held liable. The truck driver, the trucking business, the truck manufacturer, cargo loaders, and maintenance providers are among the parties that may be held accountable. The particulars of the collision, such as driver error, corporate carelessness, vehicle faults, incorrect loading, or poor maintenance, will determine who is at fault.

Q: How Does the State Determine Fault in Truck Accidents?

A: To determine fault in truck accidents, a modified comparative negligence rule is applied in Texas. A party is not entitled to damages if their fault exceeds 50%. Their compensation is lowered in proportion to their percentage of fault if it is 50% or less. This regulation is applicable to any individual engaged in the accident.

Q: Can a Trucking Company Be Held Liable for a Driver’s Actions?

A: Yes, a trucking company can be held liable for a driver’s actions if a driver is engaged in job-related activities at the time of the accident. A trucking company’s level of liability includes recruiting, educating, and managing drivers. They can also be held liable if the company’s negligence caused the driver’s actions.

Q: What Evidence Should I Gather in a Truck Accident Case?

A: In a truck accident case, evidence you should gather includes police reports, medical records, photographs of the accident scene and vehicles, witness statements, and any available video footage. This evidence can help you if you plan to file a claim later on against the negligent party. Even if you do not file a legal claim, having this evidence can be useful, for instance, when speaking with your insurance company.

Contact Merritt & Merritt Law Firm Today

If you or someone you know has been involved in a trucking accident, you don’t have to handle it alone. We know the aftermath of a truck accident can be complex and confusing. We can help you understand the law as well as your options going forward. Contact us today for more information.