If you’ve been in a truck accident in Texas, the difference between being able to collect damages and having to pay for your medical expenses and rehabilitation on your own often hinges on whether you or your truck accident lawyer can prove that the truck driver, company, or shipper was negligent for the accident. Negligence can sometimes be easier or more difficult to determine based on the circumstances of your case. For instance, if a driver was found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the case for driver negligence will be easier to prove. However, there are many ways that a truck driver, company, and shipper can be negligent. Here are three strategies Van Zandt truck accident lawyer can use to prove negligence and help you get the compensation you deserve.
- Prove that the shipper or trucking company hired incompetent drivers. A truck company and shipping company that hires drivers is responsible for hiring qualified and competent drivers. According to the article, “Maximizing Recovery for Truck Accident Victims: Proving Liability Against the Shipper,” the company could be held liable for harm to other individuals if the shipper or company failed to exercise care in hiring drivers. The more established and “sophisticated” a shipper is, the more responsibility the shipper will have to hire competent drivers. The shipper will have had more experience in the field and will also be managing more widespread operations that could affect the lives of many innocent drivers on the road. Your truck accident lawyer in Texas will gather the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association’s information on safety ratings of the carrier. Additional research may be required. The information could shed light on the carrier’s safety record, driving safety, hours of service compliance, driver competence, and alcohol use. A shipper that hires a carrier with a poor safety record may be held liable.
- The trucking company hired a driver who didn’t meet medical requirements. Before a truck driver can be hired, the driver must pass a Department of Transportation physical examination. The examination must be performed by a licensed medical examiner. A record of the examination is always kept. Your truck accident lawyer can review this record to ensure that the driver met all requirements. In some cases, medical examiners may not adhere to strict guidelines and may pass drivers who shouldn’t be on the road. There are many gray areas when it comes to medical examinations for drivers. For instance, one medical examiner may pass a driver with certain conditions, while another examiner will hold drivers to stricter standards. If your lawyer can prove that a more lax examiner was sought, or show that the driver wasn’t medically fit, negligence could also be established.
- Company had many warning signs that driver or equipment was unsafe. According to an article published in the journal of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Law, a company’s distance from a driver can sometimes be in a defendant’s favor. For instance, if the company had many warning signs that a driver was incompetent, or if a truck showed repeated problems, the company may be perceived as more at fault for ignoring these signs. A sleepy driver may not always be self-aware of her inability to drive. A company that hires a driver cited for unsafe driving three times in twelve months would be more likely to be seen as negligent.
This is hardly an exhaustive list of ways drivers, shippers, and companies can be held negligent for truck accidents. If you’ve been in an accident in Texas, a truck accident law firm like Cooper Law in Van Zandt Texas can review your case and determine whether the driver, company, or shipper was negligent.