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Under Texas law, who can I sue in a semi-truck accident?

If you are a Texas motorist who has been injured as a result of a collision with a semi-truck, there are two major differences between your potential lawsuit and that of one involving another car. Obviously, an accident between two automobiles is less likely to cause damage and injury as significant as an accident between a car and a tractor-trailer. The sheer size and weight of a fully loaded tractor-trailer is more likely to cause catastrophic injuries.

The second major difference is that unlike an accident with another car, if you are injured by a commercial tractor-trailer, you may be able to sue the truck driver in addition to the trucking company who hired the driver. Additionally, in some cases you may also be able to sue the shipper responsible for packaging and preparing the truck's cargo for transport. Another potential defendant in your lawsuit may even be the manufacturer of a component on the semi-truck -- if it can be established that that component contributed to the accident.

Because of their propensity to cause great injury, semi- trucks are governed by strict state and federal rules. These rules cover everything from how much weight each truck can carry to the amount of hours each truck driver is allowed to operate per day. Additionally, commercial tractor-trailer companies are required to perform periodic maintenance and inspections to ensure that the vehicles they put out onto Texas roadways are reasonably safe from harming other motorists.

Imagine a truck company that knowingly installed substandard brakes onto a vehicle driven by a drunken operator who was hauling a load of improperly packaged and labeled acid. If you received injuries as a result of being hit by that truck, you may have claims against the driver, the truck company and the shipper of goods.

Texas motorists who are injured as a result of a preventable semi-truck accident should know that most trucking companies adhere to the rule of law and safely transport goods on our roads. However, there remains a few drivers, truck companies and shippers of goods whose skirt regulations. In those cases, a civil lawsuit may be necessary to bring them to justice and compensate you for your medical expenses, time lost from work and other related costs.

Source: Texas State Legislature- Civil Practice and Remedies, "Title 2. Subtitle C. Chapter 33. Proportionate Responsibility. Subchapter A" Sep. 17, 2014

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