Big Rig Accidents Potential Defendants
To give you the best chance for a complete recovery for any and all injuries you have suffered in an eighteen wheeler accident, the most important thing your attorney can do is identify as many defendants as possible. In most truck cases, the driver may well not be the only business or person who is legally responsible for damages from the accident. Always keep in mind that the owner of the truck, a lessee or lessor of the truck, the cartage company, its contractors, the driver’s employers, and any number of insurance carriers may ultimately be liable to you and your family’s loss. In many cases vehicles, materials or products may have been misused, abused or have malfunctioned causing the loss. This can give rise to product liability claims against manufacturers for defective design or construction, failure to warn or improperly issued or written usage instructions.
When a big rig truck accident happens, if your attorney can establish an employment/employer relationship between the truck driver and one or more shipping or trucking companies, then those companies can be legally liable for their driver's negligent behavior due to a legal doctrine known technically as "respondeat superior." Under this liability doctrine, your attorney must prove that the employer company had some control over the driver’s actions and that the wreck happened while the driver was “in the course and scope” of his or her employment. This can be, in some cases, problematic when the defendant argues that truck operator was acting as an "independent contractor" for the larger potentially liable company. In this situation, the central issue then turns into the amount or level supervision exercised by the company over the operator. The probability of liability of the employers, contractors and/or trucking companies is a central factor considered in assessing which avenues of recovery may be available through which insurance policies. This becomes central because all of these separate legal entities will probably have separate insurance policies that might apply to your fact situation.
In rare cases, the shipper or manufacturer legally defined “hazardous materials” that are part or all of the load on the truck might also have legal responsibility for injuries that were made worse or actually caused by the nature and/or type of hazardous cargo on the truck. As an example, if the shipping company doesn’t disclose the presence or existence of the legally hazardous material within a freight load, the shipper may be legally liable for any injuries that occur because that hazardous material is released or catches fire.
If you or one of your loved ones has been hurt in an accident involving a big rig commercial truck, you may be entitled to collect damages. These damages would compensate you for loss of property, medical bills, past and future, and would include, among other items, an award for “pain and suffering” resulting from the accident. Carabin Shaw is available 24 hours a day, & days a week. We are standing by for your call and are ready to help.
Are you in Corpus Christi? Have you been in an accident with an 18 wheeler or other big rig?
Give Carabin Shaw a call. We can help. Call us at 361.444.1111, local if you’re in Corpus Christi.
The Carabin Shaw Offices in Corpus Christi are located two blocks south of the Nueces County Courthouse in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Our Corpus Christi telephones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 361.444.1111.