Differences from Auto to Truck Accidents

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident in San Antonio, Houston, Beaumont or anywhere in Texas, we can help… Call Carabin Shaw

A recent Texas lawsuit highlights one of the most important differences between a normal auto accident and an 18-wheeler accident. In a normal auto accident, normally a victim can seek recourse from the other driver. If the other driver is uninsured, the victim may be able to still sue the other driver, but is going to have a very difficult time actually collecting any money from the lawsuit, as the other driver will likely only have a few assets, and those assets (such as a homestead) are likely to be protected against being seized in a lawsuit. Even if the other driver is insured, the payout may be small because Texas only requires $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $60,000 in bodily injury coverage per incident, and $25,000 in property damage coverage per incident.

This is not the case for an 18-wheeler accident.

In the case of Patterson v. Brewer Leasing, Inc., the victim was killed when an 18-wheeler failed to slow down from 55 miles per hour and plowed right into the victim’s parked car and several other vehicles. The estate of the victim sued the driver of the 18-wheeler, the company hiring the driver, and the owner of the truck. What is more, the estate was able to settle with the company hiring the driver for $470,000.00, and then the case proceeded to trial for the claims against the driver and the owner of the truck. The estate won some $8,000,000.00 at trial, collectable against either the driver personally or the owner.

Below are some of the parties who are commonly sued in an 18-wheeler accident, who may be sued depending on the facts of the case:

  • The driver of the 18-wheeler.
  • The employer of the driver. This is not always the same entity that owns the vehicle.
  • The owner of the truck.
  • The lessor of the truck.
  • Whoever loaded the cargo into the truck.
  • Whoever was responsible for maintaining the truck.
  • The manufacturer of the truck and/or truck parts.

Each of these entities is a potential target for an 18-wheeler lawsuit. Due to the commercial nature of operations in the trucking industry, each of these entities is likely to have one or more layers of insurance. In fact, depending on the size of the 18-wheeler, how hazardous the materials are that the 18-wheeler is carrying, and where the 18-wheeler is operating, there are stringent insurance requirements that legally must be met by these various parties. For example, an 18-wheeler weighing over 10,000 pounds and travelling between state lines must carry at least $750,000 in insurance, which may increase to as much as $5,000,000 in insurance if the 18-wheeler is carrying hazardous liquids.

What this all means is, unlike a normal automobile accident, in an 18-wheeler accident, a victim will usually have few difficulties in finding a party with significant assets and insurance to pursue. As such, a just resolution for the victim is far more likely.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto or trucking accident in San Antonio, Houston, Beaumont or anywhere in Texas, we can help. Call Carabin Shaw at 1.800.862.1260.

Visits with the Attorney are by appointment only. Main office San Antonio, Texas.

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