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Who is typically liable for a Texas semi-truck collision?

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2024 | Truck Accident Injuries |

A semi-truck collision can cause major damage and might even force local authorities to shut down a road or highway. Semi-trucks can cause catastrophic injuries and massive property damage. The people licensed to operate commercial vehicles typically have more training than those with basic driver’s licenses and also have to hold themselves to a higher standard. There are many rules limiting the conduct of commercial drivers that do not apply to those in passenger vehicles.

Despite all of the legal precautions in place to protect the public, crashes between commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles are still somewhat common. Who might potentially be liable for the damages inspired by a semi-truck collision?

The other driver

Occasionally, the driver of the smaller vehicle is technically the party at fault for a commercial vehicle crash. Collision statistics indicate that passenger vehicle drivers are responsible for slightly less than half of the crashes that occur between semi-trucks and passenger vehicles. If the driver of the smaller vehicle is responsible, they may not have many options for covering the expenses generated by the collision.

The commercial driver

Sometimes, there’s little question that the person operating the semi-truck is the party at fault for the collision. Provided that they are a self-employed owner-operator, they may ultimately be liable for the expenses generated by the wreck. However, if the commercial motorist is an employee, not an independent contractor or self-employed professional, then their employer may ultimately be the party with liability for the crash.

The commercial transportation company

Rules about vicarious liability often pass responsibility for collisions to employers if someone is on the clock at the time of a wreck. Some transportation companies may even cause crashes by poorly maintaining vehicles or having inappropriate employment practices that require their workers to do something unsafe.

Most commercial transportation companies have very large liability insurance policies that provide at least $750,000 of coverage to protect them from the risks inherent when a worker causes a collision.  The people affected by a major semi-truck collision often have massive expenses that they struggle to manage on their own. Pursuing a major insurance claim or possibly even filing a lawsuit against the transportation company can be reasonable choices for those coping with financial challenges stemming from a semi-truck collision.

Ultimately, determining who is liable for a wreck is necessary for those hoping to seek compensation after a crash.