Determining Fault in a Texas Truck Accident

determining fault in a truck accident

Understanding the process of fault determination is critical in the wake of a truck accident, especially for injured parties involved. Texas, with its vast network of highways and significant commercial truck traffic, has seen its share of tragic incidents on the road. Between 2019 and 2021, the state saw a significant number of fatalities resulting from truck accidents each year: 579 in 2019, 568 in 202, and 716 in 2021.

The prevalence of truck accidents in Texas underscores the importance of understanding the fault determination process for those injured in these incidents.

Proving Fault in a Texas Truck Accident Lawsuit

In a Texas truck accident lawsuit, proving fault generally hinges on demonstrating negligence, a legal concept that requires establishing several key elements: the existence of a duty of care, a breach of that duty, causation linking the breach to the incident and/or injuries, and tangible damages resulting from the incident:

  • Duty of Care: The duty of care in a truck accident case means that the truck driver has an obligation to operate the vehicle safely, follow traffic laws and applicable trucking regulations to prevent harming others on the road. In addition, the trucking company, shippers, brokers and others owe a duty of care as well and based on the facts may be included in the lawsuit.
  • Breach of Duty: If the truck driver fails to maintain a safe following distance, makes an unsafe turn, or travels at unsafe speeds, for example, they are breaching their duty of care. Again, depending on the facts additional parties in the lawsuit can include the trucking company and others.
  • Causation: An example is when the truck driver’s speeding leads to a rear-end collision with another vehicle, there is a direct causal link between the breach of duty (speeding) and the incident and injuries. Another is when a trucking company hires an unsafe driver or fails to properly train the driver or enforce company safety policies and procedures.
  • Damages: As a result of the accident, damages that can be claimed by the person injured include medical expenses, lost wages, pain, physical impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish, and potentially more.

Navigating this process demands proper investigation and legal knowledge, making the role of a Texas truck accident lawyer essential. These legal professionals will have the resources and experience to look into the accident’s circumstances, gather evidence that can establish, and help injured people get the justice and compensation they deserve.

Who are Potential Liable Parties in a Texas Truck Accident?

In Texas truck accidents, determining liability involves assessing the actions of various parties involved in the operation, maintenance, and regulation of the truck. Potential liable parties include:

  • Truck Driver: If the truck driver is negligent, which could include speeding, distracted driving, or driving under the influence, this can directly contribute to accidents, making them legally responsible.
  • Trucking Company: The trucking company may be held liable for negligence in hiring practices, supervision, or enforcement of safety regulations, as well as for pressuring drivers to violate hours-of-service regulations to meet deadlines.
  • Shippers and Brokers: A company who negligently selects a trucking company or truck driver to ship a load can be held liable for their actions in choosing an unsafe truck company or driver to transport cargo.
  • Truck Manufacturer: If a mechanical defect or faulty part contributed to the accident, the truck manufacturer and others may be held liable.
  • Truck Maintenance Company: Improperly maintaining the truck can lead to accidents, sometimes making the maintenance company liable.
  • Additional Liable Parties: Improper loading, securing, or balancing of cargo can cause the truck to become unstable or lead to cargo spills, potentially resulting in accidents for which the loading company may be held liable.

Each party’s negligence can contribute to the accident, and identifying these factors is crucial in pursuing legal action and seeking compensation for damages incurred in a Texas truck accident.

Gathering Evidence to Determine Fault in a Texas Truck Accident

Gathering critical evidence is a pivotal step in proving fault in a Texas truck accident. This process involves collecting comprehensive data that paints a clear picture of the events leading up to, during, and following the accident. Key pieces of evidence typically include:

  • Police reports
  • Witness statements
  • Photographs or videos capturing the scene
  • Expert opinions, such as those from accident reconstruction specialists or medical professionals
  • Video footage from dashcams or surveillance cameras
  • Data download from electronic recording devices sometimes referred to as a “black box”
  • Driver’s logs
  • Cargo load records
  • Vehicle maintenance records

This evidence is essential for establishing liability and proving how the truck crash happened and why.

Understanding Negligence Laws in Texas Truck Accident Cases

Understanding the applicable negligence laws is crucial in Texas truck accident cases. Texas follows a modified comparative negligence framework. This rule allows for compensation as long as your level of fault is 50% or less. If you are found to be partially at fault, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

For instance, if you were hit by a truck but were traveling over the speed limit and a jury found you to be 20% at fault with your total damages assessed at $100,000, your award would be reduced to $80,000, reflecting your share of the responsibility while still providing compensation for your injuries and damages.

Suing the Truck Driver and/or the Trucking Company

In truck accident cases, depending on the facts there may be claims against multiple parties. Both the truck driver and the trucking company can be sued for an accident if the driver’s negligence caused the accident. The trucking company is responsible for the negligence of its employee truck driver. In addition, the trucking company can be found negligent perhaps due to negligent hiring or supervision, inadequate training, poor vehicle maintenance, or more.

When to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Texas

Filing a truck accident lawsuit in Texas can be done at different times and for different reasons. When there are significant injuries and damages, a truck accident lawyer will often file a lawsuit promptly to ensure essential evidence is preserved and can be obtained with the Court’s assistance. A truck accident lawsuit can also be filed after an injured person has been released from medical care and it has become clear that the insurance company refuses to adequately compensate the injured person for their damages.

After a truck accident, the injured person can seek compensation for a range of damages, including but not limited to medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, physical impairment, mental anguish, disfigurement, and potentially more. Given the complexity and seriousness of these cases, hiring a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who focuses on representing injured people and their families in truck accident cases will make a difference in the compensation ultimately recovered. In other words, hiring the right truck accident attorney is all too often the difference between getting full justice, or no justice at all.

Why Should You Hire an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in Texas?

Hiring an experienced Texas truck accident lawyer in Texas is crucial due to the complex nature of these cases. Here’s how they can help:

  • Investigation and Gathering Evidence: An experienced truck accident lawyer will work to preserve and obtain critical evidence needed to prove what happened and why. They employ a variety of tools and resources, including accident reconstruction experts, the latest technology to download data from vehicles, and more. They will also work to document the accident scene, conduct vehicle inspections and preserve evidence that will otherwise be lost or destroyed.
  • Determining Fault and Liability: As essential evidence is obtained, an experienced truck accident attorney will be in a position to put together the liability story of the case that will be presented to the insurance company, and need be, the jury.
  • Navigating Trucking Regulations: Understanding trucking regulations is essential to identifying failures by the truck driver and trucking company that will establish liability. An experienced truck accident attorney will have a deep knowledge and understanding of the applicable rules and regulations.
  • Maximizing Compensation: A truck accident lawyer will be able to assess the full extent of the client’s injuries and damages to ensure the compensation reflects the true impact of the accident.

Through aggressive negotiation with insurance companies and,when necessary, presenting the case to a jury, they will work to secure the maximum compensation under the law, helping their clients rebuild their lives after a devastating truck accident.

Contact a Texas Truck Accident Lawyer Today

In Texas truck accidents, determining fault is a complex process that requires experience, resources and a deep understanding of the rules and regulations that apply to truck drivers and the trucking industry. Obtaining legal representation from an experienced truck accident lawyer is essential to ensure your rights are protected. These professionals will know how to navigate the intricacies of gathering critical evidence, proving liability, and presenting the case to ensure the client receives full justice under the law.

With over 25 years of experience successfully representing injured people and their families in truck accident cases, The Callahan Law Firm is here to protect your rights and fight tirelessly so that you and your family get justice. Contact us today to schedule your no-cost initial consultation with one of our experienced truck accident lawyers.


How common are truck accidents in Texas?

Truck accidents happen all too often in Texas due to its extensive highway network and significant commercial truck traffic. Texas consistently ranks among the states with the highest number of truck accidents each year.

Who is liable for a truck accident in Texas?

Liability for a truck accident in Texas can vary depending on the facts of each case. Generally, potential parties who may be liable include the truck driver, the trucking company, the owner of the truck, shippers, brokers, the cargo loading company, or even the manufacturer of the truck or its components if mechanical failure is involved.

Who determines fault in an accident in Texas?

In Texas, fault in an accident is determined by what the facts show. An experienced truck accident attorney will work to obtain the evidence that proves liability or fault. And when the insurance company refuses to listen and accept liability, a jury will ultimately determine who is responsible.

Is Texas a fault or no-fault state?

In Texas, auto accidents follow a fault based system. This means that the party found responsible for the accident is responsible for compensating the other party or parties involved.

Who is at fault for a rear-end truck accident in Texas?

In a rear-end truck accident in Texas, the fault is generally assigned to the driver who rear-ended the other vehicle, as they are presumed to have failed to maintain a safe following distance and/or failed to control the speed of their vehicle.