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New Texas Law Makes It Harder to Hold Trucking Companies Liable for Truck Accidents

 Posted on September 02, 2021 in Personal Injury


Austin, TX Truck Accident LawyerTruck accident cases are one of the most complex personal injury cases that victims can pursue. One reason is that there is often more than one at-fault party that may be legally liable for the losses the victim suffers because of their injuries. For example, in a trucking accident caused by a truck driver who was speeding and unable to stop in time, the current laws say that not only would the truck driver be liable for the victim’s damages, but the trucking company that employs the driver would also be legally responsible. That law, however, changes as of September 1.

Texas House Bill 19

Under the new law, truck driver liability is now separate from any liability of the trucking company. Truck accident lawsuits will now be required to go through a bifurcated trial process. This means there will be two parts to a victim’s pursuit of damages. The first part of any action is only against the truck driver where the liability of the truck driver will need to be proven. If the victim is successful in proving the driver’s liability, the next step is determining what the victim’s compensatory damages are. Compensatory damages include actual damages, such as medical expenses and loss of income, and general damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional trauma, scarring, and disfigurement. The trucking company is not included in this first part of the victim’s lawsuit.

If the victim is able to show that the truck driver was liable for the accident, they can then proceed to the second part of the lawsuit. However, unlike the current law, the trucking company can only be held liable for punitive damages, not any compensatory damages, and only if the victim can prove the trucking company was grossly negligent in hiring, training, or their policies. The law also places tight restrictions on how much access the victim will have to the trucking company’s safety record.

Proponents of the bill, which was heavily lobbied for by the trucking industry, say passage of the law was needed in order to reduce the number of “frivolous” lawsuits against trucking companies.

Opponents of the new law say that it will make the state’s roads even more dangerous as Texas already leads the United States in truck accidents. They argue that the law now gives trucking companies a free pass from making sure their truck drivers operate safely and adhere to federal and state rules and regulations.

Contact a Travis Personal Injury Attorney

Although the new law makes it more difficult for truck accident victims to hold trucking companies accountable, the skilled Austin, TX truck accident attorneys are committed more than ever to aggressively advocate for truck accident victims and ensure they get the financial compensation they deserve for the injuries and losses they have suffered. Call Morales Law Office, Attorneys at Law, PLLC. at 512-474-2222 to schedule a free consultation and find out how our firm can help.



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