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Are Trucking Companies Required to Compensate Families of Fatal Accidents?

Posted On March 20, 2020 In Truck Accidents

Large commercial trucks are a vital part of the economy in the United States and here in Texas. There are hundreds of thousands of these vehicles on the roadways. However, due to their size and weight, large trucks can present major hazards to those in traditional passenger vehicles. It is not uncommon for an accident involving a large truck to result in serious injuries or fatalities. For families that have lost a loved one in a trucking accident in Texas, they need to know whether or not trucking companies are required to provide compensation for their loss.

Texas wrongful death claims and truck accidents

Wrongful death claims in Texas make it possible for family members of those killed due to the careless or negligent actions of another person, company, or entity to recover compensation for their loss. In order for family members to successfully recover compensation from a trucking company after the death of a loved one, it will need to be shown that the trucking company’s negligence led to the death. There are various ways in which a trucking company could be held accountable for a person’s death in the aftermath of an accident.

  • Driver negligence. If the careless or negligent actions of a truck driver caused the fatal accident, the trucking company may be held liable (this is called “vicarious liability”). Trucking companies are responsible for the actions of those they employ. A truck driver or company could be held liable if the driver failed to follow traffic laws, disobeyed federal hours of service requirements, or drove while impaired or distracted.
  • Maintenance failure. All truck owners and operators are required to regularly inspect and maintain their vehicles. If they fail to do so, part of the truck could fail and lead to a serious accident on the roadway.
  • Hiring and training practices. Truck owners and operators must practice appropriate hiring practices. They should ensure that every driver has their commercial driver’s license and that they are properly trained on each vehicle they are asked to operate.
  • Weight requirements. Depending on the type of truck, there are various maximum weight loads the vehicle may carry. Overloading a truck is dangerous, but there are times when drivers or companies do so to carry extra cargo and make extra profit. This is illegal and can lead to serious and fatal accidents.

What type of compensation is available in these cases?

There are various types of compensation available to family members of those killed due to the negligent actions of another person. This can include both economic and non-economic damages, such as the following:

  • Lost earning capacity
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Emotional and mental anguish, pain, and suffering
  • Lost companionship, love, comfort, and society the deceased would have provided
  • Lost care, services, support, maintenance, and counsel that the deceased would have provided to their surviving family members
  • Lost inheritance, including what the deceased would likely have saved to be left to family members if they had lived a normal life expectancy

Family members of victims of those killed in a Texas truck accident are required to file a lawsuit within two years from the date the person died if they want to receive compensation. If you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, you should speak to a qualified attorney about your case as soon as possible in order to ensure you receive maximum compensation.

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