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Holding a Truck Company Liable for a Drowsy Driving Accident in Texas

 Posted on September 20, 2023 in 18-wheeler truck accidents

TX truck accidentWhen a commercial semi-truck driver causes a serious accident because of falling asleep behind the wheel or drowsy driving, injured victims may wonder, "Can I hold the trucking company liable?" Under certain conditions, the trucking carrier may share responsibility. Here is how Texas law approaches accidents caused by drowsy truckers and how an attorney can help.

Negligent Hiring and Training

If a trucking company hired a driver they knew or should have known was unqualified or unsafe, they may be liable for negligent hiring. Failing to adequately train drivers on compliance with sleep regulations could constitute negligence as well. Plaintiffs should gather driving history and training records. Look for any red flags like sleep disorders or past drowsiness issues that should have been caught.

Encouraging Overwork

Trucking companies that encourage or demand overwork through unrealistic delivery timetables can also be deemed negligent. Evidence of dispatch logs, bonus incentives for faster driving, and undue pressure to meet routes could help prove negligence claims. A culture of pushing drivers beyond safe limits suggests negligence.

Failing to Enforce Rest Breaks

Federal regulations require that truckers take sufficient breaks and off-duty rest periods between long hauls. If a carrier fails to monitor and enforce these safety rules, an accident related to fatigue may be blamed on this negligence. Dispatch and driver logs reveal rest break compliance. Lack of supervision over breaks can demonstrate negligence.

Requiring Drivers to Exceed Hours of Service

Trucking companies are prohibited from allowing or requiring drivers to exceed maximum on-duty driving hours before mandated rest periods. Violating these hour-of-service regulations demonstrates negligence that could make the carrier liable if drowsy driving causes a crash. Look for dispatch orders to drive excessive hours.

Vicarious Liability

Under respondeat superior laws, employers bear responsibility for employees' negligent actions in the course and scope of their work duties. Trucking companies are vicariously liable for drivers' negligence, including drowsy driving accidents. Carriers are legally responsible for drivers' on-the-job negligence. It is important to have a lawyer on your side because Texas is one of the states that are making it harder to sue trucking companies.

Contact an Austin Truck Accident Attorney

When you have a Texas accident lawyer on your side, we can help you evaluate all avenues for holding carriers accountable when a drowsy big rig driver causes catastrophic injuries or fatalities. Do not let companies deflect blame solely onto you, as the driver. Call Alford & Associates at 210-951-9467 to start with your free, no-obligation consultation and see which next step you should take for a strong case.


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