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“Just be very, very careful when you see an 18-wheeler. Just stay as far away from it as you can.”
A San Antonio 18-wheeler truck accident left one woman dead. It was a hit-and-run accident: the truck driver left the scene after the crash. Who is responsible: the truck driver, or his employer, who allegedly instructed him to leave the scene?
Gregory Herrman is a personal injury attorney with the law firm Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., which has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and the Rio Grande Valley. In this interview, he explains how liability involving truck accidents can be tricky to determine.
To learn more, contact the attorney directly by calling 888-981-1283 or by submitting a contact form on this page. There is no charge for the consultation, and you never owe any out-of-pocket attorney fees.
While fatalities in hit-and-runs with semi-trucks are not common, they do occur. Proper training and attention to safety regulations are paramount to driving safely on the road, both for the vehicle operators and passenger car drivers. When sharing the road with these large vehicles it’s important to remember that due to the size and weight of these big-rigs it takes them much longer to stop than a passenger vehicle might. It’s important to give semi-trucks as much space as possible and maintain an active awareness when driving in the same vicinity.
Dashboard cameras can be invaluable to recording when and how an accident with an 18-wheeler occurred. While many trucks include this technology to support trucking companies and law enforcement in their monitoring and accountability of drivers, some companies have yet to install these devices.
It’s important to remember that the driver of any vehicle is always responsible for their own negligence. While accidents may occur in which neither party is particularly at fault, leaving the scene of an accident for which you might have or were obviously responsible is considered a criminal act and can result in serious criminal charges.
Many truck drivers are actually independent contractors. Their job is to pick up the freight and take it wherever the company that hired them dictates it should go. When this is the case and an accident occurs, the truck driver is generally considered responsible.
However, when a truck driver is the employee of a trucking company, the liability in an accident expands to cover both the driver and the company. Lack of training, supervision, and a push for drivers to ignore industry safety regulations are all elements of an accident that a trucking company could be held liable for. In the case of the accident Herrman discussed here, the trucking company allegedly told the driver to be dishonest regarding the accident. Unfortunately, this is not the only instance in which a trucking company put profits above the safety of their employees and other drivers.
Accidents that occur due to a lack of proper driver training are not uncommon. Some companies may only request to see an employee’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) before handing them the keys to a big-rig. That being said, other trucking companies offer rigorous and thorough training to their employees in combination with frequent safety meetings and accountability procedures.
Herrman admits that most trucking companies fall somewhere between these two extremes. However, in situations where a lack of training might have contributed to an accident, the trucking company that failed to provide proper training or attention to safety procedures could be liable for ensuing damages.
Due primarily to the way these drivers are paid, based on how quickly they can move freight from one location to another, it is not uncommon for truck drivers to be reticent to take rest breaks. There are actually laws in place to prohibit truckers from driving for too long without stopping to rest. However, these laws are easy to ignore and can even be falsely recorded in a driver’s logbook. Additionally, it is not uncommon for trucking companies to pressure their drivers to stay on the road longer than is actually safe in an effort to increase company profits.
To learn more, contact Gregory Herrman directly by calling 888-981-1283 or by submitting a contact form on this page. There is no charge for the consultation, and you never owe any out-of-pocket attorney fees.
Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
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