When a traffic collision involves large commercial vehicles such as 18-wheeler trucks or semis, the risk of fatalities is much higher than a collision between regular passenger vehicles. What’s more, it has even been claimed that the fatality rate per mile is higher for commercial trucks than it is for any other vehicle.
Wrongful death claims are never easy, but those which involve 18-wheelers are particularly complex. This stems from the fact that more people are usually involved in the claim. These include the truck driver, the truck’s owner, not to mention the larger corporation and various insurance providers. This can lead to added levels of complication in what is already a decidedly difficult business.
Who is liable for a Wrongful Death caused by a Trucking Accident?
First and foremost, the truck drivers themselves have a legal obligation to operate their vehicle safely. There are also a host of state and federal regulations which the drivers, their employers and the vehicle manufacturers must adhere to.
If any of these parties has failed to adhere to their legal obligation and this has resulted in death, then they will likely be held accountable as the accused party in a wrongful death claim.
Here are just a few examples of parties who might find themselves culpable for a trucking death:
- The driver
- The company responsible for maintenance of the truck
- Other motorists involved
- The company loaded the truck
Wrongful Death: Insurance Coverage for Truck Accidents
Every trucking company must have a commercial insurance policy valued at a minimum of $750,000. This is a requirement specified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. But that figure is an absolute minimum, and most companies have $1 million worth of coverage or more. It is also common for them to have layers of extra coverage in addition to this policy.
Can I file a Wrongful Death Claim for a Truck Accident?
Under Texas state law, you are entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim if you fit into any of the following categories:
- You are the husband or wife of the deceased
- You are the child of the deceased
- You are a parent of the deceased (provided the deceased was unmarried and has no children of their own)
- You are representing the deceased’s estate
If you do not meet the above criteria, you will be ineligible to file a claim. Having said that, it may also be able for the deceased’s extended family to receive compensation as a result of a claim made by a representative for the deceased’s estate.
Find yourself the right attorney to handle your 18-Wheeler Wrongful Death Claim in West Houston, Texas
When you set out to take on the trucking industry, you are automatically the “underdog.” That’s because trucking firms typically have a network of legal representation especially prepared to handle wrongful death claims and to defend the parent company’s financial interests. When you couple that with the emotional trauma of losing a loved one in such a terrible way, it can make filing a successful claim seem almost impossible. That’s why you need an experienced wrongful death law firm in West Houston to fight the good fight on your behalf.
This is bound to be a very stressful and traumatic time for you and your loved ones. The last thing you need is for messy legal wrangles to disturb your grief. But it’s also important to ensure that justice is served for the deceased, and for the family left behind. Joe Stephens has a vast amount of expertise and specialized knowledge in the area of wrongful death caused by trucking accidents. For peace of mind, and the knowledge that you are securing the services of world class professionals, call the Stephens Law Firm today.