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How Courts Assess Liability in an 18-Wheeler Accident

Commercial 18-wheeler trucks are significantly larger and heavier than the average car. Any type of accident that involve these vehicles can be very dangerous and catastrophic, resulting in severe injuries and devastating fatalities. 

You can recover compensation for a truck accident through a lawsuit but proving liability in an 18-wheeler collision can be complex. To protect your future claim, it is important to understand how courts assess liability in these cases—and to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.

How to Prove Liability in a Truck Accident Lawsuit

If you are injured in an 18-wheeler accident, you have the right to pursue a claim against the party or parties who were responsible for the collision. To secure compensation in your case, you will need to gather enough evidence to prove the at-fault party’s negligence. 

Texas courts will assess the following four elements to determine liability in a truck accident claim.

  • Duty: The at-fault party owed you a duty of care at the time of the accident. 
  • Breach of Duty: The at-fault party breached his or her duty of care through a negligent act or failure to act.
  • Causation: The at-fault party’s breach of duty caused your accident and resulting injuries. 
  • Damages: You sustained damages that you can collect in your lawsuit, such as medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. 

Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident in Texas?

You can name multiple parties as defendants in a truck accident lawsuit. In these cases, liability depends on the cause of the collision.

Truck Drivers

Many 18-wheeler accidents occur due to the negligence of a truck driver. Drivers of these vehicles have a duty to follow all applicable laws and operate their vehicles safely. If a driver commits a negligent act and causes a collision, he or she would be liable for the accident.

Examples of truck driver negligence include the following.

  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence
  • Driving while drowsy
  • Making unsafe lane changes
  • Reckless or aggressive driving

Trucking Companies

Trucking companies are liable for the actions of their employees on the job. If you are injured by a negligent truck driver, you can name his or her employer in the lawsuit. Keep in mind that trucking companies are not usually liable for the actions of independent contractors.

You can also name a trucking company in your lawsuit if the company’s actions caused the accident. For example, say that a trucking company fails to properly maintain its vehicles. If an 18-wheeler malfunctions and careens off the road due to poor maintenance, the company would be liable for any accidents that occur.


If your accident was caused by a defective vehicle component, you can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer. You could also name the retailer and distributor of the defective part in your lawsuit.


Speak to a Texas Truck Accident Lawyer Today

Proving a truck accident lawsuit can be complex. The trucking company may state that it is not liable for the actions of its drivers, or the driver may claim that you caused the collision. In some cases, multiple parties are involved and establishing fault can be difficult without professional support.

In these situations, it is important to speak with a lawyer who can help you identify the at-fault party. A McAllen truck accident attorney can conduct a full investigation into your collision and craft a compelling case in your favor. Contact a lawyer after your collision to discuss your legal options.