,

How might Texas’ HB19 affect truck accident litigation in Dallas? 

Texas – January 6, 2022

The number of for-hire carriers on file with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration totaled 996,894, private carriers totaled 813,440 and other interstate motor carriers totaled 83,235 in early 2021 according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Fatal crashes involving large trucks resulted in over 49 Thousand deaths on U.S. Roadways in 2019 and 67% of those individuals were occupants of other passenger vehicles.

Benefit of HB 19 on litigation.

Companies utilizing commercial vehicles benefit from the new framework for trial procedure, how evidence is used in a truck accident case, and the determination of liability in civil suits.  If criminal action is identified, that is a whole other process.  Courts will now be required to separate the amount of compensatory damages to one phase, and exemplary damages to a second phase after a named defendant requests a motion to do this.  HB1 limits an employer defendant’s liability for damages caused by the ordinary negligence of its employee to that of respondeat superior, provided the employer defendant stipulates that the driver was the defendant’s employee and was in the course and scope of his employment when the accident occurred. Another import feature of HB19 provides that photographic and video evidence of vehicles involved in an accident are presumed admissible.  It is best to talk to a Dallas Texas truck accident attorney about how these new laws will affect damage compensation in a truck accident case.

Employer liability changes.

After this stipulation is made, accident victims are not allowed to bring claims for negligent hiring, supervision, training, or retention in phase one.  Employers can still be sued in phase one under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA) with evidence related to negligent entrustment at the time of the accident, such as:

  1. If driver employee was licensed to drive,
  2. If driver employee was disqualified from driving,
  3. If driver employee was subject to an out-of-service order,
  4. If driver was medically certified,
  5. If driver was using a phone, or distracted,
  6. If driver refused to submit to an alcohol or controlled substance test,
  7. If employer allowed the driver to drive on the day of the accident,
  8. Evidence of alcohol and controlled substance violations of employer,
  9. If employer properly investigated the driver when the accident occurred and the driver had been employed for less than a year, or was subject to an out-of-service order.

A court may be required to dismiss a lawsuit against employee drivers when an injury, or death of another person occurred when a driver was carrying out their duties “within the scope of employment” and instead focus on specific driver action related to employer action.  A truck accident attorney in Texas can guide insurance and legal actions of victims needing to recover damages after an 18-wheeler accident in Texas.

Damages.

Utilizing the 51% fault rule in Texas, personal injury lawyers will explain how loss valuations determine the compensatory damages requested for lost wages, medical bills, medical care, and treatment, plus household expenses, and non-economic loss for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, or  companionship.  Exemplary (punitive) damages are contingent upon proving that a defendant deliberately, with reckless disregard, acted in a manner to cause harm to another person, such as driving while impaired.  Texas law limits that amount to two times the actual damages up to $750,000 in total damages, or $200,000.

Accident reports.

Drivers are required to file accident reports with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days of an accident resulting in fatality, injury, or property damage of $1,000, or more.

Hire legal counsel.

Tractor trailer accident victims should take steps to minimize additional stress by hiring competent accident attorneys at the Cooper Law Firm who will work with accident reconstruction experts and build a case toward catastrophic damage recovery.  They also understand the confines of the new law, and will address how parties will be sued in each phase of a legal action in Texas.

Cooper Law Firm
N. Eric Cooper
Address: 501 N Third St,
Longview, TX 75601

Telephone ; (903) 297-0037
Toll-Free: 1-855-297-HURT (4878)
Facsimile: (903) 236-0035

Sources.

https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=87R&Bill=HB19

https://www.nhtsa.gov/research-data/fatality-analysis-reporting-system-fars

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/CP/htm/CP.16.htm#16.003

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/CP/htm/CP.101.htm

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/CP/htm/CP.41.htm

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/docs/TN/htm/TN.550.htm

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/CP/htm/CP.71.htm

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.