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Who may be liable in a truck accident, aside from the driver?

One of the characteristics of trucks on roads in Texas is that much of the time they are there for commercial purposes. The driver of the truck is frequently behind the wheel as part of his or her responsibility to someone else, and not for a personal reason.

Whenever someone gets into an accident as an employee or a contractor, a question arises as to whether the employer may also be liable in any claim brought under a theory of negligence. However, it does not always end there.

In any accident involving two or more vehicles, a primary consideration is who may be at fault. The starting point in this inquiry will look at the drivers. For instance, was negligence a possible cause -- intoxication or distraction?

Stepping back to look at the bigger picture, the question of fault also considers other possibilities, including environmental factors such as lighting conditions, road conditions, and weather conditions.

And when one of the vehicles is a commercial vehicle, that may trigger still more considerations.

For example, let's take another look at the truck driver: How was he or she hired? Could there have been a problem in his or her background or training at the time of hiring or contracting that might have contributed to him or her getting into an accident later on?

A big rig or an 18-wheeler is a complex piece of equipment. How it is manufactured, for example, may have a bearing on fault for an accident: was it made with one or more defective auto parts, and could they have been a factor in an accident?

Also, trucks require maintenance to ensure their safe operation on the roads. Questions after an accident may arise about whether that maintenance was performed, and whether the person who did the maintenance was properly qualified to do it.

As you can see, the question of who may be at fault in a truck accident is not always a simple one. Each case must be looked at based on its own facts, and with an open mind.

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