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Can a negligent truck driver sue for damages in an accident?

It is not uncommon for a truck driver in a multi-vehicle accident to be injured and to also be, to some extent, responsible for causing it to happen. If the accident were to happen in a state that applies the concept of contributory negligence, the injured driver might not be able to recover compensation for his or her damages.

Negligence describes conduct that creates a risk of injury to other people. A speeding truck driver may be described as negligent for causing an accident by hitting a car making a left turn directly in the path of the truck. Contributory negligence would be if the speed of the truck was a contributing factor to causing the accident in which the truck driver was injured. 

States that apply a strict interpretation of contributory negligence prohibit a negligent party from recovering for injuries suffered in an accident. In the example of the speeding truck, the negligence of the truck driver would prevent recovery in a lawsuit.

Texas uses the concept of contributory negligence, but in a modified form. State law prohibits a driver in a truck accident, or in any motor vehicle accident for that matter, from collecting damages in a lawsuit if the injured person is more than 50 percent negligent.

In practice, a jury or a judge, if a case is heard without a jury, decides the percentage of negligence on the part of the plaintiff bringing the lawsuit and on the part of the defendant against whom the lawsuit is brought. The amount to be awarded as compensation to the plaintiff is reduced by the plaintiff's contributory negligence provided it does not exceed 50 percent. Where it plaintiff's negligence exceeds 50 percent, then the plaintiff gets nothing.

Negligence is a complex area of the law, and posts such as this one should not be relied upon as offering legal advice to pertain to a particular situation. Legal advice about your rights following a truck accident should only come from a personal injury attorney.

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