Because of their weight and size, commercial trucks can be hard to drive. There are numerous federal and state laws that govern the conduct of truck drivers and trucking companies. Among other things, these laws regulate hours of service, proper maintenance, and the weight and securing of loads. It is crucial that trucking companies only provide enormous commercial vehicles to those who are qualified and trained to handle them. If you have been struck by a careless commercial driver on a highway in Dallas or the surrounding cities, you should consult an experienced truck accident attorney at Feizy Law Office.Suing a Trucking Company for Negligent Entrustment
When a trucking company provides a commercial vehicle to an incompetent driver, it may be held directly liable for negligent entrustment. The elements of a negligent entrustment claim in Texas are:
- The owner of the truck entrusted it to another person;
- That person was not licensed, not competent, or a reckless driver;
- The owner knew or reasonably should have known about the incompetence or the lack of a license;
- The driver did behave negligently; and
- The driver's negligence was the proximate cause of the victim’s injuries.
All trucking companies are required to conduct background checks of their truck drivers. This rule is designed to ensure that only those drivers who are competent to handle a heavy, large vehicle are allowed to do so. However, some trucking companies conduct a background check and see that a driver has DUIs or a significant accident history but trust the driver with a truck anyway. In those cases, it may be appropriate to sue the trucking company for negligent entrustment in addition to suing the individual driver for negligence. The ability to sue the trucking company is important because in most cases trucking companies have a higher degree of insurance coverage than an individual driver.
The party that can be sued for negligent entrustment can be the owner of the truck or someone who exercises control over the truck. A certificate of title or liability insurance can establish ownership, although these pieces of evidence may be rebutted. Even a defendant that does not own a truck can be held responsible for negligent entrustment if it has the right to control the vehicle.
For example, if a commercial driver loans his truck to his son to run an errand, and the son gets into an accident, the truck driver can potentially be held responsible under a negligent entrustment theory. In fact, if the son does not have a commercial driver's license, the doctrine of negligence per se may apply. You would need to show that the defendant had the legal right to control the vehicle, not just exercise some control.Contact a Dallas Attorney to Seek Compensation for a Motor Vehicle Collision
Victims of motor vehicle collisions in the Dallas area can enlist the knowledgeable lawyers at Feizy Law Office to pursue compensation. We understand the nuances of these cases and can guide you through each step of the process. Call Feizy Law Office at (214) 651-8686 or reach us through our online form to set up a free consultation. We also represent accident victims in Fort Worth, Garland, Arlington, Irving, and Plano, among other Texas cities.