Posted on behalf of Anderson Cummings on Sep 08, 2021 in Truck Accidents
On September 1, 2021, several new laws took effect in Texas. One of those laws changed the way injury claims involving commercial vehicle companies will be handled.
Our truck accident lawyers in Fort Worth understand how this change may concern some injury victims and are prepared to help those pursuing compensation for damages caused by a negligent truck driver.
Below, we discuss the new law and how it may impact injury victims who are seeking to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
What Does the New Law Do?
The law, HB19, sets up a two-tier system for injury victims pursuing compensation for damages associated with a truck accident.
In the first phase of the new procedurals, the amount of compensation for which the liable party would be responsible for is determined. This includes things like property damages, medical bills, lost wages and other economic damages, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. Once the amount for the actual damages is determined, a determination needs to be made about the negligence of the driver.
If the driver is found to have acted negligently, the second tier of the case may begin. In this phase, the injury victim may file a negligence claim against the company that employs the driver. For example, there may be a negligence claim if the company hired a driver with a poor driving record.
The law also modifies state law to create a framework for trial procedures, how evidence is presented and how liability for damages may be determined. As these other changes may be more complex, it may be in your best interest to speak to a licensed attorney about how these changes may impact your claim.
What Does This Mean for Injury Victims?
Due to the new two-tier system for recovering compensation, injury victims may have more legal hurdles to jump through when trying to resolve their claims.
As the law also changes the way evidence may be used, it could affect the way injury victims build their cases. For example, evidence showing that the truck driver violated commercial vehicle regulations may only be presented in the first phase of the trial, as this is when the injury victim needs to prove the driver was the one who acted negligently. However, evidence showing that the driver was unlicensed or has a track record of violating regulations may only be presented in the second phase because it concerns the trucking company’s negligence in their hiring of the driver who caused the crash.
Another adjustment to the presentation of evidence in this new law is how video and photographic evidence may be presented. Under the new law, this type of evidence may be presented without an expert witness if the video or photos can be easily authenticated.
Due to the additional hurdles for injury victims to go through when pursuing compensation, having a lawyer with decades of experience fighting for your rights may be in your best interest.
Can I Still Sue a Trucking Company for Negligence?
The simple answer to this question is maybe. Since the new law is purposely written to protect commercial vehicle companies from costly litigation fees, it is safe to say that there will be many legal obstacles to overcome before you can file a lawsuit against the trucking company. However, if the evidence presented in the first phase of the claim proves the driver acted negligently, you may have the right to pursue compensation from the company.
Securing compensation in a truck accident case requires building a strong case to prove the driver’s negligence resulted in an accident, which caused your injuries. As this is something that applies to most injury claims, our attorneys have decades of experience helping injury victims build a strong case, so we are prepared to help you do the same.
We Are Prepared to Help. Call Us Today
As the legal landscape regarding claims for trucking accidents changes, it is important to have someone with legal knowledge on your side if you are injured in one of these types of accidents.
At Anderson & Cummings, our attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience and have successfully helped injury victims recover millions in compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
We are ready to help truck crash victims. Call us today at (817) 920-9000