May 26, 2024


Association Of Law

TX HB 19 Changes Trial Procedure for Truck Accident Lawsuits

6 min read
TX HB 19 Changes Trial Procedure for Truck Accident Lawsuits

Truck accident lawsuits are very tough. If you or a member of your family members was in a collision with a business truck, pursuing the payment you should have will probably be an uphill fight. Modern alterations in Texas regulation make it additional tricky for plaintiffs to find most damages for their accidents and losses.

Dwelling Monthly bill 19 (HB 19) went into result September 1, 2021. The regulation amends the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code to transform the demo proceedings for authorized steps involving business trucks and other vehicles applied for industrial functions.

Patrick Daniel Legislation has extensive encounter dealing with truck incident lawsuits, and we can help you recognize what might come about if your circumstance goes to trial. For a totally free situation critique, please call (713) 999-6666 these days.

Do I Will need to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit?

Not all truck accident circumstances go to demo. It may be feasible to negotiate a favorable settlement with out heading to courtroom or even filing a lawsuit.

Having said that, the sophisticated challenges in truck accident promises frequently make it important for claimants to file a lawsuit. Eventually, striving the scenario in court could be the only option for trying to get compensation.

Numerous defendants could be liable in a truck incident lawsuit. Two of the most common are:

  • The driver of the truck
  • His or her employer (i.e., a trucking firm)

Trucking companies are huge and powerful. Though industrial carriers and their coverage organizations will usually try out to stay away from the uncertainty and expense of a trial, it is not unusual for them to contest liability, make lower settlement presents, and/or refuse to negotiate. If these troubles cannot be prevail over by negotiations, your law firm may advise submitting a lawsuit.

Read Extra: What to Hope from Statements Towards Big Trucking Providers

Truck Incident Lawsuits Beneath HB 19

When it was introduced, the sponsors of HB 19 argued that the invoice would protect trucking providers and other firms from so-called “unjust and abnormal lawsuits.” To do this, HB 19 adjusted the authorized course of action Texas courts use for statements involving semi-vans and other professional cars. While trucking organizations and other employers can even now be held liable for the accidents motorists result in, the procedure for undertaking so is a lot more demanding.

HB 19 establishes a bifurcated trial method for truck accident lawsuits. “Bifurcated” indicates divided into two. In accordance to Section 72.052 of the Texas Civil Apply and Treatments Code, a defendant have to file a motion for a bifurcated trial prior to whichever of the next dates is afterwards:

  • “the 120th working day soon after the date the defendant bringing the motion files the defendant’s first remedy or
  • “the 30th day after the date a claimant data files a pleading introducing a declare or cause of action from the defendant bringing the movement.”

The courtroom will critique the motion and determine whether to grant or deny the defendant’s request for a bifurcated demo.

How Do Bifurcated Trials Do the job?

Quite a few business motor car incident claims are introduced on the grounds of respondeat remarkable. Latin for “the grasp need to remedy,” respondeat superior is a lawful idea that imposes vicarious liability on an employer for the negligence of an personnel whilst acting in the ability of his or her work.

Underneath the adjustments produced by HB 19, claims primarily based on respondeat remarkable may well only move forward if the defendant employer stipulates the following:

“at the time of the accident, the particular person operating the auto was:

  1. the defendant’s worker and
  2. “acting in just the scope of employment.”

Texas Civil Follow and Solutions Code § 72.054

If a industrial carrier makes these stipulations, the plaintiff is barred from presenting evidence in opposition to the employer for the professional driver’s “ordinary negligence” (i.e., carelessness or recklessness) until the driver is discovered to be at fault for the incident. Efficiently, this divides the trial into two separate phases: very first arrives the motion from the driver, then comes the action in opposition to the employer.

A bifurcated trial for a business motor motor vehicle accident proceeds as follows:

1st Stage

The liability of the employee defendant (i.e., the professional driver) is decided in the initially section of a bifurcated demo. If the truck driver is uncovered liable for the incident, the court awards the plaintiff compensatory damages. This may possibly include payment for:

  • Past and foreseeable future health care costs
  • Loss of earnings
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Agony and struggling
  • And a lot more

Less than the bifurcation framework developed by HB 19, proof against the trucking organization is commonly not admissible in the first trial stage. On the other hand, Texas Civil Observe and Cures Code § 72.053 enables proof of the failure of the employer defendant to comply with applicable polices and specifications to be presented in the to start with period of a bifurcated demo in the adhering to instances:

  1. “the proof tends to verify that failure to comply with the regulation or typical was a proximate induce of the bodily injuries or demise for which damages are sought in the motion and
  2. “the regulation or common is unique and governs, or is an aspect of a responsibility of care relevant to, the defendant, the defendant’s staff, or the defendant’s home or gear when any of individuals is at problem in the motion.”

Additionally, if an employer defendant is subject to regulation underneath the Motor Provider Security Enhancement Act of 1999 or Chapter 644 of the Texas Transportation Code, evidence of the adhering to may also be presented in a bifurcated trial’s initially stage:

  • The health and fitness and skills of the staff driver at the time of the accident, like:
    • Licensing and restrictions
    • Disqualifications from driving a business auto
    • Out-of-company orders
    • Clinical certification
    • Texting and other mobile cell phone utilization
    • Refusal to submit to screening for a managed material
  • The employer defendant’s actions prior to the incident concerning:
    • Authorizing the personnel driver to work a professional motor car or truck
    • Screening for controlled substances
    • Out-of-support orders

This proof might only be offered in the 1st period of a bifurcated demo in assist of a assert of negligent entrustment (i.e., the employer entrusted a commercial car to a driver who was not skilled to function it).

Second Phase

If the courtroom finds that the truck driver “was negligent in running an employer defendant’s commercial motor vehicle” in the initial period of a bifurcated trial, this “may provide as a foundation for the claimant to move forward in the 2nd section of the demo on a assert versus the employer defendant” (Texas Civil Observe and Remedies Code § 72.052). Through the next stage of trial, the court docket will also make a dedication as to punitive or exemplary damages.

Exemplary damages may possibly only be awarded if the plaintiff presents clear and convincing proof that the damage happened as a final result of fraud, malice, or gross negligence on the section of the defendant (see Texas Civil Practice and Treatments Code § 41.003). This is a larger common than the just one necessary to establish normal carelessness. Potent proof against the trucking enterprise (which includes prior violations) is necessary to prevail.

Get Help with Your Truck Accident Lawsuit

A person year just after it was enacted, the whole effects of HB 19 on truck accident litigation however keep on being to be noticed. If you were critically wounded or shed a loved one in a truck accident, you shouldn’t have to fear about lawful complexities. You need an expert legal professional with a thorough comprehending of the law who can aid you navigate your scenario.

Patrick Daniel Legislation has substantial working experience dealing with truck accident lawsuits. We are Strategic, Meticulous, and Cruel in our commitment to maximizing payment for our clients. This may possibly consist of negotiating a favorable settlement on your behalf or filing a lawsuit and (if needed) taking your circumstance to trial.

Call Patrick Daniel Regulation these days for a totally free circumstance assessment. Attorney Patrick Daniel serves clientele in the course of Houston, all of Texas, and nationwide.

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