Texas has more fatal truck crashes than any other state in the union — but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy for victims and their families to get the compensation they need and deserve. If anything, big trucking companies go out of their way to avoid paying whenever they can.
If House Bill 19 makes it through the Texas legislature, victims may have an even harder time making their cases.
WHAT’S GOING ON WITH HOUSE BILL 19?
House Bill 19 was sponsored by Republican Representative Jeff Leach, in an effort that’s been described by proponents as an attempt to stop “excessive” litigation efforts against truck company defendants.
If it passes, the bill would force plaintiffs to go through the two-phase trial process. In the first phase, only evidence of driver fault or faulty maintenance would be allowed to establish liability — nothing about negligence in hiring practices, training or supervision.
That evidence could be used in the second phase, but only if a driver was found to be negligent in the first phase of the trial. Even then, plaintiffs would have to prove that the company acted with “conscious indifference” and was guilty of gross negligence — a much higher legal standard than simple negligence.
In short, the bill would make it much easier for trucking companies to stonewall plaintiffs and refuse to settle — or give them the incentive they need to offer paltry, unfair settlements. Plaintiffs could be forced to endure absurdly complicated injury trials or take what they could get — and that’s a lot of pressure on someone who is already injured or a grieving family after a fatality.
WHAT IF YOU’VE BEEN INJURED OR A LOVED ONE WAS KILLED IN A WRECK WITH A TRUCK?
These days, it’s more important than ever to have experienced legal representation when you’re pursuing a claim against a trucking company. If you’ve been injured or a loved one was killed, don’t try to handle the negotiations on your own.