Proposed Texas Bill Removes Vicarious Liability for Truck Companies
Here’s a terrifying proposition: What if trucking companies were no longer required to pay for liability insurance? Instead, the entire bill would fall on the individual trucker. In a world where logistics is suffering from a lack of drivers, such legislation being proposed in Texas would put the entire liability for an accident at the feet of the driver. Why is this problematic?
You’ve probably heard of corporate personhood. While the majority of folks who attack corporate personhood are thinking of situations where media companies can legally tell lies, the reality is that corporate personhood is a double-edged sword. The entire company is treated as a single unit under the law, or otherwise assigned many of the same rights as an individual person. For example, the right to free speech. The other edge of the sword is vicarious liability. Vicarious liability means that the company a trucker works for is liable for an accident caused by the company.
Logistics is an important part of American society. If we can’t get goods and services to grocery and department stores, then our entire civilization would grind to a halt. On the other hand, logistics companies sometimes take dangerous shortcuts, especially when training new drivers, that cost other passengers on the road their lives. The new Texas legislation would put the burden entirely on the truck drivers.
“Unsustainable Lawsuit Environment”
Without dredging over every single case filed against a Texas trucking company, let’s (without naming names) assume that there is one trucking company that keeps getting hit with $100 million or more “nuclear” verdicts. This same trucking company was involved in the deaths of several commuters on the roads both within and outside the state of Texas. The company got hit with multiple “nuclear” verdicts for putting out drivers who were continually undertrained. This included drivers who were still in training that had supervisors taking naps in the passenger seat while they should have been watching the trainee.
It is precisely this type of company that the Texas legislation will protect. “Nuclear verdicts” against bad actors are thus taken as a sign that the current legislative environment makes the entire industry less profitable. Well, let’s see how profitable the industry is once the drivers start getting hit with nuclear verdicts. It will become very difficult to find anyone willing to face bankruptcy every time an accident occurs.
This is exactly what it sounds like. The company is paying millions of dollars to politicians who will attempt to force individual drivers to face these lawsuits as opposed to their companies. Will this help? No. It only shifts the unsustainable environment to the people actually doing the work. The environment will remain “unsustainable” (if it is unsustainable) under this legislation.
Talk to a Florida Truck Accident Injury Lawyer Today
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, call the Coral Gables tire defect attorneys at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert today to schedule a free consultation and allow us to begin preparing your case immediately.