When you’re pursuing a personal injury claim, your lawyer must be up to speed on all relevant legislation. When new laws are introduced, it can affect your ability to fairly and reasonably recover compensation.
For instance, recently introduced legislation in Texas, called HB 19 & SB 17, if passed, could impact your truck accident claim. Continue reading to learn more about HB 19 & SB 17 and how they may influence Texas truck accident lawsuits like yours.
If you have questions or want to speak to an experienced Houston truck accident lawyer, reach out to The Krist Law Firm, P.C. We are here to advocate for your rights and explain your options. Call (281) 283-8500 for a free, no-risk consultation.
What Is HB 19 & SB 17?
In late March 2021, Rep. Jeff Leach and Sen. Larry Taylor brought forward two identical legislation: HB 19 and SB 17, respectively.
First, both bills would require a two-part trial for accidents involving commercial trucks. But this is only if requested by the defense.
Part one would focus on fault. It would also center on the amount of economic and non-economic damages you should be awarded. Economic and non-economic damages are also known as compensatory damages. Part two would focus on fault too. However, the second part of the trial would also deal with exemplary damages – also called punitive damages.
In addition to splitting the trial into two parts, HB 19 & SB 17 would also reduce the frequency in which specific evidence can be introduced in a truck accident case. Specifically, this shows the trucking company’s failure to comply with trucking regulations or standards.
What Does This Mean for Your Truck Accident Lawsuit?
Let’s say a trucking company overworked their truck driver, who then hit you while driving in their exhausted condition. These bills aim to have the fact that the trucking company overworked their trucker – violating trucking regulations – be inadmissible. This means it cannot be introduced as evidence to support your claim against the trucking company.
Texas Truck Accident Lawsuits Today
In today’s commercial truck accident lawsuits, injury victims have the right to be made whole. They should be repaid for every loss they have endured as a result of the at-fault party.
Truck accidents will name several at-fault parties because several parties contribute to the victim’s injuries. Take the example above. The truck driver may have been drowsy driving, but if their employer hadn’t forced them to work hours that made them too tired to drive safely, would the accident have happened?
It isn’t only truck companies who cause truck accidents, either. Other parties who could be found at fault include:
- Cargo loaders
- Safety inspectors
- Government agencies
- Auto parts manufacturers
- Other negligent parties
Truck accident survivors deserve justice. And all at-fault parties should all be held accountable.
But trucking companies are the ones that payout large injury settlements to people they hurt. So, like insurance companies, they are looking to escape paying out on these claims.
Currently, damages are assessed during the same trial. The at-fault party can be compelled to repay you for the ways your life has been affected. Then, the judge can impose an award of punitive damages to punish the at-fault party.
Trucking companies want to avoid paying exemplary damages if they can. By splitting these up into two trials, they could accomplish this goal.
HB 19 & SB 17: The Bottom Line
It is clear that if HB 19 & SB 17 pass, truck accident survivors may face additional challenges in court. This is especially true if they do not have a lawyer.
If you have already been injured in a commercial truck accident, it is crucial to act quickly. Not only are we going up against the state’s statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims. We are also going up against the potential passage of these laws, which could impact your civil claim.
Should this legislation be passed, that does not mean that you aren’t entitled to full compensation. The trucking companies will have an edge. But with the right truck accident lawyer, you can still win your truck accident claim.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in Houston
With decades of experience and some of the largest recoveries in Texas, The Krist Law Firm, P.C., could help you get justice after a truck wreck. Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation at (281) 283-8500 or complete our convenient contact form.