Utility trucks are commercial vehicles used by telephone and electric companies, local governments, construction companies, and other businesses such as cable or satellite companies to transport crews and equipment to work sites. Accidents involving these vehicles can result in serious injury. In such cases, a Houston truck accident attorney can be your best advocate when you need to recover.
Utility vehicles can range in size from massive and specialized construction equipment to large bucket trucks and small all-terrain vehicles.
Utility trucks are generally specialized vehicles such as:
Utility trucks are governed by a variety of legal requirements to protect the safety of pedestrians and other drivers. For example, utility trucks:
There are many similarities between utility truck accidents and tractor-trailer collisions. Utility trucks often are large vehicles that collide with smaller vehicles, and the size and weight of a utility truck may cause a more serious impact than a smaller passenger vehicle. Additionally, there may be confusion surrounding fault and liability in a utility truck accident because of the multiple parties that can be involved — and even more confusion about which laws and regulations are applicable to an accident.
However, there also are some key ways in which utility truck accidents differ from accidents involving commercial semi trucks — namely in how each is regulated. Commercial tractor-trailers or 18-wheelers are more heavily regulated than utility trucks.
Where large big rigs are often restricted from driving in areas like residential neighborhoods or beneath underpasses with low clearance, utility trucks often must access these areas in order to let electricians, plumbers, and utility repair workers access a community’s infrastructure. Operating in residential neighborhoods can lead to a higher likelihood of an accident involving smaller passenger vehicles, bicycles, or pedestrians — any of which could result in serious injuries.
Additionally, federal and state rules imposed on commercial trucking companies and their trucks by the U.S. Department of Transportation and state agencies may not apply to utility trucks due to their smaller size compared to an 18-wheeler, and due to the nature of a utility truck’s function.
Navigating lawsuits involving utility truck accidents can be extraordinarily complicated. With utility companies, lawsuits often may involve independent contractors who are employed by private operators, while there also may be municipal governments in the mix. To take action against a city or state means facing a greater number of hurdles, including more complex rules, more guidelines, and a massive amount of bureaucracy that may lead all the way up to state government officials.
These measures are in place to protect municipalities and government agencies from frivolous lawsuits and are strict enough to make these types of lawsuits the exception rather than the norm. This is why it is crucial to engage the attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C., who know the statutes involved and how to apply them to your case to build a strong argument for why you deserve compensation.
The actions of the truck driver may also play a large role in determining liability in an accident involving a utility truck. If the driver was fatigued, under the influence of controlled substances, or simply distracted, the courts may hold the driver accountable for damages incurred because of an accident.
In the event that the driver of the utility vehicle turns out to be working directly for a private company rather than a government agency, that business may also be found liable. Under the common law, in most situations where a worker is under the scope of employment, the employer can be held responsible for any financial compensation tied to job-related negligence that causes harm to another.
Sometimes a utility truck accident will involve a driver employed by a municipality, a public utility, or a general contractor working on behalf of the public agency. Texas law allows a city, county, or other local government to be sued if a public employee caused an injury. But as mentioned early, taking on any government body in civil or criminal court can be an arduous and emotionally draining task. Simply acquiring permission to take action against a municipality may require complex legal actions that not all law offices are experienced in performing.
When you’ve been injured in an accident with a utility truck, the dedicated Houston truck accident lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. are here to help. We have represented countless people injured in serious collisions to obtain the compensation that helps them rebuild their lives.
We provide compassionate and skilled representation in truck accident cases, from investigation to trial, and fight to obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries and other losses. Through a personal injury lawsuit, you may be able to obtain compensation for your past and future:
Contact a Houston truck accident attorney with The Krist Law Firm, P.C. at or by using the contact form below to learn more about what we can do to help you following a catastrophic commercial trucking accident. We offer a free initial case evaluation and charge no fees unless we are able to obtain compensation for you.