U.S. Capital

Property Brokers may be Liable in 18-Wheeler Wrecks Reports Austin Personal Injury Lawyer

Sep 1, 2011

Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) August 31, 2011 – Property brokers may have insurance coverage that can help increase a victim’s awards in the aftermath of a wreck.

“Big rig wrecks are, unfortunately, not new,” explained Brooks Schuelke, an Austin personal injury lawyer with Perlmutter & Schuelke, L.L.P. “There are far too many accidents, and in most instances, the truck doesn’t have a great deal of liability coverage; usually about $1 million worth of coverage. While $1 million sounds like a lot of money, if the plaintiffs sustained brain trauma or other catastrophic injuries $1 million won’t even touch what their medical expenses would be for the remainder of their lives.”

Consider this reported case that involved an 18-wheeler that ran amok on the highway and rear-ended a car, seriously injuring its occupants. On investigation, the trucking company turned out to have a dismal safety record. In fact, they had been cited for at least 238 safety violations, all within a year and a half of this reported case. Their accident record showed three wrecks, one fatal.

Finding insurance money to assist the victims of this collision could be a challenge. Fortunately, it turned out the trucker was hauling produce, and that the load had been arranged through a property broker. A broker hires the services of a trucking company to haul a load. It seems the broker was one of the biggest in the nation and had insurance coverage to spare. Property brokers without motor carrier authority would likely not be liable in a case like this. However, the broker here did have that authority, which exposed it to legal liability.

Legal liability rested with proving that the broker was acting as a motor carrier, and by their actions, it was deemed to be so. They arranged for the load, truck and hauling, determined pick-up and delivery locations, provided money in advance to the trucker and monitored the load by phone as it went cross country. Under the law, a motor carrier is vicariously liable for the negligence of any hauler it hires and they cannot evade liability by calling their haulers “independent contractors”.

The upshot of this case was that the broker anted up insurance money and the victims were able to get a just and equitable award for their injuries. “Going to the max for injured clients is what we do,” added Schuelke. “It’s our job to make sure that if you were seriously harmed by the negligence of another, that they are held responsible for damages. In trucking accidents, this can mean large awards, but that is directly related to the seriousness of the injuries the victims incurred.”

The bottom line is that negligence has consequences for innocent people. “If we can find a way to hold others legally accountable, then we work hard to ensure you get the compensation you deserve,” Schuelke commented. “If you have been injured as the result of a truck accident, please call my office. I’d be pleased to answer your questions.”

To learn more or to contact an Austin personal injury lawyer or Austin personal injury attorney, visit http://www.civtrial.com.

Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP
1717 W. 6th Street, Suite 375
Austin, Texas 78703-4868
Call (512) 476-4944