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How Texas’ bifurcated trials impact lawsuits in truck accidents

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2023 | Truck accidents

Truck accidents, particularly those involving high speeds on highways, can have devastating consequences. When negligence plays a role, these accidents can result in catastrophic injuries. In Texas, however, pursuing a negligence case against trucking companies can be complex due to a specific legal process known as the bifurcated trial.

Understanding this process is crucial, as it can significantly impact the case outcome.

The bifurcated trial process

A lawsuit against a trucking company in Texas involves a bifurcated or two-step trial process. Initially, the court must establish that the truck driver is at fault to determine liability. This, in turn, will make way for assessing the amount of damages in the second phase. This decision is based on the accident’s specific circumstances and the driver’s actions. Only once the driver’s fault is established can the lawsuit proceed against the trucking company.

Following this, the trial moves into its second phase. During this stage, lawyers can present broader evidence about the trucking company’s past and safety record. This phase allows the court to scrutinize the company’s practices and any potential negligence contributing to the truck accident.

The challenge in proving the company’s negligence

The first phase of a trial in Texas focuses solely on the driver and the specific circumstances of the accident. If an accident occurs, victims can initially only present evidence directly related to the driver’s actions and the accident itself. This focus can heavily influence the lawsuit’s outcome. If the court does not find the driver at fault in the first phase of the bifurcated trial process, victims may face difficulties in seeking damages from the trucking company. Without this finding, the trial would not progress to the second phase, limiting the opportunity to hold the trucking company accountable and potentially seek additional damages.

Seeking justice and compensation

Despite these challenges, it’s important to remember that victims of truck accidents in Texas have the right to seek compensation for their injuries. The journey to a fair settlement may require additional steps. However, achieving justice is still possible. Given the complexity of this process, victims should consider seeking an attorney to guide them in building their case.