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Liability in Moving Truck Accidents: Rentals Versus Professionals

A couple prepares to move to their new home in a rented moving truckMany people barely register moving vans or trucks as being a serious presence on the road because they’re such an everyday sight, but all drivers should act with caution around moving trucks. These trucks are large and ungainly to drive, often loaded with significant weight, and able to be rented and driven by anyone with a regular (non-commercial) driver’s license and zero training.

When an accident happens between a moving truck and a passenger car, it can be devastating—especially for the occupants of the smaller vehicle.

Here’s what you should know about crashes with moving trucks, including trucks driven by renters versus a moving company, the leading causes of accidents with moving trucks, and how to get legal help if you’ve been hurt.

Accidents With Rental Trucks

A common scenario when moving to a new home is for a household member to rent a moving truck, load it with possessions (often with the help of friends or family) and drive the van to the new home to unload. This can be quite an economical way to move, as there are few requirements that need to be met—a standard non-commercial passenger vehicle driver’s license is enough to rent a truck that’s 26 feet long and weighs over 12,000 pounds (six tons) when empty. Policies vary by rental company, and some allow renters or drivers as young as 18 years old, while others require an age of 24 or greater. No special classes or training are required.

What happens if the renter is driving the moving van and a traffic collision occurs? Liability for the accident is most likely going to fall on the renter and his or her insurance policy. Some personal vehicle insurance policies will cover rental trucks, but many do not, requiring the renter to purchase an additional policy for the term of the rental. The company that owns the truck would not likely be found to be liable, unless you can prove that the company was negligent in some fashion. For example:

  • Failure to maintain the equipment. If the rental company rents out a vehicle that hasn’t had routine maintenance and it results in a crash, the company may be found liable.
  • Failure to check for a driver’s license. If the company failed to confirm that the renter had a driver’s license before renting the vehicle, it may risk assuming some liability for any crashes.
  • Failure to check for insurance. If a moving truck rental company doesn’t confirm that the renter has legally appropriate insurance, the company could be made to take responsibility for part of the resulting crash.

Liable parties after a crash may include the driver, the driver’s insurance company, a supplemental insurance policy purchased by the renter, the rental company itself, or a combination of any of these. Your attorney will be able to help you determine who may be responsible so that you can pursue your personal injury claim against the appropriate parties.

Accidents With Professional Moving Trucks

Accidents with a moving truck when a professional mover is driving are a little different, because of the commercial nature of the activity. Commercial truck accidents of all kinds, whether moving trucks, semi tractor-trailers, or other large company vehicles, can be legally complex due to the number of parties involved. Not only may the driver and the company itself (and their insurance companies) be involved, there are multiple regulatory agencies that come into play and may be important for your case, including rules from both the both the United States Department of Transportation and the Texas Department of Transportation. A personal injury attorney with deep knowledge and experience with commercial truck accident law can help you figure out what rules may have been broken, who is liable, and what your best legal options are to proceed with a case.

Get Legal Help Today

If you’ve been involved in an accident with a moving truck, whether it’s rented or driven by a professional mover, Wayne Wright LLP would like to hear from you today. Our experienced attorneys are here to help people who have been injured by negligence receive the justice that they deserve in a court of law, and receive compensation for hospital bills, physical therapy, vehicle repair or replacement, pain and suffering, and more.

To speak to one of our experienced legal professionals about your Texas moving truck accident, contact us today by telephone, use the contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page right now.