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Sugar Land Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Personal Injury > U-Haul Truck Wrecks and Liability Issues

U-Haul Truck Wrecks and Liability Issues


A full-size, fully-loaded U-Haul moving truck weighs almost 36,000 pounds. People usually need commercial drivers’ licenses and squeaky-clean driving records to operate these massive vehicles. But at a U-Haul establishment, almost anyone with a valid credit card can walk out with the keys. Normally, the negligent entrustment rule applies in rented or borrowed vehicle crash cases. The owner could be liable in some situations. But Texas law creates some additional hurdles.

Corporate liability is very important in these cases. Most U-Haul renters don’t buy additional insurance. Therefore, a Sugar Land truck accident lawyer must work extra hard to clear these hurdles and obtain maximum compensation for victims. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Negligent Entrustment

This doctrine is very straightforward in many states. But the law in Texas is different, as outlined below. Nevertheless, the basic elements are the same. Owners are liable for collision damages if they knowingly allow incompetent people to drive their motor vehicles. Evidence of incompetence includes:

  • No drivers’ license,
  • Safety-suspended license,
  • Driving in violation of a license restriction (e.g. no freeway driving),
  • Poor driving record that includes presence safety suspensions, and
  • Poor driving record that includes prior at-fault collisions.

A Missouri City personal injury lawyer must only establish knowledge of the incompetence by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).

Vicarious Liability

Third-party liability, or vicarious liability, is often difficult to prove in Texas. Unlike many other states, Texas doesn’t have a vicarious liability statute. Furthermore, courts in the Lone Star State don’t recognize the family purpose doctrine. This rule basically states that parents know if their children are incompetent drivers, if they use the vehicle for any family purpose.

Instead, the victim/plaintiff must establish an agency or controlling relationship between the owner and user. The rental agreement usually establishes this relationship. However, if the owner rented the truck to the user under the table, as is often the case, attorneys must use circumstantial evidence to establish this point.

Graves Amendment

Since Texas doesn’t have a vicarious liability law, the federal Graves Amendment also affects U-Haul truck crash liability. This obscure law shields U-Haul truck owners from truck crash liability. However, Graves Amendment immunity comes with strings attached. This law only applies if:

  • Trade or Business: The Graves Amendment only applies if the owner was in the trade or business of renting vehicles. Most U-Haul outlets are moving supply and storage companies that rent a few trucks on the side. A hardware store doesn’t become a candy store if it sells a few chocolate bars.
  • Not Otherwise Negligent: Technology has advanced to the point that a mere visual drivers’ license inspection is no longer sufficient. Instead, companies should electronically verify licenses and review driving records. Outlets that don’t do so are negligent.

Truck wrecks usually cause catastrophic (life-threatening) injuries, such as severe burns, crushed bones, and head injuries.

Count on a Tough-Minded Fort Bend County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Missouri City, contact the Henrietta Ezeoke Law Firm. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start working for you.

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