Commercial Truck Accidents: Driver versus Company Liability
An accident with a commercial truck often results in harsher damages and more severe injuries. Even if the truck caused the accident, it can be difficult to determine the party legally liable for your injuries and losses.
Holding the Company Responsible for their Driver
Typically an employer can be held liable for the actions of their employees, even if those actions were unintentional. As long as the actions were committed within the scope of their employment, then the company is as liable as if they caused the accident themselves. Using this rule, most accidents with a commercial truck can include the company employing the driver or the company who owned the truck. Consult your truck accident attorney first to ensure you can name the company in your lawsuit. While a company is often liable, there are instances where they cannot be named or held legally liable for your injuries.
Determining the Driver's Employment Status
To name the company in your suit, you must first determine whether or not the driver was an employee or independent contractor. Companies are not liable for the actions of their contractors; instead, the contractor and their own insurance coverage must cover any damages. Federal guidelines help identify if someone is an employee or independent contractor, but your attorney may use other methods. For example, if the driver uses his or her own truck, supplies his or her own fuel, and pays for repairs, then he or she may be listed as an independent contractor.
"Scope of Employment"
If the driver was an employee, then you must then determine if the driver was acting within the "scope of employment." In other words, was the driver performing their normal job duties or was the accident due to the employee's variance of their assigned tasks? For example, if the driver was off duty and driving the truck without permission, on his or her own time, then he or she would be liable for the injuries, not the employer. But, if the same accident occurred while the driver was making regular deliveries, then the company is liable.
Call a Truck Accident Attorney
Determining legal liability and fault are highly complex in civil court cases. It is best to speak with a truck accident attorney before assuming you have a case against the company. Lucas Law can assess your truck accident case for free. Our attorneys will help gather evidence and build a case against the liable parties so that you can get the compensation you deserve. Call us now to make an appointment at 603-581-7102. Related Posts: