• May
    Posted in:
    Posted by: Jarve Kaplan Granato Starr

    Who’s Responsible in an Accident with a Semi-Truck?

    Truck Accidents

    There are a lot of differences between a car accident with the driver of another car and an accident that involved a tractor-trailer or commercial truck. Even if the accident was clearly the driver’s fault, there’s a good chance that legal responsibility extends far beyond that individual: in fact, most car accident lawsuits involving a semi will be likely to name the trucking company that employs the driver, the owner of the truck, and possibly many others, such as the company whose goods were being transported in the truck, the company responsible for servicing the truck, and possibly even parts manufacturers whose components failed in the accident.

    There are a lot of factors that come into play when preparing a lawsuit over a car accident with a truck. One of the most important considerations is whether the truck driver is an independent contractor or the employee of a trucking company, as if it is the latter then there’s a good chance that the company will be named in the lawsuit. The reason for this is based on both legal principal and common sense: the principal is a theory of liability called “respondent superior”, which translates into “let the superior make answer” and which means that an employer is responsible for their employees’ wrongful acts as long as they were unintentional and occurred while the employee was fulfilling their job responsibilities. The common sense reason for naming the company responsible is that they simply have deeper pockets and greater economic resources for providing compensation for damages. Employers carry insurance coverage for this specific reason.

    If the truck driver is an independent contractor, then the company for whom they are driving is likely to be named as a defendant in a lawsuit. The question to be answered is who is controlling the way that work is being performed. If the driver provides his own truck, fuel, and insurance, as well as the cost of repair and his hours, then it is unlikely that the trucking company will be liable.

    The other question that needs to be answered is whether the employee was acting “within the scope” of their employment. That question is answered by determining numerous elements such as the employee’s intent; where, when and how the wrongful action occurred; what the company’s expectations and rules for employees were; whether the employee was ‘on the clock.’

    Finally, there is a question about whether the truck driver was acting intentionally when he got into an accident. If they were, then the employer cannot be held responsible. If the actions were the result of an accident, then the employer will likely be found legally responsible for the consequences of their actions.

    If you’ve been in an accident and you need information about your rights, call us today to set up a free consultation.

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