Most victims of commercial truck accidents assume that the at-fault party is the driver who caused the accident through distracted driving, speeding, or drowsy driving. While they can be liable for damages in a car accident claim, the trucking company that employs them can sometimes share liability.
A trucking company can share liability for a truck accident that happened while the employee completed a work task during their shift. Negligence from a trucking company, such as negligent hiring practices, making a worker drive for too long, or forcing an employee to complete a task they cannot handle, can also leave a trucking company liable for truck accident damages. A truck accident lawyer can help a truck accident victim determine if the trucking company is a possible liable party they can hold accountable for damages.
Truck Accidents Caused by Commercial Drivers
Commercial truck accidents can occur when drivers transporting goods, delivering packages, and hauling products crash into other drivers. Many types of truck accidents, such as rollover, jackknife, and underride truck accidents, can expose other drivers to severe injuries.
The following are some common causes of truck accidents:
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Drunk driving
- Reckless driving
- Disobeying road rules
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Running red lights
- Truck loaded improperly
- Poor vehicle maintenance
- Defective truck parts
When a commercial truck accident occurs, drivers in smaller vehicles and pedestrians can receive blunt-force trauma from a large truck that exposes them to significant bodily harm. They can suffer truck accident injuries like spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). These truck accident injuries can affect a person’s health and quality of life long-term, leading to damages like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
What is Vicarious Liability, and How Does It Affect Truck Accident Claims?
Following a truck accident, victims should focus on their medical recovery and how to pursue compensation for truck accident damages. When they shift their focus to their truck accident claim, they may wonder who can be held liable for truck accident damages. In most cases, the commercial driver who causes the truck accident is the primary liable party.
However, some cases allow the truck accident victim to hold the trucking company that employs that driver accountable. Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine that states a party responsible for the actions of another party can be held liable in personal injury claims. When applied to an employer-employee legal relationship, this doctrine is known as respondeat superior. The employer can be held liable for the wrongful actions of their employee.
Can a Trucking Company’s Negligence Lead to a Truck Accident?
A trucking company can share liability in a truck accident claim if their employee causes an accident during work hours while completing a work task. As the accident happened while the employee was under the employer’s purview, vicarious liability applies, and the trucking company can share liability. They cannot be held liable for truck accidents involving their employees outside work hours.
They can also share liability if they commit negligent actions that result in truck accidents. Trucking companies can fail to ensure their drivers are in the best position to complete a task safely. A trucking company can be liable for damages if their negligence causes the truck accident.
The following are some negligent actions from trucking companies that can leave them liable in truck accident claims:
- Negligent hiring practices
- Making an employee do a task they are not equipped to complete
- Failing to institute safety checks for trucks
- Forcing employees to work too long, leading to a drowsy driving truck accident
- Negligent loading practices
- Instituting far too strict quotas for drivers
Liability in a Truck Accident With an Independent Contractor
Trucking companies cannot be held liable for truck accident claims that involve an independent contractor causing a truck accident. Independent contractors are not company employees, meaning the trucking company is not vicariously liable for their wrongful actions. Trucking companies may pay independent contractors to complete jobs, but there is no employer-employee relationship that can leave the trucking company liable for damages.
Proving a Trucking Company’s Liability in a Truck Accident Claim
To recover compensation for truck accident damages, such as medical bills, property damage, and loss of enjoyment of life, you will have to prove the at-fault party’s liability. You must find tangible evidence that the trucking company acted negligently or shared liability because of their relationship with their employee.
A truck accident lawyer can help you find evidence that can help to prove the at-fault party breached the duty of care and caused your truck accident damages. Some evidence that can help prove your case includes photographic and video evidence, witness statements, medical records, police reports, and vehicle accident reconstructions.
Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer to Help Recover Compensatory Damages
Truck accident victims can file truck accident claims to hold negligent drivers and trucking companies liable for damages. It can be difficult to handle alone, especially as a victim attempts to recover from their severe injuries. Trucking companies have insurance companies that will attempt to limit your settlement to keep their profits up. They will contest your negligence claims and deny, delay, or devalue your claim.
To prevent this from happening, you should hire a truck accident lawyer. They will have significant experience handling truck accident claims and can hold the at-fault parties accountable for truck accident damages. A truck accident lawyer can help with your claim by determining the value of your claim, assessing liability, gathering evidence, and negotiating a settlement.
Contact The Russo Firm for Help With Your Truck Accident Claim
At The Russo Firm, our truck accident lawyers have decades of experience assisting victims in pursuing truck accident damages. We understand how complicated it can be to file a truck accident claim, determine whether the trucking company can share liability, and hold them accountable for your damages.
Our truck accident lawyers can offer their support through this complicated process to ensure you hold every liable party accountable for causing your damages. To learn how we can help with your truck accident claim, take advantage of our free consultations to speak to an experienced truck accident lawyer about your case. Contact us today at (561) 270-0913 or leave a message on our online contact page.