It’s no secret that car accidents are one of the most common causes of accidental injuries and deaths in the country. Unfortunately, you never know when you might share the road with a negligent, reckless, or intoxicated driver who is endangering the motorists around them.
Negligent drivers pose a serious danger to all other motorists, regardless of what vehicle they’re driving. But when the driver of a large commercial truck acts negligently and causes an accident, the results can be particularly devastating because of the size and power of these vehicles. In 2015, nearly 12 percent of fatal crashes in the US involved at least one large truck or bus, along with 7.6 percent of nonfatal accidents.
Is The Driver Or Employer Liable?
If you or someone you love has recently been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, you may be curious about your legal options and potential right to financial compensation. Because these vehicles are owned by private companies, the circumstances are slightly different than an accident involving non-commercial vehicles.
Depending on circumstances, either the driver or his employer could be found negligent and held liable for damages.
Independent Contractors Vs. Employees
The most important piece of information when determining liability is whether the driver is classified as an employee or an independent contractors.
According to a legal theory called “respondeat superior”, companies are responsible for wrongful acts committed by employees, as long as those acts were unintentional and were committed during their job duties.
A commercial truck accident almost always meets these requirements, assuming that the driver did not intentionally ram into you. This law makes the financial fallout from these accidents more practical, as companies usually have better insurance to cover damages.
If the driver was an independent contractor, the circumstances are different. Trucking companies are not liable for accidents caused by independent contractors, because they are not considered employees of the company.
Most commercial truck drivers are employees. One exception would be a truck driver who uses his own truck, gas and oil, purchased his own insurance, handled repairs on his own, and was paid for each route he completed, rather than receiving a steady paycheck.
How Do I File A Truck Accident Lawsuit?
Securing financial compensation as the victim of a commercial truck accident is usually more complicated than the average car accident case because of the fact that the vehicle is owned by a private company. These companies often have highly trained lawyers who look for ways to deny liability. We highly advise finding your own experienced truck accident lawyer who can help you through the legal process.
It’s crucial to make sure you have all of the documentation and evidence you need and for your lawyer to establish that the driver was at fault for causing the crash, that you suffered injuries because of their negligence, and that (depending on circumstances) either the driver or his employer should be held liable for damages related to your injuries. Make sure you have medical records, police reports, any photos you took of the accident, and contact information for any witnesses. These are all valuable pieces of evidence that will help prove your case and ensure that you get the full financial compensation you deserve.
Laurence Banville. Esq is the managing partner and face of Banville Law, a personal injury law firm in New York City where his team of defective product lawyers advocate for the rights of injury victims. Originally from Ireland, Banville moved to the United States of America where he worked at law firms, refining his litigation and brief writing crafts. He is also the recipient of the Irish Legal 100 and the Top 40 Under 40 awards.