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Determining Liability for Truck Accidents

Determining Liability for Truck Accidents

Commercial truck accidents may involve significantly more damage than regular car accidents. This is because a truck full of cargo can weigh more than 30 times as much as an average car. Combine that with typical highway speeds and the results are calamitous damages, injuries, and even fatalities. Despite making up only five percent of the vehicles on American roadways, large commercial rigs are responsible for more than 10 percent of all fatal crashes, typically suffered by the driver and passengers of smaller vehicles.

Is the Commercial Truck Driver Liable?

A key component in a commercial truck driving accident is identifying all possible defendants. This is because that, in addition to the driver involved in the crash, others that may be involved include the trucking company, any subcontractors, the vehicle’s manufacturer, and any insurance companies. These participants may all be obligated to compensate you for any injuries or damages.

Some common defendants may include:

  • The driver – They may be responsible for the accident if they were drunk, distracted, speeding, or otherwise neglectful
  • The maintenance workers – If the truck was not properly maintained, and a broken or defective part caused the crash, the maintenance workers could be held responsible.
  • The trucking or shipping company – If the truck, or part of the truck, was defective and caused the crash, the company that made the truck could be held responsible.
  • The trucking company – The trucking company may be liable for your injuries if they encouraged or required the driver to work in excess of federal hours of service, if they knew the driver had a drinking or drug problem, or had other policies or procedures that led to the crash.

In order for the company to be found liable for their driver’s carelessness, one must show that the company exercised some degree of control over the driver. Under this principle, called the “Respondeat Superior” principle, an employer is liable for the wrongful acts committed by its employees, provided that these acts were committee within the scope of employment.

Scope of Employment

Common factors that constitute as an act committed “within the scope of employment” include:

  • Intent of the employee
  • The time, nature, and place of the employee’s conduct
  • Type of work the employee did when they were hired

Was the Driver an Employee?

If you choose to go after the trucking company, the first thing that you must prove is that the truck driver was an employee, not an independent contractor. This is because a company is not typically liable for wrongdoings committed by independent contractors.

Delaware Truck Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Truck Accident Victims

Delaware truck accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC fight for the rights of injured victims. Schedule a free consultation with a Delaware truck accident lawyer today by calling 302-888-1221 or contact us online. Our offices are conveniently located throughout the Delaware Valley, and we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey.