Can I Sue the Semi Truck Driver’s Employer for My Injuries?
February 18th, 2019|
Truck accidents can wind up being some of the most complicated types of road accidents. This is because of their particularly unique chain of responsibility. When you get into an accident with another car, the process is generally, relatively straightforward. But when it comes to a truck accident, negligence is not always easy to pin down.
The Truck Driver
In many truck driving accidents, the truck driver is at least named as one of the co-defendants in any lawsuits. If it is found that the truck driver violated federal work laws and did not rest when they were supposed to, that may be evidence of negligence.
Many people who are unfamiliar with the trucking industry do not realize that a large number of truck drivers and their rigs are independent contractors. This means that the driver is not an employee of the company. Sometimes, a trucking company may try to use an independent contractor defense. As opposed to an employee-employer relationship, it is very difficult to show “vicarious” liability of contracting parties.
The Responsibilities Of The Trucking Company
If a truck driver is an independent contractor, the driver may be responsible for the repairs and maintenance to the rig. If it is found that a lack of proper maintenance caused the accident, that independent contractor may have to answer for their negligence.
Trucking companies sometimes pack their own trailers and then attach those trailers to the rigs. This is a practice done with rigs owned by the company, and rigs owned by independent contractors. If it is discovered that an improperly loaded trailer was the cause of the accident, then the trucking company could be held liable. This could be the case even if the driver is an independent contractor.
So Who Do I Sue?
There are a lot of people who are supposed to come into contact with a truck before that truck is considered safe for the road. Even independent contractors have maintenance and repair companies they use. Such companies could wind up being negligent if there is an accident. In any given truck accident, the list of possible negligent parties could include, but are certainly not limited to:
- The driver
- The trucking company
- The independent maintenance company
- The company that packed the trailer if it was not the trucking company
- The owner of the trailer
This list of potential negligent parties is what can make truck accidents so difficult to sort out in terms of who is responsible. Generally, there is more than one party found to be negligent. And there has to be percentages of negligence applied to each guilty party. However, some parties can be held “jointly and severally liable”. Meaning that the injured person can sue one or all of these parties.
What Should I Do?
You may want to consider hiring a truck accident lawyer. The settlement process can be complicated, involving possibly more than one insurance company, and could wind up in multiple lawsuits.
Your legal team can tell you what information you need to collect and help you to put together any claims or lawsuits. Once you have a legal team in place, it is best to let them do their job and make all of the arrangements for you. Your job will be to provide information when needed, and be prepared to go to court if necessary.
A truck accident can be an extremely complicated and frustrating event. As the victim of the accident, you are concerned about losing income and the medical bills you will incur. Our committed truck accident lawyers have years of experience handling complicated truck accident cases. We are ready to use our experience to represent you. We want to make sure your side of the story is heard, and that you get the maximum available compensation for your injuries.