There are few things worse than being involved in an auto accident, but those involving a truck can quickly increase the amount of damage done. Roughly 500,000 accidents involving a truck occur each year in the United States, causing severe injuries to non-commercial drivers. If you have recently been involved in an accident, it’s important to know your rights and options
Is the Trucking Company Liable?
The majority of these accidents are deemed the truck driver’s fault, but litigating these cases is complicated. Unlike standard auto accidents, the trucking company owns the vehicle and provides insurance for their employees.
At the same time, trucking employees also face unrealistic expectations. Personal injury lawyers across the country have shifted liability to the trucking company for placing their drivers in a position of little to no sleep, which is equally as dangerous as driving drunk.
Cargo Companies and Manufacturers
Liability can also shift with to key factors. The first places responsibility on the cargo company responsible for loading the truck. Accidents regularly occur from improper loading or overloading of the vehicle, making navigating a turn a dangerous task as the interior weight of the truck shifts.
Truck part manufacturers may also be to blame. If your attorney finds that the accident was caused by a defective part, then neither you nor the truck driver could have prevented the incident. Trucking companies perform routine inspections of vehicles, which places the blame on them as well.
Respondeat superior is Latin for, “let the master answer.” It is used by legal professionals when an employer is liable for their employees’ actions. Companies avoided this responsibility in the past by arguing that their drivers are contractors and not employees, but a series of cases created new liability laws.
Under the Department of Transportation, on both federal and state levels, the trucking company is now fully responsible for any truck that has a placard displaying their name. A truck accident lawyer in the Bay Area was one of the first to handle a case under these new laws.
While the company tried their best avoid any legal ramifications, it was a clear-cut win for the injured driver. The lawyer utilized respondeat superior under the new Department of Transportation guidelines and was able to secure the compensation their client desperately needed.
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, the best thing to do is hire a lawyer immediately. Trucking companies will do everything they can to avoid liability, and few individuals can handle the intensity and intricacies of a court case while trying to heal.
Your attorney can take care of everything from evaluating the accident to pursuing compensation under respondeat superior. You deserve compensation for your injuries and the damages to your vehicle. With a lawyer at your side, you can focus on your recovery and know your case is being taken care of.