Trucking Company Liability
Truck accidents often lead to devastating—if not fatal—injuries. Given the severity of the damages and losses victims and their families face in the wake of a truck accident, it is imperative to identify a legal strategy that not only maximizes the chance of success but also ensures that the liable party has the resources to fairly compensate a victim. At the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, our Concord, NC trucking accident attorneys regularly pursue personal injury claims against both negligent truck drivers as well as the companies that employ them.Are Trucking Companies Liable for a Trucker’s Negligence?
Yes, as a general rule, trucking companies are liable for the negligent actions of their drivers under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior. Respondeat superior is a Latin term that loosely translates to “let the master answer” and is based on the idea that employers should be held legally accountable for injuries caused by an employee’s negligence. This is a theory of vicarious, or secondary, liability, meaning the trucking company can be held responsible for an accident victim’s injuries even if there was no evidence the company was negligent.
However, trucking company liability doesn’t attach in every semi-truck collision. For example, if a truck driver is not an employee but an independent contractor, respondeat superior usually will not apply. Additionally, to hold a truck company liable, the accident must have occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of their employment. In the truck accident context, this rarely poses much of a hurdle because driving is the primary job of a trucker.
Trucking company liability may also come up in the form of primary negligence. In this type of case, an accident victim must establish that the trucking company was negligent. For example, if a trucking company hires a driver without conducting a background check and it later turns out that the driver had been convicted of three DUIs, the trucking company may be liable under a negligent hiring theory, which is a form of primary liability. Another situation where a trucking company may be primarily liable is if someone was injured as a result of a poorly maintained truck that the trucking company was responsible for maintaining.Why Name a Trucking Company in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
There are several reasons why it is imperative to name a trucking company in a personal injury lawsuit whenever possible. First, if the evidence suggests that the trucking company was actually responsible for the accident and they were not a party to the lawsuit, an accident victim won’t receive the full amount of damages they are entitled to. This is because, in general, an accident victim cannot recover damages related to the fault of a non-party.
The second reason to pursue trucking company liability is to ensure that a successful accident victim actually recovers the compensation they are awarded. Truck drivers are required to have insurance policies; however, the limits of these policies vary depending on the policy. Thus, it is possible that an accident victim’s injuries greatly exceed the available limit. However, trucking companies have large commercial insurance policies with very high limits that are designed to cover these claims. Thus, there is little risk that your damages would exceed the amount of available coverage.Contact a Knowledgeable Truck Accident Lawyer to Discuss Your Case Today
If you or a loved one was recently in a North Carolina truck accident, you may be able to file a claim against both the negligent truck driver as well as their employer. However, don’t expect the trucking company (or its insurer) to willingly offer you fair compensation for what you’ve been through without a fight. At the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, our Charlotte truck accident lawyers have decades of combined experience pursuing justice and fair compensation on behalf of accident victims and strategically position each of our clients’ cases for success from the very beginning. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a Charlotte personal injury accident lawyer, give us a call at 704-405-2580. You can also reach one of our Concord truck crash injury lawyers at 704-918-4747. We take all personal injury cases on a contingency basis, meaning we will not bill you for our services unless we can connect you with compensation for your injuries.