Driver vs. Company Liability in Commercial Truck Accidents
It isn’t always clear who is on the legal hook after a commercial truck accident.
Under this principle, an employer is liable for the wrongful acts committed by its employees or agents, provided the acts were unintentional and were committed within the scope of employment. Essentially, respondeat superior imputes the employee’s liability to the employer, making the employer liable as if it had committed the wrongful act itself.
There is an exception to the general rule that a company is liable for accidents caused by its employees. Generally, an employer is not liable for the intentional torts (i.e., assault, battery, kidnapping) committed by its employee. The rationale is that the purpose of the “respondeat” principle is not being met when the employee’s acts are not related to the business enterprise.
For example, if a truck driver slams into another vehicle because the driver of the other vehicle was sleeping with the truck driver’s spouse, the company will probably not be liable.
When an Attorney Can Help in a Car Accident Case
Usually, car accidents involving serious or long-term injuries require an attorney to get the most desirable outcome.
Hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you after a car accident means you will have a professional working for you — one who is extremely knowledgeable about the relevant laws and procedural rules that may affect your case.
An attorney can advise you of any time limits (called statutes of limitations) that can operate to bar you from filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. For instance, in many states you must file your lawsuit within two years of your car accident or be forever prohibited from filing your lawsuit. An attorney will also be able to inform you about any special exceptions to the statute of limitations — for minors, for example.
Your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf and will know how best to handle any possible defenses raised by the other side. In addition, once your legal case gets under way, an attorney will be an invaluable guide in navigating the often confusing world of trial preparation — and even going to trial if your case doesn’t settle.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, having an attorney who is knowledgeable about the law evens the playing field, especially when you are going up against the experience and vast resources of a big insurance company.
Call us TODAY for any personal injury you may have suffered – 251-275-3127.