If I file a lawsuit for a truck accident, will I be suing the driver or the company?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there was more than 415,000 large truck crashes in the United States in 2015. Of those, 3,598 involved fatalities, and another 83,000 involved injuries. A large number of those crashes involved 18 wheeler trucks that can be over 70 feet long and weigh 80,000 pounds.

Vicarious liability
Many 18 wheeler crashes are caused by the carelessness negligence of truck drivers. Those drivers obviously become the targets of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, but by virtue of the law if vicarious liability, the trucking company that the trucker drives for might also be held liable for damages. That’s because the law of vicarious liability might allow the truck driver to be seen as the agent of the trucking company. Any negligence of the trucker could be considered to be negligence on behalf of the trucking company itself. On that basis, if you’re injured in an accident that was caused by the driver of an 18 wheeler, you can also designate the employer of that trucker as an additional defendant in your personal injury lawsuit.

Deeper pockets
The rationale supporting vicarious liability is that the trucking company is in a better position to compensate an injured person or their estate for damages than the driver who caused the crash. The trucking company has deeper pockets.

Independent contractors
An exception to the law of vicarious liability arises when the trucker who caused the crash was an independent contractor who wasn’t an employee of the trucking company. In that case, the trucking company might be able to exculpate itself from liability, but we would still be looking to the trucker and his insurer for compensation.

If you were injured in a large truck accident anywhere in California, or if a family member perished in one, call us or email us here at the Mova Law Group for a free consultation.

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