When pursuing a trucking accident personal injury case, you may find that the damage is often more than the truck driver can afford to compensate. Because large commercial trucks are capable of doing severe damage, the value of the case is usually outside the truck driver’s financial resources. Since the likelihood of the truck driver being able to fully compensate the plaintiff on his or her own accord is rather slim, it’s likely that your personal injury attorney will look for a theory of liability to hold other responsible parties accountable for your injuries.
This is perhaps the most obvious theory of liability. This is the same theory that would allow a shopper to sue a retail store for the actions of its employer – the legal term is known as Respondeat Superior. Not all truck drivers are independent contractors, and if the truck driver who caused the accident is actually an employee, you may be able to hold his or her employer liable for your injuries. In these instances, however, you can expect that the employer will go to great lengths to distance themselves from the truckers who would normally be their employees.
Was the truck a lease? If a trucking company or carrier leases a truck and a driver, they are legally obligated to have exclusive possession of the leased truck, which in turn makes them liable for any accidents or damage that is done under their watch.
Businesses have a duty to uphold to not hire employees that are unreasonably likely to harm others. If a company is aware that they are hiring a driver who is putting other drivers at risk, they can be held responsible for any accidents that occur at the hands of the reckless truck driver. There are federal rules and regulations trucking companies must follow during the hiring process to ensure that the individuals they are hiring will not endanger the public.