Every time a commercial truck accident occurs, there is always the mix-up on whether one should sue the truck driver or the underlying trucking company.
Most of the truck drivers you see on the road are owned by corporations–but not independent truckers or owner-operators like some people think. And, even if a negligent driver is totally to blame for a road accident that occurred, the underlying company can still be held responsible for the careless act of its driver in the event of a commercial truck accident.
Where the Company`s Liability Arises after a Commercial Truck Accident
There are two reason why the truck company can be held responsible for a commercial truck accident that has been caused one of its employees; and that includes, the company`s negligence or the vicarious liability.
The Company`s Negligence
A classic example of negligence in this case can either be the negligent hiring of an employee or the neglectful supervision of the hired employee. Actually, it is the responsibility of the company to ensure that every driver they employ drives safely–after all, it is the company`s vehicle the employee is driving.
Also, in case the employee is going to drive a commercial car, it is upon the company to ensure that the employee has a renewed commercial driver`s license. Further, it is the company`s responsibility to check the past driving records of the drivers they employ and, at the same time, perform periodic drug tests on them to ensure their safety on the road. Now, if by any chance any of the above conditions is not met, then you`re eligible enough to file a lawsuit against the company and sue it for negligence.
Negligent supervision can also hold the employer responsible for a commercial truck accident. To begin with, every trucking company must have well-defined safety policies in place, and should also try to ensure that every truck driver they employ complies with the stipulated safety laws. In other words, if the company has employed drivers, it is upon it to ensure that each and every driver follows the logging requirements as set by the federal or the state laws, and that the cargo in transit is properly weighed before it`s loaded on any of its trucks. Needless to say, if the company failed in any way to check and ensure that the employee was showing reasonable amount of care and skill while performing the assigned job, then the company is liable for negligence.
Vicarious liability does not focus on the negligence side of the trucking company in case a commercial truck accident occurs. But rather, it takes the actions of the employee as the directive act of the company. This means that the employer or the company in question is considered as the principle,’ and when the principle orders the employee to perform a given task, the action that follows the order is just the `principle` in acting. With that in mind, if the commercial truck driver accident happened when the driver was in the verge of performing the duties he or she was signed, then everything he did–within the scope of his duty–is considered to be the liability of the owner.
For instance, if the employee was sent to a store to collect a given cargo, and on the way back happened to get into an accident, the employer is liable for the accident that occurred. However, if the driver decides to divert for lunch or for any other task that`s not within the employer`s range of work, the employer cannot be held liable in case the truck gets into an accident. Similarly, an employer is also not responsible for all the damages incurred, if the accident is triggered by intentional bad acts that resulted from the employee`s meanness.
Can a Third Party be Held Liable for a Commercial Truck Accident?
Third parties can also be responsible for a commercial truck accident if any of the services they provided earlier on triggered the accident. That includes the selling of defective spare parts, as well as the poor loading of cargo by the loading companies. Similarly, the liability can also be transferred to the manufacturer of the defective truck parts or to the owners of the truck-trailers.