Truck accidents and vicarious liability

Driving to work, school, or a social gathering may be inherently dangerous, but if everyone were to be attentive, rested, and sober behind the wheel, then driving would be much safer. Unfortunately, though, far too many motorists are distracted, careless, and intoxicated when they drive, putting themselves and others at risk. When an auto accident occurs, significant damages can be suffered by victims in the form of physical and emotional pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. This is particularly true for those who are hurt in a truck accident.

Although a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent trucker may result in the recovery of compensation, the truth of the matter is that it may not be enough to cover a victim's losses. This is why many truck accident victims sue truck companies under the vicarious liability legal theory. Under this legal theory, an employer can be held accountable for the actions of its employees. If successful, pursuing such a claim could give a victim access to deeper pockets.

In order to win on a vicarious liability claim, though, a victim must prove certain elements. For example, he or she must show that the employee was operating within his job duties when the accident occurred, and that the employer received an actual benefit from the employee's duties. In a truck accident context, these matters can become contentious, as a truck company may claim that the employee was engaging in unauthorized detour or frolic at the time of the wreck in question.

Going up against a truck company can be daunting. They often have a whole team of legal professionals on their side, ready to attack weaknesses in a plaintiff's case. For this reason, truck accident victims pursuing a vicarious liability claim may want to consult with an experienced legal professional.

Source: FindLaw, "Vicarious Liability," accessed on May 27, 2017

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