Let’s say you are driving to the YMCA early on a Saturday, planning to get in your morning swim. However, as you are waiting at a red light a semitruck starts backing up in front of you. The next thing you know, the back of the truck jackknifes around and strikes your vehicle.
Fortunately, the driver realized the error of his ways and stopped, but not before the force of the trailer smashed the side of your car and broke your arm. Your doctor says you won’t be able to swim for at least a month, you won’t be able to do your job for the same period and medical bills are piling up. Who’s liable for this accident?
Personal injury claims arising out of semitruck accidents are different than those arising out of normal car accidents. This is because, not only do different laws and regulations apply to commercial trucks and their drivers, but the potentially liable parties for the accident will be different as well.
For example, a semitruck driver is usually on-the-job at the time of a crash, which means that he or she will have an employer that is also responsible. The legal doctrine, known by the ancient Latin term Respondeat Superior, “let the master respond,” will come into play in these cases. Essentially, when a semitruck driver causes an accident due to his or her own negligence, the driver’s employer will also be liable because the driver was doing the bidding of his or her employer at the time of the crash.
By the doctrine of Respondeat Superior, also referred to as “vicarious liability,” potentially liable parties in a semitruck crash could be:
— Employers who hired the truck driver to perform driving duties. — Contractors in control of the truck driver or trucking company. — Trucking companies that employed the driver and owned the commercial truck involved in the crash. — Insurance companies offering coverage to the responsible parties that are liable to pay damages relating to a plaintiff’s injuries.
The more liable parties you can identify in your semitruck accident, the better chances you will have of making a successful recovery for your injuries and getting paid. A skilled personal injury lawyer who has handled many semitruck crashes will know what information to examine to identify any and all potentially liable parties in your semitruck crash.