If a truck driver negligently causes an accident, injuring another person, the injured person may be able to recover compensation for their damages not only from the negligent truck driver, but also from the truck driver’s employer. There may be other potentially liable parties, as well.
The legal theory behind this is known as vicarious liability. Essentially, vicarious liability is a legal concept that allows a third party to be held liable after a negligent driver causes an accident and injury. This can come in many forms. For instance, a car owner might be held liable after he lends his car to a friend he knows to be drunk, and the drunk friend then causes an accident that injures someone else. The most common way vicarious liability arises is through the employment relationship.
A longstanding legal rule known as “respondeat superior” (for “let the master answer”) holds that employers may be held liable for damages caused by their employees’ negligence. This can be very important in truck accident cases because it gives employers an incentive to make sure their drivers are well-trained and their vehicles are safe.
On a more practical level, respondeat superior also gives the injured a better chance of recovering the full amount of compensation they need and deserve. Because commercial trucks are so big and heavy, they are likely to cause severe injuries in any collision, and the damages suffered by the injured are likely to be very high. An individual driver’s insurance policy may not be sufficient to compensate the injured for their damages, but the employer will have a more robust policy.
Primary Anchor text: truck accidents; tractor-trailer; snow plows; crash; highway defects; illegal logbooks;