All accidents are traumatic, however, when trucks are involved (especially large ones) they can be devastating. On top of this, figuring out who to hold responsible can be a challenge. After all, many larger trucks are company-owned. As always, the best advice is to hire a good attorney to fight your case, they will be able to explain the process to you and who is liable. However, let’s just say you’re asking, “can I sue both truck driver and company after an accident,” …for a friend.
Legal paths to take after truck accidents:
Truck accidents are unusually complex, which is why you should hire an experienced lawyer who will be able to determine the facts of the case objectively. It is entirely possible that the injuries and emotions can cloud your judgment and confuse you as to the identity of the responsible party.
Truck accident injury attorneys are responsible for examining the situation as thoroughly as possible. They inspect all the parties who are connected to the accident to determine who can be held responsible. Anyone who has even remotely contributed to the accident should compensate the injured party.
If you were somehow trying to navigate this on your own, it can be tricky. Most of the insurance companies will want you to settle as fast as possible. However, they do not have your best interest at heart. In fact, they have one goal, to compensate the victim with as little as they can.
If the driver is an employee of the trucking company, both the company and driver can be held responsible for the accident. The company needs to own up to its employees’ negligence since they were working at that time. However, in certain cases, truck drivers are independent contractors which mean that they are not employees of the company and are hence not directly related to them. In these cases, you might not be able to sue the company successfully.
The real question of in a truck accident is whether the truck driver is an Independent Contractor or an Employee.
If you are hit, you’ll want to find out immediately if the truck driver is indeed an employee or an independent contractor who was hired separately. The latter’s negligence cannot be traced back to the company. If you are not sure, then you should ask your personal injury attorney to confirm. If a truck driver can refuse assignments, dictate his own working hours and work for other people, then more than likely he is an independent contractor. These drivers usually have trucks of their own and get no employee benefits. They are simply given a task by the company which they are then paid to execute.
At times, trucking companies might try to mislead you by insinuating that the driver was an independent contractor even though he is an employee just to avoid the legal repercussions. You should be careful of them and always run your own checks. You will be surprised to find out that you can sue the company if they leased the truck to the driver or gave them a company placard or suit.
You should not hesitate to take the help of a professional personal injury attorney because dealings with trucking companies can often get ugly. Once your claim is filed, and you present the facts of the case to the court.
Company Truck Drivers:
In case, the driver is an acknowledged employee of the truck company and is on their payroll; you can sue the company along with him. The truck driver’s actions can then be traced back to the company who will be held liable for their employees’ mistake. In certain cases, it might also turn out that the trucking company made a mistake with the vehicle because of which the accident happened.
However, there are some loopholes that you need to cover. If the truck driver was not operating within work hours when the accident happened, the company could refuse to take responsibility citing that the driver had not been driving within their scope of employment. This would release them from liability. A company cannot be held liable for what an employee does in his free time, and it might work against you in court. If you are a victim of a truck accident, and you are not sure what to do, then you should go for a personal injury attorney and let them handle it. Legally, you are well within your rights to sue both the driver and the trucking company.