How To Determine Liability Following A Truck Accident?

If a large truck has collided with an automobile, the contrasting size of the two vehicles suggest that the truck’s driver should be held responsible for any injuries. Yet legal authorities usually assign liability to the truck’s owner. That action reflects their adherence to the principle known as respondeat superior.

According to that principle, an employer should be held liable for any negligent acts committed by an employee. In the case of a trucking accident, the truck’s owner would be the employer, and the driver would be the employee.

Facts that support application of that one specific principle:

The truck’s owner pays for the insurance, any repairs and any other expenses. The truck’s owner determines the number of hours the driver must remain on the road. In addition, the truck’s owner may agree to have the driver responsible for the loading and unloading the hauled items. That agreement could put added strain on the person charged with both transporting and loading a given item.

Other factors considered by the court, when determining who should be held liable for the damages caused by a truck accident.

Did the driver receive any form of employee benefits from the owner of the transport vehicle (truck) that collided with the automobile? Truck-owners that provide their drivers with benefits offer proof of their role as employers. Hence, each of them should be held responsible for any accident-caused injuries, if one of their trucks collides with an automobile.

Injury Lawyer in Burlington will ask if the accident happen on personal or company time? What was happening when the two vehicles collided? Was the driver in the process of carrying-out a task that had been assigned to him by the employer? Or was the driver headed to a spot where the transport vehicle could be parked, during the driver’s scheduled rest stop?

To which of those questions would an answer from any truck-owners lead the court to call for application of the respondeat superior principle? A “yes” answer to that first question would certainly trigger the application of that principle. On the other hand, a “yes” answer to that second question would suggest that the driver could be held responsible for any accident-related injuries.

Why courts prefer to make use of the respondeat superior principle?

A trucking accident can cause those in the impacted vehicle to suffer terrible injuries. A court hesitates to hold drivers accountable for such catastrophic events. Drivers seldom have the sort of financial resources that must be accessed, in order to pay for all the accident-related damages. It does not make much sense to demand payment of a large award, it that demand gets directed at someone that finds it impossible to make such a payment.

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