Commercial truck drivers are the heart and soul of the transportation and delivery business in America, but when accidents happen, these semi-trucks can do a lot of damage.
If you are a contract trucker and your commercial truck is involved in an accident, who is held liable? Is it the responsibility of the contractor or the company hiring the driver? Laws vary from state to state, so if you aren’t familiar with the laws, it’s time to hire a truck injury lawyer or attorney.
Who is liable – the trucker or the company who uses his serviceThe simple answer to that is that the only way a trucking or shipping company is responsible is under the legal theory of “vicarious liability.”
We’ll get to that in a second.
Many truckers on the road today are independent contractors who are not technically employed by any one company. They contract out on a job-by-job basis.
The trucking industry is also leaning toward independent contractors in the question of the legalities of driver and shipper.
If the driver is an independent contractor and an accident occurs, then the driver is usually held liable through his or her liability insurance carrier.
That means that injuries, damages and other compensation are handled through the individual driver’s insurance company, and not the shipping company that hired him or her.
So, that brings us back to “vicarious liability.” The only way the company is legally liable for a driver’s accident and negligent operation (if that’s the cause) is if the driver was an employee of the company.
Vicarious Liability, however, means that a company that hired the driver is liable for the accident as long as the driver was acting in the scope of employment for the company at the time of the accident.
In other words, if the driver was operating a company truck during an accident, then he or she falls under “vicarious liability.”
For those independent drivers injured on the job, many factors play into whether or not your “employer” is liable, including:
Laird Hammons Laird focuses on representing individuals or their families in serious personal injury or wrongful death cases, such as those involving truck accidents. If you are in doubt, call a truck accident attorney today at (405) 703-4567.