Understanding Liability Issues in a Truck Accident
Personal Injury Lawyer
It is understandable that you want compensation after being involved in an accident with a commercial truck. While damages alone can cause significant financial strain, you may have also suffered from injuries that require long-term recovery and care. Therefore, you want to file a claim against someone, but who? Do you sue the driver or the company they work for? Or, do you sue both? Unfortunately, the answer to those questions isn’t so easy because it depends on several underlying factors.
Before suing the company or employer of the driver, you must define the driver’s place within the organization. There are two ways to define an employee.
- Independent contractor
An independent contractor, while technically working for a company, is not actually an employee of the business. Therefore, they do not receive benefits, can typically choose their own routes and may even work for other companies. However, a business may still be liable for the actions of an independent contractor if they rent or lease a truck or placard to the driver.
An employee, alternatively, drives only for one company, receives employee benefits, has taxes withheld from their checks, receives route instructions and cannot freely deviate from said instructions. A company is often liable for the actions of their employees during work hours and work-related tasks.
While it may seem like your only legal recourse is to sue either the driver or the company they work for, you can file against both in some situations. For instance, while an independent contractor is typically solely responsible for an accident they cause, if they were leasing a truck or placard from the company they were delivering for, you can sue both. Also, while you are typically only able to sue the company of an employed driver, you can sue both if the driver was purposefully negligent. However, suing both the company and driver is difficult and requires legal knowledge and possible representation.
Receiving the Most Compensation
If you sue either or both parties, it is worth seeking competent counsel. Though not a requirement, an experienced truck accident attorney can often negotiate better settlement offers and likely has the resources to investigate your claim and hire expert witnesses if the lawsuit goes to trial.
While a truck accident can leave you angry and in debt, it is necessary to understand the liability issues before suing both the driver and the company they work for. If you need help to wade through the information, then reach out to a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia, PA for a consultation.
Thanks to Wieand Law Firm, LLC for their insight into personal injury claims and liability in truck accidents.