Vicarious Liability/Respondeat Superior in a Trucking Accident
When a truck driver has a relationship to a company or superior, something known as “vicarious liability” or “respondeat superior” may come into play. Let’s look at it from another point of view, one that does not involve a truck company: Let’s say that a negligent driver ran into your vehicle when they were running an errand for another person. In some cases, the owner of the vehicle could be held liable because they owned the car and should have only let people drive it who would be safe under all circumstances. The phrase “respondeat superior” holds an employer liable for an employee’s negligent actions that occur during the course of employment. This could mean that, if you are injured by a truck driver, the employer could still be held liable in some ways.
What does this mean for you, the victim? This means that, when you bring a lawsuit, you may not only be bringing it against a truck driver in general – you may also be bringing it against the trucking company. This makes a big difference in terms of gaining a judgment from your lawsuit, as you could recover larger amounts of cash from a whole trucking company in many cases. However, you must be able to show that the truck driver was not just acting independently negligent and that there was a real employment relationship. Perhaps the employer made the truck driver rush from one destination to another and, as a result of this negligent speeding, the accident occurred. It’s safe to say that a truck company could have something to do with this.
What You Have to Prove
If you want to be successful in your case, you may have to show a couple of things:
- The injury occurred while the truck driver was on the clock
- The injury was caused by an activity that the employee was supposed to perform
- The employer benefited from this activity
There are many types of negligence that could occur in truck accident cases involving vicarious liability. Some of these causes include driver fatigue, poor judgment, mechanical problems, speeding, improper maintenance of the vehicle, or poor driver training. These are things to keep in mind when we take a look at your truck accident case. Call us today for more information on how we can help you with your case.