When you must file a claim for compensation for your injuries caused in a truck accident, you want to hold the trucking company as well as the truck driver responsible for compensating you if at all possible. There is a very practical reason for this. The trucking company has a much larger liability insurance policy to compensate you for your injuries, increasing the likelihood that you will receive a full settlement. One way to do this is to pursue a claim under the legal theory of vicarious liability.
How Can You Use Vicarious Liability to Hold a Trucking Company Accountable?
Vicarious liability is a legal theory that can be used to hold a trucking company responsible for its trucker’s negligent actions when you do not have a separate claim of negligence against the trucking company. In Virginia, vicarious liability is often referred to as respondeat superior. This legal theory states that an employer, in this case the trucking company, is responsible for the acts of its employee—the truck driver—as long as the employee was acting in the course of his employment. You must prove the following to hold the trucking company vicariously liable for the truck driver’s negligence in causing your crash:
- The trucker was working under the direct charge of the trucking company’s instructions at the time of your crash.
- The trucking company had the authority to direct the truck driver’s actions.
- The actions of the truck driver when your wreck happened were directly in the scope of his job duties and employment.
In some cases, it is clear that the truck driver was acting within the scope of his employment because he was driving his load to its destination. In other cases, this determination is not a clear cut. A few of the factors that can determine whether vicarious liability applies to your situation include:
- Does the trucking company have rules regarding its rights to control truck drivers’ actions?
- Was the trucker acting on behalf of the trucking company or himself at the time of the crash?
Contact Tavss Fletcher for Help in Filing Your Truck Accident Claim
The experienced legal team at Tavss Fletcher can help you determine whether the trucking company is responsible under vicarious liability for its negligent driver’s actions or another legal theory. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation to discuss your situation and learn about your legal options.