Truck Company Liability for Driver Negligence

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Truck Company Liability for Driver Negligence

Truck Company Liability for Driver NegligenceWhen a truck accident happens on I-24, U.S. Route 129, Rte. 73, Foothills Parkway, or any other road, the responsible parties should be held liable. Our Nashville attorneys demand that responsible parties pay for your pain and suffering, your lost wages, and your medical bills. If a loved one died, we start a wrongful death case on behalf of the family members.

Virtually all truck accident cases begin with the assumption that the driver’s conduct should be examined. The problem is that many times the driver doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for your damages. In most cases, experienced truck accident lawyers will seek to hold the trucking company that hired the truck driver liable too. Most trucking companies have deeper financial pockets than the driver to pay your claim.

What factors determine truck company liability

The main basis for holding a trucking company liable is the theory of “respondeat superior.” This theory holds that a company is liable for the acts of its agents. Essentially the employer will be liable:

  • If the truck driver was liable. Essentially, respondeat superior imputes the employee’s liability to the employer, making the employer liable as if it had committed the wrongful act itself.
  • The truck driver was an employee of the trucking company. If the truck driver was an independent contractor and not an employee, then respondeat superior does not apply. The key factor in deciding the employment status of the truck driver is whether the company controlled the method of pay, the hours of operation, and the way in which the job was performed. Employees generally are paid by the week, not the assignment. They receive health and other benefits. Employees normally don’t own and maintain their trucks while independent contractors use their own trucks.
  • The truck driver was acting in the scope of his/her employment. Some of the factors that determine if the driver was acting in the scope of the trucking company’s employment are:
    • The route the driver was traveling
    • Whether the truck driver was carrying a shipment
    • Whether the employee was running a personal errand
    • The contract arrangement between the driver and the trucking company
  • The truck driver’s actions were not intentional. Whether the truck driver’s actions were intentional depends on factors such as the intent of the driver, and whether the driver knew the person he/she hit.

A trucking company may be also liable if it failed to follow safe trucking practices. Trucking companies can be negligent for the following reasons, even if respondeat superior does not apply:

  • Failure to inspect, maintain, and repair the trucks it let the driver use
  • Failure to determine if the truck driver had a valid current commercial driver’s license
  • Pushing the driver to meet unreasonable delivery schedules
  • Failure to review the driver’s sleep and rest log and other safety log requirements

At the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm, our Nashville truck accident lawyers understand how devastating it is to lose a beloved family member or to learn that a victim’s life will never be the same. Our Gladiators in Suits are experienced trial lawyers who understand how to argue cases before juries but who also work to settle cases before trial. Our Nashville, Hendersonville, and Knoxville lawyers are ready to help you get justice. Please call us at 615-246-5549 or complete our contact form. to schedule a free consultation.