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Who is Responsible When You are the Victim of a Truck Accident?

Truck accidents create an entirely new level of complexity in terms of personal injury law. When accidents involve commercial vehicles, figuring out whether the business or driver is responsible can cause its own issues. Truck accident lawyers generally work with collisions involving 18-wheelers, which are premised on the doctrine of contributory or comparative negligence.

COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE

Comparative Negligence allows Defendants to raise a partial defense which allocates a portion of the fault to the plaintiff. Both drivers can be held responsible if they’ve acted negligently. As an example, one driver could be found 10% at fault and the other 90%. Compensation will be divided accordingly. Pure comparative negligence applies in jurisdictions where accident victims can be compensated regardless of whether they were negligent themselves. In contrast, modified comparative negligence requires the victim’s fault to be over a particular level before they can recover damages.

ESTABLISHING NEGLIGENCE

Commercial trucks are heavy and large, so can put an accident victim at a dire disadvantage. Cases will be guided by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates maintenance, qualifications, and methods of securing cargo. The company’s responsibility for collisions isn’t always easy to establish, especially when a defective part or vehicle manufacturer is partially at fault. If the collision was caused by a defective vehicle, you may be eligible for a product liability claim against the manufacturer.

Your truck accident lawyers will need to prove the defendant breached their duty of care. The cause of theaccident and the damages it caused add further details to investigate. Determining if there was any falsification of logbooks or neglect of other regulations will play a role in the case, but insurance will also be considered.

Employer negligence occurs when management neglects solid hiring practices or supervision. In some cases, employers are even held entirely responsible for accidents which were completely the fault of the driver, but employees who act with intent are generally held responsible for the damages they caused.

RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR

This principle holds the employer liable for any negligence of staff as long as the accident was unintentional and happened during their employment. The policy is built on the belief that a certain degree of error by staff is to be expected and the superior should answer for it. Preventative action is always best in this case.

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS

Truck accident lawyers working for the plaintiff must establish that the driver is an employee, not a contractor. Contractors have control over how their work is performed, so they must also assume more legal responsibility for their mistakes. Employers control the way their staff work, so they must step up to the plate when their decisions cause accidents. Figuring out what constitutes scope of employment is more complicated than you may think. It’s established by the motives of the employee, the time and place of the collision, and the amount of freedom they have while doing their duties. For example, if a driver used his vehicle to perform a private errand before his work hours officially end, the business should not be held liable if an accident occurs.

When the victim of an accident dies, money is an unsatisfactory substitute, but it holds the defendant responsible for harm, which can have a dramatic effect on their future actions. For more information, speak to a Sloat and Nicholson at 7-800-873-3202.

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