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Can truck companies be held liable in a truck accident?

We all pass large commercial trucks on the roadways. These massive vehicles are used to transport goods and shipments within and between states. While this is great for consumers and our economy, the trucking industry does present some risks and downsides. Truck drivers are hired and trained to operate these large vehicles, sometimes for long stretches of time. Because of that, trucking companies have the duty to not only ensure that safe, reliable and trained individuals operate these vehicles. The failure to do so could result in a serious or even fatal truck accident.

Can truck companies be held liable in a truck accident? The simple answer is yes; however, certain factors must exist. Otherwise the negligent truck driver could be held entirely liable. A trucking company could be held liable under the theories of vicarious liability and respondeat superior. Because a truck driver is operating a company vehicle during work hours and for work purposes, if an accident occurs, the trucking company, along with the truck driver, could be held accountable.

What would not fall under the theory of vicarious liability? If an employee was not on the clock or was using the vehicle for non-work purposes, this would likely result in the employer not being held liable because the accident occurred outside the scope of employment.

The aftermath of a truck accident can be overwhelming, painful and complex. Nonetheless, those harmed in a truck crash should understand their situation so they can take appropriate steps. Legal recourses are available to injured victims. If a negligent truck driver and trucking company are at fault, an injured party could hold them accountable through a personal injury claim. This legal action could also help with the recover of compensation, which could be used to cover losses such as pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages and other related damages.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Truck Accident Law: What You Need to Know," accessed Nov. 19, 2017

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