Is the Driver or Company Liable for Commercial Vehicle Accidents?

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Car accidents can be a complicated legal situation, and when it comes for commercial vehicles another layer of complexity can arise.

If a collision or accident occurs and the driver is performing work duties, then employer liability may well have to be considered. This is most common in situation where a commercial vehicle (such as a truck) is involved in an accident. Obviously each case is unique, which is why it’s important to discuss your claim with legal representation that have a history with these types of cases.

What is Employer Liability?

This is how responsible the employer or company is for an accident. As with all of these types of cases, it’s most usually negligence that needs to be proven. There are two instances where employer liability will come into effect; firstly if they’ve been negligent and secondly through vicarious liability.

Employer negligence is when the company in question has not been responsible in the hiring or supervision of their employee. Employers in this field should go through the proper channels and complete the correct research in the initial hiring process. In other words they have to know the employee is a safe driver to the best of their ability. This means checking their past driving history to ensure they’ve not been suspended for example. Additionally they may choose to perform drugs tests.  

Negligent supervision involves the employer having sound safety policies in place for their employee to conform to. The company should perform regular checks to keep their employees in line with current laws, for example making certain cargo is sufficiently weighted and loaded. If this is not the case, then there may be proof of liability on the employer’s part.

Finally there is vicarious liability. This legal concept treats the actions of the employee (or the agent) as being principally the same as the actions of their employer (or principle). This is the case if the employee is in the process of completing actions for their employer at the time of the accident. If an employee is completing a task (such as delivering an item) then vicarious liability can be applied. If, however, the employee stops to do a personal errand the company is likely not to be responsible. There can be exclusions to vicarious liability, such as if the individual deliberately causes an accident.

If you’ve been in a collision with another driver, commercial or otherwise, and are looking for advice on how to proceed contact the expert team at Franco Firm .  

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