As if being in an accident was not stressful enough, particularly when you suffer injuries, when trucks are involved, the stress can turn that much higher. At this time, you may be trying to figure out whether the truck driver is responsible for your damages or if maybe the trucking company is. To start unraveling these complications, it may be a good idea for you to find out if the truck driver is an independent worker or if they work for a trucking company.
If the truck driver is an independent contractor, even though the delivery services might be provided for a trucking company, the law does not hold the company legally liable for the truck driver’s negligent actions.
If the truck driver owns the truck and maintains it and pays on a per-job basis, you will have an impossible task when trying to seek compensation for damages from the hiring company.
On the other hand, the trucking company would be held responsible for the actions carried out by their employees when they are conducting the duties of their job. This means that the company would be liable only when the truck driver is transporting or delivering goods for them. If the truck driver finished a run and is on the way home, the employer would not be considered liable for the driver’s negligent driving since they were now acting in their individual capacity.
In short, the trucking company can be held liable for the accident when:
The driver is employed by them.
The driver was working when the accident took place.
It was the driver’s negligence that caused your injuries.
What Should You Do When You Are Involved in an Accident with a Truck?
If you are injured, don’t wait to get medical attention. And even if your injuries appear to be minor, have them checked out. It may turn out that you have internal injuries that are harder to spot.
If your injuries allow you to remain at the scene of the accident, wait for law enforcement to show up, and then request a copy of the accident report to present to your lawyer. The report can confirm your belief that the truck driver was responsible for the accident. Exchange information with the driver and get witnesses’ information as well.
Working with an experienced truck accident attorney will help you determine if the best case will be against the driver’s employer or the driver. Read more to find out how destructive an accident with a commercial truck can be, how your car can be wrecked while the truck barely shows a scratch, and how the extent of your injuries may place a financial burden on your life.
Your attorney will also be able to determine whether more than one party is responsible. This could be the company in charge of the truck’s maintenance, whoever loaded the cargo, or the company that owns the cargo. Ultimately, to prove fault, you will need to present evidence that proves that the truck driver was negligent or that fault lies with another party. If necessary, your lawyer will call in expert witnesses to provide additional evidence to demonstrate fault.