Can I Sue a Truck Driver’s Employer?
When you have been in an accident with a truck, there is the possibility that you can obtain a judgment against the trucking company – the truck driver’s employer. This may mean that the verdict is larger and is more easily collected.
The Employer Is Generally Liable
The general rule about suing a truck driver’s employer is that the employer can be sued for the actions of the employee so long as it is within the scope of their employment. If a driver is on the job and is negligent in an accident, then their actions are imputed to their employer. This can help increase the size of a settlement since it will give the case a defendant with deeper pockets. The truck driving company can also be held responsible for negligent hiring and supervision of their drivers.
The Accident Must Have Been Within the Scope of Employment
Sometimes the question in a truck accident case is whether the driver was on the job or whether they were engaged in a personal errand or detour. If the driver is merely out in the company truck but engaged in their own business, you would not be able to sue the employer for any of their actions. Similarly, if the driver committed an egregious action intentionally, that is also not within the scope of their employment and cannot be imputed to the employer.
Independent Contractors Are Different
Sometimes companies will not actually hire the drivers as employees but will engage them as independent contractors. This means that there is no employer/employee relationship. The general rule is that a company is not liable for the actions of an independent contractor since they represent themselves and not the company. However, your personal injury attorney will look to the nature of the relationship of the driver to the company and will try to find instances where the company can exercise control over the driver’s performance of their duties to argue that the company can be held responsible.