After a Commercial Trucking Accident, Do I Sue the Driver or Company?
When you sustain damage or injury due to a commercial trucking accident, figuring out the right person or entity to sue can be a challenge. Is the driver at fault, or is the trucking company legally liable? Actually, it could be either, or it could be both. It depends largely on the circumstances and the determination of fault as revealed by the investigation. This is where it’s important to have a seasoned personal injury lawyer representing your interests – someone who can evaluate the situation and determine the best strategy for making sure you receive compensation for your losses and injuries. In most cases, the trucking company may be held legally liable for the actions and negligence of its employees, so in such cases, the trucking company is the first entity we look at as far as a lawsuit. The driver may bear some legal responsibility, as well, but if a company is involved, we’ll look at the results of the investigation to determine whether to sue the company primarily. If the driver is an independent contractor or owner/operator, chances are he/she will be the liable party. In certain situations, it may be appropriate to sue both the company and the driver. The term “scope of employment” may apply here. For example, if the driver hits you in the process of making a delivery, that driver is acting under the company’s scope of employment, making a stronger case for holding the company liable. However, if the driver was off duty or making a detour to run a personal errand, that might not fall under the scope of employment, and the company may argue that it’s not liable for that action. In many such cases, the liability can be split between the driver and company, so your attorney may opt to sue both. There are other entities, too, who might be legally liable in the event of a commercial trucking accident. For example, if the accident was caused by a manufacturing defect in the truck, the truck manufacturer might bear some blame. Likewise, if the truck was leased, the leasing company might have some responsibility. In some cases, even the company who hired the transport could be held liable if unsafe cargo played a role in the accident. As you can see, trucking accident liability can be a complex issue, and you need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to improve your chances for success. Call Sutton Slover today for a free case evaluation at 404.768.0292.