When are Trucking Companies Liable for Accidents Their Drivers Cause?
When you suffer injuries from an accident involving a commercial truck, the driver may have been the one who caused the crash. However, he or she might not be the sole party at fault. There are some cases in which trucking companies are liable for accidents their drivers cause.
In most cases, an employer is held legally liable for the incident assuming the acts of the driver were unintentional and that they occurred during employment with the company. Basically, in this type of situation, the employee (the truck driver) is an extension of the company itself. The general theory behind this rule is that wrongful conduct is going to happen during the course of a company’s business, and the losses caused by this type of conduct should be the responsibility of the employer as a business cost. Additionally, the company is much more likely to have the deeper pockets needed to pay legal fees and settlements in comparison to the employee.
However, at the outset of the case, your legal team will need to be able to determine whether the driver of the truck was actually an employee of the company or just an independent contractor. Companies are not liable for accidents caused by independent contractors, which is why so many companies favor the “owner-operator” model of business — it greatly reduces their liability.
A truck driver that uses a truck he owns, buys his own gas, has his own liability insurance, gets paid per route, receives no benefits and has no taxes withheld from paychecks is an independent contractor.
Whether the driver was an employee or a contractor will have a big impact on the way your legal team proceeds with your injury claim. Contact the skilled Atlanta personal injury attorneys at McMenamy Law LLC today for more information on determining fault in Georgia truck accidents.