Liability in a Truck Accident
Truck accidents are among the most deadly that can occur. While only about three percent of injury-causing accidents involve large trucks, the injuries and damage tend to be much more severe in these accidents than those involving smaller vehicles due to the size and weight of the trucks.
There are a number of circumstances that can cause a truck accident, which can lead to confusion over who is responsible. Consulting with an experienced Philadelphia accident lawyer can help determine which party or parties are liable and help victims get the compensation they deserve.
When an accident occurs, the instinct can be to blame the driver first. Truck drivers maintain very demanding schedules and may be on the road without enough rest. Drowsy driving is a factor in many truck accidents, and distractions such as cell phones, navigation systems, radios, and eating or drinking can further increase the risk. Liability in truck accidents is rarely this straightforward, however.
Trucking Company Is Often, But Not Always, Liable
Most trucks on the road are commercial vehicles, so in many cases the company that owns the trucks can be held liable. The respondeat superior principle, which is Latin for “let the master answer,” holds employers responsible for the conduct of their employees and for any losses that occur as a result of that conduct. The employee must be acting within the scope of their employment – that is, while making a delivery during their work hours, and not while on a personal errand or trip.
There are some circumstances in which a trucking company can avoid liability in the event of an accident. Some companies will hire truck drivers as independent contractors, rather than employees, which can limit their liability. If the drivers were paid per route without benefits and are responsible for the insurance and maintenance of the truck, they are likely not considered employees. Likewise, if it was an intentional act by the driver that caused the accident, the company cannot be held accountable for any damage or injuries that occur.
Other Parties May Be Liable
In addition to the driver and the trucking company, there may be other parties that are liable in an accident, including the company or individual that leased the truck. If the accident was caused by a defect in the truck itself, the manufacturer of the vehicle or its parts may be responsible.
The truck may have been loaded by a third party, which can also be held liable if the cargo was a factor, either because of poor weight distribution or shifting or falling cargo.
Philadelphia Accident Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Obtain Compensation for Truck Accident Victims
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a truck accident, call a Philadelphia accident lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. We have the knowledge and experience to handle all types of truck accidents, and we will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine who is liable for your injuries. We are committed to getting you the compensation to which you are entitled. Call us today at 888-999-1962 or contact us online for a free consultation. With offices in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we represent clients throughout the surrounding areas.