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Can a trucking company be held liable for a truck crash?

On Behalf of | Aug 6, 2020 | Personal Injury

Accident victims involved in a truck accident often sustain more injuries than those injured in a car accident. This is because of the disparity in sizes between the truck and the motor vehicle. Unfortunately, this also means that victims will most likely need more medical attention for their recovery, and this means their medical costs will be high. One way to recover these costs is by pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against a responsible party, but victims might worry a truck driver may not be able to provide compensation. What Tennessee victims may not know that is the trucking company may be held liable through a legal doctrine known as respondeat superior.

Under this doctrine, an employer can be held primarily responsible for the actions of the employee. However, the act must have taken place in the scope of employment, while performing company business. Accident victims would look to hold both the employee and the employer legally responsible.

While each state lays out the rules for recovery under this heading, they generally choose between two options. The first one is the benefits test, which states that when an employee’s social or recreational activities are allowed, either expressly or impliedly, by the employer, he or she can be held liable for the resulting harm. The second one is the characteristics test, which states that if the activity is common enough that it can be considered a characteristic of the job, then an employer can be held liable if harm occurs.

Whether or not the employer was carefully monitoring the employee is irrelevant for recovery. This doctrine generally encourages employers, such as trucking companies, to ensure their drivers are following rules relevant to speed limits and working hours. When truckers drive fast or drive longer than they should have been, they are more likely to become involved in a crash injuring others. Accident victims should consider consulting an experienced attorney to determine how to hold negligent parties accountable to get the compensation they deserve.