Understanding how vicarious liability works in truck accidents

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2023 | Truck Accidents |

A truck accident may literally and figuratively catapult you into a lethal situation. According to recent data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, of 39,508 motor vehicle crashes in 2021, there were 42,939 fatalities. Per 100,000 population, Mississippi’s fatality rate of 26.2% is the highest across all states. But for crash survivors like you enduring physical and psychological trauma, the legal battle is often not as cut and dry as you hoped it to be.

If you are a pedestrian or a car driver who crashed into a truck, your instincts tell you to file a claim against the truck driver by default. But suppose your truck driver is not the vehicle’s owner and do not have enough assets to cover your damages. In that case, you will have to go through the intricacies of a legal principle known as vicarious liability, so you can recover compensation from all liable parties.

Proving vicarious liability

Vicarious liability applies when an individual permits an entrusted person – a family member, friend or employee – to operate their vehicle, which makes them responsible if the driver is at fault in an accident. In short, “respondeat superior,” or the employer, even if they are not behind the wheel, must also answer to their employee’s wrong.

For victims like you who wish to pursue a claim for truck accident injuries and losses, you must be able to adequately prove the following:

  • The truck driver was directly working under their employer’s directives during the accident.
  • The employer has the authority to influence the truck driver’s actions.
  • The truck driver’s actions during the accident fall within their employment’s scope and duties.

In some cases, truck business owners or employers try to shift liability through the “frolic and detour” rule, which means the truck driver or employee used the vehicle for personal or unauthorized use outside of working hours when the accident occurred.

Streamline and recover

There can be multiple layers to establishing fault. Insurance companies working for trucking businesses can quickly work against you to lessen their client’s costs. Before your case gets out of hand, you must urgently form your own legal team. They can help you gather solid proof, take note of crucial deadlines, and fight for your rights and protection.

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