A personal injury judgment against a negligent driver is only as valuable as the negligent driver’s ability to pay it. This can be problematic, especially if you’ve suffered extensive damages in the form of medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, as is often the case with truck accidents.
If that has you concerned, you shouldn’t worry. If a negligent trucker caused your injuries, then you might also be able to seek compensation from his or her employer. To do so, you’ll need to file a vicarious liability claim against that employer. The logic behind vicarious liability is that employers maintain control over who they hire and the performance and duties of those employees. Therefore, if you can show that a negligent trucker was performing his or her job duties at the time of the accident, he or she was on the clock at the time, and the employer was receiving some sort of benefit from the employee’s actions, then you might be able to succeed on one of these claims.
There are some defenses to a vicarious liability claim that you should be aware of, though. For example, employers often claim that the employee was engaging in frolic or a detour that was not approved by the employer, and therefore the employer should not be held liable. When facing these types of defenses, you need to be armed with information. What was the trucker’s employer-prescribed route? What, exactly, was he or she doing at the time of the accident? What were the circumstances surrounding the accident? The answers to these questions can help you figure out how best to approach an employer’s affirmative defense.
Gathering this information and developing these arguments can be tough. The good news is that skilled advocates are able to help truck accident victims like you engage in discovery, subpoena witnesses and documents, can craft legal arguments based on applicable statutory and case law. Facing the aftermath of a truck accident can be overwhelmingly stressful, but you don’t have to go at it alone.