Following a serious collision with a truck, a Virginia resident may be unsure where to turn, and what to do. He or she may be dealing with serious injuries after being slammed into by an 18 wheeler and wondering who is legally responsible for the accident. In some situations, the trucking company may be legally liable.
The victim of a semi truck accident may be able to recover against the truck company involved if it can be established that an employment relationship exists between the truck driver and the truck company. If such a relationship can be established, the employing company may be legally liable under the theory of respondeat superior. In such a situation, it will not matter that the employer did not have the intent to cause harm and played no physical role in actually causing the serious harm of the accident.
Problems may arise in terms of a victim's ability to recover from a trucking company if a truck driver is an independent contractor and the truck company offers limited supervision over the driver. The nature of an employment relationship is that an employer is directing its employees' behavior. The employer, who reaps the benefits of its employees' hard work, must also deal with the negative financial consequences of having employees, and sometimes this involves compensation for accidents in which truck drivers are involved.
If you have been involved in a truck accident, it may be wise to speak with an attorney who can discuss with you the possibility of recovering against a trucking company, as well as help pursue a legal cause of action, if appropriate. Truck companies may have greater financial resources to compensate victims than do truck drivers, and, therefore, it can be tremendously beneficial for a victim if he or she is able to recover against a truck company.
Source: FindLaw, "An Employer's Liability for Employee's Acts," accessed Nov. 6, 2015