When Is a Trucking Company Responsible for a Negligent Driver?
Truck accidents generally cause serious injuries to all involved. Due to their size and weight, semis, big rigs, and other large commercial trucks often leave smaller cars, and their passengers, badly damaged. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 10 people are killed in a commercial trucking accident across the country every day. Of those fatalities, about 83% are passengers in other vehicles or pedestrians.
So what do you do if you or a loved one is injured in a commercial truck accident?
In addition to filing a personal injury claim against a negligent truck driver, you may be able to pursue legal action against the trucking company. This can be more financial recovery for you. However, the ability to involve a third party is one reason why truck accident claims can be complicated. An experienced Los Angeles accident attorney will be able to walk you through the process.
Liability and the Trucking Company
Under California law, a truck’s owner (such as the driver's employer) or another party can, in some cases, be deemed responsible for a truck driver’s negligent driving. If a truck driver’s negligence was unintentional and occurred within the “scope” of the driver’s duties, the truck’s owner or owners can be held liable for injuries caused by a truck driver’s negligence. In other words, trucking companies may be legally responsible for the injuries and damages you sustained in your accident.
To determine whether a truck driver was acting within the scope of his or her employment at the time of a Los Angeles truck accident, courts often look at:
- Whether the accident occurred during a driver’s regularly scheduled working hours
- Whether the trucking company benefited from the driver’s activities
- The length of time it took the driver to engage in any personal activity while driving
This list is not exhaustive. Discuss other factors California courts take into consideration with your accident attorney.
Additional Reasons for Trucking Company Liability
In addition to vicarious liability, there are other circumstances where the driver's employer can be held liable for the driver's actions. For example, if the trucking company does not:
- provide the truck driver with the necessary skills and training
- ensure that the truck driver complies with all CDL renewal requirements
- allow the driver to take breaks
If you believe that the truck driver who caused your accident was distracted or otherwise driving negligently, contact the experienced accident attorneys at Ghozland Law Firm today for a free consultation about your potential case.