How to Use Vicarious Liability to Maximize Your Truck Crash Settlement
When a negligent driver causes your truck accident, you want to try to hold the trucking company as well as the trucker liable for compensating you. Why is this important? There's a practical reason. The trucking company will most likely have much more liability insurance coverage than the driver to pay the compensation you're owed for injuries. By pursuing claims against both of them, you increase the likelihood that you'll receive a fair settlement. However, you must have a legal claim against the trucking company in order to hold it responsible.
How the Legal Theory of Vicarious Liability Works
There are two types of claims you might have against the trucking company. One is a direct claim, where the trucking company’s negligence contributed to the cause of your accident. For example, if the company hired an unqualified driver, you could have a negligent hiring claim. If the lack of or improper truck maintenance caused your wreck, this could also be grounds for a claim of negligence against the company.
In some cases, you don't have this type of claim against the trucking company. However, you can hold it accountable by using the legal theory of vicarious liability. In Idaho, trucking companies are vicariously liable for the actions of their fleet drivers who are acting within the scope of their employment.
As long as the trucker's actions are in some way benefiting his employer, the company may be vicariously liable.
This is even true if the driver violates his company’s rules and procedures.
In some circumstances, the trucking company may try to avoid vicarious liability by arguing the driver wasn't truly an employee, but instead an independent contractor. Some of the factors that determine whether vicarious liability will apply to your case include:
- Does the trucking company have the right to control the driver’s work?
- Does the company set the driver’s hours and assign his jobs?
- Does the company determine the routes the trucker should use?
- Does the driver wear a company uniform?
- Is the trucker required to attend safety meetings or to meet company standards?
- Does the employer prohibit the trucker from contracting with other companies?
An experienced truck accident attorney will consider vicarious liability a factor if one or more of these factors present in your case.
Determining whether you have a direct claim or a claim under vicarious liability against the trucking company would be too hard for you to do on your own. Alan Morton has the experience to obtain and evaluate viable evidence to make this determination in your case. If you or a family member was injured in a large truck crash, fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation.