One problem in trucking accident cases is that semis are capable of doing far more damage than the truck driver (sometimes the only obvious negligent party) can afford to compensate, either from their own savings or from their personal insurance.  A good negligence claim is no guarantee of an actual monetary recovery.  A negligent party must actually have the resources to compensate the plaintiff.  The trucking line or carrier, unlike the trucker him or herself, is likely to have the means, or at least the insurance, to compensate the victims of trucking accidents.  So, a plaintiff’s lawyer will most often need to find a theory of liability for the trucking line.

The most obvious theory is the same theory that would allow a shopper at Walmart to sue the Walmart corporation for the actions of one of their local Walmart employee’s actions: Respondeat Superior.  That Latin phrase simply refers to the legal doctrine of holding “masters” (employers) responsible for the negligence of their “servants” (employees).  If the truck driver in the accident was actually an employee or the trucking line or carrier exercised sufficient control over the trucker, the carrier or line will be liable for the driver’s negligence in the accident.

Often though, carriers will try to avoid this liability by distancing themselves from the truckers who would traditionally be their employees, by making the truckers independent contractors.  In order for this to work, the carrier will have had to separate themselves enough that plaintiffs would be unable to prove that the driver was actually an employee.  In these independent trucker cases, negligence of the truck driver will not be enough to hold the carrier liable for the plaintiff’s damages in a truck accident.

The plaintiff’s lawyer will have to prove negligence of the carrier itself.  There are a number of theories under which trucking lines will be held liable for the plaintiff’s damages; most though will flow from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.  These regulations require the carrier to keep watch over the truckers they contract with to ensure that the carriers who are profiting off of their pseudo-employees are not shirking the liability that should come with those profits.

Serious Truck Accident Attorneys

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, you should contact an experienced trucking accident attorney like those at Reeves, Aiken, & Hightower.  We know how to fight for you.  Compare our credentials to any other law firm. Then call 877-374-5999 or contact us at this link for a private consultation at no cost to you.