It is often possible to sue a trucking company for a crash caused by their driver. In addition, trucking companies can be vicariously liable for accidents that occur due to their employees’ negligence.
Building a case based on vicarious liability requires additional steps, and you could face corporate attorneys. You may want to work with a personal injury lawyer from our firm to investigate the crash, file your claim, and seek a settlement. If necessary, our team can take your case to court.
Respondeat Superior Laws Vary By State
While most states honor some version of the “respondeat superior” doctrine that holds employers responsible for their workers’ bad behavior, these laws vary. Some come from case law, while other states have statutes that outline when the trucking company might be responsible.
Examples from the Gulf South states include:
Alabama’s primary vicarious liability law comes from the 1929 opinion in St. Louis-San Francisco Ry. Co. v. Robbins. In this decision, the Alabama Supreme Court determined that an employer is responsible for the employee’s actions if they were “within the scope of his employment.”
As early as the May 1962 decision in Davis v. Kukar, the Supreme Court of Arkansas found that “the law of respondeat superior is well-settled.”
In Louisiana, a state statute sets respondeat superior. Accident victims may be able to hold a trucking company responsible for the harm they suffered under La. Civ. Code Art. 2320.
In Mississippi, Miss. Code Ann. § 75-89-15 permits victims injured in truck accidents to pursue compensation from the driver’s employer under some circumstances.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 537-8185
Understanding What Vicarious Liability Laws Mean By the ‘scope of the Job’
Case law and statutes that allow for vicarious liability require the victim to show that the worker was on the clock and acting “within the scope of their job.” If the case goes to court, the jury will need to decide if it agrees that the trucker was acting according to their employment when the crash occurred.
This may be more straightforward in truck accidents than in some other types of cases because a trucking company cannot usually argue that a driver behind the wheel of their 18-wheeler and hauling their cargo is not performing work for them.
Proving the Trucking Company Is Liable for Your Accident and Injuries
In addition to proving negligence and fault, you will need to provide evidence to show that vicarious liability applies if you want to build a case against the trucking company.
You may need to launch a full investigation into the crash, taking steps that include:
- Obtaining the crash report, your relevant medical records, and other essential documents
- Identifying and interviewing accident witnesses
- Protecting evidence held by the trucking company
- Working with accident reconstruction specialists
- Surveying the accident scene
- Searching for video footage of the crash
- Enlisting experts’ help
- Getting the driver’s employment records
- Gathering proof of your damages
A Truck Driver’s Employer Likely Will Have Key Evidence in Your Case
Collecting the evidence to support your insurance claim may be more difficult in a truck accident case. This is because the driver’s employer usually has a lot of evidence of the crash in its possession. Having an attorney on your side can greatly help you when it comes to preserving and gaining access to this evidence. For example, our team can draft and send a spoliation letter that implores the company to protect it.
Key evidence in proving your case that the trucking company may not want you to know about could include:
- Data from the truck’s computer
- The driver’s rest logs
- Post-accident drug and alcohol testing
- The driver’s driving records
- Employment and training records
- Maintenance records for the truck
- Evidence of medical issues suffered by the driver
An attorney from our team knows how to use the evidence they uncover to bolster your claim and pursue justice for you in the form of a fair settlement agreement.
Our Personal Injury Law Firm Knows How to Build a Case Against the Trucking Company
Our law firm provides complimentary consultations for victims or truck collisions and other accidents. You can learn more about your case today and how a lawyer’s services may be able to help you pursue your legal options for compensation during this call.
The advantages of hiring a personal injury lawyer from our firm include:
- Having someone to protect your rights
- Letting us manage all communications related to your case
- Using our resources and experience to support your claim
- Drafting and filing your insurance claim
- Negotiating with the insurer, trucking company, and other parties
- Representing you at trial if a lawsuit becomes necessary
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Morris Bart, LLC, Has an Attorney Available to Speak with You Today
You can discuss your truck accident case with us for free today. The attorneys from the Morris Bart law firm provide free case reviews to crash victims across the Gulf South. We collectively have 15 offices located in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Call (800) 537-8185 now to speak with one of our team members and learn how a lawyer with our firm can assist with your case.
Questions?Call (800) 537-8185
to find a Morris Bart office near you.