Who is Liable for a Truck Accident, the Driver or the Company?

Truck accidents are scary events, and the fact that they are more complex than traditional car accident claims can make them even scarier. If you have been injured in an accident with a semi-truck, a delivery truck, or another commercial vehicle, you may be wondering, “Who is actually liable for the accident?”

Even when a truck driver is clearly at fault for an accident, it can be hard to tell who is legally liable for the collision – the driver or the driver’s employer? To answer this question, the first thing we would ask is, “What is the employment status of the truck driver?” If the truck driver is an employee of a company, then usually the trucking company is liable for the accident. On the other hand, if the truck driver was an independent contractor, he or she would be on the hook for the truck accident.

Employees vs. Independent Contractors

Let’s say that a truck driver was an employee of a large trucking company and he caused an accident while he was texting while driving (a violation of federal law). Since employers are typically held liable for the wrongful acts of their employees, the trucking company would most likely be financially liable for the accident.

However, if a trucking company hired an independent contractor and he was not technically an “employee,” the truck company would not be on the hook for the crash. Instead, the truck driver who is an independent contractor would be liable for his mistake. Why is this? Because companies are not typically responsible for the negligence or misconduct of their independent contractors.

What About Intentional Acts?

Generally, employers are not held liable for the intentional acts committed by their employees, such as assaults, kidnappings, sexual assaults, battery, and such. For example, if a truck driver violently assaulted a female hitchhiker in the cab of his truck after she turned down his romantic advances, the trucking company may not be held liable for his actions because they had nothing to do with the business.

Another example is where the truck driver has road rage and he slams the front of his truck into a car that is driving below the speed limit in front of him. In this case, the trucking company may not be held liable, but the truck driver could certainly be liable.

Next: Personal Injury Issues with Truck Accidents

To file a truck accident claim in Plano or the surrounding areas, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team.

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