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Why a trucking company, not a driver, might be liable for a wreck

On Behalf of | May 29, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

The choices that drivers make and their habits while driving can have a major impact on their overall safety. People who regularly check their phones while driving, exceed the speed limit or don’t use their turn signals are at greater risk of a serious collision than the average person.

There is a tendency to automatically blame a collision on one of the motorists involved, and usually doing so makes sense. However, when a crash involves a commercial driver operating a semi-truck, the professional driver might not actually be the party at fault for the crash or liable for its aftermath.

There are certain scenarios in which a transportation company could be liable for a collision instead of the driver operating the semi-truck involved in that wreck. What makes a transportation company liable for a crash instead of the driver in one of its vehicles?

Vicarious liability affects crash-related claims

People working often make different choices than those acting on their own behalf. The demands of employment can put people in scenarios they would never encounter in their day-to-day lives. Their employers might then have a degree of responsibility for any injurious situation that develops. The concept of vicarious liability makes a third party not directly involved in a situation legally and financially culpable for the outcome of the scenario. An employer often has responsibility for the negligence or misconduct of employees while they are on the clock.

Companies can contribute to crash risk

In some scenarios, details about the collision may point to the employer having a degree of fault for the situation. Perhaps the company failed to properly review the background of new drivers or didn’t provide adequate training for new hires. Maybe company policies put workers in positions where they felt compelled to break the law by speeding or staying on the road for longer than they should. Even the way that a company maintains its fleet vehicles could contribute to or diminish the likelihood of a crash occurring.

Oftentimes, a commercial insurance policy may apply after a semi-truck collision. If the people affected by a wreck decide to take legal action, it may be possible to hold a transportation company accountable instead of targeting the worker driving the semi-truck. Exploring liability and fault can be beneficial for those with significant financial losses related to commercial vehicle collisions. Plaintiffs who look at potential business liability could have access to better sources of compensation than those who seek to hold an individual driver responsible for an incident.