Each year the number of heavy rigs traveling on America’s highways gets higher and higher. Along with more big rigs on the roads, comes the increased chance of tractor trailer crashes.
It seems like everywhere motorists look while they’re on the highway they’re behind a big truck, passing one or cutting back in front of one. Virtually every fourth vehicle spotted on the roads these days is a semi hauling a big load. The more trucks there are weaving in and out of highway traffic, the more accidents are bound to happen.
It’s inevitable than when a 40 ton truck hits another passenger vehicle there will be numerous liability issues, which is a major reason to speak to an expert personal injury lawyer with experience in this area of the law. The circumstances of the case need to be evaluated and legal rights explained to either the survivor or the survivor’s family.
The reasons a truck crash lawsuit are so different than many other personal injury cases has to do with the number of potential defendants. This could include everyone from the trucker to the trucking company and from the load owners to the owners of any pups being hauled. In instances like this, the personal injury attorney will be alleging the truck accident was caused by the negligence of the trucker.
When this happens, often the trucking company assumes the liability for the driver’s actions under a doctrine of the law referred to as respondent superior. That simply means employers are liable for employee negligence if, when the accident happened, the worker was doing something ‘within’ the scope of his or her job.
While this sounds like it might be fairly straightforward, it rarely is that way. For example, there are a variety of definitions as to what an employee is and this may be the key to these cases. Many employers and their attorneys try to deny liability for a big rig crash by saying the driver was not an actual employee.
This kind of scenario was recently played out in another state where a plaintiff filed a suit against a trucking company and the driver. Their response was the driver didn’t work for them because he was a leased driver, and therefore they were not liable for the accident.
This argument is known as the borrowed servant defense which means when the trucking company gave the trucker a big rig to drive, they surrendered control to him. In doing that, the idea is that he is solely responsible for the negligence that caused an accident, not the company.
These types of cases tend to be very tricky and convoluted. This is why it only makes good sense to deal with an expert personal injury attorney who knows the ins and outs of the court system, how to collect the evidence needed to make a case and most of all, who knows the parties that need to be sued in instances like this.