When a passenger vehicle accident occurs, most people understand the procedure of contacting police and exchanging insurance information. What happens when one person is on the job? Our Nashville truck accident lawyers explain a company’s responsibilities when its employees are behind the wheel.
Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident?
Accidents involving trucks sometimes become murky because causation and liability are not the same. A company can be held legally liable for accidents caused by employees for the following reasons:
- Employer negligence involves situations such as hiring unfit drivers or failing to properly supervise employees by instituting safety policies that conform with federal and state laws.
- “Respondeat superior,” or vicarious liability, is a legal doctrine that holds employers responsible for unintentional acts committed during the scope of an employee’s job duties.
Employee vs. Independent Contractor
If a truck driver works for a company, what’s the next step? Determining whether he’s an employee or independent contractor.
In the case of a truck driver, the following conditions may indicate that the driver is an independent contractor:
- Owns his own truck and pays for gas, oil, and other related expenses
- Paid per job or per route
- Receives no company-paid benefits
- Free to plan his own route, method of delivery, and other job-related functions
In most cases, a company is not held liable for the actions of an independent contractor.
Defining “Scope of Employment”
The other piece of the puzzle is confirming that a driver was performing duties within his scope of employment. Simply put, this includes any activities reasonably considered part of his job in furthering the business of his employer.
When may a company not receive liability?
- If a truck driver uses the vehicle to conduct personal business, such as picking up a child from school or attending a sporting event, such actions are considered outside the scope of employment.
- Employers don’t hold responsibilty for illegal actions deliberately carried out by employees.
Steps to Take in Case of a Truck Accident
- Stay calm.
- Contact the police.
- Call for medical assistance.
- Truck drivers should contact their company. “Civilians” should contact their insurance company.
- Take several pictures of both vehicles.
- Exchange information between participants as well as any possible witnesses.
Protect Your Rights with an Experienced Nashville Truck Accident Lawyer
Involved in a truck accident? Our Nashville truck accident lawyer can assist you every step of the way, beginning with a free consultation. Visit our office between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. or use our website’s convenient Live Chat feature. Round-the-clock help is available at (615) 422-2222.