Accident with a work truck? Attorney Michael Grossman can help.
When a work vehicle is involved in an accident, it’s possible the employee can be held at least partially responsible for the accident. It all depends on if the driver was operating the vehicle under the course and scope of their job, and if they were treated as an employee by their employer. We’ll explain this more clearly in a minute.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- Who do you sue in an accident? In individual or the company?
- What are common defenses employers make?
- What constitutes a work vehicle?
What Constitutes a Work Truck?
By “work vehicle” we’re referring to any kind of vehicle used for local business, not a long haul vehicle like an 18-wheeler. Examples of these kinds of vehicle include: pickups used for gardening and landscaping, oilfield vehicles, construction vehicles, etc.
Why does it matter if it’s a work vehicle? Well, it doesn’t function the same an a typical accident. When someone is working for a company, it’s possible that the employer is responsible for their actions. That can mean that when an employee is at fault the employer is at fault by extension.
Employers are Generally Liable For the Negligent Acts of Their Employees
The legal doctrine of “respondeat superior” originated with English common law and was introduced to the United States during the foundation of the United States. Respondeat superior literally translates into “let the master answer,” and it’s the cornerstone doctrine that allows injury victims to hold employers responsible for the actions of their employees. This is a huge advantage for injury victims, as most companies have extensive assets and/or insurance policies.
This is unlike the truck driver, who doesn’t have the money to compensate individuals for the damages incurred in an accident.
Assume, for example, that someone’s car was totaled and they suffered moderate injuries after a pizza delivery driver negligently ran into the back of their car at a stoplight on the way to deliver a pizza. If the exceptions discussed below don’t apply, the injury victim will be able to hold the driver’s employer – the pizza company – liable for their injuries.
What employers will say
Too many times we’ve heard employers argue that they can’t be held responsible for their employee’s actions because they were technically a contract worker and not an employee of the company. But, if a contract worker is treated like an employee: is held to a specifics schedule, enjoys most of the same benefits as actual employees, etc., then the employer can still be held responsible for the accident involving this worker. That’s because the law realizes that if the employer is reaping all the benefits of having an employee then they also need to be held responsible when that employee is negligent or is involved in an accident.
Employers might also try to create as much distance between their company and that errant employee. We’ve heard statement like, “They were on their lunch break.”, “We’ve been telling them to correct that behavior”, etc. They’re trying to create a situation where the attention is drawn away from the company and the finger is pointed only at the other person. It takes an attorney with experience in situations like this to make sure the accountable party is ultimately held responsible.How the trucking industry stacks the deck in their favor Read More >
Why you should call Grossman Law Offices
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident with a company vehicle, Grossman Law Offices may be able to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys and staff have represented injury victims for over 25 years. Give us a call at (855) 326-0000 for more information regarding accidents with company vehicles and to have a free and confidential consultation based on the facts of your case.
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