Is the Driver of the Trucking Accident or the Trucking Company Liable After an Accident?

Posted by: Mar 30, 2021Sabbeth Law Blog

Nobody should ever have to plan for a serious or fatal trucking crash that results in a need to file a trucking accident lawsuit. Yet these life-threatening and deadly collisions occur with more frequency than you might think, and occupants of smaller passenger vehicles often suffer the most harm due to the sheer weight, size, and ground clearance of a big rig or an 18-wheeler. When one of these severe accidents does happen, it is critical to work with an experienced Vermont or New Hampshire truck accident lawyer to determine liability and to file a claim for financial compensation. Our team can help you to determine whether the truck driver, the trucking company, or another party may be at fault and liable for your injuries.

Our team of Vermont and New Hampshire attorneys specialize in trucking and commercial motor vehicle cases. We are part of the Association of Truck Accident Lawyers, AAJ Trucking Litigation Group, and recently was selected to the National Trial Lawyers Top Truck Accident Lawyers. When you have been in a truck accident, we get on the scene as soon as possible. In significant crashes, the insurance company will, as well, but we do our best to beat them to the scene. We use the best experts from across the nation, and we have 8- and 7-figure results. We are built to handle these types of cases, and we will travel to you. 

Determining Liability in a Vermont or New Hampshire Trucking Accident

In a truck accident in Vermont or New Hampshire, one or more parties may be liable for your injuries. In some cases, you may be able to file a lawsuit against more than one party. Common parties who bear responsibility for a truck accident include but are not limited to: 

  • Truck driver;
  • Trucking company that employs the truck driver;
  • Company that loaded the truck bed;
  • Mechanic who worked on the truck; or
  • Designer or manufacturer of the truck or one of its parts.

 When there is a truck accident and the driver’s error caused the crash, you should know that the trucking company that employs the truck driver will also likely be liable for damages according to the legal doctrine known as “respondeat superior.”

What You Should Know About the Legal Doctrine of Respondeat Superior

According to the Cornell Legal Information Institute (LII), the doctrine of respondeat superior “holds an employer . . . legally responsible for the wrongful acts of an employee or agent, if such acts occur when the scope of the employment or agency.” The LII clarifies that, in cases where an injury victim uses the doctrine of respondeat superior to hold an employer accountable, that injury victim will typically file a claim against both the employee (i.e., the truck driver) and the employer (i.e., the trucking company).

Maximizing Your Truck Accident Claim in Vermont or New Hampshire

In trucking collisions where the truck driver’s error caused the collision—such as distracted driving, drowsy driving, drunk driving, or aggressive driving—it is often in the injury victim’s best interests to hold both the truck driver and the trucking company accountable in order to maximize compensation. As long as the truck driver was working for the trucking company at the time of the collision, the trucking company will likely be responsible for injuries as the truck driver’s employer.  Too often the trucking company, eager to get cheap truck drivers and as many as possible, will ignore the driver’s prior driving record or to stay up to date on the driver’s violation as a CDL driver or as a passenger vehicle driver.  

Why would a claim against the trucking company allow you to maximize compensation? Generally speaking, trucking companies have deeper pockets than individual truck drivers and often can afford to pay out a reasonable settlement or damages for your injuries.

Driver or Trucking Company Can Only Be Held Accountable If You File Your Lawsuit in a Timely Manner

Regardless of whether the truck driver alone, the trucking company alone, or a combination of the truck driver and the trucking company are liable for your injuries, it is critical to keep in mind that the defendant or defendants can only be held accountable if you file your lawsuit within the time window set by the statute of limitations. You will likely have three years from the date of the trucking crash to file a claim.

Contact Our New Hampshire and Vermont Truck Accident Lawyers Today

If you were injured in a truck crash in Vermont or New Hampshire, our dedicated team of trucking and commercial motor vehicle lawyers can help you with your case. Do not hesitate to get in touch with one of the Vermont and New Hampshire trucking accident lawyers at our firm. Contact Sabbeth Law today to have one of our attorneys evaluate your case and to help you determine who may be liable for damages.