Who can be sued in a truck accident case depends on the facts of the collision. Often, the employer of a negligent truck driver is vicariously liable under a common law rule known as respondeat superior; essentially, the “superior,” or employer, must “respond,” that is, be liable for, the harmful actions of the employee, when certain conditions are met. This rule allows accident victims to hold the trucking company responsible for their injuries and damages in some situations.
According to a vast body of what lawyers refer to as “well-settled” (i.e., There is no significant dispute as to its authority) case law, respondeat superior applies when there are “torts committed by an employee acting within the scope of the employment.” This means it is often possible to sue the trucking company when a truck driver’s negligence causes an accident. We will need to prove that the driver was performing their duties at the time, such as driving their big rig and hauling cargo, when the accident occurred.
Other Options for Holding the Trucking Company Accountable
In some cases, vicarious liability is not the only way to build a case against the trucking company. Employers may have acted negligently in their own right, playing a role in causing the accident. Examples include:
- The trucking company failed to provide proper maintenance or repairs, and this led to the accident.
- The trucking company acted negligently in hiring the driver because they lacked training or experience, had a history of traffic violations, showed signs of drug or alcohol abuse, or had other concerns.
- The trucking company retained the driver without efforts to remedy their driving habits, traffic violations, or drug or alcohol abuse.
There could also be other times when the employer’s actions or lack of action make them legally accountable for injuries suffered by collision victims.
Identifying Other Potentially Liable Parties in a New York Truck Collision
There are some situations when the truck driver and the trucking company are both cleared for liability, and another party is accountable. To illustrate this, as just one of many examples, this occurs when there is a problem with a defective truck part, negligent repairs, or another issue because of some party other than the truck driver and their employer.
For example, a defective truck part could lead to a collision. This is especially true for tires, brakes, steering components, and other vital systems. For example, when a defective tire suffers a tread separation and causes an accident, the victim may sue the tire company for their defective product.
Another example might be if defective roadway design or maintenance is determined to have been the cause of the accident. In such a case, the municipality responsible for the subject roadway may be liable.
Our Team Will Assign Liability if We Represent You in Your Case
Who can be sued in a truck accident case will depend on the cause of your accident and New York state law. We help our clients understand why their collisions occurred and assign liability by taking steps that include:
- Investigating the accident and working with accident reconstruction experts
- Identifying all parties involved, including third parties such as parts manufacturers
- Determining how state and federal laws apply to the accident and affect vicarious liability
- Assessing the insurance policies that could cover our client’s losses
After we identify the liable parties, we often negotiate out-of-court settlements in traffic accident cases. We will prepare and file insurance claims on behalf of our clients, negotiating with the liable parties and their insurers to hopefully reach an appropriate agreement for financial recovery. When necessary, we will file a lawsuit and take the case to trial in civil court with jurisdiction to issue binding orders against the parties to resolve such disputes.
Seeking Damages in a New York Insurance Claim or Civil Suit
In addition to identifying the liable parties in your truck accident case, the team at Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. will protect your rights, gather evidence, and put a just settlement value on your case. We work with a network of experts who help us better understand your injuries, prognosis, and future care costs. Depending upon the unique combination of factors in your case, this may include:
- Medical professionals
- Lifecare planners
- Vocational rehabilitation experts
- Other expert witnesses
Based on the case we develop, we will seek the following types of damages on your behalf:
- Current and future accident-related medical care
- Lost income and benefits
- Reduced capacity to earn a living
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Past and future pain and suffering damages
- Additional economic and non-economic losses, as available
Contact us as soon as possible after your New York truck collision. Not only does New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules (CVP) §214 limit how long we have to file a lawsuit in your case, but we also need to get to work on collecting evidence quickly after the accident. Waiting too long could mean losing out on key evidence. Whether we are seeking evidence that can quickly become unavailable such as a witness statement or dash-cam and surveillance video, the sooner you contact us the greater our opportunity to build the strongest case possible on your behalf.
Speak to a New York Truck Accident Team Member Today
Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. offers complimentary case reviews for truck accident victims. We meet with people on Long Island or elsewhere around the New York metropolitan area, including local hospitals or their homes. If we take on your case, we do so based on contingency.
Call Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. today at (516) 932-0400 to find out more.