If a Truck/Delivery Driver Hits Me, Can I Sue the Company in CA?
If you were hit by a long-haul truck or a delivery truck driver, you have the right to seek compensation. Companies tend to have deeper pockets than individual drivers, so you stand a better shot at obtaining full compensation for the damage you suffered if you can hold the employer liable. When and how can you sue the freight company or delivery company after a trucking accident? Read on to find out, and call a dedicated Palmdale truck accident attorney for advice and assistance.
Employers Are Liable for the Actions of Employees
The doctrine of “respondeat superior” holds that principals are responsible for the actions of their agents. When someone works for a company, the employer is responsible for the conduct of the employee, so long as the employee was acting within the scope of their employment. In the case of a truck driver, for example, the trucker’s employer (a freight or delivery company, for example), is liable for the actions of the truck driver so long as the trucker was on the job at the time of the accident.
If you were hit by a commercial truck driver, you can hold the individual driver and their employer responsible for your injuries and other damages. In order to hold the company liable, you’ll need to establish that the trucker is at fault for the crash (i.e., was driving at least negligently and caused the accident) and that they were within the scope of their employment at the time of the crash. If they were in the midst of a delivery at the time of the crash, or they were returning the truck to the company, there’s no question–they were certainly acting within the scope of their employment.
If they were on break at the time and driving for private reasons, the question becomes more complex. A seasoned commercial truck accident attorney can help you establish the company’s liability in order to maximize your recovery.
Freight Companies May be Directly Liable
In addition to your claims based on vicarious liability, you might have a claim directly against the trucking or delivery company. Companies are directly liable for accidents that occur as a result of their own negligent conduct. If you can establish that the trucking company violated safety standards or other rules or regulations, and those violations contributed to your accident, the company can be held liable for the injuries you endured.
You may have a claim against the company if, for example:
- The company failed to maintain its fleet of trucks or purchased old/outdated trucks to cut costs
- The company failed to hire trained or properly licensed drivers
- The company failed to conduct background checks on drivers and other employees
- The company failed to train their drivers
- The company failed to install or maintain proper safety equipment
- The company encourages or turns a blind eye to drivers violating hours of service regulations which limit how many hours a trucker can drive without taking rest breaks
If you or someone you care about has been injured or killed in a large truck crash in Southern California, talk to a diligent and successful Palmdale traffic accident attorney about pursuing a claim for damages. Call the Kistler Law Firm at 661-206-6990.