If there is one thing most drivers of standard passenger vehicles do not want to encounter while they are on the road, it is a big rig or other large truck smashing into them. When this happens, there are almost almost catastrophic injuries to drivers of passenger vehicles, while truck drivers often walk away unscathed. However, even if a truck driver is not physically injured in the wreck, it is possible they and/or their company may be held liable for the accident. If you have been involved in such an accident and want to know the legal options available to you, make plans to speak soon with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney who specializes in commercial truck accidents.
Can the Company be Held Liable for the Accident?
In a word, yes. However, as with most accidents of this nature, many different factors will come into play. When these accidents happen, courts will often rely on the concept of respondeat superior to determine liability in these cases. Meaning “let the superior answer,” this is the main theory of liability used by courts to determine if a company can be held liable for the truck driver’s accident. In these cases, a company can be held liable for the wrongful acts committed by one of its employees if the acts were unintentional and happened during the course of standard employment. Since a company will do all it can to avoid liability, turn to a Los Angeles truck accident lawyer for assistance.
Employee or Independent Contractor?
When you are involved in an accident with a large truck or big rig, do not automatically assume the driver is an employee of the company. In more and more cases, the driver may be an independent contractor who is working for the company, which can drastically change the question of liability. Unfortunately, even if a driver is a company employee, the company may try to make it appear as if the driver is an independent contractor by altering records or committing other acts. Because of this, your truck crash injury attorney Los Angeles relies on to get to the truth in these cases will need to examine many factors to determine if the driver was an employee or independent contractor.
What is an Independent Contractor?
For a commercial truck driver to be considered as an independent contractor following an accident, certain criteria will need to be met. These can include the driver using their own truck, paying for their own gas, having their own liability insurance, receiving no employee benefits from the company, and having the company not withhold any taxes from the driver’s paycheck. Also, if the company did not train the driver on how to drive the truck or how to make deliveries, the driver is generally considered to be an independent contractor. If there are any questions or disputes about whether or not the driver was an independent contractor, seek the advice of a truck accident law firm in Sherman Oaks. They will give you clear answers and sound advice on what to do next.
The Scope of Employment
When commercial truck accidents occur, courts will usually carefully consider whether or not the accident took place within what would be considered the scope of employment. Since this will involve many factors, you will need to work with an attorney who understands this process and knows what to look for to make your case as strong as possible. Typically, this will include the employee’s intent at the time of the accident, the type of work the employee was expected to be doing when the accident happened, the time and place of the accident, and also how much freedom the employer gives the employee during the course of their workday. If you were injured in a semi truck accident in Los Angeles, seek the expert guidance of Okhovat Law, a firm that has experience handling these complex cases.
If there are multiple defendants involved in your commercial truck accident, the case will be far more complex than you might think. To begin with, it may be difficult to determine if all of the defendants will be equally responsible for paying your damages, or if each will be required to pay only for the damages for which they were directly responsible. In addition, when multiple defendants are involved in a commercial truck accident, it can be much harder to reach an out-of-court settlement, meaning the case will likely go to trial. Should this happen, the process will be far more time-consuming, costly, and could result in you losing your case for various reasons. Rather than take this chance, hire an experienced Los Angeles lawyer. By having a Los Angeles semitruck accident lawyer handling your case, they will know how to negotiate with insurance companies to get you the settlement you deserve, even when multiple defendants are involved.
What if the Driver Acted Intentionally?
In some accidents, it is found that the driver intentionally caused the accident. This is often the case when road rage is involved, or if the truck driver knows the other driver personally and has a grudge against that person. Should this happen, an employer is usually not held responsible for the accident and subsequent damages. Instead, your personal injury lawsuit would focus only on the truck driver. To get the help you need with this situation, consult with and hire a big rig injury attorney Los Angeles victims trust.
Violating State and Federal Regulations
In a commercial truck accident, it is almost certain the truck driver violated various state and federal regulations, such as carrying too much cargo or driving an excessive amount of hours without stopping to rest. To uncover the facts surrounding these issues, rely on a knowledgeable trucker accident law firm in LA to carefully examine key evidence.
Should you be injured in a truck accident in Sherman Oaks, you should turn to Okhovat Law for assistance. To do so, schedule a consultation today.