Vicarious Liability and Corporate Responsibilities
Truck drivers are often employees of the trucking company that owns or leases a vehicle involved in a collision. In many situations, in addition to the driver, a truck accident victim may hold the trucking company vicariously liable for the negligence of their driver in causing a collision. At Nagle & Associates, Raleigh truck accident lawyer Carl Nagle has extensive experience advocating for victims and pursuing compensation from commercial insurance carriers working for trucking companies. Before founding Nagle & Associates, he worked as an insurance adjuster, and as a result he understands the significance that insurers place on avoiding legal responsibility for victims’ losses. Now that Mr. Nagle has chosen to focus on advocating for injured individuals and their families, he is able to draw on his former insurance industry experience to fight for maximum compensation from trucking companies and their insurers. His success is evident in the fact that our firm has recovered hundreds of millions on behalf of accident victims throughout North Carolina, including people in Wilmington, Winston-Salem, and Asheville.
Hold a Trucking Company Responsible for an Accident Through a Vicarious Liability Theory
Vicarious liability holds employers legally accountable for the actions of their employees. Following a collision, if a truck driver caused the accident and was deemed negligent, the trucking company often may be held legally at fault for the accident. As a derivative form of liability, vicarious liability extends to the employer trucking company, provided that their employee truck driver is found negligent. However, vicarious liability only applies when an accident takes place while the employee was acting in the course of their employment. If the truck driver was no longer on duty, the trucking company is not held responsible for the careless conduct of the driver.
The difference between holding a truck driver legally responsible and extending the claim to the trucking company is that the trucking company maintains a commercial insurance policy. For victims of truck accidents, the significance of asserting a claim against the trucking company is that the high amount of mandatory insurance means that greater compensation probably is available for victims’ property damage and injury claims. However, insurance companies will work to avoid legal liability for accidents and to avoid making payments to victims for their accident-related losses and harm.
Trucking companies may seek to defend themselves against a claim of vicarious liability by arguing that at the time of the accident, an agency relationship did not exist. For example, if the driver was an independent contractor, rather than an employee of the trucking company, the company will not be held liable. While trucking companies may attempt to shield themselves from liability by creating the impression that a driver is an independent contractor, a careful examination of evidence surrounding the relationship often reveals that the driver was in fact an employee.
As common carriers, trucking companies are responsible for the safety of their drivers and passengers, as well as the safety of others sharing the road with their vehicles. Individuals harmed by a careless truck driver may discover evidence showing that the trucking company did not meet its obligation to obey safety standards, for example. By law, trucking companies must follow state and federal regulations concerning their operations. These corporate duties include being responsible for their drivers, ensuring that drivers’ logs are accurate, and being knowledgeable about regulations. Additionally, companies are not allowed to hire drivers with a history of violations that have disqualified them from maintaining their commercial driver license. A failure to meet corporate responsibilities, which may also include a claim of negligent hiring, may subject the trucking company to liability.
Retain a Skilled Motor Vehicle Collision Attorney in Raleigh for Your Claim
For over 20 years, Nagle & Associates has represented truck accident victims in claims for compensation for accident-related damages. Tractor-trailer crash attorney Carl Nagle, a former insurance claims adjuster, has the insight necessary to overcome potential defense strategies and to increase a monetary damages award. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a truck, visit one of our offices or call today to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a Raleigh lawyer. We can be reached online or by calling (800) 411-1583. We have helped victims in Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Wilmington, Asheville, Greensboro, Hickory, and Charlotte, as well as other cities throughout Forsyth, Mecklenburg, Durham, Catawba, Cumberland, and New Hanover Counties.