Liability In Commercial Truck Vs. Private Automobile Accidents

If you were rear-ended by a commercial truck, then you need to hire a personal injury attorney to handle your case to recover your damages. This type of case is more complicated than a simple car accident and often you end up with multiple defendants who are all pointing fingers at each other.  

Here is some information about commercial accidents and their responsible parties to help you better understand the liability process:

Vehicle Accident Liability Basics

When you are rear-ended by a private citizen in their own car, then the process of recovering your damages is very simple. All you need to do is contact your insurance company's claims department and they will work to get your damages paid from the insurance company of the person who hit you. While it sometimes gets messy and requires an attorney, more often than not you can settle your own automobile accident claims. However, when it comes to commercial accidents, your case will not be as easy to settle.

Prior to filing your personal injury case, you will need help with discovering facts about the employment of the driver. For example, is the driver employed by the company or are they an independent contractor? An attorney will be able to ask this type of questions and the company will be much more responsive to their questions than they will be if you attempt to gather this information on your own.

Corporate Employed Truck Drivers

There are laws in the United States that require employers to carry liability insurance for all of their vehicles. Under the same laws, employers are automatically liable for accidents caused by any of their drivers during the course of their work. So, if you were hit by a driver who is an employee of the trucking company, then your case for damages is against the trucking company and not the driver.

Independent Contractor Truck Drivers

You might be surprised to learn that many truck drivers are independent contractors. Additionally, some drivers lease their trucks from other independent contractors. If the truck driver that rear-ended your car is an independent contractor, then they are required to carry their own liability insurance. In some instances, you may also be able to sue the owner of the truck as well-- like if the truck was not well maintained and that is found to be the cause of the accident.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, an accident involving a commercial truck can be complicated and sometimes results in a lot of finger pointing back and forth before your case is resolved. To protect your rights and ensure that you recover all of your damages under the law, you should schedule an appointment with a local personal injury attorney, like Frank L. Slaughter Jr. PC.