A truck accident can be life-changing. Although truck accidents are far less common than crashes that only involve passenger vehicles, they are much more likely to lead to fatal or catastrophic injuries. Those who suffer serious injuries after a truck accident may struggle to recover the compensation they deserve since many trucking companies employ massive legal teams to limit their liability and subsequent payouts.
What can you do after a truck crash? Learn more about employer liability and how you can protect yourself. For more advice regarding your specific needs, call Mann & Potter at 205-879-9661.
Verifying the Truck Driver’s Status
First, you should know that there are multiple ways a truck driver may carry loads for a company. Many truck drivers are actual employees of the truck driving company, so they are protected under the company’s business and driver insurance. However, they may also be an independent contractor. Some truck drivers own their own vehicles and carry loads for multiple companies, which means that they alone are responsible for their insurance.
Employee vs. Independent Contractor
It’s not always cut-and-dry, unfortunately. A trucking company might claim that a driver is an independent contractor when the driver actually functions as an employee. Companies often misclassify drivers as independent contractors for the exact reason discussed in this article—they want to avoid liability for accidents.
If an employee causes an accident, the employer is responsible under the “respondeat superior” doctrine. This means that work done by the employee in the course of their normal employment is their employer’s responsibility.
Don’t lose hope, though. Just because a company calls a driver an independent contractor does not necessarily mean that they are. There are several ways you can prove that the employer is misclassifying the driver, that the driver is actually an employee, and that the company is subsequently responsible for your losses.
For example, if the truck driver only drives for one company and is not permitted to take loads from other companies, it’s likely that they are legally an employee of the company they drive for. If the driver is truly an independent contractor, however, then you can seek compensation through their own vehicle insurance policy.
Your Options for Compensation
Calling an attorney should be one of your first steps after a trucking accident. They can conduct an in-depth investigation that uncovers the cause of your accident and proves who the liable party is. While the liable party is generally one of the two drivers, that isn’t always the case. If a separate party is responsible for the accident, you may not even need to worry about whether or not the driver is an employee.
Other liable parties may include the manufacturer of the truck, the owner of the cargo, or the company responsible for loading the cargo. As you may expect, though, people are not quick to claim responsibility when something like this happens. While each party may be quick to tell you that they are not at fault, they also don’t have a vested interest in helping you figure out who is.
If your top priority is getting the full and fair compensation that you deserve, talk to an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
The good news: if you are able to prove that the driver is an employee, you may find it much easier to get the compensation you are owed. Insurance policies for truck drivers are substantially larger than policies held by standard passenger vehicle drivers, simply because trucks often carry expensive cargo and can do a lot of damage in a crash. If you’ve suffered life-changing injuries, a truck insurer is far more likely to cover your damages than a passenger vehicle’s insurer.
Choose Mann & Potter for Your Truck Accident Claim
Don’t wait to hire an attorney for your truck accident claim. The longer you wait, the less evidence you have available to you. It’s time to talk to Mann & Potter and take action. Call our firm at 205-879-9661 or have a team member reach out to you .