If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you will need to pursue a personal injury claim in order to get compensated for the medical bills you incurred and the wages you lost as a result of the accident. A discussion with a knowledgeable Michigan truck accident attorney, however, will reveal that the truck driver himself may not be the only one who may be liable for the accident; in fact, the employer or owner of the truck driver may be liable, as well, through the legal doctrines of respondeat superior or negligence.
The factors leading to a truck accident can vary: the truck driver may have been sleep-deprived because of the grueling demands of driving on the road for many consecutive hours; the employer could have imposed unreasonable delivery schedules on its drivers; the truck could have been overloaded; or there may have been a manufacturing defect with the truck.
Sometimes, the employer is directly responsible for the truck accident because he or she was negligent in hiring or supervising the truck driver employee or in complying with safety standards. The employer should investigate the employee’s driving history, ensure that the employee has a commercial driver’s license, and perhaps even conduct drug tests. An employer should also take precautions to properly supervise the employee and institute policies in compliance with safety laws and regulations. Absent the exercise of these obligations, a truck owner or employer may be held liable for negligence in the event of a truck accident.
Another way the employer may be held liable is through the doctrine of respondeat superior. Under this legal theory, an employer will be held responsible for the negligent acts or omissions of its employees if the employees were working in their work capacity when the accident occurred. Thus, if the trucking accident occurred while the driver was making scheduled deliveries, the employer will be on the hook for any damages stemming from the accident.
Keep in mind, however, that if the truck driver was veering away from his work duties and was using the truck for his own personal purposes, the employer will not be held liable for any accident that occurred while the driver was deviating from his work duties. (This is called a �frolic.�)
If you�ve been injured in a truck accident, you should explore your legal options with a qualified Michigan truck accident attorney. Do not hesitate to contact experienced Michigan truck accident attorney Chris Trainor for a free initial consultation.