Being in a crash with a large truck is a traumatic experience, regardless of whether you were injured or not. Things become even harder if you have gotten hurt. When you decide to file a claim to receive damages compensation, there are several things your personal injury attorney may look into so as to put together a strong argument in your favor. All the possible arguments that make up the foundation of a claim are commonly referred to in Law as “theories of liability”. These are legal theories that may assist the victim in recovering monetary compensation for the accident.
Was it Driver Negligence?
The most common theory used is driver negligence and can be applied when the accident was caused by a truck driver who was not following the rules of the road. For example, speeding, driving aggressively, ignoring traffic signals, distracted driving, texting while driving, or driving fatigued and dismissing the rules set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration by not taking the required rest periods. Drivers have a legal duty to other drivers and passengers on the road, and breaching this legal duty is a form of negligence.
What is Vicarious Liability?
Another theory your attorney may use is vicarious liability. In plain language, you may claim that an employer (for example, the trucking company) is responsible for the accident caused by their employee. If a truck driver was on the clock and performing a job-related duty when it rear-ended your vehicle, you might be able to file a claim against both the truck driver and the trucking company. It will be up to the trucking company to present evidence showing that the employee was not performing a job-related duty such as commuting to or from work, and thus the accident is not the company’s responsibility.
How Does Hiring Come into Play?
Other theories that can be used to hold the trucking company responsible for your accident are negligent hiring and negligent training. Commercial carriers need to run a detailed background check on their drivers prior to hiring them, including a five-year crash history and three-year inspection history as required by the FMCSA. They must also require drivers to have a valid CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) with any applicable endorsements. Large trucks require a trained driver that knows how to operate them safely under different circumstances, such as driving in bad weather and knowing the required distance to come to a stop, or how to avoid jackknifing. If the trucking company fails to comply with the hiring and training requirements outlined by the FMCSA, they might be held responsible for negligently putting an unqualified and poorly-trained driver behind the wheel of a potentially dangerous vehicle.
Why Does Proper Investigation Matter?
Proper investigation is important to understand the exact circumstances of your accident and what theories of liability may be the most appropriate to support your claim. The Johnson Law Firm, PC has represented many clients injured in trucking accidents in or near Gainesville and Woodbridge, VA, and can analyze your case at no cost and go over your options for recovering compensation for your truck accident injuries.