Trucking companies employ drivers who operate the company’s leased or owned vehicles. When these vehicles are involved in a crash due to the driver’s negligence, the legal theory of vicarious liability may hold the trucking company responsible for the resulting harm. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, our Chicago truck accident lawyers advocate for victims and pursue compensation from truck drivers as well as trucking companies. Our skilled attorneys rely on our extensive knowledge of both state and federal trucking laws. If you or someone close to you has been hurt in a truck accident, we can investigate all of the potential avenues of legal relief and provide compassionate, effective legal representation as we pursue your right to monetary damages.Understanding Vicarious Liability and Its Application to Trucking Companies
Vicarious liability is a legal theory that holds employers legally responsible for the conduct or actions of their employees. According to vicarious liability, a truck driver who causes a crash and has been found negligent may subject the company to legal fault. If the driver was acting in the course of their employment, vicarious liability would extend legal fault to their employer, the trucking company.
The significance of a vicarious liability claim in the context of a truck collision is that the trucking company, as the employer, maintains a commercial insurance policy. Asserting a claim against the trucking company potentially means that the victim can recover greater compensation than if they pursued a claim solely against the truck driver. Since trucking companies must typically carry a high amount of mandatory insurance, there may be more monetary damages available to compensate the victim’s costs related to the collision. It is important to recognize, however, that insurance companies usually will assert defenses to the legal claims set forth by accident victims, and they will seek to minimize or reduce payments to victims for their accident-related costs.
One potential defense to a vicarious liability claim is that the driver was not an employee and that therefore, the agency relationship underlying vicarious liability did not exist. If a driver was in fact an independent contractor, the company would not be at fault for their actions. In some cases, the trucking company may allege that a driver was an independent contractor when in fact they were an employee. A careful investigation by a skilled truck collision lawyer in the Chicago area can help overcome this defense to a victim’s legal claim.
Legally, truck companies are responsible for the safety of their drivers, as well as others sharing the road with their massive vehicles. When a truck driver’s careless conduct harms others on the road, the victim may discover evidence that the trucking company failed to meet its duty of care. For example, trucking companies are required to obey safety standards and abide by state and federal trucking laws, which includes recording accurate logs and maintaining their vehicles. Additionally, as employers, trucking companies are responsible for hiring qualified drivers, as opposed to those who have a history of repeated driving violations. In some situations, in addition to vicarious liability, trucking companies may be found legally at fault for negligent hiring, which is a claim of direct liability.Consult a Skilled Chicago Attorney for a Claim Based on a Truck Crash
For decades, Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca has helped victims of truck collisions seek compensation for their accident-related harm. Our motor vehicle collision lawyers have the insight necessary to set forth a strong claim for relief, recovering the full extent of damages to which a victim is entitled by law. If you or someone close to you has been hurt in a truck accident, call our office to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a Chicago lawyer. We can be reached online or by phone at (800) 444-1525. Our attorneys also help people in Springfield, Quincy, Aurora, Champaign, and other areas of Cook, Kane, Adams, and Winnebago Counties.