Trucking Company Negligence Causes Accidents
Trucking accidents are sadly common on Florida freeways, causing multiple fatalities at a time. However, too often the trucker is the defendant sued, when in actuality, the trucking company is very often responsible for the actions that led indirectly to the accident. If you have been in an accident with a truck, it can sometimes be a good idea to investigate the accident more fully, to see if it may be possible that there are multiple defendants in your case, rather than just the trucker, who may be judgment proof.
The “Scope of Employment”
Most of the time, when an accident occurs, a trucker will be driving as part of their work for a large company, or sometimes for a subsidiary or subcontractor company. If the trucker is on the job during their accident, they can be said to have been acting in the course of their employment, which triggers a doctrine called respondeat superior or vicarious liability. Respondeat superior is a common law doctrine that states that an employer may be liable for acts committed by their employee “within the scope of employment” or “during the course of employment.”
It is important to keep in mind, however, that even if a trucker is held to be an employee, their employer may try to disclaim liability if the trucker is found to have been acting in a manner inconsistent with their employment. For example, if the trucker was using drugs on the job, or driving in a dangerous manner, the employer may attempt to argue that this behavior is not within the scope of employment. If they are successful, the plaintiff may not be able to reach them in terms of compensation money.
Direct Negligence In Hiring
In some cases, the alleged negligence might not only be on the part of the trucker, but also conceivably on the part of the trucking company. Negligent hiring is a cause of action wherein a company may be found directly liable for an employee’s actions because the employee should not have been given the opportunity to engage in the actions in the first place. If, for example, a trucker causes an accident while on some kind of substance, and they turn out to be an addict, the company may be potentially liable for negligent hiring because a reasonable person would not hire an addict to drive a truck.
Be advised that unlike in many other jurisdictions, Florida has completely abolished joint and several liability except for in a few rare excepted situations. Joint and several liability was a common-law doctrine which held that a plaintiff who prevailed at trial could hold any defendant liable for paying the entirety of a jury award. Its abolition means that each defendant is generally only liable for their specific percentage of fault, so in most cases, a trucking company must be proven liable for the whole accident if compensation from them is to be forthcoming.
Contact A Knowledgeable Attorney Today
If you are in a trucking accident, you should be able to receive compensation for the injuries you have suffered if at all possible. The Tampa trucking accident lawyers at the Rinaldo Law Group will work hard to ensure you have the best chance possible to recover for the harm you have experienced. Contact our office today at 813-831-9999 to schedule an initial consultation.