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Assigning liability for truck accidents

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2017 | Firm News, truck accidents

Any time that you pull next to a semi-truck or tractor-trailer while driving in and around Kern County, you may immediately begin to feel a sense of nervousness due to the massive size of such vehicles. That nervousness may even lead to fear at the prospect of colliding with one of these massive trucks. Many of those that we here at McKnight, McKnight, McKnight and McKnight Attorneys at Law have worked with will tell you that your fears are justified. Injuries and damage resulting from truck accidents can be severe. If you happen to be involved in one, your first question may be regarding who is liable, the trucker or the company he or she works for.

The answer to that question depends on the unique circumstances of your accident. If the trucker who hit you did so while “off the clock” (i.e., while running a personal errand, returning from a delivery), then such actions may be deemed to be outside of the scope of his or her employment, and thus liability for the accident would likely be solely his or hers.

However, the legal principle of “respondeat superior” allows you to assign liability to employers in certain situations. This doctrine, as described by the Legal Information Institute, states that employers are responsible for the actions of their agents if such acts occurred within the scope of the agent’s employment. Thus, returning to the previous example, if the trucker who struck you did so while making a delivery, then the company that he or she works for may also be held responsible for the accident. This principle may be applied even in cases where a driver was operating his or her vehicle recklessly.

To learn more about assigning liability following truck accidents, continue to explore our site.