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Proving driver and truck company liability for an accident

As people in New Orleans can well imagine, getting into an accident with a truck can be far more injurious than getting into one with a passenger car. The average passenger car weighs 3,000 pounds, while a large truck can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds. That's over 25 times the weight of the average passenger car. The chances of suffering a serious injury are dramatically increased when a semitrailer truck is involved in an accident.

With this size differential, it is very important for truck drivers to exercise caution while driving their big rigs. For the most part, truck drivers do exercise caution and let their professional training and experience inform their driving. Sometimes, however, they fail to exercise due care, and an 18-wheeler accident with injuries happens. Other times, the driver's trucking company shares some of the blame.

How might a truck driver or trucking company be to blame for an accident? If the trucker's negligent driving led to an accident, both the driver and his or her employer will be liable. The employer is liable under the legal theory of respondeat superior, which holds employers liable for negligence by their employees while acting in the course of employment.

There may also be grounds to hold the truck company independently liable. The company may have failed to provide adequate training. Negligent truck maintenance may have been a factor in the accident. The truck driver may be compensated in a manner that encourages faster truck speeds or violation of federal hours of service rules.

Truck accident victims can hold negligent truck drivers and companies liable for the devastation they cause. If successful, an injured victim can recover monetary damages for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering and other losses.

Source: FindLaw, "Common Causes of Truck Accidents," accessed on Dec. 21, 2016

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