If you were injured in a truck accident that was not your fault, you are probably aware that you have options to seek compensation for your losses. Still, you may not fully understand your rights because of the multiple parties involved. On the one hand, there is the truck driver whose negligence was a direct cause of the accident. There is also the trucking company behind that person’s employment, and certain types of relationships may mean the business is responsible. To answer the question of whether you sue the driver or the trucking company, it is necessary to look at different theories of liability as they apply to the various parties involved in a truck accident.
Driver Liability in a Truck Accident
When you are hit by a truck, your case will be based upon negligence in the same way as a typical car accident. You must prove that:
- The driver owed a duty to not cause harm to others on the road;
- He or she breached that duty of care;
- You were hurt as a result of the breach; and,
- You suffered losses due to your injuries.
Another similarity that truck accidents share with car crashes is that you would most likely pursue the driver’s insurance company for compensation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates the trucking industry, requires coverage for bodily injury and property damage. However, the mandatory minimum insurance amounts may not cover all of your losses, especially considering the nature of truck crashes and extremely severe injuries that may result.
Trucking Company Legal Liability
Under certain circumstances, you may want to pursue the company that employs the truck driver. Where the driver’s coverage is short or unavailable for other reasons, you may recover full compensation for your losses under the legal concept of “Respondeat Superior.” This theory means a company can be responsible for the unintentional acts of its employees, as long as they were within the scope of employment. Essentially, this notion puts the trucking company in the shoes of the driver for purposes of liability in a truck accident.
There are certain elements you must prove to recover under the theory of Respondeat Superior, and one critical point is the employment relationship.
Cover All Your Bases
Fortunately, Texas & New Mexico law does not limit you to sue the truck driver or the trucking company. In certain situations, it is possible to seek compensation from both. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the process, so you receive the full amount to cover your losses.
Contact a Knowledgeable Truck Accident Lawyer Today
You can see that truck accident cases are highly complex, especially considering the multiple parties and theories of liability. The attorneys at Flores, Tawney & Acosta, P.C. will fight for your rights to compensation, whether your situation requires pursuing the driver, the company, or both. For more information, please call us today at (575) 222-1000 or contact us online. We can schedule a case assessment for you at our offices in El Paso, TX or Las Cruces, NM.