You probably have seen some terrible examples of company drivers out there on the road. Whether a pizza delivery driver cuts you off in traffic or a landscaping truck careens along the road with a load of clippings and mulch that's totally unsecured, there are plenty of company drivers out there who risk car accidents every day.
If you end up in an accident with someone who is driving a car or truck for their job, you may have the right to sue their employer for your injuries. Here is what you should know about the law and company drivers.
The "Respondeat Superior" Doctrine May Be in Play
The respondeat superior doctrine says that an employer is legally responsible for the actions of his or her employees when those actions are performed as part of the employees' job duties.
Essentially, this means that anytime a company car or truck is involved in an accident that causes someone an injury, the driver's employer is considered liable and can be sued. This is true even if the driver violated company rules (by driving too fast or driving while intoxicated). It's the employer's job to make sure that company drivers obey the rules in order to protect the public.
It May Take Help to Determine When an Employer Is Liable
One of the chief reasons that lawsuits are filed against employers after a company car or truck is involved in an accident is that the employer generally can afford the consequences better. The injuries you may have sustained in the accident could be life-altering—and an individual driver's insurance policy may not be enough to cover all your losses. While a lawsuit might name both the driver and his or her employer as defendants, the company is generally better insured and more able to afford to fairly compensate a victim.
However, it's not always clear when an employer is liable for an accident. For example, if an employee was taking a side trip at the time of the accident that wasn't authorized by the employer or didn't benefit the employer in any way, that might absolve the employer of liability. Similarly, if an employee is on a lunch break, the employer may not be liable for an accident that occurred at that time.
If you've been seriously injured in an accident by someone driving a company vehicle, it's important to talk to a car accident attorney as soon as possible about your rights. You cannot expect the insurance company—or the company involved—to look out for your interests.Share