Many of our clients assume that a truck driver’s employer will be legally responsible if the trucker gets into an accident. When they are involved in a truck accident, they’re worried that their claim won’t stand up in court. Our Atlanta truck accident attorneys can help determine if your case is worth pursuing.
How Common Are Truck Accidents?
People who are fortunate enough to stick to country roads don’t understand the risks you encounter on the highway. When passenger cars and SUVs are forced to share the road with an eighteen-wheeler, things can get dicey.
Our truck accident lawyers in Atlanta have represented hundreds of truck accident victims over the years. In fact, truck accidents are so common, it is estimated that more than 500,000 truck accidents occur every year. Sadly, more than 4,000 truck accident victims die every year.
The Number of Truck Accident Fatalities Are Up Significantly
One would think with the additional safety features on vehicles today that the number of fatal truck accidents would be going down. Sadly, the opposite is true. Between 2009 and 2020, the number of fatal tractor-trailer accidents has increased by as much as 28%.
One of the reasons why this number is so high is that the average passenger vehicle cannot withstand the impact of a large truck. Given the size disparity, it should come as no surprise that only 15% of the fatalities involve the truck driver. The other victims tend to be the people inside the passenger vehicle involved in the crash.
Most Truck Drivers Work for a Trucking Company or Other Business
While it’s true that there are some independent truck drivers, for the most part, truckers work for large trucking companies. For example, long-haul truckers usually work for freight companies. These companies tend to employ hundreds of drivers at any given time.
When a tractor-trailer driver works for a company, then that company may be held liable for the behavior of the driver. If they happen to get into a serious accident, the question is whether their employer will be held responsible. This is something we will discuss here in detail.
Your Atlanta Accident Attorney Will Help You File a Claim Against the Insurance Company
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, your Atlanta accident attorney can help you file your insurance claim. In this way, your case will be handled the same as any other car accident case.
The main difference is that the injuries in truck accidents tend to be much more serious than car accidents. The other difference is that most truckers work for large companies with deep pockets. You’re much better off suing two defendants instead of one.
You May Need to File a Claim Against More Than One Insurance Policy
If the truck driver caused the crash, your truck accident lawyer in Atlanta may have to file a claim against their employer’s insurance carrier. It depends on the facts of the case. For example, if the trucker was off duty at the time of the crash, you may not have a valid claim against their employer.
If, however, the driver was on the clock at the time of the crash, your Atlanta accident attorney is going to pursue the employer as well. There is a much better chance of your claim being paid in full through a commercial policy as opposed to an individual auto insurance policy.
The Company May Claim That Their Insurance Doesn’t Cover the Driver Given the Circumstances
One of the first things the employer may say is that their insurance doesn’t cover the employee’s actions. They’ll argue that the trucker didn’t have permission to drive the truck in question.
Other employers claim that the truck driver was acting outside the normal scope of their employment at the time of the accident. If this is the case, your truck accident lawyer in Atlanta will submit evidence showing that this wasn’t the case.
If Need Be, Your Truck Accident Lawyer in Atlanta Will File Suit
There are times when no matter what your Atlanta accident attorney does, the insurance company refuses to pay your claim. This may be the case for both the driver’s insurance carrier and that of the employer.
If this is the case, you may have no choice but to file suit against both parties. There’s no reason to pursue a claim against just one party. Your truck accident lawyer in Atlanta will want to maximize the chances of your claim being paid.
You’ll Need to Name All Potential Defendants in Your Initial Complaint
When your lawyer files a lawsuit, they’ll have to name all possible defendants in your complaint. There’s a good chance you won’t be able to add these parties down the road. If the truck driver’s employer ends up not being responsible for the crash, they won’t be ordered to pay damages.
One of the reasons you sue more than one party is so that your case can settle. Your Atlanta accident attorney will negotiate with both parties’ insurance carriers to settle the matter. Since most trucking companies want to avoid the negative press, they may be more willing to settle than you think.
There Are a Handful of Exceptions to Employer Vicarious Liability
While it is true that most companies are vicariously liable for the actions of their employees, that isn’t always the case. In Georgia, there are a few situations in which the employer is not liable for their employees’ behavior.
- The truck driver did not have permission to drive the company vehicle at the time of the crash.
- The driver was an independent contractor and, therefore, not under the control of the trucking company.
- The company representative claims that you or a third party caused the accident.
Your Atlanta accident attorney will try their best to get your case settled. Their goal is to get you the compensation you deserve as quickly as possible.
Reach Out to a Skilled Atlanta Accident Attorney if You’re Hurt in a Truck Accident
If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident, there’s a good chance you suffered tremendous injuries. Our Atlanta accident attorneys have helped hundreds of truck accident victims get damages for their injuries.
The question is whether you have a valid claim against the trucker or the company they work for. We suggest you call our office and schedule your free, initial consultation. This will give our truck accident lawyers in Atlanta a chance to review your case and see if it has merit.
Even if your injuries were not life-threatening, that doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to damages. Come visit one of our Atlanta accident attorneys and find out for sure.