Employer Liability When an Accident Involves A Truck

by | May 16, 2015 | Legal

In the event of a vehicle accident and the driver deemed to be at fault was driving the vehicle as a part of his or her work duties or was performing a task for the employer, the employer may be held liable. This is something that happens very often when the vehicle in question is a truck or other commercial vehicle. In cases such as this it is extremely important to have a Chicago truck accident attorney as whether the drivers employer and the trucks owner is liable depends on whether or not there is a valid legal reason to assign responsibility to the employer rather than the employee driver.

Under what circumstances does an employer become liable?

There are two circumstances under which the employer can be held responsible for the accident. One is negligence on the employer’s part and the other is vicarious liability; what follows may help the victim understand their position.

Employer negligence: An employer may be held liable if it can be determined that there was negligence on their part in their hiring practices or the driver was not properly supervised. The company bears the responsibility when hiring an individual that they know is being hired to operate a truck or other vehicle owned by the company. The company must be diligent, insuring that the employee is aware of all the rules of the road and takes safety seriously.

It is the responsibility of the employer to make sure that the candidate for employment as a driver has a commercial driving license that is in good standing and not under suspension. The employer may also be held liable if he did not make an in depth check of the applicant’s historic driving record and perform pre-employment drug testing.

Negligent supervision: It is mandatory for employers to have reasonable safety procedures in place and to ensure that the drivers always operate the vehicle in full accordance with the law. The employer must insist that the drivers log is completed in accordance with both federal and state law and to see to it that the cargo is properly loaded and the vehicle is within the weight limits allowed.

Vicarious liability: Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine that asserts that the actions of an agent; in this case the driver, are the same as the actions of the principal, the employer who directs the agent. In this case, the agent is the employee and the principal is the employer who is responsible for directing the actions of the employee. This is a very fine point in law and only a reputed and qualified Chicago truck accident attorney will be able to fully explain the liability laws that impact the situation that led to the accident.

If you are involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle the laws are somewhat different than they are should the other vehicle be a private automobile. If you need a Chicago truck accident attorney you are invited to contact the Shea Law Group.

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