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Why liability is different for commercial truck accident cases

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2022 | Car Accidents

In a typical personal injury lawsuit involving a traffic accident, one car owner sues another. The injured party claims that the other driver caused their injuries through negligence, and therefore should be held liable for their damages according to Mississippi law.

But in some cases, there are other parties besides the negligent driver who can be held liable. This is the case in many accidents that involve commercial trucks.

Vicarious liability

If a commercial truck driver causes an accident through negligence, the negligent driver can be held liable, just as if they were driving their personal car. However, their employer may also be held vicariously liable.

Under a very old legal principle known as “respondeat superior,” employers can be held liable for damages resulting from the negligence of their employees.

There may be other parties that bear liability as well. For instance, if the truck’s faulty brakes contributed to the accident, a trucking maintenance company may, in some cases, be held partly liable for the victim’s damages along with the employer and the driver.

Vicarious liability is important in these cases because it helps the injured maximize the amount they can recover in compensation. Any collision involving a large truck can cause severe injuries to the occupants of smaller vehicles, leading to enormous medical expenses and other damages. To help ensure they get all the compensation they need and deserve, truck accident victims may need to expand the pool of parties they can hold liable.

Legally complex

In addition to the vicarious liability issues, there are also other special legal considerations in truck accident cases. The trucking industry is subject to extensive federal and state regulations that set limits on how much weight a truck can carry, how often drivers must rest and many other factors. 

All these legal issues make truck accident personal injury cases highly complex. It isn’t necessarily easy for an injured person to win one of these cases. However, as noted above, the damages in these cases can be extreme, and the injured may have to cope with the effects of their injuries for the rest of their lives. It’s crucial for them and their families that they recover all the compensation they deserve.