What is Vicarious Liability?

Vicarious liability is a component of law which holds a third party responsible for the negligent actions of another related party. Vicarious liability commonly relates to accidents involving employees who behave negligently within the scope of their duties.

This type of vicarious liability is known as respondeat superior, which specifies that employers are vicariously responsible for accidents and injuries involving their employees even when they have no direct link to the event.

Examples of Vicarious Liability in a Truck Accident

One way vicarious liability can come into play is when filing a claim or lawsuit against a trucking company. In most cases, you can hold both the truck carrier and the driver liable for any injuries the driver causes. There may be various reasons to hold the employer responsible for the truck accident.

These two examples can better explain vicarious liability:

  • Example 1: A driver wants to finish his deliveries early, so he speeds through traffic. He rear-ends a driver. You would assume that the driver would be your only liable party as he acted negligently and caused the collision. However, the truck carrier would be vicariously liable for any injuries that result as the driver was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the crash.
  • Example 2: A driver violates hours of service laws and remains on the road longer than legally allowed. He falls asleep at the wheel and crashes into another vehicle. The trucking company would be liable for this as well.

The truck carrier would likely be liable even if it expressly forbade these types of behavior.

What Happens if the Truck Carrier Pressures a Driver to Do Something that Results in Injuries?

Let us revisit Example 2. While truck drivers often decide on their own to violate hours of service rules, in some cases, a trucking company pressures or forces its drivers to do so. In this case, the truck carrier would be directly liable for any injuries the truck driver causes. This might mean the truck carrier is fully liable for any injuries that result.

Call an Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney

Accidents happen all the time and are often difficult to deal with. One of those difficulties is determining who you can seek damages from. Making sure you meet your expenses and needs ranks high on your list of priorities after an accident. Determining who is liable in an accident is essential, but it is often quite complicated.

But this is also where a truck accident lawyer from S. Burke Law can help you. Our team prides itself on simplifying complicated legal concepts for our clients as we aid them on the path to personal and financial recovery.

If you or someone you care about was involved in an accident recently, we encourage you to call S. Burke Law. Our team pores over the details of every potential claim and walks you through your options. We can help determine if you have a case for vicarious liability. Call us at 404-842-7838 for your free consultation.