Vicarious Liability

Los Angeles Attorneys Protecting the Rights of Truck Accident Victims

When truck accidents happen in California and elsewhere, they are usually devastating for those in a smaller vehicle that is struck. Commercial drivers and trucking companies have to follow strict federal and state regulations that are in place to prevent accidents, but unfortunately these regulations are not always followed to the letter. It can be crucial for victims to bring in a trucking company on a theory of vicarious liability. If you have been struck by a negligent trucker in Los Angeles or the surrounding communities, the truck accident lawyers at Sharifi Firm are ready to help you assert your rights.

Using Vicarious Liability in a Negligence Claim

In many cases, a truck driver's individual insurance policy does not have broad enough coverage to pay for all the damages in a catastrophic injury case arising out of the trucker’s negligence. The theory of vicarious liability often allows a victim to hold a truck driver's employer indirectly liable for the driver's negligence.

The first step is proving the truck driver's negligence. To succeed in this claim, you would need to show the driver's duty, the driver's breach of duty, causation, and damages. Assuming that you successfully establish these elements by a preponderance of the evidence, the next step is to look at whether a trucking company may be vicariously liable for the driver's carelessness.

In many situations, an employer can be held vicariously liable (indirectly liable) for an employee's negligence. To prove vicarious liability, you would need to show that the driver was the defendant's employee and that the driver was acting within the scope of his employment when the crash occurred.

Employers are held responsible for accidents in this way because an employer's enterprise is what causes the risk. Through a theory of vicarious liability, they are asked to bear the burden of the risk as a cost of doing business. There are three reasons for applying vicarious liability or the doctrine of respondeat superior. It is intended to prevent the same thing from happening again, to give the accident victim a greater assurance of compensation, and to make sure the victim's losses are equitably borne by those who benefit from the enterprise that gave rise to the harm.

In some cases, a trucking company labels a driver as an independent contractor in order to avoid liability. However, an experienced attorney may be able to prove that this label is a pretext and to force the trucking company to accept responsibility for the accident. Usually, a trucking company's insurance policy covers a greater amount of damages than the truck driver's own policy.

After a collision caused by a commercial driver's negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for economic (special) damages and noneconomic (general) damages. Economic damages often include medical bills, lost wages, household services, and more. Noneconomic damages are intangible damages that may include loss of enjoyment in one's usual activities and pain and suffering.

Discuss Your Motor Vehicle Collision Case with a Los Angeles Lawyer

People who have been hurt in a motor vehicle collision in the Los Angeles area can consult an experienced attorney at Sharifi Firm. We understand the trucking industry and the value of alleging and proving vicarious liability in a lawsuit. Our firm represents injured individuals across Southern California, including in San Bernardino, Temecula, Rancho Cucamonga, and Riverside. Contact us at 1-866-422-7222 or via our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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