After an accident with a commercial vehicle or semi-truck, you may find that it is difficult to identify who is legally responsible for your injuries and damages. This is why it is imperative that you hire an attorney who specializes in trucking accidents – so that he or she can properly place liability. Even if the driver was the one who caused the accident, fault and liability are two separate terms. Therefore, you and your attorney will need to go over several key points to determine which involves the respondeat superior.
What is the Respondeat Superior?
This is a Latin term that means “let the master answer,” and is used for liability when a company is held responsible for the actions of its employees. Under this, the employer is liable for any wrongful acts that their truck drivers or agents may have committed – as long as the acts were not intentional and were committed during their employment. This essentially transfers the liability from the employee over to the employer, as if the employer were the one who committed the acts themselves.
The policy for respondeat superior is complex, and not all situations allow the employer to be held responsible for the actions of their employees. Instead, the wrongful conduct must be bound within the normal scope of employment – meaning that the employee was fulfilling his or her duties on the job when the accident occurred. The purpose for this policy is that employers often have deeper pockets than their employees, and the employer should be held liable as part of conducting business.
Finding the Responsible Party
Sometimes, it is not just the employer who is liable for the accident. That is why it is important that you speak with a truck accident attorney to assess your case. In some situations, multiple parties could be involved, such as:
- The manufacturer of components on the vehicle – such as if the air brakes had a critical malfunction.
- The company responsible for maintaining and repairing the truck involved in the accident.
- The company and/or individuals who were responsible for loading the cargo of the semi-truck or commercial vehicle.
- The owner of the commercial vehicle (if this differs from the employer of the driver).
- The manufacturer of the truck itself, as well as the manufacturer of the trailer (if either had a defect that led to the accident).
Consult With a NYC Truck Accident Attorney
Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. takes interest in every case that comes to our office. We treat our clients with respect, and are here to work as their advocates – so that they can receive the compensation that they need and deserve. We understand how catastrophic trucking accidents can be, which is why we want to make sure that your costs are covered. To get started, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our truck accident advocates at 1-877-737-4806, or fill out our online contact form with your questions.