When you get into an accident with another vehicle, and the accident was their fault, you will likely seek compensation for your losses through their insurance company. Collisions with semi trucks and the resulting lawsuits work a bit differently, though, since truck drivers are operating under their company. Let’s take a look at the factors that contribute to determining whether the driver or their company is liable for your accident. And if you experienced the misfortune of being hit by a semi truck, seeking an experienced Chicago semi-truck accident lawyer is your best bet in obtaining the compensation you need and deserve.
Is the Company at Fault for the Driver’s Mistakes?
If a truck driver causes an accident unintentionally and while they are on the job, the theory of “respondeat superior” will likely take effect. This theory holds a company responsible for their employees actions making them, rather than their employees, liable for any accidents.
The logic behind this theory is that employees are bound to make mistakes while they are on the job and since they made the mistake while under the company’s supervision, the company should be the responsible party. Additionally, companies have a greater amount of funds than their employees. The company, therefore, has much more protection than its employees do when things go wrong.
Was the Driver Acting Within the Scope of Employment?
As we mentioned, “respondeat superior” only holds the company responsible for their employee’s wrongdoings if the employee was operating within the scope of employment. To demonstrate, let’s say that a truck driver caused an accident while on their way to make a delivery, while another truck driver caused an accident when they left work early to catch a football game. The first driver was acting within their scope of employment, so their company will likely be at fault for the accident. The second driver, however, was acting outside their realm of employment and are responsible for their own actions.
Unfortunately, determining what falls under this scope isn’t always so easy, particularly in the case of truck drivers and other workers that work off-site. Because of this, the courts look to a variety of factors to determine whether an employee was, in fact, working within the scope of their employment such as:
- The time, place and nature of the employee’s actions
- Reasonable accidents that the employer may expect the employee to do
- The kind of work the employer hired the employee for
- The employee’s intentions
- How much freedom the employee has while they are conducting their work
- How much time employees spend on personal activities
- What Type of Employee is the Driver?
Whether a driver is an official employee or an independent contractor also makes a difference in terms of who is responsible for their accidents. Official employees fall under the company’s responsibility. Independent contractors, on the other hand, do not generally fall under the company’s responsibility. The primary basis for this is that employers control the means and manner that their employees accomplish their tasks, but they only control the actual result of an independent contractor’s work, not how they go about accomplishing it.
Contact an Attorney if You Were Hit by a Semi Truck in Chicago
If you were hit by a semi truck in Chicago, IL, contact a local truck accident attorney at Disparti Law Group. Our professional team of attorneys will fight to help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.