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Considerations to identify additional truck accident defendants

Unique characteristics of big rigs, 18-wheelers, box trucks and other kinds of trucks that are used in a commercial setting are their size, mass, and kinetic energy when moving. That means that being involved in a collision with one will often result in significant damage to your vehicle and perhaps to you as well.

If you believe that the driver of the truck was at fault in a crash, you may be able to name his or her employer as an additional defendant in a lawsuit to recover damages for your injuries. The basis for this extended form of fault is called vicarious liability.

One premise of vicarious liability is that the driver of a commercial truck may not have been driving the truck involved in the accident had he or she not been acting under direction of someone else.

Another consideration is that something other than the negligence of the truck driver may have led to the accident, such as inadequate maintenance. In that situation, whoever was responsible for ensuring that the truck was properly maintained should share liability.

If you are involved in an accident with a commercial truck, then using vicarious liability to name additional defendants can have significant advantages.

First, having multiple defendants improves your chances of recovery. Even if one defendant is found not liable, another defendant may still be at fault.

Second, if your damages are extensive, then the driver of the truck may not have the financial resources to adequately compensate you. His or her employer is more likely to have those resources, either in the form of company assets or commercial insurance. Vicarious liability can work hand-in-hand with "joint and several liability" which means that if you win your case, the damages can be allocated among multiple defendants.

Vicarious liability may not always come into play when a truck accident occurs. A Florida personal injury attorney can evaluate each case to determine, for example, whether the truck driver was an independent contractor which may negate the possibility of suing the company with which he or she was contracted.

In the aftermath of any truck accident, it can be very comforting and helpful to discuss your legal options for pursuing compensation with an attorney. Money cannot undo damage or replace a loved one, but it can help victims and families cope and focus on recovering.

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