Who Is Liable for a Commercial Car Accident?

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Accidents Involving Commercial Vehicles

No one wants to be involved in a car accident. In a flash, you could sustain physical and psychological injuries that might affect you for the rest of your life. Colliding with a commercial vehicle can make the situation even more difficult. Behind every commercial vehicle is a company that is only interested in one thing – their bottom line. They will not willingly pay a penny they can avoid paying, even if it is clear their driver was at fault.

Who is Liable?

Even if an accident is unquestionably the fault of the commercial driver, it is not always a simple task to figure out who is legally liable. The primary legal theory of liability that holds a company responsible for an accident caused by a driver employee is “respondeat superior.” Translated, this Latin phrase means “let the superior make answer.”

According to this principle, an employer is held liable for wrongful acts committed by his or her employees or agents – provided the acts were committed within the scope of employment and were unintentional. Basically, the employee’s liability is transferred to the employer, as if the employer had committed the wrongful act himself.

This rule was designed to reflect the fact that during the course of an employer’s business, certain wrongful conduct is apt to occur, and losses caused by this conduct should be absorbed by the employer as a cost of doing business. Additionally, businesses generally have the ability to better protect themselves by purchasing substantial insurance and spreading the cost over the entire business, compared to the limited resources an individual employee.

Employee or Independent Contractor?

One of the first things an injured person must prove is whether or not the commercial driver is an employee and not simply an independent contractor. A company is not usually liable for the wrongful acts committed by independent contractors. Ordinarily, if the employer has control of the end result of the work but does not have control over how the work is accomplished, this proves an independent contractor relationship.

Speak with an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

In addition to establishing the fact that the driver is an employee, it is important to prove that the accident occurred within the scope of employment and that it was an unintentional act. These legal guidelines are best examined by a qualified Chicago car accident lawyer to ensure you attain maximum compensation.

The best way to achieve a positive outcome is to reach out to an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer from Shea Law Group at (877)-365-0040. Don’t risk your financial future. If you or someone you love was involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, give us a call today.

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