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What is ‘vicarious liability’ in a truck accident?

Large trucks fulfill a vital role in Nevada, and indeed, throughout the United States. Their impact is crucial for a strong goods-based economy like the one we enjoy. Being able to transport items over long distances relatively quickly and efficiently, tractor-trailers and semi-trucks are an indelible part of the American landscape. However, when one of these vehicles is involved in an accident, the results can be disastrous for those involved.

Because of their large size, and the weight of both the vehicles themselves and the loads they are hauling, not only can trucks be a bit unwieldy to handle, but a crash with a car or even a pick-up may lead to the serious injury to those in the smaller vehicle. When these accidents are avoidable but for the negligence of the truck driver, those injured in the crash may have methods to receive compensation.

One way to do this would be to sue the truck driver him- or herself. However, in many cases, the driver likely has very little money to pay outside of whatever insurance he or she may personally carry. One remedy in such instances is to use the legal doctrine of ‘vicarious liability‘ to hold the driver’s employer responsible for the injuries. Basically, the law will hold an employer responsible in many cases when its employee has caused injury while discharging the duties for which he or she was employed. In most cases, these companies have better insurance, and ‘deeper pockets’ from which to pay a settlement or judgement.

Such cases are not always cut-and-dried, however. Not only will a Nevada plaintiff need to show that there was negligence I some form, such as failure to abide by federal trucking regulations, but also that the driver was an employee, and that the accident occurred during the course of employment. This can get tricky, especially if the driver is an ‘independent contractor.’ People injured in a truck accident may wish to consider consulting an experienced Nevada attorney.

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