Different Players Involved in DC Truck Accident Cases

The following is taken from an interview with a DC truck accident lawyer as they discuss the different player usually involved in truck accident cases. For more information on truck accidents or to discuss your claim, call and schedule a consultation today.

Who Is Normally Involved In A Truck Accident Case And What Are Their Roles?

Many different individuals or entities can be involved in a truck accident case, including:

  • The Truck Driver
  • The Truck Owner/Company
  • Truck Owner/Company’s Insurance Company
  • Truck Insurance Lawyer/Adjuster
  • Victim/Driver
  • Victim/Driver’s Insurance Company
  • Insurance Company Investigators
  • The victim’s personal injury team or attorney

Do These Big Trucking Companies Have Teams Of Lawyers?

When a truck accident happens, the trucking companies dispatch a risk management team, which will include lawyers, insurance adjustors, risk managers, experts, and investigators of all sorts to go out and investigate, interview everyone on the scene, document everything that can be documented, and preserve any physical evidence.

Will The Driver Likely Be The Only Defendant In The Case?

Typically, the truck driver will not be the only defendant in the case unless he or she is an independent trucker who owns his or her own trailer and tractor. That’s probably the only time that the driver alone will be involved. Even then, if the driver is carrying cargo at the time of the accident, then the parties involved in the truck accident case will likely extend beyond the driver.

In many (if not most) instances, the driver is not independent and is employed by a trucking company, which typically owns the tractor and may or may not own the trailer. So the likelihood is that the driver will not be the sole or primary person involved in a truck accident case, and typically there are many different individuals and entities involved, depending upon all of the ownership issues and employment issues of the truck and the driver.

How Is The Driver’s Employer Involved?

One of the first things to be determined in a truck accident case is whether or not a driver is operating the vehicle within the scope of his employment.  If so, then typically the employer can be held responsible for the conduct of the driver under what is known as vicarious liability. However, there are independent causes of action against the employer for improper hiring, improper training, and if they are the owner of the tractor and/or trailer, for improper maintenance and inspection of the equipment.

What Are The Different Relationships That Can Exist Between A Truck Driver And Employer And How Can This Affect Cases?

Truck drivers can wear many different hats. For example, any of the following may apply:

  • The driver is someone who is hired to drive the company’s truck
  • The driver may own the truck and merely lease it to the company
  • The company may own the tractor but not the trailer

So there are different types of relationships and positions depending on a driver how independently the driver is operating, or what controls his duties, responsibilities and accountability for the accident. The more independent that the driver is from the employer, the more the liability shifts from employer to driver.