How does vicarious liability work with regard to truck accidents?

A central characteristic commercial trucks is that if you find yourself involved in an accident with one, the odds are good that it was engaged in a business purpose.

The significance of this observation becomes apparent when after the accident the time comes to identify the responsible parties against whom to pursue a legal claim for damages. Under Georgia law, the doctrine of vicarious liability can enable you to establish a cause of action against the business that owns the truck and not just the driver.

Vicarious liability must be specifically alleged in a legal complaint, and you will need to include specific elements to prevail on this claim. These elements need to establish the existence of a business connection between the truck involved in the accident and the owner of the truck (or the company that has hired or contracted with the driver), as well as how the truck driver was performing a business purpose and not a personal activity at the time the collision took place.

If you succeed at demonstrating such a business relationship, then it becomes more likely that your damages claims can be met because ordinarily the business owner and its insurer will have more substantial financial resources from which to pay them. This can become important if you are seriously injured.

Vicarious liability in a truck accident is a seemingly simple idea, but can become complex to prove as well as become subject to legal defenses that the truck company may raise. Especially in today’s economy, with its growth of independent contractors in jobs that used to be performed by employees, having legal counsel experienced with truck accident cases to help establish your cause of action and to deal with those legal defenses will be an important consideration for you if you need to pursue damages claims in court.

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