Driving a truck is a difficult job that requires attention to detail and a great deal of stamina. When a truck driver operates their vehicle under the influence of alcohol, it can lead to serious accidents that cause major injuries. If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident where the truck driver was charged with a DUI, you might be considering filing a personal injury lawsuit to cover the damages from your wreck.
However, trucking accident cases can be extremely complicated and difficult to win, which is why you should learn more about these types of lawsuits. Read about your legal options when you’ve been hit by a truck driver who was charged with a DUI and learn when you need an attorney.
Liability of the Trucking Company After a DUI
Trucking accidents are subject to a legal concept known as respondeat superior. In layman’s terms, this means that an employer is liable for the actions of their employee during the course of their work.
In most trucking accident cases, you will bring a lawsuit against the trucking company and not the truck driver themselves. While this can sometimes be difficult, the advantage is that trucking companies have much higher resources than individual drivers, which means that you have access to more substantial settlement amounts when bringing a suit against a trucking company. If possible, you should be sure to file a lawsuit against the trucking company.
Independent Contractors vs. Employees
When filing a lawsuit after a drunk driving trucking accident, the first thing that you will need to prove is that truck driver charged with the DUI was an employee of a trucking company and not an independent contractor. If the truck driver is an independent contractor, you will not be able to file a suit against the company.
The laws distinguishing independent contractors from employees are different from state to state. However, the general rule is that for a truck driver to be an employee, the trucking company must have strict control over how work is performed. If the employer does have an influence on how a job is completed, then the truck driver would be an independent contractor.
If for instance, the truck driver in your case owns their truck, pays for its maintenance and is responsible for covering insurance and fuel, they would be an independent contractor.
What Counts as Scope of Employment?
If you’ve established that the truck driver who caused your accident is an employee of the trucking company, you will then need to prove that they were acting as an employee when your accident occurred. This is known as scope of employment.
Factors that are considered to determine the scope of employment can include when and where the accident took place, what the driver’s intent was, how much oversight the driver was subject to and the job the driver was performing.
So, for instance, if the drunk driver was off-duty when the accident took place, they will be responsible for the accident and not the trucking company. On the other hand, if the employee was drunk on the job, it is possible the trucking company will be liable.
Fight for Your Rights When You’ve Been Hit By a Truck Driver
Due to the nature of the trucking profession, lawsuits related to trucking accidents are very complex. After you’ve been hit by a drunk truck driver who was then charged with a DUI, make sure to protect your interests with the help of Robert White, Attorney at Law.
Robert white and the legal professionals at Childs, Bishop & White, PC have experience handling trucking accident cases and can tell you the best way to file a lawsuit after your wreck. Contact one of our attorneys today for more information about how we can help you.