It comes as no surprise that an accident involving semi-trucks in Tennessee have the potential to be catastrophic. After all these enormous vehicles, weighing 80,000 pounds or more, take extreme care to drive in the best of circumstances. However, drivers who are pressured to get their goods to their destination as soon as possible may end up engaging in risky behaviors such as speeding, impaired driving or drowsy driving, increasing the likelihood of an accident. So when a semi-truck accident does happen and injures an innocent individual, the victim may wonder who the person can hold responsible for the crash.
At first glance it may seem like the driver is the responsible party, and in many cases this is true. However, in addition to the driver, it is possible in some circumstances to hold the truck company liable as well. Under the concept known as respondeat superior, it may be possible to hold a truck company liable for the actions of the driver if two elements are met -- there is an employee-employer relationship between the driver and the company and the accident occurred within the scope of the driver's work duties.
While respondeat superior is certainly applicable in many cases, a wrinkle in the application can take place if the driver was an independent contractor. When this happens, the degree of control the company has over the driver will be scrutinized; in general, an employer must hold a significant amount of control over their employees for respondeat superior to apply.
In the end, it is important to hold all responsible parties accountable when it comes to truck accidents. Victims of truck accidents often suffer serious injuries that can costs tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs and continuing rehabilitation. By holding the right parties liable, victims may be able to obtain the compensation they need to cover the costs associated with the accident.
Source: FindLaw.com, "Truck Accident Overview," accessed Aug. 3, 2014