Accident Involving a Commercial Vehicle in San Diego
Although commercial vehicle drivers tend to (on average) drive more carefully than the typical non-commercial driver, because of their size and weight, the damage commercial vehicles can cause is exponentially higher than when a person is struck by a non-commercial vehicle.
Additionally, many companies have taken steps in efforts to cut-off their liability from driver’s that cause accidents. As an example, Amazon is aggressively engaging resources and funds in efforts to help entrepreneurs launch and grow their own delivery truck service to deliver Amazon packages. Among other things, this could have the effect of, when a driver of one of those non-Amazon vehicles crashes into another person, Amazon can argue that ‘they’ are not liable because the driver is not an employee of and not a driver for, Amazon. But rather an Independent Contractor providing services to Amazon.
Experienced at Holding Parent Companies Liable
To help ensure you receive complete recovery and compensation for your injuries you’ve suffered in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, it is important that your attorney identify and name all possible defendants and sources that can pay. Under the doctrine known as “respondeat superior” a business can be held financially responsible for the negligence of its employee(s). Respondeat superior is a latin phrase that literally translates to “let the master answer”. The doctrine provides that a party may be vicariously liable for the acts of their agents committed within the course and scope of employment. Vicarious liability provides that the master will stand in the shoes of his agent.
Here is an example of when this (respondeat superior doctrine) can become extremely important. Say for example an individual driver of a commercial vehicle negligently rear-ends you/your vehicle, causing tens of thousands of dollars in hospital bills to you. However, a while back the driver failed to pay his/her individual insurance premium and his/her commercial vehicle insurance lapsed shortly before the accident and s/he personally does not have enough personal assets to compensate you. The company which the driver’s services were benefiting, will attempt to claim that they should not be held financially liable for the act(s) of the individual driver. In this type of case The Law Offices of Gregory A. Montegna would pull both defendants into a cause of action (lawsuit) to help ensure you are completely compensated. To pull the company in as a liable party, our firm would analyze three considerations:
- Was the act (the driver hitting you) committed within the time and space limits of the driver’s relationship with the company? Here, the company may look for signs of frolic and/or detour.
- Was the act incidental to, or of the same general nature as, the responsibilities the driver is/was authorized to perform for the company?
- Was the driver motivated to any degree, to benefit the principal (the company) by committing the act.
The level which these questions are answered in the affirmative will help decide the level to which the doctrine (of respondeat superior) can be applied, holding the ‘company’ (which generally has the deeper pockets) liable to you. Helping ensure you are fully compensated for your bills as well as your pain-and-suffering.
Industries where this may an issue can be:
- Accidents where you are/were hit by a Taxicab or limousine
- Accidents where you are/were hit by a Delivery van or Delivery truck
- Shipping truck accidents
- Commercial trucking accidents
- Shuttle van or Passenger van accidents
- Accidents involving a company vehicle
Why You Need and Should Use An Attorney
First, not only is your initial consultation free, but here at the Law Offices of Gregory A. Montegna there are NO legal fees up-front and we only take a fee if we recover for you.
If there are multiple victims, engaging the services of an experienced California commercial vehicle accident lawyer is vital because each person involved in the accident will likely be represented by counsel, claiming ‘they’ should be compensated for their injuries.
Additionally, phone calls you have with a representative from the insurance company will be recorded by them, and any statements you personally make, can and will be used against you by them.
In order to establish vicarious liability and recover from the employer, the accident victim (or us if we are your law-firm) will need to establish the company exercised some significant degree of control over the driver, and the accident occurred while the driver was acting in the course and scope of the employment relationship.
Furthermore, to avoid having to pay-out hundreds of thousands of dollars in accident settlement claims, sometimes big-businesses are not above tampering with evidence. It is important that you call our office sooner than later so that we can send the company a Preserve Evidence (Spoilage) Letter so that the evidence and it’s integrity can be preserved.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a commercial-vehicle car accident or lost a loved one in a commercial vehicle collision, contact: