Four people were injured recently when a rental truck crashed into two cars on Interstate-5 in Seattle, police said. One of the injured was reported to be in serious condition.
According to a news report, the U-Haul truck ended up on its side after the collisions, trapping at one person underneath it. Rescue workers needed special airbags to raise the truck. Police said they don’t know what caused the crash, and suspect the truck was stolen.
In a typical personal injury case involving a car accident, the two parties are the injured plaintiff and the defendant, who caused the accident through negligence. However, if the negligent driver was behind the wheel of a bus, truck or other commercial vehicle, the injured plaintiff may be able to name other defendants, as well.
Often, the trucking company or another party can be held liable as well, through a legal theory that can hold employers liable for damages caused by the negligent acts of their employees. Known as respondeat superior, this legal theory can be important, because it increases the chances for plaintiffs to recover the full amount of compensation they need.
However, this option may not be available to plaintiffs who were injured in an accident caused by the driver of a rental truck. If the driver was not an employee of the rental company, then respondeat superior does not apply. In the case of a stolen rental truck, the rental company is even further removed from liability.
This is not to say that all hope is lost. The injured may seek compensation from the driver, and the driver’s insurance carrier. There may be other legal theories and avenues available for the injured, as well. A lawyer can help the injured and their families to examine all their options.