If you have been injured due to the negligence of another driver, you can hold that negligent driver liable for your damages. This is the basic premise behind most personal injury lawsuits involving motor vehicle accidents. However, depending on the circumstances of your case, there may be other parties that you can hold liable.
If, for instance, the driver who crashed into you was working at the time of the accident, you may be able to hold both the driver and their employer liable. This is due to a longstanding legal principle known as “respondeat superior,” which means “let the master answer.” Under this principle, an employer can be held liable for damages caused by its employees in the course of their employment.
Respondeat superior in truck accident cases
Respondeat superior can be important in any case involving a commercial vehicle, but it may be especially important after a crash caused by the driver of a large commercial truck, such as a semitrailer. These trucks are much larger and heavier than other vehicles on the road, and so when they collide with a passenger car, the result can be catastrophic injury for the occupants of the smaller vehicle, even when the truck appears to have suffered barely a scratch. These catastrophic injuries can mean massive medical expenses and other damages for the injured and their families.
Most truck drivers are experienced and well-trained, but they’re only human and they can make mistakes. When they do, it can have terrible results for others on the road.
As with any other negligent driver who injures another, a negligent truck driver can be held liable for the damages they caused. But, because the damages in these cases are so high, they can easily exceed a truck driver’s ability to pay.
This is why respondeat superior is so important in truck accident cases. By allowing the injured to hold an employer liable as well as their employee, respondeat superior allows the injured to maximize the total amount they can recover in compensation.