Truck accident cases are extremely complex, and it is possible that multiple parties may be liable for your injuries. A South Carolina truck accident attorney can help you discern which individuals and legal entities may be named as defendants in a truck accident case. Knowing which parties will be the defendants in your case can help you gather evidence and prepare for litigation.
Liable Parties for Truck Accident Injuries
Suffering injuries during a truck accident can cause victims to feel confused about how to proceed with a civil lawsuit. Many prospective clients want to know which parties may be liable for their injuries. The following are some of the most common defendants named in truck accident cases:
- Governmental entities
- Truck maintenance shops
- Truck manufacturers
- Shipping companies
- Truck companies
- Truck drivers
These parties are diverse and play many different roles in the trucking industry in South Carolina. The driver may be acting within the course and scope of his employment during the accident, and this causes liability to attach to the truck company. You must determine if the truck driver is an employee or an independent contractor, as this can affect whether the truck company can be liable for your injuries, and this information will also help you know which steps to take after an accident.
The Course and Scope of Employment
It is important to understand whether the truck driver who caused your injuries was acting within the course and scope of their employment at the time of the truck accident. Under the theory of respondeat superior, a truck driver’s employer may be liable if the truck driver was an employee acting within the course and scope of their employment during the truck accident. However, if the truck driver was categorized as an independent contractor, then the truck company may not be liable for the victim’s injuries.
It is also important to distinguish if the truck driver was on a “frolic” or a detour when the truck accident occurred. A detour is a short deviation from the normal course and scope of the truck driver’s activities, and the employer may still be liable if the truck driver was on a detour when the truck accident occurred. However, suppose the truck driver was on a frolic, which is a more substantial deviation from the truck driver’s employment duties. In that case, it is likely that the truck company will not be liable for the truck driver’s conduct.
Negligent hiring is a cause of action that focuses on the employer’s conduct. A truck company must perform specific tasks when hiring truck drivers. For example, the truck company must perform a background search of the truck driver and examine their driving record and criminal record. Also, the truck company must determine if the prospective employee has adequate qualifications to drive a truck, such as having the ability to pass all driving tests required under both state and federal law.
The truck driver who caused your injuries may have been hired without having their background scrutinized by the truck company. Therefore, it is important to thoroughly investigate the interactions between the truck company and the truck driver. Also, speaking with a truck accident lawyer can help you determine the evidence that will help you determine if the truck company was negligent.
The truck company may be liable for the truck accident if the truck company engaged in negligent training. The truck company may not have trained the truck driver in an adequate manner. For example, the truck company may not have provided training regarding the safe operation of the truck.
The truck driver may also be unaware of laws and regulations related to truck operations. Also, truck companies must teach safe driving practices to protect other drivers. The majority of truck companies formulate safety programs for their drivers.
Negligent supervision in the context of a truck company may involve a failure to oversee the truck driver’s performance while driving for the truck company. Also, truck companies need to track the total hours truck drivers work. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there are regulations with a ceiling on the number of hours a trucker can drive.
Truck drivers must document their work hours to ensure they comply with state and federal laws. However, some truck drivers and truck companies may attempt to cut corners to save time and money. Truck companies can be liable for a truck accident if they engage in negligent supervision.
The Types of Damages You May Claim in a Truck Accident Case
Most injured victims may claim general damages and special damages in a truck accident case. Some cases involve punitive damages, but generally, punitive damages are reserved for cases in which the defendant committed conduct that was willful, wanton, or malicious. Most truck accident cases involve general damages and special damages.
General damages refer to those losses which are less quantifiable than special damages. These include emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life. Special damages are typically quantifiable and include medical bills and lost wages.
Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant and deter the defendant from committing the same conduct in the future. Also, it is imperative that you speak with an attorney regarding punitive damages. The conduct of the defendant will determine whether punitive damages may be claimed in your truck accident case.
We Can Assist You with Your Truck Accident Case Today
Our attorneys understand how stressful and overwhelming it can be to suffer injuries during a truck accident. Civil litigation’s technical aspects may confuse you about how to proceed with your case. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you with every aspect of your truck accident case, contact us to schedule a consultation.
Truck accident cases often involve many different entities that may share liability. If you do not have legal counsel, you may miss important details that can help you develop a stronger case strategy. We can provide you with exceptional legal representation.