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Commercial vehicle accidents and vicarious liability

It can be tough to recover in the aftermath of a commercial vehicle accident. A victim may have extensive physical pain and suffering caused by broken bones, torn muscles, sprained ligaments, and even head and neck injuries, and the emotional toll can be devastating. Financial losses can leave a victim overwhelmed, too. After all, medical expenses need to be paid, which can be challenging when the injuries suffered have left a victim unable to work. A personal injury lawsuit may, of course, lead to the recovery of compensation that can help alleviate these damages, but sometimes the damages are so extensive that a liable individual may be unable to pay the full extent of compensation awarded.

This is why it is critical for crash victims to consider which other parties, if any, they can sue. In a case involving a commercial vehicle accident it may be wise to consider pursuing vicarious liability. Under this legal theory, an individual can sue another's employer for its employee's negligence. Also referred to as "respondeat superior," this legal principle allows victims to have access to deeper pockets that may be better suited to pay one's damages.

Certain elements must be proven before vicarious liability can be imposed, though. First, a plaintiff must show that the accident in question occurred while the employee was acting within his or her scope of employment. Generally speaking, this means that the plaintiff must provide evidence proving that the employee was on the clock performing a job duty when the wreck occurred. Second, a plaintiff must show that the employer benefited from the employee's actions.

Going up against a truck company, or any other commercial vehicle company, can be difficult. These companies oftentimes have extensive resources to throw into their defense, so they either aggressively try to undermine a victim's claim during settlement negotiations, or crush a claim during litigation. With this in mind, commercial vehicle accident victims in the Evansville area need to consider what they should do to put on the best claim possible.

Source: FindLaw, "Vicarious Liability," accessed on April 9, 2017

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