Establishing liability in a commercial vehicle situation can be very complicated. First of all, there are several entities that could be held liable. Obviously, the driver of the vehicle could be liable for the mistakes that he or she made while driving the vehicle, but secondly and most importantly, the driver’s employer could be held liable for a variety of reasons. For example, the employer could have been negligent in hiring the driver if the employer was aware of the driver’s poor driving history. If the employer failed to monitor the driver, there could be a negligence claim for negligent retention of a driver who was exhibiting poor driving history. Alternatively, the employer may have failed to adequately train the driver or put systems in place to ensure that the driver knew how to safely reverse and load the trucks. Dozens of different regulations must be examined in order to determine whether there was a breach of regulations and therefore negligence.
There are numerous ways for the employer to escape liability. The liability issues in a commercial vehicle case involve the owners of the vehicles trying to state that the party who was driving was not acting in the scope of their employment. It’s possible that the person was driving a vehicle while they were not on company time. These kinds of things affect insurance coverage and the ultimate liability of the employer; this is very important because the driver alone might not carry a lot of insurance. In order for there to be an adequate amount of insurance, you need to be able to show liability on behalf of the owners and the company itself. This can be tricky, particularly if the driver was not on the clock at the time of the accident, as that would create a potential defense for the company.
If you are pursuing a case against a commercial vehicle entity that likely has millions of dollars in insurance and seemingly limitless funds to pay its attorneys, you definitely need to hire adequate legal counsel. There may very well be multiple defendants, including the driver, the owners of the company, and the umbrella company for which the owners work. Under some circumstances in Georgia, you may also be able to name the insurance carrier as a party, which generally isn’t allowed in most personal injury cases in Georgia.
At the outset of a case, you likely won’t know the answers to these questions, and you will have to start litigation by filing a suit against at least one entity so that you can get answers. For instance, if you suspect that a driver was working for another entity, the only way to find out would be to file a lawsuit and ask that driver questions under oath. Commercial vehicle accidents often require extensive written discovery, which involves sharing information with the other litigants about the case. Through this process, you might learn that another party needs to be brought into the suit.
For more information on Liability In A Commercial Vehicle Accident, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (706) 770-6669 today.