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What is 'vicarious liability' in a commercial vehicle accident?

Florida is a large state, and getting people and things to various parts of it can take some time, especially if doing so using a form of ground transportation. Because of this, there are thousands of miles of highway that crisscross the state, allowing the movement of goods and passengers to their final destinations. One of the main pieces of this transportation system are companies that operate tractor-trailers carrying various items to market or vehicles such as buses that bring people from city to city. Unfortunately, when one of these large, heavy vehicles is involved in an accident, the results can often be severe injuries.

The immediate cause of an accident may have something to do with the driver of a commercial vehicle. Perhaps he or she was distracted or did not follow regulations regarding rest and was tired. Perhaps he or she had been drinking. Maybe there was an equipment problem with the vehicle due to improper maintenance or failure to do required safety checks. In any event, it is unlikely that the individual responsible, such as the driver or mechanic, will be able to satisfy a judgment against him or her that covers the extent of injury done to victims of the accident.

There is a way the law has of handling such situations: 'vicarious liability.' This is the doctrine that an employer or other entity may be liable for the negligence of its agents, including employees. Because companies are more likely to have insurance policies with higher pay-out limits than individuals, and more money overall, they are usually more desirable targets for litigation to recover damages that an accident victim deserves.

Most of the time, such cases turn on whether the individual actually involved in the accident was actually an employee and was acting in the scope of his or her employment. These are questions of both fact and law, and they can become fairly complex. Those Florida residents who have been injured in an accident with a commercial vehicle may wish to consider consulting an experienced injury attorney.

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