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Commercial vehicle accidents and vicarious liability

Semi-truck driver, train conductors, and bus drivers all have a big responsibility in that they operate massive machines that carry the potential for devastation. After all, it only takes a split-second of inattentiveness for a trucker to veer into oncoming traffic or a bus driver to fail to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Making matters worse, those who are injured in a commercial vehicle accident often have extensive damages from which to recover. They may suffer physical limitations that are painful, their emotional well-being can be harmed, and their finances can take a hit from unexpected medical expenses and lost wages.

Although a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver who caused the accident may lead to the recovery of compensation for these damages, more often than not it is insufficient to cover the true extent of a victim's harm. This is because many truckers, bus drivers, and train conductors have limited resources. Their employers, however, have much deeper pockets, which is why victims of truck accidents, bus wrecks, and train collisions may want to consider pursuing a vicarious liability claim.

Under the theory of vicarious liability, an employer can be held accountable for the actions of its employee. Of course, there are certain elements that must be proven before vicarious liability can be imposed. For example, a plaintiff must show that he or she was harmed by the employee while he was on the clock, while the employee was conducting duties he was hired to perform, and that the employer benefited from the employees actions.

While pursuing a vicarious liability claim may increase the likelihood of recovering the full extent of one's damages in the event that liability is imposed, it can also make the whole process more challenging. Additional legal issues may arise, and companies have more resources at their disposal to dump into a legal fight. Therefore, accident victims interested in pursuing this route may want to talk it over with an experienced legal professional of their choosing.

Source: FindLaw, "Vicarious Liability," accessed on May 22, 2017

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