Irvine Truck Accident Lawyer: What if the Trucker Who Hit You Was Not on Company Time?

Normally, if you’re hit by a commercial truck driver, you can pursue both the driver and their employer for damages. This is because, in California, employers are vicariously liable for the acts of their employees. The good news is that our Irvine truck accident lawyers can help you get the damages you deserve.

Your Irvine Truck Accident Lawyer Will Often Need to Sue More Than One Party

In many of the truck accident cases our Irvine truck accident lawyers handle, we need to sue more than one party. Obviously, we will need to file a claim against the actual truck driver. However, sometimes we need to name other parties as well. Some of the more common parties named in Irvine truck accident lawsuits include:
  • The driver’s employer
  • The company that maintains and services the truck
  • The manufacturer of the truck
Your truck accident attorney in Irvine will name all possible defendants. This increases the chances of your entire demand being paid in full.

Your Truck Accident Attorney in Irvine Will Pursue a Claim Against the Truck Driver

The first person your Irvine truck accident lawyer will pursue is the truck driver. If they were working at the time of the crash, your lawyer will file a claim with their insurance company. They will also file a claim with the driver’s personal insurance company. You need to be careful not to miss a filing deadline with either insurance company. This is why your truck accident attorney in Irvine will file two claims. If it ends up that the driver’s employer is liable, you’ll need to make sure your claim is filed with their insurance company.

You May Also Need to Name the Driver’s Employer and Other Parties in Your Complaint

Whether the driver’s company is responsible for damages will depend on the facts surrounding your crash. There are certain rules in California when it comes to vicarious liability. In California, under the principle of respondent superior, employers are liable for the acts of their employees. Respondent superior is a concept very similar to vicarious liability. It holds that employers are responsible for the actions of their agents.

Your Irvine Truck Accident Lawyer Wants to Get You As Much Money As Possible

The reason you hire a truck accident attorney in Irvine is so you can get compensation for your injuries. Your attorney’s goal is to get you as much money as possible. Of course, you can only receive damages for injuries and losses you actually suffered. Nobody is automatically entitled to compensation. However, by naming multiple parties in your lawsuit, your truck accident attorney in Irvine is increasing your chances of being fully compensated.

The Defendant’s Employer Has Much Deeper Pockets Than the Truck Driver

When it comes to pursuing damages, the trucker’s employer will have much deeper pockets than the driver themselves. There’s a very good chance their employer will have higher coverage than the driver. This is because they’re legally required to insure the company against the actions of all their staff. When it comes to filing suit, your Irvine truck accident lawyer will want to pursue the party with more money. By suing multiple parties, you also increase the odds of your full damages being paid. If one insurance policy doesn’t cover all your damages, the other policy can cover the remainder.

What Does California Law Say About Vicarious Liability?

According to California Code Regs. §11009(b), employers are vicariously liable for their employees under three conditions:
  • The employer has a legal relationship with the defendant
  • The defendant was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the crash
  • The employer knew, or should have known, that the defendant would act the way they did
If your Irvine truck accident lawyer is able to prove these elements, there is a good chance the company will be liable for damages. Of course, the company’s lawyer will argue that the trucker acted on their own.

The Employee Must Be Acting Within the Scope of Their Employment

Your truck accident attorney in Irvine must prove that the defendant was acting within the scope of their employment. If the driver was off the clock at the time of the collision, this will be hard to prove. What your attorney can do is argue that the driver’s employer expected the defendant to drive the company vehicle. For example, if a company allows its employees to drive company vehicles over the weekends, they may assume liability. What if the truck driver who hit you was off duty?

Can Your Irvine Truck Accident Lawyer Show the Employer Foresaw the Defendant’s Behavior?

Even if the trucker is on the clock at the time of the crash, their employer may still deny liability. Their lawyer will argue that the defendant was not acting within the scope of their employment. Some of the situations in which our Irvine truck accident lawyers see this happen include:
  • The trucker got into an accident on the way back from the dry cleaners
  • The truck driver had just left their house after eating lunch
  • Any situation in which the employee was driving to or from work
The defendant’s employer will do whatever it can to avoid liability. Your Irvine truck accident lawyer will have to prove that they’re responsible.

If the Trucker Was Not on the Clock, It Will Present a Problem

If the trucking company can prove that the defendant wasn’t working at the time of the crash, they may escape liability. If the truck driver took it upon themselves to drive a company vehicle, your only option may be to pursue them personally for damages. Your truck accident attorney in Irvine will do their best to prove that the employer is responsible. For example, if they can show that the employer knew or should’ve known that the driver would use the company vehicle on personal time, they may still be held responsible.

How Can Your Truck Accident Attorney in Irvine Prove the Defendant’s Employer is Liable?

If the trucking company is denying responsibility, your truck accident attorney in Irvine can still prove liability. Even if it appears that the truck driver wasn’t on the clock at the time of the crash, all is not lost. Some of the things your attorney will point out include:
  • The company knew the defendant was using the company vehicle for personal reasons
  • The company has never punished drivers for using company vehicles on their own time
  • The defendant has been issued numerous tickets in the past but the company still lets them use their vehicle
These sorts of things show that the defendant’s employer should have foreseen their employee getting into an accident.

Call Today and Schedule Your Free Consultation with an Irvine Truck Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in a tractor-trailer accident, there’s a good chance you’re entitled to damages. The injuries in these types of accidents are tremendous. Our Irvine truck accident lawyers have the knowledge and experience to get you the compensation you deserve. We suggest you call our office and schedule your free, initial consultation. Sit down with a seasoned truck accident attorney in Irvine and find out if your case is worth pursuing.
Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett is an award-winning personal injury lawyer who understands the impact an accident can have on someone’s life. That’s why he aggressively fights for each of his clients.

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