If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck in Indiana, you may be wondering if you will be dealing with the driver or the company that owns the truck. Whether the truck owner is responsible in part or in whole for the accident, depends on the circumstances.
According to the Huffington Post, there is the concept of vicarious liability to consider. Because federal law has stated a truck bearing a company’s name or license number is partially responsible for the actions of the truck, in many cases, the company is automatically liable in some sense. This typically applies to company trucks with employee drivers.
However, even if the company does not have its number or name on the vehicle, it could still be held liable. Some companies will hire drivers as independent contractors who drive their own trucks, assuming this releases them from liability, but there are times an employer may still be vicariously liable because of laws making employers liable for employee actions during the course of their work. Typically, intentional actions by the driver excuses the company’s liability, but these situations can be complex.
There are some situations where liability may be clear. A trucking company may have been negligent in its duty to provide a safe vehicle that meets regulations. If the company has a history of infractions with the Department of Transportation, that could also signal culpability. It is also possible the company was overworking drivers and not adhering to federal regulations regarding work and rest times, which would place some blame on it, too. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.