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Who Do You Hold Responsible in a Maryland Truck Accident Case?

| September 23, 2021

Most car accident cases are relatively straightforward – the injured driver will pursue a claim against the at-fault driver and their insurance companies. One of the things that makes truck accidents complex is that it isn’t always easy to identify who should be held liable, especially for non-lawyers. If you have been injured in a truck accident, a Laurel truck accident attorney can identify who should be held accountable for your losses. 

Understanding Vicarious Liability

Vicarious liability is a legal concept that allows an injured party to hold one person or entity responsible for the actions of another, such as holding an employer liable for the actions of their employee. In order for the doctrine of vicarious liability to apply, however, the agent needs to have been acting at the direction of their superior and to the superior’s benefit. To put it another way and in the context of an employer-employee relationship, the agent must have been acting within the scope of their employment.

How a Truck Accident Attorney Can Hold the Trucking Company Liable

In the context of a truck accident, this means that you may be able to hold the trucking company liable for the negligence of the driver provided that the driver was driving as part of his job. For example, a truck driver who is speeding while making a delivery for his employer would clearly be driving within the scope of his employment. On the other hand, a truck driver who is off the clock and gets in an accident while driving his truck while on a personal errand would arguably not be driving within the scope of his employment. 

If you can prove that the driver was driving within the scope of his employment, then you may be able to hold the trucking company liable for your injuries. In many cases, this may not be difficult to prove, but it can be complicated in others. Proving liability is highly fact-specific, but an experienced Laurel truck accident attorney will know how to prove your case. 

Independent Contractors

Many trucking companies try to shield themselves from liability by hiring their drivers as independent contractors. While this may complicate your case, it does not mean that you cannot pursue a claim against the trucking company. These types of arrangements often raise questions as to whether the independent contractor is actually an employee. And while employers cannot be held liable for the actions of independent contractors as a general rule, Maryland law does recognize an exception where the trucking company may exert significant control over the actions of the driver. If the truck driver in your case is claiming to be an independent contractor, the best thing to do is contact a Laurel truck accident attorney for help as soon as possible. 

Contact Laurel Truck Crash Attorney Thomas E. Pyles Today

With over 30 years of experience, Laurel truck accident attorney Thomas E. Pyles knows how to navigate the complexities of your case so that you can get fair compensation for your injuries. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and how we can help.