Truck accidents are extremely dangerous, and drivers are often severely injured. Medical bills and vehicle damage can be incredibly expensive, and you may be able to sue the truck company that hired the truck driver.
There are several circumstances in which you can sue a truck company for an accident caused by a trucker. The legal doctrine of respondeat superior allows plaintiffs to hold employers vicariously liable for the negligence of their employees. In other cases, you can sue the truck company for negligent hiring or entrustment if the trucker should not have been allowed behind the wheel. Suing a truck company requires evidence of the trucker’s negligence and evidence of the truck company’s responsibility. An attorney can help you get the compensation you need.
After a truck accident, our New Jersey truck accident lawyers can help you sue the driver and the truck company that hired them. Speak to our Legal Care New Jersey team for a free case review. Call (732) 838-9769 for assistance.
Who Can I Sue After a Truck Accident in New Jersey?
After a truck accident, you should meet with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss the possibility of a lawsuit. You may sue both the driver and their employer if certain conditions are met in your lawsuit. Of course, the driver should be held liable for causing the crash, but the truck company that hired them can also be sued.
Deciding whom you should sue requires assessing responsibility for the crash. Sometimes, responsibility for a crash is clear from the beginning, such as a trucker intoxicated behind the wheel. Other times, it is less clear how the accident happened, and an investigation by law enforcement might be necessary to get to the bottom of things.
If it is determined that the truck driver likely caused the accident or failed to stop the accident, they can be held liable. Depending on your circumstances, our Jersey City truck accident lawyers can help you sue the truck driver’s employer as well.
When Can I Sue a Truck Company After a New Jersey Accident?
It might be possible to sue the truck company that hired the trucker in your accident under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior. Under this doctrine, employers can be held vicariously liable for the negligent behavior of their employees. Employers do not have to be directly involved with the accident to be held vicariously liable. Their liability comes from the employee-employer relationship with the trucker.
A few conditions must be satisfied for a truck company to be held vicariously liable. Generally, employee negligence must be within the scope of their job. Negligence that occurs too far outside the trucker’s scope of employment cannot be imputed to the truck company. You can discuss your case with our New Jersey truck accident attorneys, and we can determine if the trucker’s negligence happened within the scope of their job.
For example, if a trucker failed to use their turn signal while driving cargo for their employer and struck another driver, that driver could sue the trucker and their employer. The accident happened while the trucker was in the course of their job duties.
Alternatively, suppose the negligence happened outside the scope of employment. For example, imagine a trucker was off-duty or driving a truck without their employer’s authorization. In that case, the truck company might not be vicariously liable.
When Is a Truck Company Negligent in a Truck Accident in New Jersey?
If respondeat superior does not apply in your case, there might be another way to sue the truck company behind your accident. Depending on your situation, you might be able to sue the truck company under a theory of negligent hiring.
Negligent hiring, also called negligent entrustment, occurs when a person trusts an actor to use something (e.g., a truck) that is under that person’s control. The person knows or should know that the actor is unqualified or intends to do harm with the thing.
In order to sue a truck company for negligent entrustment, you must argue that the truck company should never have trusted the truck driver to drive the truck because the truck driver is clearly unqualified or the truck company knew or should have known the trucker would do harm.
For example, suppose you were in a truck accident with an intoxicated truck driver. Next, suppose the truck driver has a long history of DWIs in New Jersey. Also, suppose that the truck company knew about the truck driver’s history of DWIs or should have found out before they hired the driver. In such a case, you can claim that the truck company negligently entrusted the truck driver to operate the truck.
Our Newark truck accident lawyers can help you prove negligent entrustment even in cases where the truck driver’s actions were outside the scope of their employment.
Evidence Needed to Sue a Trucking Company After an Accident in New Jersey
The evidence you need when suing a truck company depends on how the accident happened and your reasons for suing the truck company. Our New Jersey truck accident attorneys can help you collect the evidence you need and use it to get you compensation.
Typically, any evidence directly from the crash site will be important. Photos and videos recorded by you or other people on the scene can all help show a court what the crash looked like right after it happened. We might also be able to find security camera footage of the accident or dashcam footage.
You must also have evidence connecting the truck company to the truck driver’s negligence. If you are suing under the doctrine of respondeat superior, you need only prove that the truck company employed the trucker and that the trucker was acting within the scope of their job when they caused the accident.
If you are suing under a theory of negligent entrustment, you must have evidence of the truck driver’s incompetence to drive or intent to do harm. You must also have evidence that the truck company knew or should have known that the truck driver was unfit to drive.
Exactly what this evidence looks like will vary from case to case, so it is important to speak to an attorney about your situation as soon as possible.
Call Our New Jersey Truck Accident Attorneys
If you were hit by a truck in New Jersey, you might be able to sue the truck company that hired the truck driver. Our New Jersey personal injury lawyers can help you get your case started. Call Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769 for a free case evaluation.