If you’re involved in a serious truck accident, you have every reason to believe the trucking company will be liable for your injuries. After all, it’s their truck that crashed into your car or SUV. However, as our Conyers truck accident lawyers can attest to, this isn’t always the case.
Here, we’ll explain what your options are if the commercial driver who hit you was off duty at the time of the crash. We’ll also briefly discuss what your truck accident lawyer in Conyers needs to prove to hold the company liable for damages.
Most Cases Our Conyers Truck Accident Attorneys Handle Involve Commercial Drivers
For the most part, commercial drivers work for a trucking or transport company. While there are some truckers who operate independently, that isn’t the norm. What this means is that your Conyers truck accident attorney may have to sue more than one party.
Ideally, the trucking company’s insurance company will pay your claim. If this is the case, you should receive your insurance check within a week or two. However, if your claim is denied, your truck accident lawyer in Conyers will have to consider other options.
Your Truck Accident Lawyer in Conyers May Have to Pursue Multiple Parties
In many truck accident cases, your Conyers truck accident attorney will have to pursue more than one party. Obviously, you’ll want to pursue the person who was driving the truck that hit you.
In addition, you may need to sue the company they work for. We’ll discuss how this works in more detail below. Not only this, but your Conyers truck accident attorney may be able to pursue the company that serviced the commercial vehicle or the manufacturer, if there was a defect with the truck.
The Trucker’s Employer May Be Vicariously Liable for Your Damages
Some people assume that a truck driver’s employer is automatically liable for damages caused by an accident. This isn’t the case. To collect damages from the trucking company, your truck accident lawyer in Conyers must prove certain things.
According to Georgia statute §51-2-2, to hold an employer liable for the actions of their employees, you must prove two things:
- First, your Conyers truck accident attorney must prove that the driver was negligent or reckless.
- Second, your lawyer must demonstrate that the driver was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the crash.
It’s this second element that can be a lot harder to prove. If the defendant wasn’t on duty at the time of the accident, you’ll have a difficult time proving vicarious liability.
Your Conyers Truck Accident Attorney Must Prove Liability on the Part of the Trucking Company
If your Conyers truck accident attorney can prove the trucker was negligent, they will have satisfied the first element of vicarious liability. However, your attorney still needs to demonstrate that the driver was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the crash.
If the trucking company’s owner insists the driver was off duty at the time of the accident, it will make your case harder to prove. Your truck accident lawyer in Conyers will have to demonstrate one of the following:
- The company knew its drivers used its trucks while off-duty.
- The manager allowed drivers to regularly use company vehicles to do personal errands and tasks.
- The defendant had been disciplined in the past for using the company truck while not on duty.
There are other ways to prove vicarious liability. However, this will all depend on the facts of your case.
Does It Really Matter Which Party You Sue?
You may wonder why it matters which parties you name in your lawsuit. The reason it’s so important is that the company has much greater assets than the truck driver. In addition, the company’s auto insurance policy will more than likely have much higher policy limits.
What your Conyers truck accident lawyer will need to do is name all possible defendants in your initial complaint. This could include the trucker, their employer, and any number of third parties.
They will then need to supply evidence showing that some or all of these parties were responsible for the accident.
The Defendant’s Employer Will Have Higher Insurance Policy Limits
In Georgia, individual drivers are required to carry auto insurance. They are also required to maintain certain policy limits.
The amounts of coverage required under Georgia law are as follows:
- $25,000 in bodily injury per person; $50,000 in bodily injury per accident or event
- $50,000 in personal property coverage per accident or event
Now, when it comes to commercial trucking companies, their policy limits are much higher than that. Their limits will depend on several things including the number of trucks in their fleet and the type of cargo they carry.
It will also depend on the types of trucks their employees drive.
The Driver May Not Be Insured
If you do not pursue the trucking or transport company, your only option will be to pursue the driver personally. You’ll have to file a claim against only their insurance policy.
The problem is that there’s always the chance that the driver doesn’t have insurance. If that’s the case, your only option is to secure a judgment against them and pursue their personal assets.
If they don’t have any assets, there’s a possibility that you won’t see a dime. This is why it’s always better to pursue all possible defendants rather than just one.
Either Way, Your Conyers Truck Accident Lawyer Will Try to Settle Your Case
In most of these cases, our Conyers truck accident attorneys will try to negotiate a settlement on your behalf. Nobody wants to go to trial. Trials are expensive and time-consuming.
At least if you settle your case, you’ll walk away with a lump sum of money. This is one of the reasons why more than 95% of truck accident cases do settle out of court.
Reach Out to Our Seasoned Truck Accident Attorneys in Conyers Today
People who are involved in truck accidents tend to suffer life-changing injuries. Very rarely does the person in the passenger vehicle walk away from the crash unscathed. This is why it’s in your best interest to retain an experienced Conyers truck accident lawyer.
While you focus on recovering from your serious injuries, your Conyers truck accident attorney will focus on the legal side of things. They’ll fight to get you the compensation you deserve. They’ll also work hard to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
We recommend you contact our office at (770) HELP-NOW and schedule your free, initial consultation.