Who Can I Sue If a Delivery Truck Hit Me?
When a driver causes an accident with another driver, the at-fault party generally absorbs liability for the resulting damages. However, if the at-fault party is a commercial truck driver, the plaintiff may have options for recovery that are not available in typical car accident claims. If a driver causes an accident through negligence while performing his or her job duties, the driver’s employer will likely face liability for the resulting damages.
Determining Liability for a Delivery Truck Accident
It is possible for a delivery truck accident to involve one or multiple defendants.
- If the driver is solely responsible and caused the accident while performing job-related duties, the employer would absorb liability. An at-fault driver’s employer may deny liability if the employee was off the clock at the time of the accident or was otherwise acting outside the scope of his or her employment.
- If the delivery truck had a faulty part, the part manufacturer could face a product liability claim from the injured party. The claimant’s attorney would need to prove the part in question was defective and the defect caused the claimant’s damages.
- A third party may cause an accident with a delivery truck that leads to damage to another driver’s vehicle. This could potentially lead to multiple parties sharing liability for the accident.
- Damaged roads could mean the government agency responsible for road maintenance at the accident scene is liable, but filing a legal claim against a government agency is far more complicated than a lawsuit against a private individual or business.
In states like California that follow comparative negligence laws, the jury in an accident case would divide the fault for the damages in question among the defendants based on each party’s level of responsibility for those damages. In some cases, a plaintiff may also absorb some amount of liability if an investigation uncovers that he or she bears any fault for the accident in question. California operates under pure comparative negligence, meaning that plaintiff fault does not bar recovery, it simply means the plaintiff loses a percentage of his or her settlement or case award equal to his or her fault percentage.
Damages and Compensation
Although it may seem counterintuitive, it is generally best to focus the attention of a delivery truck accident lawsuit against the delivery company, not the driver. The reason for this is simple; while most average individuals would likely assume that a lawsuit against a large company would be more difficult to win than one against a private individual, a delivery company has significantly more assets than the average individual. The potential recovery from a lawsuit against a delivery company is much higher than that available from a claim against a driver personally.
Filing a lawsuit against an employer instead of a negligent employee works out in the plaintiff’s favor in other ways, too. Large companies generally wish to avoid negative press whenever possible, and an accident involving a delivery truck could potentially lead to local news headlines depending on the severity. A lengthy lawsuit would also draw negative attention, so most large companies prefer to settle lawsuits quickly to save face and, ultimately, expense.
After any accident with a delivery truck, an injured driver’s first priority should be seeking medical treatment. Even if injuries seem mild at first, seeking prompt care both ensures those injuries will not go unchecked and worsen and also support the victim’s legal position for a future lawsuit. After handling immediate medical issues, the next step should be to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible about the available options for legal recourse. A San Diego truck accident attorney can advise whether a lawsuit against a delivery company is in the client’s best interests.