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Assigning liability in your truck accident case

A collision with a semi-truck in West Palm Beach will likely leave you facing inordinate expenses either from medical bills or vehicle repair costs (or a combination of both). Oftentimes, those expenses may be more than insurance payouts can cover, leaving you with little choice but to seek compensation. Many in your same position have come to us here at Rosenthal, Levy, Simon & Ryles questioning who assumes liability in such a case: the truck driver who caused the accident, or the company that employed them? 

You might immediately assume the answer to the question to be the truck driver. However, a strong argument might be made that were they not required to be on the road to fulfill the duties of their employment, the accident might never have occurred in the first place. Thus, their employer should share some of the blame, right? 

The legal doctrine of respondeat superior hold employers responsible for the actions (even negligent actions) of their employers. The Florida Supreme Court has confirmed that the state does indeed apply this principle in accident cases: "An employer is vicariously liable for compensatory damages resulting from the negligent acts of employees committed within the scope of their employment even if the employer is without fault."

Notice how the words "within the scope of their employment" is included in the definition. To hold the company that employed the truck driver that hit you responsible, the driver must have been performing their job-related duties at the time of the accident. Simply being behind the wheel might not necessarily mean a truck driver is "on the clock." Rather, they must be doing a job inherent with their employment, such as completing a delivery route. 

You can learn more about assigning liability for a truck accident by continuing to explore our site. 

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