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Can you hold an employer responsible for a truck accident?

Having experienced a truck accident in Texas, you know just how devastating such incidents can be. The expenses associated with treating and recovering from any injuries you or passengers in your vehicle sustain (coupled with the costs needed to repair your vehicle) can often exceed the amount available through insurance settlements. This may make it necessary for you to seek compensation from the person or parties responsible for your accident.

Just who may that be? You might assume liability lies only with the truck driver that caused the accident, yet what about the company that employs them? After all, you could argue that the driver would never have been in the position to hit you if not for the obligations of their employment.

Understanding respondeat superior

Third-party liability in cases involving employees and employers is often determined by the legal principle of respondeat superior. This is a Latin term meaning “let the master answer,” and per the Cornell Law School, that is exactly what happens in many cases where an employee causes an accident while on the clock. The test for applying respondeat superior typically comes down to a question of agency, as in whether the employee was acting as an agent of their employer at the time of the accident.

Applying respondeat superior to your truck accident

How might this apply to your truck accident case? Say that the truck driver that hit you did so while returning from a route or looking for a place to rest or eat. Their employer might argue that such actions are not incident with their employment (and thus the company cannot be liable). Yet if the driver was in the course of completing a route when your accident occurred, it may be hard to argue that the driver was not acting as an agent of the company at the time.