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Can a truck company be held liable for a truck accident?

It should come as no surprise to anyone in Kentucky that in an accident between a standard automobile and a fully-loaded semi-truck, the automobile does not stand a chance. The sheer physics involved in such crashes mean that many people involved in truck accidents suffer severe injuries, or could even lose their lives.

If a person is fortunate enough to survive an accident caused by a semi-truck driver, that person may still be seriously injured. Medical costs will quickly add up and the person may not be able to return to work for weeks or even months. Moreover, a person in such a situation might experience tremendous pain and suffering. What it comes down to is that those injured in semi-truck accidents may want to pursue a lawsuit against the responsible party in order to recover damages for the harms they suffered.

However, when it comes to truck accidents, it is important to identify all responsible parties. The first party a person might think of is the semi-truck driver. However, in some cases the truck company can also be named as a defendant in a lawsuit. This is due to a legal concept known as "respondeat superior."

Respondeat superior comes into play if the driver and the truck company have an employee-employer relationship. Essentially, it comes down to how much supervision the truck company had over the driver, and whether the accident took place in the course of employment. That being said, if the relationship between the driver and the truck company was that of an independent contractor, respondeat superior will not apply.

Determining whether respondeat superior can be used to hold a truck company liable is not always straightforward. The facts of each case are unique, so it takes knowledge of how the law applies to those facts to determine what legal arguments can be made.

Source: FindLaw, "Truck Accident FAQ," Accessed Sept. 11, 2017

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