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How truck accidents can lead to vicarious liability

Any accident that involves someone working for another at the time it occurred raises the possibility that the accident was job-related. This possibility in turn leads to the question of vicarious liability.

From a plaintiff's point of view in a truck accident case, the advantage of vicarious liability is that it allows the naming of multiple defendants. Often the truck driver will not have substantial resources from which to pay a judgment, but if the driver's employer and possibly others can be held at least partially responsible for the accident, then the prospect for financial recovery improves.

If you have been in a vehicle accident in Connecticut involving a commercial truck, the following are some factors that may trigger vicarious liability: 

  • Did an employment relationship exist between the truck driver and the company that owns the truck?

  • When the accident happened, was the truck driver "on the clock" -- that is, performing work for his or her employer?

  • Did the accident happen because of a maintenance failure? For example, did the truck's brakes fail because of an act or omission in checking and maintaining the vehicle?

  • Does the trucking company or shipper have insurance on the vehicle involved in the accident?

  • Might anyone else have some responsibility for creating conditions that led to the accident?

Vicarious liability may not always apply to truck accidents. If the driver's use of the truck was unauthorized at the time of the accident, or if the driver was an independent contractor and not an employee, these may make vicarious liability on the part of others harder to establish.

Each truck accident has its own facts and circumstances that must be investigated, and because of that what you read here should be taken only as a general source of information. If you want to learn more on the topic of vicarious liability, we encourage you to consider contacting a qualified Connecticut legal professional.

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