Semi-trucks make up only a minority of the vehicles on Pennsylvania roads, but they are responsible for some of the most severe collisions reported each year. Those in passenger vehicles who get hurt in a crash caused by a commercial truck are likely to suffer extreme injuries and significant property damage.
Most people hurt in a crash understand that they have at least two options for compensation when they are not at fault for a wreck. They know that they can file an insurance claim, and they also know that they can usually pursue a lawsuit against a vehicle operator who was negligent at the wheel or who clearly violated Pennsylvania traffic statutes.
Yet, an individual truck driver or motorist might not have the resources someone actually needs to financially recover after a semi-truck crash. As a result, an injury victim or their surviving family members may benefit from suing a trucking company directly in the wake of a wreck.
The company may have caused the crash
People are eager to blame drivers for collisions, but those who drive for work often deal with factors outside of their control on the road, including the condition of their vehicles. As many as 10% of the reported commercial truck collisions caused by semi-trucks occur because of the poor condition of the vehicle involved.
Countless others are the result of a company’s bad practices as an employer. Perhaps a manager requires that drivers answer their phones or respond to client emails while on the road. Maybe a company pressures workers to get their loads in on time even if that will mean driving for longer than they should. If there is proof that company negligence or policies contributed to the cause(s) of a crash, those affected could potentially take action against the at-fault business.
Employers are often liable for worker errors
There is a common legal rule called respondeat superior that renders an employer responsible for the actions of a worker while they are on the job. In some jurisdictions, the rules for respondeat superior claims against a company limit plaintiffs to taking legal action only when the situation involves negligence.
However, Pennsylvania’s courts have affirmed that the principles of respondeat superior also apply in scenarios where an employee does something wrongful, such as violating traffic statutes. Not only do commercial transportation companies generally have bigger insurance policies than the average driver, but they have far more resources to compensate those affected by a crash than the average person.
Holding the right party responsible for a semi-truck collision can help people obtain appropriate compensation for the harm they’ve sustained as a result of a truck wreck. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start pursuing action in this way.