It’s nearly impossible to be on a Missouri road and not spot a delivery truck. These vehicles are an integral part of local and national economies. However, if you are involved in an accident with a delivery truck, you may have a number of questions racing through your mind.
Specifically, who is liable? Is the driver, or the company?
What Does the Law Say?
If you get into a car accident with a delivery truck in Missouri, you may have the option of filing an insurance claim against the company itself, and not the driver, based on a liability doctrine known as”respondeat superior.”
Respondeat superior allows car accident victims to seek damages from the company that employs the driver, as they are seen as responsible for how their employees conduct themselves while working or acting on behalf of the company.
This generally applies to smaller, local delivery companies, and also for larger ones like FedEx. However, the company can usually only legally be held responsible if you can prove:
- The driver did not intentionally cause you harm but was negligent
- The driver was within the scope of their employment, meaning they were on the clock, and it is part of their job to drive the delivery truck.
- If the driver ran into you on purpose, or should not have been driving the truck in the first place, then the company may not legally be held liable for their actions. Additionally, the driver has to be an employee and not an independent contractor, or under some other form of employment.
Unless such criteria are met, you generally will not be able to seek damages from the company. Instead, the driver may be fully liable to pay for your damages.
It May Not Be an Easy Ride
Going up against companies is difficult, as they most likely benefit from legal representation. The most common problem many car accident victims face is proving the driver was “within the scope of their employment.”
The company may try to get out of paying your damages by saying the driver was not acting within the scope of their employment – and the reality may be on their side. For example, the records may show the driver had no shipments in the area, nor did they have to be on that route to finish their shipment. They can claim the driver was outside of the scope, transferring liability to them. They may not accept full responsibility right away.
How to Protect Your Rights
Since the company will most likely have legal representation, so should you. It’s in your best interest to work with an experienced St. Louis car injury lawyer at this time and have them handle all legal aspects of your case. They can build a strong case and prevent the delivery company from shifting the blame, as well as pursue the full amount of compensation you are legally entitled to.
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