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Are trucking companies liable for truck accidents?

The semi-trucks and tractor-trailers that you see traveling in and around Denver play a vital role in America’s commerce. At the same time, they can also pose great danger to you and the other motorists on the road around you. If you happen to be involved in a truck accident, is the truck driver the only one who is held liable? What about the trucking company that employs him or her? Do they share in any of the responsibility, even if the accident was due to the driver’s own individual negligence?

The website reports that only one of every nine truckers operates independently.  Thus, the odds that the driver whose vehicle caused your accident is employed by a parent company are fairly high. The legal principle of respondeat superior states that in when an employee is operating within the scope of his or her employment, his or her employer is liable for his or her actions. The question then becomes what does and does not constitute work-related activity for truckers.

Some activities may be fairly straightforward, such as being in the course of carrying cargo. However, what if the trucker struck you while trying to find a place to park his or her truck to rest at night, or attempting to find a place to eat or take a break? Even though he or she was not technically making a delivery, he or she was still on the job, and thus his or her employer would be liable if your accident occurred in either of the situations. 

If the trucker was driving his or her rig home after having completed a delivery, however, he or she is not acting as an agent of the trucking company, and liability for an accident may fall to him or her alone. 

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