Should You Sue the Trucking Company or the Driver in New Jersey?

People who have been in an accident with a truck in New Jersey may wonder whether they should sue the trucking company or the individual driver. Usually, it is best to sue the trucking company if the truck driver was employed by the company and the accident happened within the scope of employment. However, if the driver was an independent contractor or the accident happened while the driver was using the truck for personal reasons, then you should sue the driver. Continue reading to learn more about what you should do if you are in an accident with a truck in New Jersey and how Atlantic City truck accident attorney Joseph Lombardo can help you establish liability to help you win your case.

Liability in a Truck Accident in New Jersey

Whether the trucking company or the individual truck driver can be held liable for the accident depends on whether the truck driver is an employee of the trucking company or an independent contractor. Liability also depends on when the accident happened and whether the truck driver was using the truck appropriately.

If the truck driver was employed by the trucking company and the accident happened within the scope of employment, you should sue the company. Even if the accident happened because of the truck driver’s negligent behavior, the trucking company should still be held responsible. If the driver was inexperienced, untrained, or otherwise not suited to drive a truck, then the company may be held responsible for hiring them in the first place. The trucking company is responsible for hiring employees that are properly trained and who have clean driving histories.

The trucking company can also be held responsible if a defect with their truck was the cause of the accident. Examples of truck defects and oversights that are considered to be a form of negligence on the part of a trucking company include overloading or not properly securing cargo on the truck, failing to properly inspect trucks, failing to perform thorough maintenance and repairs on trucks, and failing to replace any defective parts or equipment, which would be case of product liability. The trucking company can also be held responsible if the driver drove for too many hours without taking a break to rest.

However, if the driver of the truck involved in the accident was an independent contractor, it is likely that they can be held personally responsible for the accident. In this case, the trucking company will not be able to be held responsible.

Also, the trucking company may not be held responsible for a truck accident if the accident involved an employee but occurred outside of the scope of employment. For example, if the truck driver used the company’s truck to visit a personal friend or to run an errand without permission from the trucking company, the driver may be held personally responsible.

Determining whether the driver of a truck is an employee of a trucking company or an independent contractor can be done with the help of an experienced truck accident attorney such as Joseph Lombardo. A truck accident attorney can also determine whether the accident happened within the scope of employment. If someone you know died in an accident with a truck, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit in New Jersey.

Trucks and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations

The trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates the behavior of trucking companies and drivers. It is meant to keep drivers safe, as well as motorists on the road alongside trucks. The FMCSA implements regulations for how trucking companies can load their trucks and treat their drivers, but many companies ignore these regulations in an attempt to save time and cut costs.

Trucking companies that violate FMCSA regulations are likely to also engage in behavior that makes them negligent in a truck accident. Behaviors commonly undertaken by trucking companies that are also likely to be considered negligent in the case of an accident include speeding, overloading trucks with too much cargo (which can make them more likely to tip over), pressuring drivers to skip breaks or drive for too many hours, or permitting drivers to use drugs or stimulants to stay awake for extended periods of time.

How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You

An experienced truck accident lawyer can help you obtain compensation for the damages you’ve suffered as the result of an accident with a truck by determining whether the driver was negligent in the accident and building a case against either the trucking company or the driver responsible for the accident.

Truck accident lawyers have the skills and resources to gather evidence and build a case against the responsible party. They can examine police reports, review medical records, investigate the driver’s training and background, look into the trucking company’s history of accidents, get expert opinions, interview witnesses, gather data from the truck’s GPS system, investigate whether the truck driver had been driving for too long without resting, and recreate the scene of the accident to determine fault.

Get in Touch with an Experienced New Jersey Truck Accident Lawyer

If you have been involved in an accident with a truck in New Jersey, you should seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. New Jersey truck accident lawyer Joseph Lombardo of Lombardo Law Group, LLC, can use their knowledge and expertise to get the compensation you deserve. Get in touch with Joseph Lombardo at your earliest convenience to schedule a free legal consultation. Call (609) 445-4300.

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