Drunk driving is one of the worst issues we face on the roads today. It’s estimated that in 2016, 28 people per day died in accidents involving intoxicated drivers. The problem seems to keep getting worse, and the human cost is rising. When added to tractor-trailers, the damages can be unbelievable.
Truck drivers are professionals and are expected to comport themselves accordingly, so when they get into drunk driving accidents, it’s not only tragic but it’s a betrayal. When it comes to seeking damages for these accidents, however, the driver might not be the only one responsible. Learn what happens when a DUI truck driver causes an accident, and how you can pursue an injury claim with the help of a personal injury attorney.
WHEN THE COMPANY IS LIABLE FOR DUI
There is a theory in law called respondeat superior. This philosophy holds that an employer is responsible for the acts of their employees while they are on the clock. This means if the DUI truck driver was on the clock at the time of the accident, you may be able to hold the owner of the trucking company responsible for the damages suffered.
ACTING IN THE SCOPE OF EMPLOYMENT
The key to determining if the trucking company is liable for the driver’s accident comes down to whether or not they were acting in the scope of their employment. When making this determination, there’s a range of facts that come into play, including the employee’s intent, when and where the accident took place, the nature of the accident, the freedom granted to the employee in the means by which they execute their tasks, and a range of other factors.
WAS THE DRIVER AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR?
One major issue that can come into play when dealing with truck drivers is whether or not they’re actually an employee. If the driver is paid as an independent contractor rather than an employee of the organization, they are responsible for their own actions, and the employer cannot be held liable.
CRIMINAL VS. CIVIL CHARGES
It’s also important to understand that there are two types of cases that can result from a drunk driving accident. The first is a criminal case. Drunk driving is a crime, and those who perpetrate it can be subject to severe penalties including not just jail time but suspended licenses and thousands in fines.
However, the fines in these cases won’t go to the victim—they’re punitive and paid to the government. To collect damages, you’ll need to file a civil suit. A civil case is separate and distinct from any criminal charges and is your road to collecting compensation for the harm you’ve suffered.
In order to collect compensation for your injuries, you’ll need the help of a qualified injury attorney. The right lawyer can help you examine the details of your case, will know how to advise you to proceed and can help hold the right individuals or companies responsible. If you’re in this situation and need help with a DUI case against a truck driver. Call the attorneys at Dunnion Law for help and a free consultation today.