The truck driver involved in the crash that killed five Eastern Shore of Virginia residents now faces multiple traffic charges. Those include failing to stop at a red light and operating a motor vehicle in conditions likely to cause accident/breakdown. There are also charges pertaining to the brakes on the vehicle he was driving, as well as driving for too many hours without a long enough break and preparing a false record of duty status, according to online court records.
As Virginia truck accident injury attorneys we know that after a vehicle accident involving a commercial truck, even if it is clear that the truck driver caused the accident, it's not always easy to figure out who is legally liable.
When is a company liable for its driver’s conduct?
An employer is liable for the wrongful acts committed by its employees or agents, provided the acts were unintentional and were committed within the scope of employment. Essentially, respondeat superior imputes the employee’s liability to the employer, making the employer liable as if it had committed the wrongful act itself.
Is the driver an employee or independent contractor?
The first thing the injured person must show is that the truck driver is an employee of the company, rather than an independent contractor. That's because a company is generally not liable for wrongful acts committed by independent contractors.
Once a determination has been made as to who is liable for the truck accident the cause of the accident must be determined. The main cause for the above accident was most likely driver fatigue as the at-fault driver had been driving for too many hours.
Even though there are a number of federal regulations to curb truck driver fatigue and lower the rate of truck accident injuries and truck-related fatalities, it is still a substantial problem that shatters the lives of many families across America each year. In fact, it is estimated by the US Department of Transportation that 8,000 large truck crashes a year are due to tired drivers.