If you’ve been injured in a car accident, then you’re probably wondering about what you can do to find accountability and recover the compensation that you need. A personal injury lawsuit is probably your best option here, but it can be a complicated process full of legal intricacies that can be challenging to navigate, especially when multiple insurance companies are involved. Even figuring out who to sue can be more difficult than you think. This is especially true when the accident was caused by a taxi, delivery truck, or another commercial vehicle, or when you’re a passenger in one of these vehicles.
The basics of vicarious liability
While you can certainly file a legal claim against the individual driver whose negligence caused your accident and resulting injuries, you might also be able to file suit against his or her employer. Under the legal theory of vicarious liability, an employer can be held accountable for the actions of its employee if the employee was on the clock at the time of the incident and performing his or her job duties. In other words, the employer must have been benefiting from the actions of the employee at the time of the accident.
Why vicarious liability is important
So why do you want to put forth the effort to file a claim against an employer? Simply put, these companies probably have the resources necessary to fully compensate you for your injuries. Individual drivers might not have the money you need to secure a full recovery. By suing both the driver and his or her employer, you give yourself the best chance possible of covering compensation for the full extent of your injuries.
The challenges with vicarious liability claims
Suing a taxi company, delivery company, or other commercial vehicle owner isn’t always as straightforward as it may seem. After all, these companies have sly tactics aimed at escaping liability. To start, they oftentimes argue that the plaintiff is to blame for the accident. This is because under New York law, your recovery from one of these claims can be reduced based on the percentage of fault allocated to you. So, as you proceed with your claim, you’ll want to make sure that you’re prepared to defend your own driving actions at the time of the accident.
These companies and their insurance companies also often claim that the employee who caused the accident should be held solely liable. Here, the company will argue that the negligent driver was operating outside the scope of his or her employment, and therefore vicarious liability shouldn’t apply. To ensure that you can reach the employer here, you’ll need to carefully analyze the facts at hand to gather evidence showing that the employer still benefited from the employee’s actions at the time of the wreck.
Don’t overlook damages
Another aspect of one of these claims that is often aggressively challenged is damages. Taxi and other companies may hire expert witnesses to try to discount the extent of your harm and your prognosis, and they may try to argue that you’re able to go back to work much more quickly than is realistic. That’s why it’s imperative that you have strong witnesses on your side who can testify to the full extent of your damages.
Keep in mind that if you’re injured by a transportation vehicle that is owned and operated by the city, then you only have 90 days to file your claim. So, don’t sit on your claim for too long. Instead, quickly reach out to a personal injury attorney who can help you get everything filed in a timely fashion and assist you in navigating the insurance claims process, which can be complicated especially if you were injured as a passenger in a transportation vehicle.
Stand up to aggressive commercial vehicle companies
As you proceed with your claim, you might find that the commercial vehicle company involved tries to run the show. This is especially true when they try to steer you into a weak settlement agreement. Don’t let this happen to you. Instead, diligently work to prepare your claim so that you know exactly where you stand and what you’re owed. Only then can you be prepared for trial and position yourself to recover the compensation that you deserve. If you’d like assistance in that regard, then now may be the time to discuss the matter with an attorney who is well-versed in these kinds of claims.