This is the next post in my series on the handling of commercial vehicle accident cases in Peoria and other Illinois areas. My last post provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible if you or a family member have been injured. It is important to speak with counsel immediately as you only have a limited amount of time in which you may bring a case against the defendant(s). In this article I will discuss the importance of identifying all relevant defendants in such matters. If you have been injured then contact my office today to speak with a personal injury lawyer.
Commercial vehicle accidents implicate drivers, employers, and potentially other third-parties
Accidents involving a commercial vehicle differ from typical car wrecks in that they implicate the driver, the employer, and other possible third-parties. This is due to the fact that employers are considered liable for the acts of employees who are acting in the course of their employment. This means that if an employee commits a negligent act then the employer will share in that negligence. Also, there may be third-parties who are at fault for negligence. This can include third-party service providers. Whether a party is potentially a defendant will depend on the specific facts of the case.
The foregoing is best explained by way of example. Suppose a restaurant owner employs a delivery driver. In the course of delivering food, the driver runs a stop sign and hits another car in the intersection. Obviously, the delivery driver would have committed an act of negligence. This act of negligence would flow through to the employer and they would face liability as well. Now suppose that, instead, the restaurant owner hired a third-party service to handle his or her deliveries. The service employs the delivery driver who causes the accident. Depending on the circumstances, the owner of the restaurant may face liability along with the driver and third-party company. Whether the restaurant would be liable in such a situation would depend on the nature of the relationship with the third-party service, whether the employer had reason to believe there was a risk of injury, etc.
Illinois employers may face additional causes of action after a commercial vehicle accident
Employers may face additional causes of action beyond those which are brought against their employees in a commercial vehicle accident. One such cause of action can stem from an employer’s failure to adequately screen, train, or supervise their hiring. An example of this could include a restaurant who hires a delivery driver but does not conduct pre-employment drug testing. Furthermore, the employer performs no ongoing or random drug-testing. The driver subsequently causes an accident while on a delivery and the evidence shows that he or she was high on drugs at the time. In such a situation the employer would be liable for the employee’s negligence. They would also potentially be liable for negligent hiring and supervision. Knowing what claims to bring as to each defendant is crucial. Failing to bring an available claim against a particular defendant can result in a victim receiving a reduced amount of compensation.
If you or a family member have been involved in a commercial vehicle accident then contact our office today to speak with a Peoria personal injury lawyer. My office fights for the rights of those who have been injured through no fault of their own and we will give your case the attention it deserves. This includes staying in contact with you as the case moves forward and making sure we are available to answer your questions. My office also serves clients in the Illinois cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington.