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Can a trucking company be held responsible for an accident?

One look at the massive semi-trucks often seen traveling on Conroe roads is typically all that is needed to confirm that such vehicles have the potential to cause massive devastation in the event of an accident. If you have already had the misfortune of being in such an accident, then you know this firsthand. Right now, you could be facing massive medical bills due the injuries you and/or your family members sustained in the collision, as well as the expenses needed to repair the damages done to your own vehicle. Who is going to pay for those? 

The easy answer is the trucker (if he or she was the one responsible for causing your accident). Yet what about the company that he or she drives for? A strong argument could be made that he or she would never have been in the position to cause your collision had he or she not been obligated to fulfill his or her employer's expectations. Therefore, can you hold the carrier service accountable for a truck accident

According to the legal principle of "respondeat superior" (as shared by the Cornell Law School), you can. This doctrine states that vicarious liability can be assigned to an employer due to the actions of its employee. The standards for enforcing respondeat superior are set at the state level. Rulings issued by local Texas courts have identified three elements that must be present in order to apply this principle to a case: 

  • An employee must be operating within the general scope of his or her employment,
  • Be furthering his or her employer's business interests, and
  • be fulfilling the purpose for which he or she was hired

Essentially, any actions committed while a trucker was "on the clock" might fall under the scope of respondeat superior. 

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