Too often, truck accidents have tragic consequences. The size and weight of a truck means that collisions tend to be severe. If you or a loved one suffers harm in a Virginia truck accident, you may be able to hold the responsible party liable for your injuries. A recent crash in Virginia illustrates the devastating harm that may result from a truck accident.
According to a recent news article, four people lost their lives in an accident involving two tractor-trailers and four cars in Montgomery County, Virginia. The accident occurred along as a family was traveling north on Interstate 81 in the rain when their U-Haul trailer lost control and spun around. The family members were then struck by a northbound tractor-trailer. Sadly, four of them died at the scene.
Can You Sue Employers for Employees’ Negligent Driving?
Virginia law allows plaintiffs to sue an employer for an employee’s negligent conduct under the theory of respondeat superior, which is also known as vicarious liability. To hold an employer liable for an employee’s negligence, a Virginia plaintiff must prove that the employee was acting within the scope of employment when the accident occurred. Employees act within the scope of their employment when they work at their designated time and workspace and perform a task that furthers the employer’s business. For example, truck drivers would act within the scope of employment if they injured someone while completing a delivery for the employer. However, if an accident occurred when the truck driver was using the employer’s truck for personal errands, that driver would not be acting within the scope of employment.
If the plaintiff proves the employee acted within the scope of employment, that plaintiff can sue the employer as a threshold matter. Then, a plaintiff must still prove all elements of a negligence claim to recover damages from the employer. For plaintiffs to prevail on a negligence claim, they must prove the defendant owed them a duty of care, breached that duty through their careless action or failure to act, caused the accident and that the plaintiff suffered injuries as a consequence.
Can You Recover Damages After a Virginia Truck Accident If You Were at Fault?
Unlike the vast majority of states, Virginia prohibits plaintiffs from recovering damages if they were even 1% at fault for their accident. This theory of fault is known as contributory negligence. By contrast, most states follow a modified comparative negligence theory, which allows plaintiffs to recover damages so long as they were less than 51% at fault. Due to Virginia’s strict contributory negligence rule, defendants will often argue that the plaintiff shares responsibility for their injuries. An experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer can help you develop a case strategy to argue you were not at fault in a truck accident.
Have You Been Injured in a Virginia Truck Accident?
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or died in a Virginia truck accident, contact The Schupak Law Firm to discuss your case. The attorneys at our firm possess years of experience representing clients in Virginia personal injury cases, including truck accidents. Our skilled representation has led to significant compensation for our clients. For a free and confidential consultation, call us at 240-833-3914.