An accident can leave you with severe injuries, large medical bills and a car that may take several days to repair. If you have suffered from an accident with a commercial vehicle, who do you sue for damages? What happens in the event that you cannot sue the company itself?
Who Owns the Truck?
While your first inclination may be to sue the company that has its name and logo plastered on the truck, that business may not actually own the truck. In many cases, a fleet of trucks may be owned or operated by an independent company that may be the deliverer of goods on behalf of a separate entity it is contracted to do business with. In other cases, a driver may be a self-employed truck driver who owns and operates his or her own truck. Before you can sue, you have to know which entity is ultimately liable for the accident.
Which Insurance Company?
Another layer to the equation has to do with what type of insurance policy was in effect at the time of the accident. Businesses may elect to cover their vehicles under a single commercial auto insurance policy. However, some businesses will not provide that type of coverage for their drivers. Therefore, you may have to go after the individual driver’s insurance company.
Who Has the Deep Pockets?
In any type of a lawsuit, you may be able to go sue a party if they are deemed to be the deep pockets in the case. For example, if a truck driver was delivering produce to a major grocery store, a judge may allow you to go after that grocery store if they have more money than the truck driver.
Your ability to go after other parties depends on the exact facts in your case and whether a court thinks that the deep pocket should have exercised care. For example, if the grocer contracted with a driver who had a poor driving record, it could be argued that the company should have known that an accident was possible.
Contact a Lawyer Immediately
Your best bet is to hire a lawyer who understands the law and your rights throughout an accident case. In some states, you have five years to bring a case to court. In addition to the statute of limitations, there may be corporate laws that you have to worry about. If a self-employed commercial driver hit your car, it is possible that you will be limited to going after corporate assets if that driver uses a corporate business structure. However, you would be entitled to go after all of their business and personal assets if the driver was a sole proprietor.
Whenever you are hit by a commercial vehicle, you need to determine who owns the vehicle in question and which insurance company is required to pay out any claim that is made. Your attorney will be able to help you sort out the facts in your case, to make sure that you are properly compensated.
Source by Em John