Vicarious Liability in Massachusetts Truck Accident Cases

Truck accidents can lead to serious and long-term injuries for everyone involved. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a truck accident that was not your fault, you may be able to recover damages through a personal injury lawsuit. At The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C., our seasoned Massachusetts truck accident attorneys are committed to providing personalized and detail-oriented representation to our clients throughout the entire legal process.

According to the United States Department of Transportation, approximately half a million trucking accidents occur across the country on an annual basis. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that about 5.6 percent of all deadly crashes in Massachusetts involved large trucks. Even though the commercial trucking industry is legally obligated to follow strict rules and regulations, the reality is that drivers often ignore them and end up getting into serious accidents. Some causes of accidents include but are not limited to:

  • Drowsy driving;
  • Distracted driving;
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs;
  • Excessive speeding;
  • Unsecured or overloaded cargo;
  • Mechanical failures; and/or
  • Not following legal rules and regulations.

Truck accidents caused by a truck driver’s carelessness or wrongdoing are typically rooted in the theory of negligence. Negligence takes place when an individual who owes a duty of care to another person fails to exercise a certain degree of care and causes an injury to that other person. In order to win on a negligence claim, a plaintiff must first prove to a judge or jury that:  i) the truck driver owed a duty of care to the plaintiff; ii) the truck driver breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff; iii) the truck driver’s breach was a direct cause of the truck accident; and iv) the plaintiff suffered quantifiable harm as a result. Without first proving these elements, a plaintiff will not be able to recover any compensation.

Under Massachusetts law, in certain cases, if you were injured in a truck accident caused by a negligent truck driver, you may be able to hold the employer accountable through the doctrine of vicarious liability. Also known as “respondeat superior,” the translation from Latin means, “let the master answer.” Under this doctrine, the employer may be responsible for the actions of the employee if the employee was “on the job” at the time of the negligence. This does not relieve the driver of his or her responsibilities; it simply makes the employer liable as well. For instance, if the truck driver caused an accident by excessively speeding while making a delivery, the employer could potentially be liable for the accident and resulting harm as well.

If you have been hurt in a truck accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. At The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C., we have over 25 years of experience handling auto accident cases and can apply our knowledge to your case. We understand that the stakes are high in these cases, and we can vigorously advocate for your rights. For more information about your legal rights and options, feel free to call us at 1-800-262-9200 or contact us through our website.