Question

Can I sue the company that employed the driver in my truck accident in Louisiana?

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Luke Williamson - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Luke Williamson

Located in Baton Rouge, LAWilliamson Fontenot Campbell & Whittington, LLC

Baton Rouge, LA
Phone: 225-383-4010
Fax: 225-383-4114

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Answer

The important thing to understand when thinking about suing the company that employed the driver in your trucking accident is whether or not the driver was in the “course and scope of employment” at the time of the accident. This term essentially means whether or not the driver was working for the company at the time. However, it is not as simple as thinking whether they were “on the clock” working. Employment status is not always straightforward, and it will affect the applicable coverage, so it is important to understand both employment and the types of coverage. 

Employment status can be complicated 

Whether or not the driver was working can seem very straightforward. However, it is much more complex. It can depend on:

  • Employment status as defined by their employment contract. Is the driver a full-time employee? A contractor? A fleet operator?
  • What the driver was actually doing. Perhaps the driver had dropped off his load for the evening and was headed home in his truck. At this time, is he “on the clock”? He’s using company property.

These, and more, are the issues that you and your lawyer will need to think about. 

Coverage can vary

In addition to whether you technically can sue the company employing the driver, you must consider the type of coverage that may apply. There are several types of coverage that can come into play in these situations: 

  • Bobtail coverage. This is a liability-only coverage that is generally paid for by the driver.
  • Commercial general liability coverage. This type of policy is held by the company employing the driver.
  • Fleet coverage. This is a more general type of employer-held coverage. 

These types of coverage can interact depending on whether or not the truck driver in your accident was, in fact, operating as an employee of the company. 

A complex situation requires experienced help 

Truck drivers and the companies that employ them have many different employment agreements. The way that those are interpreted will affect the way that insurance companies pay out after your accident. A lawyer can guide you through these issues and their effects on your case.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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