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Liability after a commercial vehicle accident

Although many of the vehicles that are driven on Tennessee roads are operated by the individuals who own them there are a number of vehicles that are driven by workers on behalf of their employers. Some of these vehicles may be obvious to Blount residents, such as large delivery trucks that arrive in their neighborhoods and unload goods to the homes of their friends and neighbors. Others may be more difficult to spot, particularly if they are regular sedans, pick-ups or SUVs that are the company cars of those who drive them.

When a commercial or company vehicle is involved in a vehicle accident there can be questions regarding which party or parties are liable for the damages sustained by the victims. When private parties are involved in a collision then the party exhibiting negligence is generally responsible for paying for the victim's losses. However, when a driver who is operating a vehicle on behalf of their employer is involved in a crash then that driver's employer may be held accountable for the losses.

Under the legal theory of respondeat superior, an employer, in addition to the employee driving the vehicle may be held responsible for the losses caused by the employee's vehicle crash. There is generally a catch, though, as the employee must be doing work on behalf of the employer at the time the crash occurred.

Take, for example, an individual who receives a company car as part of their compensation from their job. If that individual causes a crash while driving to a work-function then the individual's employer may also be responsible for the incident. If, though, the individual is driving the vehicle to the grocery store for their personal use the employer may not be part of the possible list of responsible parties.

The nuances of respondeat superior can turn a simple car accident case into a more complex matter. For this reason readers are asked to consult with their personal injury attorneys to discuss their questions about this topic. This post is offered as information only and should not be relied on as legal guidance.

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