Vicarious liability is a legal theory through which employers can be held responsible for their employees’ actions. In the trucking context, this means that your business might be found responsible for the injuries caused to an individual who is involved in a truck accident caused by one of your employees. Vicarious liability claims can cost your business a significant amount of money, and it can also cause damage to your business’s reputation. With so much at risk in these cases, you need to do everything you can to protect your business interests as fully as possible.
The frolic and detour defense
Vicarious liability isn’t absolute. On the contrary, there are multiple defenses that may be available to you. Amongst them are frolic and detour. Both of these defenses shift the responsibility back onto the employee by arguing that they failed to adhere to your practices and their job responsibilities. If a trucker strays from his or her mandated trucking route for a purpose that is for his or her individual benefit, then you’ll have an argument that might allow you to escape vicarious liability. Whereas frolic involves a major deviation from an employee’s job duties, even a minor detour may be enough for you to win your case.
Arguing comparative negligence
Another option is to argue that the victim’s comparative negligence drastically decreases the amount of damages that should be awarded to him or her. Of course, this might not allow you to escape all liability, but it can significantly decrease the judgment that ends up having to be paid. To succeed with this argument, you’ll need evidence showing that the victim acted or failed to act in a way that contributed to the accident in question.
Don’t leave your business interests to chance
A vicarious liability claim can take a toll on your business, but you can minimize or even eliminate its effects with a sound defense. That’s why most businesses are better off seeking help form a law firm that is experienced with defending truck companies from these types of claims. If you’d like to know more about what you can do to build your defense, then consider reaching out to a law firm of your choosing.