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Who can be held liable for a commercial vehicle accident?

A typical motor vehicle accident case involves holding a negligent driver liable for damages he or she caused to another person. However, there are many cases where another party may be held liable as well.

This legal concept is sometimes known as vicarious liability, and it can come into play in cases where parents are held liable for damages caused by a minor child who caused an accident while driving the family car. Vicarious liability is very important in personal injury cases involving commercial vehicle accidents.

For example, imagine a case where truck driver Adam negligently causes an accident in which Zadie is injured. Zadie files a personal injury claim against Adam, but she can also hold Adam's employer vicariously liable for damages caused by its employee during the course of his work day.

Other parties may be held liable as well in some cases. In the example above, imagine that Adam's employer rented the truck from another company. Depending on the facts of the case, that rental company may share some of the liability for Zadie's damages.

State and federal regulations can also affect liability in commercial vehicle accident cases. For example, bus companies may be subject to common carrier regulations that are designed to protect passenger safety.

Since trucks, buses and other types of commercial vehicles tend to be big and heavy, a collision with a typical car can easily lead to catastrophic injury for the occupants of the smaller vehicle. This means the injured person will suffer enormous damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering. It's important that the injured and their families recover as much compensation as they can. An experienced personal injury attorney can help the injured and their families to evaluate their legal options.

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John McCabe wrote "The Investigation and Analysis of Personal Injury Cases" in the best-selling book Personal Injury Practice in North Carolina. This is the book that other lawyers follow in handling personal injury cases.

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