Earlier this month an Indiana dump truck driver caused a massive accident resulting in the deaths of an 80-year-old couple. According to a local news report, the truck driver is facing two counts of reckless homicide in addition to several other charges related to the accident. Evidently, witnesses reported that that they saw the dump truck driving erratically for several miles, ultimately resulting in a rear-end collision. After rear-ending the SUV, the truck crossed into a median and slammed into a minivan, killing the elderly couple inside. The initial accident caused a chain-reaction accident, involving a total of eleven vehicles. In addition to the elderly couple, several other drivers and passengers suffered injuries.
Indiana police officials arrived at the scene shortly after the accident and conducted a field sobriety test on the truck driver. The driver was smiling and laughing throughout the test, which officers determined he failed. The driver admitted that he snorted heroin earlier in the day. Additionally, the truck matched the description of a one that was involved in a hit-and-run accident a few hours earlier. According to court records, the driver previously pled guilty to operating a vehicle under the influence and drug possession in 2015. He violated the terms of his probation in both cases.
Indiana truck drivers with DUI or OWI charges on their licenses may still be able to receive or retain their commercial driver’s licenses. The penalties vary from a one- to three-year suspension to criminal charges in some cases. For many, it is unnerving to know that trucking companies can still hire drivers with such blemished driving histories. And while some drivers will never engage in unsafe or impaired driving again, many will continue to follow old habits.
To help ensure the safety of all motorists, trucking companies should participate in thorough and ongoing background checks. However, in many instances, companies fail to do this. Trucking companies can be held liable for the actions of their drivers under one of two theories, vicarious liability and direct liability. Under a vicarious liability theory, or respondeat superior, an employer may be responsible if their employee engages in negligent behavior while engaged in work activities. For example, in the case above, the families may file a lawsuit against the trucking company on the basis that the dump truck driver was acting within the scope of his employment when the accident occurred.
The other path an Indiana personal injury victim may pursue against an employer is a direct liability claim. Direct liability includes claims such as negligent supervision, negligent hiring, or negligent training. Under Indiana law, a direct liability claim generally involves claims where the employee was acting outside the scope of employment. Indiana victims should have an attorney to advise them on the preferred approach in these types of lawsuits, as the determination is fact-specific.
Have You Been Injured in an Indiana Trucking Accident?
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries after an Indiana trucking accident, you should contact Padove Law. Attorney Padove has extensive experience handling complex Indiana and Illinois personal injury lawsuits and is skilled both at negotiation and litigation. You may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you sustained, including payments for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, as well as for any pain and suffering you endured. Contact my Indiana personal injury offices at 877-446-5294 to schedule your free initial consultation.