Temp Agency or Trucking Company: Who Is Responsible for Your Accident in California?

Temp Agency or Trucking Company: Who’s Liable for Your Truck Accident in California?

The gig economy has transformed traditional employment relationships, and trucking is no different. The truck drivers you see on California’s roads may be full-time employees or they may be hired through temp agencies, as independent contractors, or as owner-operators.

If you’ve suffered an accident involving a truck, why does the truck driver’s employment status concern you? The reality is that a truck driver’s employment status can complicate the legal process after a truck accident, especially if you’re filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit to establish legal responsibility and recover compensation.

The Impact of the Gig Economy on Truck Accident Claims

In California, the legal concept of vicarious liability means that employers are legally responsible for the actions of their employees while those employees are on the job.

Vicarious liability helps victims of negligence get justice. With vicarious liability, companies who act negligently or put out negligent products cannot simply blame their employees for the injuries or damages that result. Generally, companies have deeper pockets than individual employees, not to mention insurance. You can recover more compensation by holding a company responsible rather than a single individual.

For example, if a trucking company is negligent because they fell behind on maintaining their fleet of vehicles, they should be held responsible for damages instead of the truck driver who happened to be driving the vehicle. Trucking companies can even be held responsible for negligent hiring practices when it comes to drivers on their payroll.

However, when an accident involves a truck driver hired as an independent contractor or through a temp agency, this blurs the line between temporary and full-time employment. If the truck driver is not considered an employee, can you still hold the trucking company responsible?

Determining Liability in Truck Accident Cases

Even in normal circumstances, determining liability in truck accident cases is a multifaceted and complex process, with the potential for multiple parties to share responsibility. You will need the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer who knows where to look for evidence, how to avoid common tricks by insurance companies, and which experts to involve.

With independent contractors and temp agencies, the first step to determining liability is examining the nature of the relationship between the truck driver, the temp agency, and the company using the driver’s services. This investigation aims to answer the question: Who had control over the driver’s work conditions and actions at the time of the accident? Was it the temp agency that hired the driver, or the trucking company that directed their day-to-day activities?

Under California law, a company can be responsible for the actions of its workers, even if the worker is classified as an independent contractor. Ultimately, liability depends on the level of control that the company has over a worker’s tasks and schedule.

The Role of Independent Contractor Status in Liability

Independent contractor status usually means that a worker has more control over their schedule and methods, unlike employees who are more closely managed by their employers.

This distinction is critical in determining who is at fault in truck accident cases. The challenge lies in demonstrating that, despite the independent contractor label, the company has enough control over a driver’s work to be considered responsible for their actions.

Consider, between the truck driver, the temp company, and the trucking company:

  • Who’s responsible for maintaining the vehicle involved in the crash?
  • Did the temp agency or trucking company do its own background check?
  • Does the temp agency or trucking company provide training for its drivers?
  • Does the truck driver get to choose what hours or which projects they work?
  • Does the temp agency or trucking company manage the driver’s schedule?
  • Does the truck driver need to get approval to take time off?
  • Does the driver get paid on payroll or a project basis?
  • Does the driver get benefits that are usually given to full-time employees?
  • How many hours per week and how many weeks out of the year does the driver work for this particular agency or trucking company?

Determining liability requires an in-depth legal analysis of the working relationship between all of the parties involved. This may include third parties such as maintenance providers. Factors such as contract terms, the degree of supervision, and the nature of the work performed must be examined by experts to establish who ultimately had control and responsibility.

How an Experienced Lawyer Can Help

When it comes to complex truck accident cases, you increase your chances of success when you contact a lawyer who’s equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to successfully navigate these murky waters. Otherwise, you may find yourself up against a large trucking company and their insurers, entities with significant resources at their disposal.

Unfortunately, trucking companies and their insurers are more interested in protecting their bottom lines than in supporting your recovery, with legal teams dedicated to minimizing payouts whenever possible. Truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries or wrongful deaths with life-altering losses for victims and their families – if someone else’s negligence caused your injuries and losses, they should be on the hook for those damages, not you.

An experienced truck accident attorney can anticipate the tactics that these companies might use and counteract them, ensuring that you don’t get pressured into accepting a settlement that falls short. A good lawyer knows the true value of your claim and will advocate for your rights to get you the maximum possible settlement, with your long-term health in mind.

At Sepulveda Sanchez Law, we understand the intricacies of California’s trucking laws and how they apply to unique employment situations. We know all of the strategies that trucking companies and insurance companies use to try to get out of paying out the full compensation that you deserve. Our expertise helps us identify the correct parties to hold accountable and formulate a strategy to secure a settlement for your injuries and damages.

The right lawyer not only enhances your chances of a favorable resolution but also serves as a steadfast advocate and advisor through the complexities of your truck accident claim. Click here to contact the experienced team at Sepulveda Sanchez Law today.