Truck drivers sometimes act like they own the road. Driving near them can be one of the scariest and most dangerous things you encounter on the road. Especially if you get in a truck driver’s way, or maybe even because of the type of car you are driving, a truck driver may cut you off, “brake check” you, or otherwise interfere with your driving. Other drivers do these kinds of things, too when they are involved in road rage situations, but circumstances can be much worse when tractor trailers outweigh most passenger cars by over 75,000 pounds.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a truck that the truck driver intentionally caused, you might have a difficult time seeking recovery. The truck accident attorneys at the Reiff Law Firm’s The Truck Accident Team explain what you need to know about coverage in intentional crashes.
Insurance May Refuse to Cover Intentional Crashes
The majority of crashes on the road are indeed caused by accidents. Many times, people fail to pay attention, make poor decisions, drive tired, or drive drunk. Sometimes, bad weather or road conditions contribute to an accident, but drivers usually try to avoid car accidents – not cause them. Because of this, auto insurance companies usually cover their drivers in cases of true accidents.
Insurance is meant to cover an accident victim when the other driver fails to keep them safe and causes injury. This kind of accident is usually based on “negligence,” a legal concept where one person breaches a duty they owe to the other, and cause them injuries. However, having insurance is not the same as having permission to drive badly or act irresponsibly. To make this clear, most insurance policies state that they will not cover intentional actions. These policies mean that insurance companies will refuse to pay for injuries their insured drivers cause on purpose.
Whether insurance companies are allowed to do this, and the specific definition of “intentional” is up to the law of your particular state. Most states do allow insurance policies to bar coverage for intentional acts. As for the definition of “intentional,” most states look at whether the intent was to cause injury, and do not cover cases where it is.
Many things in driving are “intentional,” in the typical sense of the word. Many people intentionally decide to speed, run red lights, or make risky moves on the road. That does not usually give insurance companies the grounds to bar recovery. Instead, there must be an intent to actually cause injury. For instance, intentionally ramming another car, swerving into a pedestrian, or forcing another driver off the road may demonstrate an intent to cause injury that will block insurance companies from paying for injuries. Courts are often forgiving, and define “intentional” narrowly to help injured victims deal with injuries.
If the compensation from an insurance company is unavailable, you may still have a case against the trucking company and the driver itself. Your own insurance may also help pay for your injuries, in some cases. Always talk to an attorney after an accident to see how you can protect yourself.
Suing a Trucking Company for Intentional Injuries
Whenever an employee injures someone while performing their job duties, the victim can usually sue the employer as well as the employee. For a trucking company, this concept is usually pretty clear: when a truck driver is on the road, working for a trucking company, the truck driver’s errors are also the errors of the trucking company. This means courts will often hold the trucking company liable for their drivers’ failures.
Depending on the state and its specific definitions for this kind of “vicarious liability,” the trucking company may limit when it can be held responsible. Sometimes, when an employee is acting “outside the scope of their duties,” or violating company policy, the employer cannot be held responsible for their actions. Intentionally causing an accident is likely a violation of company policy, and may make recovery against the employer difficult.
On the other hand, employer trucking companies can usually be held directly liable for their own actions. That means things like hiring drivers with a history of bad driving, criminal record, or history of drunk driving can make the company liable to the people their drivers injure. This could help you recover compensation, even if the truck driver intentionally caused a crash.
National Truck Accident Lawyers
The lawyers at the Reiff Law Firm’s The Truck Accident Team work across the country to find compensation for those injured in trucking accidents. Our lawyers fight insurance companies and the big legal teams at trucking companies to get victims the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, even if the truck driver intentionally caused the accident, our lawyers may be able to fight to get you compensation. Call (215) 709-6940 today for a free consultation on your truck accident case.