If you work as a long-haul trucker and have been involved in an at-fault accident, you may be concerned about any personal liability you may incur as a result of this crash. What if your accident was due to one of your employer’s policies — such as requiring employees to turn a certain number of hours per day, or drive a certain number of miles without stopping? Read on to learn the legal and insurance principles that govern this type of incident.
What is indemnification?
Indemnification is a term used in civil cases, particularly insurance cases, in which the person or entity at fault was under the supervision or control of another entity. If you are personally sued for injuries caused by your crash, you or your attorney can add your employer as an additional party. If you are deemed to have been at fault, but the court determines that you were fully under your employer’s control and direction, you may indemnify your employer — and require them to pay the judgment.
Indemnification is especially useful in the personal injury context. Plaintiffs seeking repayment of medical and other expenses want to go for the deepest pockets (whether through assets or insurance coverage), and generally employers are the better target.
Can you still be sued personally as a result of an accident involving indemnification of your employer?
Unfortunately, simply adding your employer as an additional party to a lawsuit is insufficient to relieve you of liability for any injuries incurred. Even if your employer is found to be responsible for the accident, you are likely to be deemed “jointly liable.” This is a legal term which refers to the responsibility of all liable parties for 100 percent of the total judgment. Although you shouldn’t have to pay the full judgment in most cases, the plaintiff can seek enforcement of the judgment against both you and your employer equally.
For example, if the court awards the plaintiff $100,000, and your employer pays the plaintiff $5,000 and then goes out of business, you will likely be personally responsible for the remaining $95,000 portion of the judgment. If the court awards the plaintiff $100,000 and your employer pays the full amount, you are not personally responsible for any portion of the judgment.
What should you do if you are personally sued after an accident?
If you’ve been sued after being involved in a trucking accident, you shouldn’t need to obtain an attorney — your insurance premiums (along with those paid by your employer) have hired dozens of attorneys, such as those from, http://www.mccreadylaw.com, to work on your behalf. Just provide your insurance company with all relevant information (including information which could render your employer liable for injuries) and cooperate with any questions they may have, and your case should go smoothly.