Seeking Damages from Someone Other than the At-Fault Driver
In the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident, it’s important to identify all potentially responsible parties. Of course, you’ll want to hold the other driver accountable for any negligence or carelessness that caused you to suffer losses. But there are often other third parties with potential liability.
The Employer of the At-Fault Motorist
Under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer may have liability for the wrongful acts of an employee, provided the worker was acting within the scope of his or her employment at the time of the careless act. For example, the employer of a truck driver hauling freight will generally have liability for motor vehicle accidents caused by the driver. There are exceptions, though. If the employee is engaged in a personal errand at the time of the accident or is involved in illegal actions unknown to the employer, there is generally no liability.
The Owner of the Vehicle
In New Jersey, as in many states, insurance attaches to the vehicle and not the driver. Accordingly, when you seek compensation from an insurance company, it will be the owner’s insurance company, not the driver’s.
The Designer or Manufacturer of the Vehicle or Any Defective Component
If the accident was caused by the breakdown, malfunction or negligent design of a motor vehicle or component part, you can bring a product liability claim against a third party. Liability for dangerous and defective products applies throughout the chain of distribution, from the manufacturer to the wholesaler to the retailer. You can file a product liability claim for negligent design, negligent manufacturing or negligent marketing of a product.
The Municipality that Maintained the Roadway
It’s also possible to seek compensation from a city, county or other municipality, if you can show there was negligence in maintaining the roadway or traffic signs/signals.
Contact the Law Office of Mallon & Tranger
We offer a free initial consultation to people in New Jersey who have suffered a workplace injury. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.