When multiple parties are involved in a car accident, the determination of who is liable and to what extent can cause serious headaches. Illinois has specific laws that govern issues involving joint tortfeasor liability that determine when co-defendants are liable for the conduct of other co-defendants. As dedicated Chicago personal injury lawyers, the seasoned trial lawyers of Therman Law Offices will ensure that you receive the full amount of competition you deserve from each party who caused your harm.
A recent case interpreted specific provisions of the Illinois Joint Tortfeasor Contribution Act. The two defendants in the case were vicariously liable for injuries that the plaintiff sustained in a multi-vehicle accident. The first defendant was a logistics company and a freight broker that negotiated contracts with licensed motor carriers to transport goods. The defendant entered into an agreement with a grocery store to arrange for the shipment of produce. The federally licensed motor carrier contacted to make the transport was the second defendant in the action. During transport of a shipment of potatoes on Interstate 55, the driver noticed vehicles stopped ahead but she was not able to stop the tractor-trailer in time resulting in a multi-vehicle crash resulting in two fatalities and one seriously injured party.
The driver admitted negligence in the resulting legal action that the survivors’ and victim brought against the parties. The trucking company admitted negligence along with the driver while the logistics company denied liability. It claimed that it could not be held vicariously liable for the driver’s actions under the respondeat superior doctrine because there was not enough evidence to prove that the driver was acting as the agent of the logistics company. Under this doctrine, an employer is vicariously liable for the tortious acts that his or her employee or agent commits during the course and scope of employment.