If the guy who hit me with the company truck and trailer did not have a license, is the company liable for the whole amount of the car loan since it was totaled?

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If the guy who hit me with the company truck and trailer did not have a license, is the company liable for the whole amount of the car loan since it was totaled?

The guy failed to stop and had a trailer with 2 construction vehicles on the back. He didn’t have a licence. My car is totaled and my load did not have gap insurance. Can I sue the company for hiring him to drive without a license.

Asked on November 16, 2017 under Accident Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The license is not the issue: fault is. If the driver who hit you was driving carelessly, as appears to be the case, and he was driving for work or as part of his job, as he presumably was, his employer is likely liable under the theory of "respondeat superior": an employer is liable for the non-criminal wrongful or careless acts of the employer's employee.
In addition, if the truck is owned by someone other than the company (e.g. they lease it), you may be able to sue the owner, too, because a vehicle's owner is resonsible for the careless driving of those whom the owner allows to use the vehicle.
And sue the driver himself: not having insurance doesn't mean he would not have to pay, it just means he does not have insurance to pay for him--he'd have to pay out of pocket. He might not have money of course--but he might; sue him, too. Sue everyone, to increase the chance of recovering from someone.
Of course, you can only sue for any amounts not paid by the insurer: to the extent you are paid the car's fair market value and for any other costs (e.g. towing, rental) you incur due to the accident, you cannot sue, since all you can get (assuming no persona injury) are these amounts, and if you are paid them, you cannot also sue for more.


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