A recycling truck crash in Seattle was a scene of fiery chaos on Tuesday, with a total of five vehicles damaged in the mayhem.
According to The Seattle Times, two vehicles caught fire when the recycling truck slammed into them near Seattle's Pioneer Square. Luckily, there were no serious injuries or fatalities.
As the dust clears on this multi-car wreck, who might be held responsible for the damage?
Liability for Truck Crash
The only injury in the crash was, according to the Times, the driver's shoulder injury. But including the recycling truck, there were five damaged vehicles to deal with after Tuesday's crash.
Seattle Weekly identified the truck as belonging to the Seadrunar paper recycling company which was "aware of the incident" and sent a manager to the scene of the accident.
Typically, employers can be held liable for their employees' acts, especially if the injury or damage occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of his or her position.
Although details are sketchy on the cause of the initial crash, it is likely that Seadrunar will bear responsibility for its driver's actions, since the driver was likely on duty when the crash occurred.
It is also possible that the crash was caused by a mechanical failure somewhere in the recycling truck (e.g., defective brakes); if so, then the defective part's manufacturer may be on the hook for the crash as well.
Insurance and Damages
Although the damage was mostly to cars and not people, there were at least two cars that were totaled (including one that exploded), according to the Times.
It is likely that all of the damaged vehicles owners will receive compensation from either their insurance or Seadrunar's insurance, with each owner's insurance company retaining the right to subrogate each claim once the driver has been paid.
If there is a shared liability between the driver, Seadrunar, and any other liable party, then they will likely be found to be joint and severally liable, meaning any of the injured parties can recover the entire amount of his or her damages from any one of the people or companies at fault.
This kind of liability would be beneficial to the car owners in this multi-car crash, as they are more like to recover the full amount from Seadrunar (or its insurance company) than the driver.
- Car erupts in flames after crash in downtown Seattle (Seattle's KOMO-TV)
- Learn About Car Accidents in Seattle (Seattle Car Accident lawyer)
- Commercial Truck Accidents - Overview (FindLaw)
- Truck Accidents: 3 Potential Ways to Sue (FindLaw's Injured)