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What is third-party liability?

Readers are asked to imagine driving down a busy New Haven street. As they work their way through traffic, navigate around pedestrians and avoid bicyclists, a large commercial truck suddenly hits them from behind. As a result of the collision, the victim-driver suffers broken bones, a concussion and other forms of physical injury and loss.

After the victim is treated for their harm and is able to return to their home, they may feel compelled to seek the recovery of their damages. It is not fair that they may have to pay out of pocket for the harm they suffered due to the truck driver's negligence. In such a case, a victim may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, knowing what parties to include as possible defendants may be tricky for someone who has never had to confront personal injury legal issues before.

In such a case, the victim will likely include the truck driver as a defendant in their claim. If the truck driver was driving on behalf of their employer or another entity, they victim may include that party or entity as well. This is what is known as third-party liability. Even though the truck's owner or the company that employed the truck driver was not present at the time of the crash, liability may extend to them because they put the driver on the road to perform some task.

Third-party liability in car accident cases can extend to companies, insurers and many others. It is important that victims include the full range of possible defendants in their personal injury claims on their pleadings to ensure that their cases are as complete as possible when they go to trial.

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