One of the first steps in a personal injury case is determining liability. In order to identify who is liable for your injuries, it’s important to understand the concept of “respondeat superior.” Here’s what you need to know about this legal doctrine:
What is Respondeat Superior?
Respondeat superior, which translates to mean “let the master answer,” is a legal doctrine that states an employer may be responsible for the actions of his employee under certain circumstances.
When is an Employer Liable?
An employer cannot be held liable for something that an employee does during his private time. But, an employer is liable for the actions of his employee in the “course of employment.” Basically, this means that if an employee was on the clock and conducting business on behalf of the employer at the time of the accident, the employer may be liable.
It will not always be clear whether an employer is liable for your injuries or not. For instance, an employer is typically liable if one of his delivery truck drivers collides with another vehicle while making deliveries. Therefore, if you are hit by a delivery truck driver, you might automatically assume the employer is liable. But, if the driver was clocked out for a lunch break at the time of the accident, the employer is not liable. It’s best to let an attorney investigate and help you determine whether respondeat superior will come into play in your case.
Types of Cases Involving Respondeat Superior
This legal doctrine may come up in many different types of personal injury cases, but it is especially common in truck accident cases. Why? Truck accidents are often caused by negligent truck drivers. If a negligent truck driver injures or kills someone in a collision, the employer can be liable since the driver was on the clock and performing his basic job duties at the time of the accident.
Why does it matter who you hold liable for your injuries? Employers typically have more insurance coverage than their employees. This means if you can prove that the employer is liable, it may be possible to recover more compensation that you would have received if the individual was the only liable party.
If you have been injured, let a personal injury attorney step in and help you identify the liable parties. The personal injury attorneys at Reisch Law Firm have years of experience representing clients who have been injured by negligent employees. To learn about your legal options, schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.