Some auto accident laws allow you to hold an employer liable for an accident their employee causes. Below are some of the situations in which this is possible.
Scope of Employment
You can hold the employer liable for your damages if their employee was acting within the scope of their duties. Such claims are possible under the legal principle of respondeat superior. In practice, this means the employee was:
- Acting on the direction of the employer
- Was engaged in an activity in their job description
- Was engaged in an activity that benefited their employer
Here are some examples of such situations:
- A driver causes an accident while driving their boss to a meeting
- A delivery truck causes an accident while making deliveries
- An employee causes an accident while driving to a meeting with a client
You will need to prove the connection between the driver's actions and their employer.
You may also hold the employer liable for your damages if the accident involves a company car. Many states have laws that make employers liable for accidents that involve company cars. Such a claim is possible under vicarious liability laws.
The employer may also be liable for the accident if a car malfunction caused the accident. An example is if a defective brake causes an accident. In this case, you can use negligent maintenance as the basis of your auto accident claim.
Lastly, you may also hold the employer liable for your damages if the driver has a dangerous driving history. In this case, you will base your claim on negligent hiring and retention. You may need to prove that the employer hired a driver with a dangerous driving history or retained the employee despite their dangerous driving.
You will also need to prove that the employer knew or should have known about their employee's dangerous driving. Here are examples of cases where negligent hiring or retention can apply:
- A company hires a driver with a history of DUI convictions
- A company hires a driver with a suspended driving license
- A company hires a truck driver without a commercial driving license (CDL)
In short, you can use anything that makes the driver dangerous (more dangerous than the average driver) as proof of the employer's liability.
Don't restrict your liability claim to the employer in any of the above circumstances. In addition to the employer, the driver/employee and other third parties (such as the car manufacturer) might also be liable for the damages. An auto accident attorney can help you identify all the liable parties so that you can maximize your compensation.