If a car accident occurs while an someone is driving a vehicle to perform work duties, the employer may be responsible. This most commonly occurs when a commercial vehicle driver causes an accident and his or her employer is sued for accountability. Whether an employer will be liable depends on whether there is some legal justification for holding the employer accountable.
There are two ways that an employer can be held liable for a car accident caused by an employee: (1) negligence by the employer and (2) respondeat superior.
Employer negligence may involve negligent hiring of the employee or negligent supervision of the employee. When a company hires someone to drive, the employer has a duty to exercise reasonable diligence in order to make sure that the employee is not a risk to others on the roadway. For example, the employer should make sure the employee has met the appropriate licensing requirements and take reasonable precautions such as drug testing.
Employers should also have safety regulations. This means if an employer has drivers working for him, the employer should make sure those drivers follow requirements set by federal and state law. If an employer fails to check and make sure that the employee is exhibiting reasonable care and skill, then that employer is likely liable for negligence.
Respondeat superior is a fancy word for a straight forward legal doctrine. Respondeat superior doesn’t necessarily require employer negligence in any way themselves. Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer is responsible for the actions of an employee that are done in the performance of the employee’s duties. For example, if an employee is driving a company car, and causes an accident, the employer is considered liable, and can be held accountable for any injuries or property damage.
If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a car accident that may involve employer liability, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 479-621-0006, or visit our website at nwacaraccidentattorney.com.