Respondeat Superior in Personal Injury Claims

Respondeat superior is a legal term that describes the responsibility of an employer for the actions of his/her employees. It's important to understand how this may affect a personal injury claim.

How Respondeat Superior Could Apply to an Injury Case

A common scenario where respondeat superior might apply is when someone suffers injuries in a car accident. If the other driver's negligence caused the crash, liability could extend to his/her employer. But that would only be true if the crash occurred during the driver's scope of employment.

Let's say another individual was going to work and ran a red light. The crash injures another driver. The employer wouldn't be liable for the accident because it didn't occur within the course of employment. But if that same driver drove a delivery truck and while on duty ran a red light and injured someone, employer liability may apply.

Some cases
can be more challenging to apply respondeat superior to than a car accident case. For instance, if the employee was on lunch break it might be more complex, such as if the employee was getting lunch for the office. An attorney can help determine the application of this legal doctrine in a less obvious situation such as this.

Another example in which respondeat superior may apply is with a medical malpractice case. A physician or other type of healthcare provider could be liable for the negligent actions of an employee. Let's say a doctor has a private practice, with several employees. One of his/her medical assistants gives the wrong medication to a patient. As a result, the patient becomes sick and requires hospitalization. It's possible the doctor will be liable for the actions of the medical assistant.

How to Prove an Employer's Liability under Respondeat Superior

As mentioned, one of the key factors is establishing that the incident/accident occurred during the employee's scope of employment. This is the first step toward proving employer liability.

You will also need to show evidence of negligence. The employee's actions must have been careless or reckless and the direct cause of injuries. In the example of the car accident, it was the driver running a red light. And in the example of the medical assistant, it was giving the wrong medication. The types of evidence necessary depend on the case.

Commonly used to help show fault in traffic accidents are:

• police reports;
• photographs; and
• eyewitness accounts.

In a case involving medical malpractice it may include expert witnesses, hospital records and other relevant documentation.

Negligence isn't the only element that requires proof. You also need to show the extent and severity of injuries. There must be evidence of damages suffered; for instance, medical bills to treat the injuries. It could also include evidence like lost earnings while recovering. Other damages may address pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, mental anguish and more.

How an Attorney Can Help in a Case Involving Respondeat Superior

Holding an employer liable for the actions of an employee may be a more complicated case than a typical personal injury case. To learn more about your right to pursue compensation from an employer, seek legal counsel. An attorney can determine if you have a case and help assemble the evidence necessary to prove it.

By The Miley Legal Group, West Virginia
Law Firm Website:
Call (304) 326-1800

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: The Miley Legal Group
The Miley Legal Group focuses on the needs of our clients, no matter how big or small the case. Our clients get to concentrate on healing from their injuries instead of worrying about what is going to happen next. The Miley Legal Group takes the fear out of the legal process and ensures that our client's legal rights are being protected. Our firm is dedicated solely to personal injury cases such as: car accidents, tractor trailer accidents, defective products and medical malpractice claims.

Tim Miley began The Miley Legal Group with the mission dedicated to providing the highest quality of legal services possible to injury victims. He brings over 19 years of experience and skill to the personal injury cases he represents. He has compiled an organization singularly focused on the legal rights of injured people and has helped clients achieve in excess of over $10 million in settlements and verdicts.

Copyright The Miley Legal Group

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws they may affect a case. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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