The legal concept of respondeat superior is something with which D.C.-area residents should be familiar.
Respondeat superior (Latin for “let the master answer”) is the concept that an employer is, in many circumstances, responsible for the actions of his or her employees while they are on the job.
Respondeat superior comes into play quite often in car and truck accidents.
For example, if a semi truck driver dozes off because he has been driving for too long and crashes into a car, the injured parties in that car would probably be able to sue the truck driver’s employer, rather than the truck driver as an individual. In that potential lawsuit, the plaintiffs’ argument would be that if the accident happened and if the driver had been performing the employer’s job duties, then the employer is liable because the master must answer for the servant’s actions. Had the situation been otherwise, the truck accident may never have happened and the injured people would never have been hurt. Suing the employer rather than the truck driver as an individual would be beneficial because the chances of recovery are better, since the employer likely has greater insurance coverage.
Now, most circumstances are a little more complicated than the one we just described. Let’s say a carpenter is driving his utility truck home from a few drinks after work and hits someone. Would the injured party be able to sue the carpenter’s employer? Probably not, because the carpenter was arguably not under the employer’s control at the time of the accident.
The point of this post is that if you are ever harmed in a car or truck accident, it might be a good idea to talk over what has happened to you with a personal injury attorney. That way, you can find out if there are any options available to you.
As a personal injury lawyer, I serve Maryland, Virginia and the D.C. area. If you are interested in more information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
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