Employer Liability for an Employee's Car Accident

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Work Truck Driving on HighwayAfter a car accident, you will probably start to explore who might bear responsibility for your accident and injuries. If the at-fault driver was on the job at the time of the wreck, you might wonder if the other driver’s employer is liable for the accident and responsible for compensating you for damages.

In fact, under the theory of vicarious liability, the employer may be liable for an employee’s negligence if it caused your injuries. Before you go further, set up a consultation with Max Meyers Law by calling us at 425-399-7000.

Did the Employee’s Negligence Cause Your Injuries?

To establish an employer’s liability for the employee’s actions, you must prove:

  • The employee was negligent.
  • The employee’s negligence caused your accident and injuries.
  • The employee was acting within the scope of employment.
  • An employment relationship exists.

If, for example, a plumber runs a red light and strikes your vehicle, the plumber’s negligence caused your accident. If the plumber was driving a company vehicle on the way to a job, then the plumber is acting within the scope of employment. Thus, the plumber’s employer may be vicariously liable for your injuries.

In this case, Max Meyers can help you pursue a claim against the plumber’s employer. Our firm will evaluate the case, collect relevant evidence, and handle all insurance and legal aspects of the case in pursuit of fair compensation for your damages.

What If the Employer Was Negligent Too?

An employer may be vicariously liable for an employee’s actions under vicarious liability, as long as the employee was acting within the scope of employment. But in some cases, an employer may be negligent too. If the employer’s negligence contributed to your accident, you may be able to hold the employer liable in a negligence claim as well.

Using our previous example of the red light-running plumber, if the plumber was intoxicated at the time and had several drunk driving charges on his record, but the employer hired him anyway knowing the plumber would be driving a vehicle from job to job, the employer may be liable for negligent hiring that put an employee susceptible to drunk driving behind the wheel.

Here are a few other scenarios where the employer may be liable for its own negligent actions:

  • The employer did not get a copy of the plumber’s driving record, which would have revealed the alcohol-related incidents in the example above. Since the employer knew the plumber would be driving a company vehicle from one job site to another, the employer should have pulled the plumber’s driving record. Failure to do so may indicate improper hiring.
  • The employer can be liable for negligent supervision if it fails to implement or follow procedures that monitor employees who drive the company vehicles. A boss should require that these employees promptly report all moving violations, accidents, and DUIs. The employer should also get an updated copy of the employee’s driving record to make sure they are not enabling a dangerous driver to stay on the road.
  • Finally, the company can get into trouble for negligent retention if it is aware or should be aware that an employee is a danger behind the wheel and allows the employee to continue to drive the company vehicle. A company that puts employees behind the wheel should have strict policies to protect the public.

How Do You Make a Claim Against the Company for Vicarious Liability?

When the company is responsible for the employee’s negligence, the law calls that vicarious liability. Your case must establish the employment relationship; negligence of the employee and/or employer; that the employee and/or employer caused your wreck; and that you suffered injuries or damages. We will collect employment records, accident reports, and other evidence to build your case.

At Max Meyers Law, we focus on car accidents and other traffic-related injury cases. We will be happy to look at your case and advise you of your legal options and next steps.

Call us today at 425-399-7000 to set up your no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation.

Max Meyers
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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.