Legal Theories That May Make An Employer Liable For An Auto Accident Caused By An Employee

30 July 2018
 Categories: , Blog


If you have a car accident claim against an employee of a business, you should consider including the employer in the claim. This is because there are circumstances in which an employer becomes liable for the negligent actions of their employee. Here are some of the factors that may make a business liable for an accident caused by its employee:

Negligent Supervision

Every employer is required to supervise their employees and ensure that the employee doesn't hurt others. For example, the employer should:

  • Inspect their trucks to ensure they are properly loaded
  • Come up with and enforce safety guidelines for their drivers
  • Ensure their drivers don't exceed safe driving hours
  • Take action when the public report errant or negligent actions of their drivers

A company that fails in its supervisory role may be liable for the ensuing accident.

Negligent Hiring and Retention

Employing and retaining dangerous drivers among its employees can also make a company liable for the negligent actions of those employees. Therefore, if a company hires a driver with a dangerous driving history, it may be liable the accident the driver causes. For example, hiring a driver with multiple DUI convictions in the past is likely to make a company liable for a DUI (driving under the influence) accident the driver may cause. The same thing is true if a company realizes that one of its employees is contravening safe driving laws but doesn't take any action to correct the same.

Respondeat Superior

Respondeat superior is a legal principle that holds an employer legally responsible for the negligent actions of their employee as long as the employee's actions were committed in the line of duty. Therefore, if a delivery van rear ends you while rushing to deliver merchandise, you may be able to collect damages from the delivery company. However, the same may not be possible if the accident occurs while the driver is headed home after work.

Negligent Maintenance

Lastly, you may also hold the employer liable for your damages if the accident was caused by inadequate maintenance on its cars. Every employer should make sure that their vehicles are roadworthy before letting them go out on the road. For example, if an employer allows one of its drivers to use a car with a damaged windshield, the employer may be liable for the accident caused by the windshield damage.

Don't forget that in order to maximize your damage recovery, you need to include every single liable defendant. In some cases, the liability circle may include other parties other than the driver and their employer. A Car Accident Law Attorney can help you figure out who all these people are.