Vicarious Liability And Employers Paying For Employees Actions
When someone causes an accident or injures another person, he or she may usually be found liable for the injuries and have to pay compensation. Most people do not think of other third parties that may also be found liable for the same acts, and may also be required to pay compensation. The most common scenario for this to happen is with employees and employers. Employers may be found liable for the acts of their employees in certain circumstances, and may be required to pay compensation for their actions.
Employers can be found liable for an employee’s negligent conduct through the legal doctrines of vicarious liability and respondeat superior. In Georgia, the employer may be liable for both the negligent and voluntary acts of their employees. However, employer liability only comes into play when the employee conduct occurs in the course of the employee’s employment. As an initial matter, it may be necessary in some cases to establish whether or not the person causing the injuries was actually an employee. If the person is considered an independent contractor, as opposed to an employee, the employer is not likely to be found liable for the independent contractor’s actions unless the employer treated the independent contractor like an employee.
If the person is a true employee, then the next question becomes whether or not the employee was acting in the scope of his employment. If the employee was running an errand for the company, engaged in their ordinary job duties, or otherwise acting as an agent for the employer, it is likely that a court would find that the employee was within the scope of his employment. However, if the employee was off on their own errands, or heading home after work, employer liability becomes harder to prove. Additionally, if the employee commits a criminal act, it is more difficult, although not impossible, to find the employer liable for the criminal actions.
When an employer is found liable, it does not mean that the injured party collects the full amount of their damages both from the employer and the employee, for a double recovery. In most cases, the injured party sues both the employee and the employer for damages, but can only collect the total awarded from one party or partially from each party.
In situations involving car and truck accidents, the employers may have additional damages levied against them if they created or fostered the conditions that led to the accident, for example, a trucking company that encourages drivers to make multiple deliveries after driving for more hours than is reasonably safe. In this situation, the plaintiff may seek punitive damages because of the company’s policies that disregard employee and other drivers’ safety.
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If you have been injured, you should consult an attorney for more information on which parties you may seek compensation from depending on the circumstances of your case. Seeking compensation from more than one party may ensure that all your costs from an accident are covered, and not leave you covering any costs related to the incident by yourself. Contact the experienced Jacksonville, Florida and Brunswick, Georgia personal injury attorney at Gillette Law, P.A. for professional assistance with your case.