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Respondeat superior explained

On Behalf of | Nov 27, 2017 | Commercial Vehicle Accidents

A majority of the commercial vehicles you see driving in and around New Orleans tend to be much larger than traditional cars, trucks and SUVs to allow them to accomplish their specific purposes. Those that we here at Bruno & Bruno have worked with that have been involved in commercial vehicle accidents can attest to the fact that the added size of makes these vehicles much more destructive. If you have been involved in such an accident, then you are likely facing inordinate expenses (such as medical bills and vehicle repair costs). The question is who should be held liable? 

The first answer that pops into your mind will likely be the driver that hit you. Yet what about the company that employs him or her? A legal principle exists known as respondeat superior, which when translated from Latin means “let the master answer.” According to Cornell University’s law school, this doctrine assigns liability to companies when their employees are involved in tortious actions. In your case, respondeat superior may allow you to go after the driver’s employer when seeking compensation. 

There is, however, one condition that must be met in order for respondeat superior to apply to your accident. Say that the driver that hit you was driving a company vehicle, yet he or she was off duty (either taking a break or returning home from a route). Since he or she was technically not performing a work-related function, his or her employer cannot be held liable. Yet if your accident happened while the driver was completing a delivery, then you can argue that he or she was acting within the scope of his or her employment. In this instance, respondeat superior would apply. 

You can learn more about dealing with commercial vehicle accidents by continuing to explore our site.