Reasonable care must be exercised to the extent that the driver acts as
would any other prudent motorist under the circumstances. This applies
to any driver, and can also
result in liability in a car accident for others such as owners or even employers of employees driving such
vehicles. Employers may be liable for the negligent harm caused by their
employees. A basic tenant of the employer/employee relationship is that
nearly any and all negligent acts committed by the employee are chargeable
to the employer as long as such act occurs within the scope of the employment.
In legalese, the phrase is called
respondeat superior. The literal translation of which is, let the master answer. The policy
underlying this doctrine is that since the employer profits from the employees
work, he too should be accountable for liabilities arising out of that work.
In order for the relationship to give rise to liability, the employee must
have been acting within the scope of employment and during the course
of work duties. Moreover, operating the vehicle must have been a task
given with permission by the employer. Permission can be either expressly
given to the employee, or it may be impliedly granted in order for the
employee can carry out business for the company.
It is important to retain an
experienced Newburgh car accident attorney who is knowledgeable and capable of seeking and identifying higher amounts
of insurance coverage according to New York State law. Therefore, if the
employer is properly found liable, the plaintiff will have a greater chance
of receiving complete compensation for their injuries.
Consider a more complex scenario instead of the basic case of an employee
injuring another motorist who was driving another vehicle. In
Zeglen v. Minkiewicz the plaintiff was a passenger in Minkiewicz’s car. Minkiewicz got
into an accident with another party, Adamson, who was in the course of
working for GE when he collided with Minkiewicz. Zeglen was allowed to
sue not only Minkiewicz, but also Adamson and GE as Adamson’s employer.
Eventually Zeglen obtained compensation from all three defendants. The
Court of Appeals of the State of New York affirmed the lower court’s
decision by using the rational of the respondeat superior doctrine: “A
master is liable for the tort of his servant, while engaged in the scope
of his employment, upon the theory that one who does an act by another
does it himself.” Therefore, GE was properly charged with the liability
for employee Adamson’s negligence.
As you are too well aware, the medical costs associated with accident injuries
are staggering. Combine that with lost income and lost earning potential,
and you see why it is important to name all potentially responsible parties
to the list of defendants in your case.
Are you interested in learning who else may be liable for your car accident?
Find out more from
our latest article posted here. Or learn about the
permissive use doctrine and how it applies here.
Our car accident attorneys at
Mainetti, Mainetti, and O’Connor, P.C. have over 100 years of combined experience working with victims of personal
injury accidents throughout New York. We understand how to effectively
represent clients who have been injured in serious personal injury accidents,
particularly throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley region in Kingston, Poughkeepsie,
and Newburgh where we have offices. Hear
what our clients are saying about us here and learn about just some of our
successful results here. If you or a loved one has been injured in a personal injury accident,
please do not hesitate to contact us by calling 845-340-HURT (4878) or
toll free at 866-440-4452, or by using the
convenient contact form here.