Respondeat Superior

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What is Respondeat Superior?

Let’s say you’re driving home, and someone runs a red light and hits you. That person broke the law and caused the accident, so they (or their insurance company) are responsible for your costs. But now imagine that person was driving a delivery truck and was in a hurry to make deliveries. Who is to blame? The worker or the company that hired them?

Under U.S. law, the answer is that the employer is responsible for any wrongdoing by an employee that happened while the employee was doing their job. Respondeat superior is the name of this legal rule. It is an essential part of our legal system that protects both people who have been hurt in accidents and people who drive for their jobs.

This rule makes it, so employees are not to blame for what they do as part of their jobs, and the victim has the right to try to get money from the employer, who usually has more money or insurance than the employee. Respondeat superior is critical to many types of personal injury cases.

How Does Respondeat Superior Work?

Respondeat superior is a protective measure. If it didn’t exist, employers would not have to take responsibilty for their employees. And since employers can be held accountable, they have a reason to make sure their workers follow safety rules and use common sense. They also need insurance policies to cover personal injury accidents.

But there are limits to respondeat superior. It only works when the employee is working or performing work-related tasks. Let’s say that a company is to blame because the driver was making deliveries in a company vehicle. Respondeat superior wouldn’t apply if the delivery driver was driving their own car home from work because they were not on the clock.

What Types of Personal Injury Cases Involve Respondeat Superior?

Many different kinds of cases involve respondeat superior, but the most common are:

  • Accidents in which a driver was driving for work or in a company vehicle
  • Taxi accidents because the driver is always representing the company
  • Slip and fall accidents that happened because a store worker didn’t clean up a spill or fix something dangerous
  • Abuse or neglect in a nursing home because the nursing home is always liable for what its’ staff does

Is Respondeat Superior Good for My Georgia Personal Injury Case?

Respondeat superior almost always helps your case. For example, employees might not make enough money or have enough assets to cover their injuries. Since the employer is to blame, you have a much better chance of getting the money you need, usually from the company’s insurance policy. 

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If you have been injured, the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Brown Firm offer free consultations to accident victims in Georgia and South Carolina. Call 800-529-1441 to speak with our personal injury team today!

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