What is respondeat superior?

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2018 | Commercial Vehicle Accidents

It is hard not to feel somewhat intimidated whenever you pull alongside a large commercial vehicle in Lake Charles. Its massive size all but guarantees extensive damage if and when it is involved in a collision. After having been in such an accident, you are more than likely left with having to deal with enormous medical expenses as well as high vehicle repair costs. Who is going to help you pay for these things? 

The easy answer is the driver who struck you. Yet the question of whether he or she would have even been there to cause your accident if not for his or her employer should also be asked. There is a legal principle that is often applied to such cases known as “respondeat superior.” This is Latin for “Let the master answer,” and that may be just what is required in your case. According to information shared by the Cornell University Law School, respondeat superior applies to scenarios when an employee causes damages or injuries while working on behalf of his or her employer. In such a scenario, the employer would also be liable to accident victims. 

A standard known as a “characteristics tests” is used if it is believed respondeat superior applies to your case. This states that an employee’s conduct contributing to an accident must be a common enough of a requirement as to be deemed a function of his or her job. For example, if a commercial vehicle driver collides with you while in the course of making deliveries, his or her employer would be liable given that deliveries are a vital component of his or her job. The same may not be said if he or she is conducting personal errands on company time or while using a company vehicle. 

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