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Can I Sue a Driver’s Employer for the Harm Caused in a Car Accident?
Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Tampa, FL
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, then you may be wondering “who” to sue. In some cases, this can be quite a significant problem, especially if the defendant-driver who caused you injuries lacks adequate insurance coverage (or personal assets) to pay out the damages in full.
Fortunately, the principle of vicarious liability may offer an alternative path to recovery in some circumstances. Let’s take a closer look.
Vicarious Liability Basics
In Florida, injured plaintiffs can sometimes sue the employer of the driver who caused them harm in a car accident. This principle is known as vicarious liability — in other words, the employer can be made vicariously liable for the negligence of their employee (here, the driver that caused an accident).
Worth noting: vicarious liability requires that the employee cause injury while acting within the course and scope of their employment. A vicarious liability claim cannot be brought if the employee was not doing anything related to work at the time of the accident.
Now, let’s use a brief example for clarity about how a typical vicarious liability claim goes.
Suppose that you are injured in an accident involving a delivery driver. The driver was speeding, lost control, and side-swiped your vehicle. You bring a lawsuit against the driver for damages, but also bring a lawsuit against their employer pursuant to vicarious liability.
Vicarious liability may seem “unfair” at first glance, in that it imposes liability on an employer for something that they did not actually do. In truth, however, it is meant to pressure employers to take steps to train their employees adequately and to commit to better safety measures. It also shifts the damages burden over to the employer, who will likely have better insurance coverage and resources to pay.
Negligent Hiring and Supervision
In situations where the defendant-driver was not merely negligent but was actually conducting themselves in a reckless or intentional manner, you will not be able to recover damages pursuant to vicarious liability.
Instead, you may be able to recover damages by asserting a claim based on negligent hiring and supervision — this is an independent claim against the employer.
For example, suppose that you are injured in a car accident with a delivery driver who was intoxicated at the time of the accident. As such, the driver was acting recklessly — you cannot sue the employer with respect to vicarious liability. But perhaps the employer knew that the driver was an alcoholic and struggling with that. You may be able to sue the employer for negligently hiring and supervising the alcoholic delivery driver.
Contact Alley, Clark & Greiwe to Secure Comprehensive Legal Assistance
If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to the fault of another, then you may be entitled to sue and recover damages under Florida law. We encourage you to get in touch with an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer at Alley, Clark & Greiwe for assistance on how to proceed.
Here at Alley, Clark & Greiwe, our attorneys have spent decades working on behalf of injured plaintiffs in a variety of disputes, including those centering around complex car accident disputes. Over the years, we have developed a highly-personalized, client-focused style of representation. This gives us the tools we need to more effectively advocate for the client in negotiations and at trial — our results speak volumes.