Suing the Defendant’s Employer in a Personal Injury Case in Fontana
If you sustained an injury in an accident in Fontana, then California law may give you a right of action to sue and recover damages. Under state law, injury compensation is owed to those who have been harmed due to negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct. It is important to take steps to secure this legally-justified compensation.
Call us at 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free consultation with a Fontana personal injury lawyer. We understand that exploring your legal options can be intimidating and even overwhelming, so don’t fret. If you’re still contemplating what to do, let’s take some time to discuss a common issue in personal injury disputes, and how it could give you access to significant damages.
California Personal Injury Law
Can an Employer Be Personally Liable?
In California Law, it is possible, under certain circumstances, to sue the employer of the defendant who caused you injury. This can be rather advantageous when it comes to maximizing your personal injury compensation settlement amount.
How Does This Work?
Suppose that you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident involving a professional delivery driver. At the time of the accident, the commercial driver was speeding and participating in negligent driving. As a result, they caused you to suffer serious injuries worth $100,000. Unfortunately, the defendant does not have full car insurance coverage. You won’t be able to recover the damages you’re owed from the defendant-driver.
And so, you seek out an alternative defendant who might be able to pay out the damages that you’re owed. As it turns out, the defendant-driver was driving for work. They were acting within the course and scope of employment.
Vicarious Liability Law in California
Under these circumstances, California law empowers accident victims to sue their employer and recover damages that should’ve been paid out by the at-fault driver. This dynamic is commonly referred to as “vicarious liability.” Simply put, California employers are vicariously liable for the negligence of their employees, so long as their employees were acting within the course and scope of employment at the time of the accident. This has significant benefits for plaintiffs, as employers are much more likely to have substantial insurance coverage, and may also want to pay out through a settlement to avoid the negative publicity of an accident case.
Evaluating the Personal Injury Case
What Are Grounds You Can Sue Someone On?
Personal injury cases are not always straightforward. In the context of vicarious liability, there are two major challenges that you might encounter:
- The defendant employee had to have engaged in negligence. Reckless or intentional misconduct does not pass through as liability for the employer.
- The defendant employee had to have been acting within the course and scope of their employment.
Challenging Vicarious Liability in Personal Injury: Negligence
With respect to the first challenge of vicarious liability in a personal injury case, you must be able to show that the vehicle driver who injured you was negligent. If a driver engages in road rage and collides with your vehicle, that intentional misconduct cannot lead to liability for their employer, unless the employer had prior knowledge of the employee’s road rage predisposition.
Challenging Vicarious Liability in Personal Injury: Course and Scope of Employment
With respect to the second challenge of vicarious liability in a personal injury case, you must be able to show that the commercial vehicle driver who injured you was not acting merely during their personal time. For example, if the defendant was commuting home from work when they collided with your vehicle, that would not qualify as “within the course and scope of their employment” — the employer couldn’t be held liable for what their employee did on their personal time.