When someone is injured in a New York car accident, an experienced car accident attorney will attempt to identify all potentially liable parties. A liable party is a person or entity who may bear legal responsibility for harm caused to another. In some cases, it is relatively easy to identify liable parties. Who was behind the wheel driving? Who owns the vehicle? New York’s permissive-use statute provides an independent cause of action against vehicle owners who grant others permission and consent to use the vehicle.
Another theory of liability is known as respondeat superior liability, which holds that an employer will be liable for the negligence of an employee committed while the employee was acting in the scope of employment. One reason for this doctrine is that an employer will exercise some control over the conduct of employees, and thus is in a position to ensure that their conduct is reasonably safe. After all, employers benefit when their employees take action on their behalf. Accident victims looking to identify all potentially liable parties, will often seek to determine whether the person who caused injury was acting in scope of employment at the time of the injury-causing conduct.
While many people are employed, it can sometimes be difficult to identify whether someone is acting on behalf of an employer at the time of a motor vehicle accident. New York courts have developed a number of factors and considerations that can affect whether or not the employer retained direct or indirect control over the employee’s activities such that respondeat superior liability can attach. An experienced attorney can analyze the particular circumstances in any given case.
Whether the company is a large business or a small one, a public agency or private individual, it can be liable for car accidents involving employees on the job. Complicated issues often arise when the employee was acting in the scope of employment for a public entity, like a municipality or school district. In that situation, any claim against the employee or the employer (who is most likely obligated to “indemnify” the employee for damages caused) may be subject to very time-sensitive “notice of claim” requirements, as well as a shortened statute of limitations period. Failure to comply with strict time deadlines can prevent even the most meritorious cases from moving forward.
An experienced attorney can identify whether the at-fault motorist was acting in the scope of employment, the potential employer, and ensure that time deadlines are satisfied.
If you’re in a car accident with someone who you believe was driving for work, please do not hesitate to contact William Mattar, P.C. at (844) 444-4444 for a free case consultation. We have the knowledge and experience to help.