Can you sue an employer for the employee’s negligence in a car accident?

Yes, you can sue an employer for the employee's negligence in a car accident. If you were hit by a car driven by an employee within the scope of employment, you could sue the employer. If the vehicle was not driven within the scope of employment, you could still sue under the negligent entrustment theory.

If you have been involved in a car accident caused by a driver who is on the job, you may be able to bring suit against not only the driver but also their employer, increasing your chances of recovery.

There are two ways in which the employer may be held liable, through:

  • Negligent entrustment/active negligence or
  • Vicarious liability/respondeat superior

An employer can be liable for an employee's bad acts. A negligent entrustment claim requires some evidence that entrusting the vehicle to the employee was negligent.

Active negligence includes the negligent hiring or supervision of an employee because an employer has the duty to hire qualified personnel and supervise the employees in a non-negligent manner. Here are a few situations in which employers may have to pay up:

  • Hiring a truck driver without a CDL license before the truck driver causes an accident
  • Allowing drivers to drive beyond the lawful hours which they are permitted leading to the driver causing an accident

Holding an employer liable for an employee’s bad acts

The vicarious liability doctrine of law asserts that employers are liable for the actions of their employees provided the employee is acting within the scope of their duties and plaintiffs don't have to present evidence that the employer was negligent. Simply put, the employer will be liable and you can sue them for damages, for example:

  • If the employer sends an employee out on errands and the employee causes a car accident

When employees deviate from the employer’s directive and act independently or purely out of personal motives, the employer may not be liable. Here are a few examples to illustrate the difference:

  • An employee stops at home to take a nap and causes a car accident
  • After work hours, a salesperson hits a pedestrian while using the company car to do personal-related errands

When employees are acting within the scope of employment, the employer will face vicarious liability regardless of whose car was being driven. Obviously, if the employee is driving an employer-owned vehicle, the employer’s auto insurance will pay.

If you, or a loved one, have been injured in a car accident, call our experienced Miami car accident attorney today. When you contact our office we'll set an appointment where we'll evaluate your case for free.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.