Is an Employer Liable for an Employee’s Car Accident in New York?

Car accidents happen all the time in and around New York. Whether your accident was a fender bender or a serious collision, you can sue the person or people responsible.

If the person who hit you was an employee doing their job, you might be able also to sue their employer. Under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, employers are vicariously liable for their employees’ negligence. Even if this doctrine does not apply, you might still be able to sue the employer for negligently hiring someone they knew was negligent or a risk to others. Generally, employers are not liable for intentional or criminal acts of their employees. Essentially, if the employee hits you on purpose, their employer cannot be held liable. In other cases, an employee is not actually an employee but an independent contractor, and the rules of vicarious liability do not apply. You should consider suing an employer in a car accident case because they share blame for their employee’s actions and are often in a better position to cover your damages.

After a car accident, our New York personal injury lawyers can look into the defendant to determine if their employer also bears some liability. Call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 to schedule a free case review.

When Employees Are Liable for Car Accidents Caused by Employees in New York

An employer may be held liable for a car accident caused by an employee under specific circumstances. First, an employer might be held liable under a theory of respondeat superior. If these conditions are not present, the employer might instead be liable for negligent hiring. Although both concepts deal with an employer’s vicarious liability, they have different legal elements. Contact our Bronx car accident attorneys about suing an employer in your case.

Respondeat Superior

The doctrine of respondeat superior applies to employers and employees when the employee commits an act of negligence in the course of their employment. For example, if a taxi driver hits you while on duty, the taxi company that hired them can also be held liable for the crash.

It is important to note that the employee must be doing something that involves their job when the accident happens. There have been a variety of tests and standards employed by courts over the years to make this determination. Generally, the employee’s conduct should have been foreseeable by the employer and a natural incident of their employment. Our Queens car accident attorneys can help you prove the employee’s actions were within the scope of their employment and that their employer should also be held liable.

Negligent Hiring

If your case does not fall under respondeat superior, we might still pursue a claim for negligent hiring against the employer. When employers hire people, they are responsible for ensuring that person is fit to do the job. If an employer hires someone they know poses a serious risk, they can be held liable for the employee’s actions.

One example of negligent hiring would be if a trucking company hired a trucker with a history of DUIs or DWIs and alcohol abuse. Putting someone known to have a problem with alcohol and who also has driven while intoxicated before would constitute negligent hiring.

Negligent hiring may apply to a situation not normally covered by a respondeat superior. For example, even if the trucker was driving their rig while drunk off duty, their employer might still be liable for negligent hiring.

When Employers Cannot be Held Liable for Car Accidents Caused by Employees in New York

When speaking to your Syracuse Uber and Lyft accident lawyer, you must describe the car accident in as much detail as possible. Many situations initially seem to fall under one of the above-mentioned categories, but in reality, the employer cannot be held liable.

As mentioned earlier, employers are not liable for an employee’s negligence if that employee was not acting within the scope of their job duties. This means that employees who cause car accidents while off duty or doing unauthorized tasks like running personal errands are liable, but their employers are not. An employer might be liable only if our Albany car accident lawyers can prove the employee was doing something that was in furtherance of their job at the time of the accident.

On top of that, employers are not responsible for the wrongful actions of their employees, at least not under a theory of respondeat superior. If you believe the other driver hit you on purpose or was otherwise committing a crime when the accident happened, their employer is not liable. However, if that wrongful act should have been foreseeable by the employer, the employer might be liable under a theory of negligent hiring.

Many plaintiffs are confused when they find out the defendant is not an employee even though they were working during the accident. While employers might be liable for employees’ negligence, this is not the case with independent contractors. Common independent contractors on the road include Uber, Lyft, and Amazon delivery drivers.

Why Sue Someone’s Employer for a Car Accident in New York?

It might seem like overkill to sue an employee and their employer for a car accident that the employer might not have even been present for. Employers bear a high burden when they put their employees on the road. When employees are negligent and cause accidents that hurt others, their employers should be held accountable. Our Syracuse car accident attorneys can help you make sure all possible parties are held liable for the accident

Additionally, it is beneficial for plaintiffs to name employers as defendants in car accident lawsuits because employers are often more capable of paying for damages. Even if you sue the employee and win, they might be insolvent and unable to pay for anything, and you will still be left with unpaid debts. An employer is more likely to have more assets and insurance they can use to cover your damages.

Call Our New York Car Accident Lawyers About Suing an Employer

If you were hurt in a car accident, you can sue the other driver in addition to their employer, depending on the circumstances. Our Albany car accident attorneys can help you determine how to hold employers liable. For a free case review, call the Greenburgh car accident lawyers at The Carrion Law Firm at English (718) 841-0083.