What Is Respondeat Superior?

Youre-Hired-300x200An accident victim could file a claim against an employer if their employee caused their accident in certain situations. Since the employee caused the accident, you may be wondering how the victim can pursue a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. The answer lies in an old legal theory called respondeat superior. Respondeat superior originates from an ancient Latin saying, “let the master answer.” This principle held masters legally responsible for the actions of their servants. In the modern world, respondeat superior is still commonly applied in common law to hold employers liable for the actions of their employees.  

Respondeat Superior In The Present Day

The legal theory of respondeat superior began from the idea that workers have only limited financial capacity. Additionally, negligent or reckless conduct of superiors, such as masters and employers, must be contained. Once a relationship between the employer and the employee has been established, a respondeat superior relationship is created, and the employer can be held legally responsible for an employee’s negligent actions or omissions if they occur during the scope of their employment. Since employers typically have higher insurance policies and more assets to pay for damages than their employees, victims have a much better chance of recovering adequate compensation.  

Successfully Proving Respondeat Superior

To successfully demonstrate respondeat superior, the victim must first show that the employee was acting as an agent of their employer. This involves proving that the employee was authorized to act on behalf of the employer. The victim might also have to show that the employee was working within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident. If an employee’s actions bear some connection to their work, especially if those actions were meant to advance the employer’s interests, courts will usually regard this as operating within the scope of employment. Courts have deemed factors such as an employee’s duties, the extent to which an employee’s actions correspond with their duties, and the time, place, and manner of the employee’s undertakings as proof that employees were operating within the scope of their employment. For instance, if a pizza delivery driver crashes into a bicyclist after delivering a chicken finger sub, the bicyclist could hold the restaurant liable under the principle of respondeat superior. 

Call The Dietrich Law Firm P.C.’s Highly Practiced Respondeat Superior Lawyers In Buffalo, New York

With over 22 years of experience, Jed Dietrich, Esq., commended as an American Institute of Trial Lawyers Litigator of the Year, and his veteran attorneys are highly knowledgeable about holding both employees and their employers liable for the injuries they have caused. If you, or a loved one, were hurt by a negligent employee, you may be eligible to pursue a claim against their employer based on the legal doctrine of respondeat superior. Even if an employee acted outside of the scope of their employment, employers could still be liable for their employee’s actions if your attorney can demonstrate negligent hiring, training, or retention. We promise to fight for you every step of the way. The Dietrich Law Firm P.C.’s elite team of attorneys is available twenty-four-seven by calling 716-839-3939 or by filling out our online consultation form.

Contact Information