Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents occur every day. Drivers are expected to operate vehicles as that of an ordinarily reasonable person, otherwise, the driver can be found liable for their negligence. In the event the driver acts negligently while they are working, the victim may be able to sue the employee’s employer. The attorneys at Brod Law Firm are experienced in pedestrian accidents and the complexities involved in each case.
Pedestrian Killed By Garbage Truck
A pedestrian was struck and killed by garbage truck in San Francisco. As reported, witnesses observed the pedestrian walking behind a Recology garbage truck, and then the garbage truck backed over the pedestrian. This incident was the second pedestrian death in less than 24 hours in Bay area. Recology, the company that owns and operates the garbage truck, has had numerous unfortunate incidents over the past few months. In May, a bicyclist was fatally struck and in March a 7 year-old girl’s foot was crushed by a truck. In these cases, Recology may be liable for their employee’s negligence under the theory of vicarious liability.
Determining who is at fault after an automobile accident is one of the first things that must done. Of course, the driver that caused the accident will be at fault, minus any applicable defenses, for any damages incurred. But, what if the accident occurred while the driver was working-can you sue their employer? This basis of liability is called vicarious liability, also known as respondeat superior. Under the doctrine of vicarious liability, an employer may be liable for an employee’s tortious acts committed within the scope of the employment. Respondeat superior imposes vicarious liability upon the employer, imputing the employee’s fault to the employer. Thus making the employer responsible for damages as if the employer committed the tortious act.
Employer Liability for Acts of Employee in California
In California, plaintiff must establish the following under the doctrine of vicarious liability:
Employment relationship: Plaintiff must show the driver was actually employed by the defendant employer, rather than an independent contractor, at the time of the accident. The employment status is determined by the amount of control the employer had over the driver. In regards to independent contractors, if the employer maintains a right of control over the detailed manner and means by which the work was to be performed, then the independent contractor will be viewed equivalent to an employee. Thus, the employer can be found liable.
Within the Scope of Employment: At the time of the accident, the driver must have been engaging in activity within the course and scope of the employment. If the acts were either required by the employer or “incidental” to employment, then the employer will be found liable. If the driver’s misconduct was reasonably foreseeable by the employer, then liability will be imposed under these circumstances as well. The driver’s act must be a direct outgrowth of the employee’s work. For example, the act of driving is a direct outgrowth of their employment responsibility for for pizza delivery drivers or USPS drivers.
Vicarious liability suits are very much fact intensive and it is best to seek legal representation. If you have been involved in an accident and injured by a person who was on the job, you may be able to recover from the employer. Our experienced California personal injury lawyers may be able to defend your case. Contact our office for a confidential consultation.