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Employer liability for employee involvement in car crashes

When it comes to employers, they can be held responsible for the actions of their employees under the doctrine of "respondeat superior" and other liability laws in place. This is the case even if they had no intention to harm another or were not actively involved in what took place.

As for personal injury types of accidents, employee liability laws see employers as being stewards of their employee's behavior. It's a give and take relationship whereby employers can enjoy the benefits of an employee's labors, but must suffer the burden along with them when they engage in harmful acts as well.

This same umbrella of the law supports compensation of those who have suffered injuries in an effort of bring the victim back whole again. That being said, the law allows for victims of an employee's negligence to sue not only the cash-poor employee, but instead the more financially well off employer in any given case.

In order to hold employers accountable for the actions of their employees, there are a number of criterion they must meet. Perhaps the most important consideration is the concept of "in the course of employment".

Under this doctrine, actions must either be authorized by their employer or be extremely closely related to an authorized act. If this is the case, then an employer can be held responsible for their employee's actions.

Cases are divided up between "detour" and "frolic" in order to identify liability in these cases. Detour, as it sounds, refers to situations in which an employee deviates from doing what they were initially told to do so by their employer, but that still closely approximates original plans.

An example of this may be an individual taking a company car to a bar and having an accident. A frolic situation, on the other hand, is a situation in which one acts in their own capacity instead of following employer instructions.

An employer becoming distracted while on a work-related conference call while driving and crashing into someone else is an example of this. In both situations, the employer is deemed liable.

If you or someone you know was injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident involving an individual driving a company car or suspected to be on the job while driving his or her own, a North Carolina attorney can advise you as to how to best protect your rights.

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