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Court Explains Respondeat Superior Liability in New York Car Accident Cases

It is not uncommon for driving to be part of a person’s job description. People operating vehicles for their employers must abide by the same rules as all other motorists, which, among other things, means they must drive in a safe manner. If they drive recklessly and cause a collision while on the job, both they and their employers may be held accountable. Recently, in an opinion issued in a New York car accident case, a court discussed when an employer could be held liable on a theory of respondeat superior following a collision involving their employee. If you were involved in a crash, it is important to talk to a Syracuse personal injury attorney regarding what you must prove to recover damages.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff suffered critical injuries after he was struck by a van operated by a driver on behalf of the defendant company. The plaintiff then filed a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages from the defendant. As to the defendant company, he alleged that they were liable under the theory of respondeat superior and for negligently hiring, training, and supervising the defendant driver.

Reportedly, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, and the plaintiff filed a motion to join the defendant driver and remand the case to state court. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion and indicated it would grant the defendant’s motion unless the plaintiff filed an amended complaint addressing noted deficiencies.

Respondeat Superior Liability in Car Accident Cases

Under the applicable law, to survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff’s complaint must set forth adequate factual matter, which, if accepted as true, states a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. A claim will be facially plausible if it includes factual content that permits the court to infer the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct.

The court explained that, under the doctrine of respondeat superior, employers will be deemed liable for the negligent acts of their employees undertaken while the employee is in the scope of their employment. An employee will be in the scope of their employment if they are doing something to further the employer or if the employer is exercising control over their activities. In the subject case, the court found that the complaint lacked factual allegations that, on their face, would permit the imposition of liability on the theory of respondeat superior. Thus, it ordered the plaintiff to file an amended complaint addressing the deficiencies.

Meet with an Experienced Syracuse Personal Injury Attorney

When an employee injures a third party while performing their job duties, both the employee and their employer may be deemed liable. If you were hurt in a collision with a person working on behalf of their employer, you should meet with an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced Syracuse personal injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can assess the circumstances surrounding your accident and advise you of your options for seeking compensation. You can contact us through our form online or by calling us at 833-200-2000 to set up a meeting.

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