The Law Offices OfPhilip M. Tobin

Understanding respondeat superior

If you are lucky enough to walk away from a truck accident in San Jose, your gratitude at being alive may quickly be tempered by the realization that you could still face inordinate expenses from whatever injuries you and/or your passengers may have sustained as well as from the damage caused to your vehicle. Many of those that we here at The Law Offices of Philip M. Tobin have worked with in similar circumstances have found themselves needing to seek compensation to cover their accident-related costs. If the same is true for you, then you may be wondering who bears the brunt of the liability in your case. 

When your accident is caused by a truck driver, it is hard to avoid first looking at them as the one primarily responsible. Yet what about the company that put them in the position to cause a collision in the first place. The legal principle of respondeat superior allows you to assign liability to an employer when you are injured due to the actions of its employee. 

There is a significant caveat to consider, however. Per Section 3701 of California's Civil Jury Instructions, you must show that the drivers actions caused your injuries, and that they were indeed acting within the scope of their employment when they caused your injuries. Consider the circumstances of your accident: was the driver in the middle of completing a delivery route, or were they engaged in actions that might be considered "off the clock" (like pulling into a parking lot for a rest or lunch break). Only in those scenarios where the driver was technically "working" can you apply respondeat superior to your case. 

You can learn more about your legal recourse options following an accident by continuing to explore our site. 

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