Tennessee Court Discusses Doctrine of Respondeat Superior in Car Accident Cases -
If a person is injured in a car crash in Tennessee, he or she will often file a lawsuit seeking compensation from the driver that caused the accident.
If the driver was engaged in the course and scope of his or her employment at the time of the accident, the injured party may be able to recover damages from the driver’s employer as well.
Recently, the Tennessee Court of Appeals explained when an employer could be held liable for harm caused by its employee, in a case arising out of a car crash.
If you were injured in a Tennessee car crash by a driver engaged in the course and scope of his or her job duties it is critical to meet with a knowledgeable Tennessee car crash attorney to discuss who may be held liable for your harm.
Factual Background / Caselaw-
It is reported that in August of 2016, the plaintiff was driving on a road in Greene County, Tennessee, when a car traveling in the opposite direction crossed the centerline and struck her head-on. The plaintiff sustained permanent and severe injuries in the crash. She subsequently filed a lawsuit asserting negligence claims against the defendant driver’s estate and the defendant driver’s employer, arguing that the defendant driver was engaged in the scope and course of her employment at the time of the accident.
It is reported that the plaintiff further alleged that the defendant employer was liable for negligent hiring and supervision.
The defendant employer denied that the defendant driver was engaged in employment-related activities at the time of the crash, and filed a motion for Summary Judgment.
The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed, arguing that the court erred in ruling that the defendant driver was not acting in the scope of her employment at the time of the crash and that the defendant employer could not be held liable under a theory of respondeat superior.
The Doctrine of Respondeat Superior in Tennessee -
In Tennessee, an employer may be held liable for the negligent acts of his or her employee if the acts are committed within the course and scope of employment.
For an employer to be held liable for the tortious acts of his or her employee, the injured party must prove that the person who caused the injury was: an employee; engaged in the employer’s business; and was acting in the course and scope of his or her employment at the time of the injury.
The Court noted that an employee should not be held liable under a theory of respondeat superior if the employee deviated or departed from his work to undertake a task unrelated to his or her employment, and the crash occurred during the deviation.
In the subject case, the Court found that the defendant driver left work early absent permission from her employer and that her travel during her shift was for personal reasons. Thus, the Court affirmed the trial court ruling.
Consult an Experienced Injury Attorney Regarding Your Potential Claims!
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a Tennessee car crash, it is critical to consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible regarding your potential claims.
Attorney Kurt W. Bartlett is a knowledgeable and experienced Tennessee car crash attorney who will work vigorously to help you achieve the best legal result available under the facts of your case.
Call Kurt Bartlett today at 615-415-0542 to learn how we can help you!