What Is Respondeat Superior?

Respondeat superior holds an employer liable when an employee, acting within the scope of his or her employment, causes your injury. Respondeat superior is the legal doctrine that may allow you to sue the trucking company when you are involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer, for example.

How Respondeat Superior Works in Georgia

Georgia law makes an employer liable for the acts of an employee within the scope of the employer's business. If you suffer an injury in an accident with someone who is an employee, you need to prove that the employee acted negligently to hold the employer liable for your injuries.

Examples of Respondeat Superior

An employer may be liable for an accident caused by its employee if the employee was acting within the scope of employment at the time of the accident.

If the employee caused your injury while performing these or other work-related duties, you may be able to sue his or her employer.

Joint Liability When an Employee Causes Your Injury

To hold the employer liable for your injury under the doctrine of respondeat superior, you must prove three things:

  • The employee owed you a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused your injury.
  • The person who caused your injury was an employee of the employer.
  • The accident occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of his or her employment.

Proving the Person Responsible for Your Injuries Was an Employee

You must prove the party that caused your injury was an employee.

Unfortunately, some employers try to argue that the person who caused your injury was an independent contractor. For example, the person may be working for a construction company or for a hospital under a contract. Generally, a company is not liable for the acts of independent contractors.

However, a lawyer at S. Burke Law can review the circumstances of your accident and the defendant’s employment. If the defendant is under the immediate direction and control of the company, he or she may be an employee even if a contract says otherwise.

What factors show that a company exercises direction and control over a person?

  • The company controls the hours the person works.
  • The company controls the details of the person’s work.
  • The person cannot accept other jobs while working for the company.

These just a few scenarios that might suggest the person is an employee, not an independent contractor.

How a Lawyer Can Help

A personal injury lawyer can help you pursue legal action under the doctrine of respondeat superior. Your lawyer can investigate your accident and help you file a lawsuit or insurance claim seeking compensation for your damages.

To get help after a serious injury, call a personal injury lawyer at S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838.