Many Louisianans are afraid to drive near semi-trucks, and for good reason. These massive vehicles can cause devastation when involved in an accident and, unfortunately, their drivers are not always acting in the safest manner possible. Truckers can be fatigued, intoxicated, or, just like other motorists, distracted and inattentive. When a truck accident occurs, victims can be left with serious injuries and even permanent disability. The losses can be extreme, and recovering from the wreck can be quite costly.

Though injured victims can file a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent trucker who harms them, that individual trucker, if found liable, may not have the financial resources to cover the full extent of the victim’s harm. So what can a victim do to try to recover the full extent of his or her damages? One possibility is to also file a lawsuit against the trucker’s employer under the doctrine of vicarious liability.

Vicarious liability means that an employer can be held liable for an employee’s negligent actions if certain conditions are met. For vicarious liability to apply, an employee must be acting within the scope of his or her employment at the time of the accident. This means that the activity being performed must be authorized by the employer or very closely related to the employee’s authorized acts. There are defenses to vicarious liability, including frolic and detour, which will be discussed in later posts.

Considering a vicarious liability claim is important because an employer will likely have more financial resources to pay a damages claim. Those who wish to learn more about vicarious liability and how it might apply to their situation may want to consider consulting an attorney.

Source: FindLaw, “An Employer’s Liability for Employee’s Acts,” accessed on June 5, 2016