Negligent Entrustment And Vicarious Liability: Suing Employers For Negligence
When someone does something wrong that causes you an injury, you sue them (assuming you can’t settle the case). That sounds obvious. But what about an entity or a party that wasn’t directly involved in the accident? Often, there are people or companies that can be held liable for your accident, even though they aren’t directly involved in the accident.
One such situation is called negligent entrustment. As the name implies, this is where someone trusts someone with an item that the person shouldn’t have been trusted with.
This often happens in car accident cases, when a teenager is using a parent’s car with the parents consent. When the teenager drives carelessly, and causes an accident, the parent can be sued for negligently allowing the teenager to use the vehicle.
Assuming that a parent allowed a minor to carry around a gun, or operate an all terrain vehicle or golf cart, or handle a chainsaw. If the child injures someone else in any of those circumstances, the victim can sue the parent, for allowing someone who should not have been trusted with such a dangerous device, to have, use, and operate the device.
Another time that parties not involved in the accident can be sued, is for vicarious liability. This is where an employer is liable for the actions and negligence of its employees. Almost any company that puts drivers on the road, is liable for the accidents that those drivers cause.
The only catch to vicarious liability, is that the employee must be doing something in the course and scope of employment.
So, for example, if the Amazon delivery driver causes an accident while delivering a package, you can sue Amazon. If the driver decides to get drunk, and drive the vehicle to the beach, this may be outside the scope of employment, and Amazon may have a defense to being sued for what its driver had done.
Similar to vicarious liability, is the failure of a business to conduct background checks. This amounts to a negligent hiring case.
The extent to which an employer has to do a background check depends on the job the employee is doing. Some employees do not need extensive background checks. But employees who may be working with children, or working with the elderly, or doing home visits inside of customers homes, may need to have extensive criminal background checks done by the employer.
If an employee will spend extensive time behind the wheel, such as with a truck or bus driver, the employer may need to do an extensive driving history background check.
When these checks aren’t done, and the employee injures someone else, the victim can sue the company for the failure to do a background check.