What Does Respondeat Superior Mean?

Written by: Virginia Beach Injury Law

Injury accidents can happen in many ways. Slip and fall incidents, car crashes, sports events, and truck accidents are some of the most common situations that have high incidences of injuries. If negligence existed when an injury accident happened and caused the incident to take place, it may be possible for victims who are harmed to secure compensation for their losses. Depending on the details of the injury event, a claimant may file a personal injury suit for compensation for several different types of damages, including pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages from missed work, property damages, and potentially more.

In Virginia, if another party caused your injury accident, please connect with the Virginia Beach personal injury attorney at Virginia Beach Injury Law to discuss your legal options with respect to obtaining compensation.

How Does Respondeat Superior Relate to Tort Law?

The legal doctrine describing an employer’s responsibilities for their employee’s actions while they are working is Respondeat Superior, or “let the master answer.” Essentially, this principle believes that an employer has a duty to assume responsibility for the actions of their employees as long as there is an established employer-employee relationship and the employee is engaged in work-related duties.

The practice dates way back to the 17th century. In England, back then, employers were responsible under the law for their servants or other employees. This was so, as long as the servant was working.

A good example of how respondeat superior works is a car accident. Suppose a driver is in their company-provided car because they have to drive as a part of their job. When they are on the road, they are “on the clock.” While driving they cause an accident. Due to the respondeat superior doctrine, the employee who caused the accident may not be culpable for the resulting damages. Instead, their employer would. This includes payment for damages when both personal injury and wrongful death occur.

In this same scenario, even if the car was not provided by the employer, and the driver was in their own vehicle but doing their job, an employer can still be liable for financial compensation to a victim of the crash.

But, there are instances when an employee causes a crash in either their personal or company vehicle and their employer may not be found liable. For instance, if a driver in a company car causes a crash but is not actively working and are attending to their personal matters, the driver would likely be liable to pay for the damages that result. 

If you lost a loved one in a car accident in Virginia, the Norfolk wrongful death attorney can assist you with your claim.

Speak with a Virginia Beach Personal Injury Attorney Today

Understanding your rights and your legal options to get the compensation you need after an injury or wrongful death incident like a car accident can be complicated. Let the Virginia Beach car accident attorney help. To schedule a free consultation with Virginia Beach Injury Law, please call (757) 802-4662.

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