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When are Companies Responsible for Car Accident Injuries?

In some cases, a company may be liable for the injuries someone suffers in a North Carolina car accident. Determining liability can be complicated, especially in car accidents that involve multiple drivers or pedestrians. If an employee's negligence caused the car accident during the employee's work, the employer may be liable for the damages. This legal theory is called vicarious liability. The liability issue becomes more complicated if the driver works for a ride-sharing app.

Have you suffered an injury in a North Carolina car accident? If so, it is wise to speak with skilled personal injury attorneys as soon as possible. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC our experienced personal injury lawyers thoroughly investigate our clients’ car accidents. We determine who is at fault under North Carolina law and advise our clients as to the best way to seek compensation.

North Carolina recognizes the doctrine of contributory negligence. If an injured person was even 1% at fault, he or she would not recover at trial. If you have suffered an injury, our attorneys can help you recover the highest possible amount of compensation. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.

North Carolina Vicarious Liability Attorneys

Unfortunately, many drivers do not have car insurance. Many drivers only have the amount of coverage required by the state of North Carolina. Many of our clients suffer extensive injuries that should be paid for with this minimal insurance coverage. A common question is what happens when their medical costs exceed the amount of liability insurance maintained by the at-fault driver? In these circumstances, it can be advantageous to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver's employer.

Under the legal doctrine of vicarious liability, an injured person can sue an employer for the injuries caused by its negligent employee. In certain instances, employers are liable for their employee's careless actions. There are three critical elements in proving that an employer is responsible for an employee's negligence:

  • The negligent or at-fault party must be an employee of the employer.
  • The employee needs to be acting within the scope of employment when the accident occurs. If the employee is wearing a uniform with a company logo when the accident happens, a court might determine him or her to be within the scope of employment. Even if the employee is not on the clock, the employer is receiving an advertising benefit from the employee's uniform.
  • The accident must be foreseeable. Most car accidents are foreseeable when the employee is driving for the benefit of his or her employer.
An Employer Could be Liable for Negligent Hiring

If an employer negligently hires an employee to drive on behalf of the company, the employer could be liable. Employers must hire competent employees. If the employer knew or should have known that the employee would be an incompetent driver, they will be responsible for any injuries the employee’s negligence causes.

The following are potential examples of negligent hiring:

  • The employer knew that the employee had a poor driving record and still hired him or her as a driver.
  • The employer failed to conduct a background check that would have revealed the employee driver had drunk driving convictions on his or her record.
  • The employer knows that an employee does not have a commercial driver’s license yet hires him or her to drive a semi-truck for the company.
  • The employer fails to provide the commercial driver employees with the proper training information and certifications.
  • A company hires a driver without conducting a drug test. The employee would have failed a drug test and later causes an accident after driving while under the influence of drugs.
  • A company hires an employee without screening for past criminal behavior, drug use, or medical history that would indicate an inability to drive safely.

When employers cut corners when hiring employees, they may engage in negligent hiring practices. If an employer hired a negligent employee and that employee caused a car accident in which you suffered an injury, you may be entitled to compensation.

If You Have Suffered a Car Accident Injury, the Other Driver’s Employer May be Liable

Was the driver who negligently caused your injuries was working for an employer at the time of the accident? If so, the employer could be liable for your injuries. The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC can help you determine who is at fault in your accident and a strategy for recovering compensation. Contact our law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.

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