One of the biggest hurdles personal injury plaintiffs face before initiating a lawsuit is determining which parties to name as defendants. Of course, a plaintiff does not want to frivolously name parties who had nothing to do with their injuries, but a plaintiff’s failure to name all potentially liable parties from the beginning can cause delays down the road. In some cases, it may even prevent a plaintiff from adding that party at a later date.
One often overlooked party that can frequently be named in personal injury lawsuits arising out of car or truck accidents is the employer of the at-fault party. The legal doctrine that allows for this form of vicarious liability is called “respondeat superior.” Of course, this doctrine only applies if the at-fault driver was performing some employment-related duty when the alleged act of negligence took place. Since so much is at stake for both the plaintiff and a defendant employer, the issue of whether an employee’s actions can be imputed to the employer is often a hotly contested issue. A recent case out of California illustrates the point.
Jorge v. Culinary Institute of America
The defendant was a private, not-for-profit college that focuses on culinary and baking education. Da Fonseca was a chef trainer at the defendant’s campus in St. Helena. One day on his way home from work, Da Fonseca struck Jorge and one other person with his vehicle. Jorge died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the accident.