Most Virginia residents know that a negligent truck driver who hurts them will be liable for the costs and damages stemming from the accident. However, not everyone is aware that the truck driver’s employer will also be financially responsible. The reason for this dates back to Roman times when the rich owned slaves who they’d send out into the city to do their bidding.
The legal concept of “respondeat superior” is an ancient Latin term that means “let the master respond.” The idea dates back to a time thousands of years ago when slaves would do jobs for their owners. If the slave hurt someone while carrying out his or her master’s orders, the master was the one responsible for the damage.
These days, the same concept continues to apply to employers. When an employee is doing the bidding his or her employer, the employer will share liability for the employee’s actions. This legal concept may also be referred to as vicarious liability.
The notions of vicarious liability and respondeat superior mean open up the possibility of multiple defendants, who might not have directly participated in an injurious accident but are nonetheless liable. As such, Virginia plaintiffs should always take the time to carefully consider all potentially liable parties in their accident claims. The more liable parties identified and named in a lawsuit, the more chances the plaintiff will have of receiving a monetary damage award.
The Law Offices of Locklin & Coleman is a personal injury law firm in Manassas, Virginia. If you were seriously injured in a commercial vehicle accident, our lawyers are available to talk to you about your potential claim for damages.