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Car accidents and vicarious liability

Many of the vehicles on New York's roadways are business vehicles. Semi-trucks, delivery trucks, vans, and even some passenger vehicles that are driven for business purposes can surround an individual while driving. Sadly, just because a person is driving for business doesn't mean that he or she will drive safely. Distracted, drunk and tired driving knows no bounds, meaning that even those who drive for a living can cause a devastating accident that leaves innocent and unsuspecting motorists seriously injured.

While a car accident victim may be able to recover compensation for his or her damages from the individual driver who caused the accident, the truth of the matter is that these negligent drivers often can't adequately pay for the harm they have caused. This means that victims are oftentimes left with judgments that they can't recover. If a negligent driver was performing job duties at the time of the accident in question, though, then a victim may be able to pursue compensation from his or her employer.

This legal theory, known as vicarious liability, holds an employer responsible for the actions of its employees. Therefore, a car accident victim can file a personal injury lawsuit against both the employer and the employee. By doing so, a victim can access more extensive resources that have a better chance of covering the damages inflicted upon him or her.

Of course, employers can put up a significant legal fight in hopes of avoiding liability. They may claim that their employee was operating beyond the scope of his or her employment at the time of the accident, or that he or she was engaging in frolic or detour, two legal terms that may be discussed in more depth at a later time. What is important to remember is that legal action may be justified against more parties than just the negligent driver who caused a victim's harm. Those who want to learn more about how vicarious liability may apply to their case can discuss the matter with an attorney of their choosing.

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