Suing an Employer for an Employee’s Negligence
Many times people are injured in motor vehicle accidents and other accidents as a result of someone who, at the time of the accident, was working for his/her employer. But can you sue the employer if the employee causes your injuries? Well, that depends. What needs to be shown is that the employee who caused your injuries was in fact an “employee.” Next you need to show that the employee was acting in the “course and scope” of his/her employment when the accident occurred. This legal theory of liability is referred to in Massachusetts, as well as in almost all other states as “vicarious liability” or the more formal “respondeat superior.”
It is crucial to establish that the employee who caused your injuries was an employee and was acting in the course and scope of that employment at the time of the accident. Why? Because if you have suffered very serious injuries, the employee may have either no insurance or too little insurance to compensate you for your injuries. But, oftentimes employers will carry commercial liability policies that often carry large amounts of coverage.
Therefore, if you have been involved in a Massachusetts accident and the person who caused the accident was working at the time, you can possibly sue both the employee as well as the employer. It is always preferable to sue the employer, assuming you can, because the employer may have “deep pockets” unlike the employee.