Employer Liability Car Accidents Personal Injury Attorney Georgia

Deadly Five-Car Pileup this Holiday Weekend

According to Fox News 5 Atlanta, there was a deadly five-car auto accident this holiday weekend in unincorporated Decatur. The accident involved a U.S. Postal Service delivery truck.

Reports indicate that a 23-year-old man named Jamon Freeman sideswiped another vehicle and then collided with three others, including the mail vehicle. One man was killed and several others injured. One of the surviving accident victims is in critical condition, NBC 11 Alive reports.

Imputable Negligence in Car Accidents

Although the facts so far are unclear, it’s conceivable that one of the victims in the accident might file a lawsuit alleging that the postal driver was at least partly at fault. If that were to happen, one important question would be whether the U.S. Postal Service would be liable for the injuries to the victims.

The legal doctrine of respondeat superior or imputable negligence in Georgia means that, in general, employers are responsible for the actions of their employees if those actions are within the scope of their employment. This law appears in Section 51-2-2 of the Georgia Code. There’s no definition in the statute for “scope of employment,” so the boundaries of this phrase are often disputed. Generally, if the employee’s activity is related to their work duties, it’s within the scope of their employment. This means that typically, if an employee is on-duty, then the court can find the employer liable for the employee’s negligence, but if the employee is off-duty, they usually cannot. For example, if an employee is driving a work vehicle during work hours and causes an accident, a court will usually find that their employer is liable for any negligence on the part of the employee. But if the employee is commuting to or from work and an accident occurs, the employer is generally not liable.

Negligent Hiring of Drivers

But even if the employer is not liable under imputable negligence, they may be liable under another rule: negligent hiring. In Georgia, negligent hiring requires the plaintiff to show that the employer knew or reasonably should have known of the employee’s tendency to engage in the type of behavior that caused the plaintiff’s injury. There is also a requirement of foreseeability. This means that the defendant must have been able to expect the injury caused by hiring the employee by exercising reasonable care. This is most often seen in cases involving tractor-trailer crashes.  Sometimes tractor-trailer companies will hire a driver despite knowing of his or her bad driving history.  If the truck driver has a history of speeding and causes a wreck due to excessive speeds, the employer may be liable for negligent hiring if the driver’s prior speeding violations were known to the company.

In order to show negligent hiring, there must also be a causal connection between the known incompetence and the injury in the case. In other words, It’s not enough that, just by hiring the employee, the employer puts the employee in a position where they could cause the harm. They have to know that the employee is in some way incompetent, and in a way that led to the injury to the plaintiff.

Need Help?

If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, you need legal help. Contact an Auto Accident Lawyer  Joel Williams today.

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