Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case discussing an important issue that frequently arises in Maryland car accident cases. Specifically, the case involved the question of employer liability following an accident allegedly caused by the negligent actions of an employee.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff, a young child, was seriously injured in an accident with a dump truck. The dump truck driver was hired by Company A, which was working under a contract with Company B. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the dump truck’s driver, Company A, and Company B. The court’s opinion dealt with the potential liability of Company B.
Apparently, the driver of the dump truck tested positive for several controlled substances. The plaintiff claimed that Company B was negligent in failing to ensure that Company A performed a background check on the driver and also that Company B was negligent in failing to determine if the truck driver was drug-free.
Company B argued that the dump truck driver was not an employee of Company B, and that it could not be held liable under a theory of vicarious liability.
The Court’s Opinion
The court held that the truck driver was not an employee of Company B, and was instead an independent contractor. The court explained that the truck driver retained control over how he performed the work he was assigned by Company B. The truck driver had testified that he would be assigned work in the morning, and that he would not be under the direct supervision of Company B. A representative from Company B testified that the company only occasionally needed to hire the per diem services of truck drivers, and when they were required it was only on a short-term basis.
The court then noted that a company hiring an independent contractor is not generally liable for the actions of the contractor. Thus, unless the relationship between the parties fit within an exception to the general rule, Company B could not be liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. The court went on to discuss that the relationship between the truck driver and Company B did not fit within any of the exceptions and thus, the court ruled in favor of Company B.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Maryland personal injury lawsuit. At the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC we represent injury victims in all types of claims, including those arising out of Maryland truck accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, and instances of medical malpractice. We work diligently on behalf of our clients through every stage of the process. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Maryland Lawmakers Expand the State’s “Move Over” Law, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published November 2, 2018.
Alcohol May Have Been Involved in Fatal Maryland Roadside Accident, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published November 9, 2018.