When an employee causes a Maryland car accident, anyone injured as a result of the accident may be able to pursue a claim against both the negligent driver and their employer under the doctrine of respondeat superior. However, to establish employer liability in a Maryland car accident, the plaintiff must be able to show that the employee was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident.
A recent decision issued by a state appellate court shows how claims against an employer can be proven, and the type of evidence that may be helpful pursuing such a claim.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was a pedestrian who was struck by a GMC truck as she was attempting to cross the street. Evidently, the driver of the truck (“the employee”) was an employee of the defendant HVAC company. The plaintiff filed a personal injury case against the employee as well as the defendant HVAC company, claiming that the company was responsible for the employee’s negligent acts because they were made while he was acting within the scope of his employment.
The evidence at trial established that the employer had two branches, and that the employee was the manager of one of the branches. As a branch manager, the employee was responsible for, among other things, delivering parts between the branches. The employee was provided with a car allowance and compensated for his travel.
Apparently, the employee arrived at work and then ran a personal errand. The accident occurred before he reached his destination. After the accident, the employee completed his errand. The evidence regarding what happened after that was contested. The employee testified that he did not remember engaging in any work-related activities, although he explained he might have dropped breakfast off to one of the defendant’s customers.
The plaintiff, however, presented evidence from the employee’s cellular phone provider, indicating that he remained in the area immediately surrounding the defendant’s other branch for nearly an hour.
The court held that there was sufficient evidence for the jury to find that the employee was acting within the scope of his employment. The court reasoned that the accident occurred during business hours and that the employee’s duties frequently required that he drive back and forth between the employer’s two branches. The court also noted that the cellular data indicated that the employee might have remained in the area to perform additional work-related tasks after he ran his personal errand. Taking all the evidence into account, the court held that the evidence was sufficient to establish that the employer was liable for the employee’s negligent actions.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. At the Maryland personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC we represent injury victims and their families in a wide range of personal injury cases in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. To learn more about how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation based on the injuries you have sustained, call 410-654-3600 today.
More Blog Posts:
Expert Witness Testimony May Be Necessary in Some Maryland Car Accident Cases, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published February 19, 2019.
Victims of Maryland Road Rage May Be Able to Pursue a Claim against Multiple Parties, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published February 5, 2019.