TIP OF THE DAY NO. 12: YES, A BUSINESS MAY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INJURIES CAUSED BY ITS EMPLOYEE.
If you are involved in an accident with a person that is working, real attention needs to be given to exploring whether the business may be responsible for the injuries caused by its employee. Whether the employer/business is responsible for your injuries is controlled by what is called respondeat superior, and respondeat superior (the idea that the employer may be responsible for the acts and harms caused by its employee when the employee is handling the employers business and acting within the scope of his/her employment) is an extremely fact-intensive question.
[A]n employer is responsible for its employee’s torts only when the torts are committed within the scope of employment and while the employee is engaged in the employer’s business. The test for determining whether an employer is liable for its employee’s actions is whether the tort was done “within the scope of the actual transaction of the master’s business for accomplishing the ends of his employment.”
Gassaway v. Precon Corp., 280 Ga. App. 351, 352–53, 634 S.E.2d 153, 155–56 (2006).
In considering whether employer is liable for the injuries in a car accident caused by its employee, the courts look closely at for whose purpose the employee was driving at the time of the accident:
Georgia courts have consistently held that where an employee takes a break for lunch and is not otherwise engaged in his employer’s business, the employee is on a purely personal mission. In addition, as a general rule, an employee is deemed to act only for his own purposes while commuting to work unless the employee undertakes “a special mission at the direction of the employer.” The special mission must be made at the employer’s request or direction. Also relevant is whether the employer retained the power to discharge his employee for failure to perform the errand.
Gassaway v. Precon Corp., 280 Ga. App. 351, 353, 634 S.E.2d 153, 156 (2006).
If you were injured a car accident, contact Sessions & Fleischman today for a free consultation.