If you were involved in a serious car accident, you already know that being injured is about more than just physical pain. You have doctor appointments, medical bills, ongoing suffering, lost wages, emotional trauma and so much more on your plate. Holding the negligent driver responsible is often essential for realizing a full recovery, but there could be somebody else at fault.
You can potentially hold the owner of the vehicle vicariously liable for your accident, even if he or she was not the one who was driving at the time. As such, some Pennsylvania employers or vehicle owners are still responsible for the actions of those driving their vehicles.
Who else is liable?
In general, employers are responsible for the actions of their employees when they are on the job. This means that if an employee driving a company vehicle for work purposes caused your accident, you can also hold his or her employer responsible for your injuries. There are exceptions, though.
If the employee who caused the wreck was performing a work duty on company time, then vicarious liability typically applies. However, if the employee was not on the clock or even using the vehicle for an unauthorized trip, then holding the employer responsible may not be possible. If a person driving a company vehicle caused you injury, determining whether he or she was working or off the clock is an essential step towards recovering compensation.
What about the average car owner?
It is not uncommon for adults to lend their vehicles to friends and family members. Someone might let his or her roommate borrow the car for a job interview, or one person may let a cousin use the vehicle to visit an ailing family member. But what if the roommate and cousin were known to have poor driving habits?
If an owner negligently entrusts his or her vehicle to a so-called bad driver, then that driver hits and injures you, the owner could be at fault. This is because vehicle owners are responsible for ensuring the safe use and operation of their vehicle, so knowingly letting an unsafe driver behind the wheel is incredibly irresponsible.
So what can I do?
This is probably a very overwhelming time in your life. On top of dealing with the pain and suffering that often accompanies serious accidents, there are also the financial and emotional implications to consider. Things might be even more difficult if your injuries are preventing you from going to work.
A personal injury suit is an effective way to hold those considered at fault responsible for their actions. This can include the driver who caused the accident, an employer or even the vehicle's owner. Because vicarious liability can be complicated, an experienced Pennsylvania attorney might be able to provide more specialized guidance on this difficult matter.