The questions on this page were answered by our team of Virginia Beach & Norfolk personal injury attorneys. The questions are categorized by practice area such as car accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, etc. If you have specific questions about your situation, contact our firm to set up a free consultation with an actual attorney.
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How does a Virginia personal injury lawyer prove a respondeat superior claim?
In Virginia, succeeding with a claim that an employer should be held liable for compensating a personal injury or wrongful death victim who was harmed by an employee’s negligence or recklessness requires a plaintiff’s attorney to answer three basic questions in the affirmative. These are
- Does an employer-employee relationship exist?
- Was the employee conducting the employer’s business at the time the injury or death occurred?
- Was the employee acting within the scope of his or her work-related duties?
Each of the topline questions encompasses others. For instance, showing the existence of an employer-employee relationship requires producing evidence that the employer did things like the following:
- Paid the person through it regular payroll
- Provided the materials the person used to do his or her job
- Exercised supervision over the person’s tasks
- Had the authority to fire the person
Regarding the scope of duties test, a Virginia personal injury or wrongful death attorney must demonstrate one of the following:
- The employee was doing something within his or her job description,
- The employee was acting at the employer’s request,
- The employee was acting with the employer’s explicit or understood permission, or
- The employee was doing something that would or had the potential to benefit the employer.
How does a Virginia personal injury lawyer apply the legal principal of respondeat superior?
My Virginia personal injury and wrongful death colleagues and I most often invoke the concept of respondeat superior in cases involving truck accidents, nursing home negligence and abuse, medical malpractice, surgical errors or accidents at businesses.
The common law principle, whose name translates from Latin as “let the master answer,” allows us to hold the employer liable for compensating our client because its employee acted negligently and inflicted injuries or caused a death. When we make a respondeat superior claim, we must show that the employee most likely acted in a harmful manner due to the employer’s failure to provide sufficient training, supervision, equipment or judgment in hiring and retention.
What does respondeat superior mean and why is the legal theory important?
Respondeat superior is a common law principle that lets an accident victim hold an employer liable for providing compensation when a negligent or reckless employee inflicts injuries or causes a wrongful death,
The Latin phrase translates as “let the master answer.” To understand its application, think about filing insurance claims against a trucking company after a crash or against a business owner after a shelf collapses.
The employer did not directly cause the resulting injury or loss of life, but one or more people acting on behalf of the employer did. It is appropriate, then, to conclude that the employer was negligent in some way, perhaps by not appropriately training, equipping or supervising the directly responsible employee.
What are the most common injuries suffered by truck accident victims?
- Brain damage
- Crushed limbs
- Fractured bones
- Internal bleeding
- Limb amputations
- Permanent physical disability
How does a truck accident attorney build a case to prove that the truck driver was at fault for the crash?
A Virginia truck accident attorney will conduct an extensive investigation to determine fault in the crash. Some of the factors he or she will examine include the following:
- How many hours had the truck driver been on the road leading up to the crash?
- How much training and experience did the truck driver have and was it enough to ensure they knew how to operate the vehicle they were driving safely?
- Does the truck driver have any history of alcohol or drug use?
- What is the truck driver’s driving record like?
- What was the history of vehicle maintenance and repair for the vehicle?
What is the legal definition of a commercial truck in trucking accidents?
According to the federal government, the following vehicles are considered commercial trucks:
- Eighteen wheelers
- Big rigs
- Semi-tractor trailers
- Cement trucks
- Delivery vehicles
- Tanker trucks
Some models of standard pickup trucks are considered commercial trucks. Generally, any large truck which requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate is legally considered a commercial truck.
Why do most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis?
Many people who have suffered serious personal injuries cannot afford an attorney by the hour. Your attorney will determine if there is a strong possibility of success in your claim. If so, he may agree to represent you, in exchange for approximately 1/3 of the case result.
If my spouse has been severely injured in an accident in North Carolina, can I be compensated for loss of consortium?Yes. If your spouse or partner was hurt in an accident by another party, you may be able to be compensated for loss of consortium, which includes loss of emotional support, helping around the home and physical intimacy.
How can I reduce the risk of buying a dangerous used car that could get in an accident?Have your personal mechanic inspect it to ensure the car is in decent condition and has not been wrecked before.
How can my attorney obtain pertinent medical information on truck drivers?Our attorneys will attempt to obtain medical examination information so it can be established that the truck driver was medically qualified to operate the commercial truck. If this cannot be obtained voluntarily through the discovery process, our attorneys will issue subpoenas for information to whichever doctor's office handled the physicals for that driver.