What does respondeat superior mean and why is the legal theory important? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

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.