Employers are not responsible for all actions of their employees -- only
for those actions within the scope of employment. For example, if you
are injured by a forklift operator at HopeDepot, you have a claim against
Home Depot if the employee operating the forklift was doing so as part
of his/her work duties. On the other hand, what if you are injured by
a Home Depot employee driving his/her own car in the store parking lot?
Whether you have a claim against Home Depot, or just the employee, depends
on why the employee was driving his/her own car.
The issue is a doctrine known as respondeat superior, meaning the employer
should answer for the acts of the employee if the employee was acting
for the employer at the time. In the example above, if the employee is
arriving to work and has not clocked in yet, chances are the claim against
Home Depot will not be sucessful. However, if the employee was on the
clock and running out to get supplies for the store manager, chances are
the claim against Home Depot would be successful. A careful evaluation
of all of the facts must be made. Knowing whether a claim can be made
against the employer or only against the employee can make the difference
between being fully compensated for your injury and not.
If you, or someone you love, has been injured as a result of an accident,
call to speak to an experienced injury attorney from our office to find
out about your rights.