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Car accidents and vicarious liability in Pennsylvania

A car accident can occur in any number of ways, from swerving into a ditch to avoid hitting a deer to being t-boned by someone who ran a red light. Regardless of the cause, a car accident victim may be left with life-altering or life-threatening injuries that can threaten their financial well-being. Fortunately, under Pennsylvania law, those who have been injured in a car crash caused by the negligence of another have the right to recover compensation for their injuries.

Sometimes, though, an individual driver who causes an injurious accident may be unable to adequately compensate a victim for his or her damages. This is why many individuals look to see if they can impose vicarious liability on another party. Under the theory of vicarious liability, employers may be held liable for the actions of their employees. This is often referred to as "respondeat superior." If a vicarious liability claim is successful, a victim may gain access to deeper pockets that can better pay for the harm unfairly forced upon them.

In order to succeed on a vicarious liability claim, a victim must satisfactorily show certain factors. Perhaps chief amongst them is that the driver caused the accident while operating within the course of his or her employment. For example, a truck company can be held liable for an accident caused by a negligent trucker who caused the wreck while driving his or her scheduled route. The employer might not be liable, however, if the accident occurred while the driver took an extended and unauthorized detour to visit a friend.

Recovering compensation after a car accident is often critical to regaining financial stability and obtaining adequate medical care. Additionally, a successful lawsuit can help a victim find justice, allowing them to focus on their future. Those who wish to pursue a personal injury lawsuit may want to discuss the matter with an attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Vicarious Liability and Negligent Entrustment," accessed on Nov. 28, 2016

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