Respondeat Superior

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What Is Respondeat Superior?

Respondeat Superior is a Latin term, which roughly translates to let the master answer. Also, it is a legal doctrine, which holds employers responsible for their employees’ actions during the course of their work.

What Does This Mean to Employer?

This means that employers will be held legally responsible for their employees’ tortious activities that are committed during the course of business. Most of the time, employees do not have deep pockets for the victims to recover their damages from, and thus, the victims must search elsewhere.

Hence, employers must be more careful when hiring. They must inquire into potential employees’ backgrounds and their likelihood to behave poorly. Lastly, negligent hiring (or turning a blind eye) is not an excuse to free the employer from liability.

Can Employers Escape Liability?

This depends on the situation. Employers will not be held responsible for criminal acts of the employee. But nonetheless, if the criminal acts yield civil monetary damages, then the judge may hold the employer responsible. Some times, employers may escape responsibility if they were diligent in doing a background search prior to the hiring of the employee, had no notice of the tortious activity, and the tortious activity is not related to the goal of the employer’s business.

Consulting an Attorney

If you are an employer and need help defending against a respondeat superior claim, then please contact a personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you collect evidence, strategize your case, and represent your needs in these complex litigation cases.

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Last Modified: 05-28-2015 03:54 PM PDT

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