When the employee of a New Orleans business causes an injury, Louisiana State Law places vicarious liability on the employer if the employee was in exercise of the functions in which he or she is employed. Three elements must be shown to impose vicarious liability on the employer.
First, there must be an employment relationship. This is typically measured by a control test that asks if the employer could have exercised control over how the employee’s work at the time was done. Second, the employer will be liable for his employee’s negligent acts if the acts are within the course and scope of employment. When deciding this issue, courts examine whether the employee’s conduct that led to the injury is so closely connected in time, place, and purpose to his or her work duties that it should be regarded as a risk fairly attributable to the employer’s business. If the employee was acting out of purely personal considerations that were outside the scope of his or her work duties, the employer is not responsible.
If a driver is commuting to and from work, he or she usually is not considered to be within the course and scope of employment. Even if an employee is “off duty,” however, a court may impose vicarious liability if the employer benefits from the employee’s off-duty driving or reimburses the employee’s travel expenses. For example, where a newspaper employee was involved in a car accident while attending a concert partly for his own entertainment and partly to write a review for his newspaper, a Louisiana court held the newspaper vicariously liable.
The third element of vicarious liability is that the employee be negligent or at fault. This is self-explanatory; if an employee is not at fault for an accident, then his employer would also not be at fault.
If you have been injured in a car accident and wish to discuss your rights, please feel free to call my office at 504-581-6411 or 877-581-6411.