New Orleans personal injury lawsuits involving the negligent actions of an employee frequently result in the employer bearing legal responsibility for the damages. For individuals who have suffered severe injury, the ability to pursue damages against the employer – who will usually have greater financial resources – can be extremely important. Not all plaintiffs, however, are automatically entitled to proceed against the employer.
Generally, a party has no legal duty to protect someone against the negligence of a third party unless there is either a special relationship with the injured person or some independent responsibility for the third party. Under Louisiana law, an employer is responsible for the negligent actions of an employee if the negligent act occurred in the course and scope of employment. In legal terms, this is referred to as “vicarious liability.”
Even when a person appears to be performing actions related to employment, however, the relationship between the parties must still be examined to determine if an employer-employee relationship actually exists. If it does not exist, vicarious liability does not attach to the “employer.” This most frequently becomes an issue in cases involving independent contractors.
When a question exists as to whether there is an employer-employee relationship, the extent to which the “employer” controls – or has the right to control – the negligent party must be explored. This includes an examination of the economic relationship between the parties, and the extent to which the “employer” has the right to control the time and physical activities of the negligent party. When a contractor is hired to perform a specific job, but is given broad discretion regarding issues such as hiring additional workers and exactly how the work will be finished, vicarious liability usually does not apply.
We have represented many people injured through the negligent actions of a business’s employees, and we would be glad to help you. If you have suffered a personal injury, please feel free to call us at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.