In many cases, there may be more than one negligent party even though their liability may not be readily apparent at first. Negligence may be primary, i.e. when a party is individually, actually negligent. Or, in certain situations, negligence may be transferred through some sort of principal-agent relationship, e.g. an employer can be liable for the negligence of employees (respondeat superior).
This type of negligence occurs when an owner of a vehicle allows someone to drive their car when they were on notice that this individual was not safe to do so. For example, parents should not permit their children to continue to drive if they have received a number of speeding tickets or have been previously charged with reckless driving. Another example is someone who allows a person previously charged with DUI to drive their car. If these drivers are involved in an automobile accident, the injured party might be able to sue both under “negligent entrustment.”
These cases typically start with a workers’ compensation or “on the job” injury. An injured worker is hurt while using machinery that is maintained by a third party company. If the cause of the injury is the machine was not properly inspected, maintained, and/or repaired, that person may have both a workers’ compensation claim as well as a third party action. Of course, there is an interrelationship between the two cases, and each must be prosecuted properly so that the injured worker receives the maximum recovery for his/her injuries.
Negligent Training and Supervision
Companies are responsible for properly training and supervising its employees. Common examples include taxi cab and bus companies. If a taxi or bus driver is not properly trained and supervised, he as the driver as well as the taxi or bus company could be held liable for injuries if their vehicle is involved in an accident. Another common scenario is commercial truck, or 18 wheeler, accidents where drivers are not properly screened and/or drive in violation of federal safety rules governing required stops for sleep.
Negligent Road Maintenance
One final area of increasingly common lawsuits is actions for poorly maintained roads. In these cases, either a county, city, or even state is responsible for building and maintaining safe roads. Due to budget cutbacks, alot of our roads are not being maintained properly, and dangerous conditions are created, especially for motorcycles. Potholes, soft shoulders, and even debris build up on the road and make driving hazardous. In cases against governmental agencies, the laws require proof of notice of a dangerous condition and then a reasonable time to correct same. There are also “caps” on the amount of damages you can recover no matter how serious the injury or even death.
In other cases, the governmental agency may hire private companies to fulfill its duties. If those companies do not properly maintain our roads, then they may be held liable for their negligence. In those cases, they may attempt to claim a statutory cap on damages, but generally, their negligence is not limited to a pre-determined amount.
As you can see, the role of an experienced personal injury lawyer is to investigate and pursue ALL potential parties in a serious accident or wrongful death claim. The trial attorneys of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower LLP over 75 years of combined legal experience in handling complex litigation cases. We would be honored to have an opportunity to help you and your family. Compare credentials. Then call us for answers.