One of the most common questions asked by victims of Alabama truck accidents is whether the trucking company that employs an allegedly at-fault driver can be held liable for the actions of the truck driver. As is the case with many legal questions, the answer is “it depends.”The legal term respondeat superior refers to an ancient Latin phrase that roughly translated means “let the master answer.” Respondeat superior is a type of vicarious lability, meaning the doctrine allows one person to be held liable for the acts of another third party. Other types of vicarious liability include a parent’s responsibility for the actions of their minor child or a car owner’s responsibility for the actions of those they allow to use their car.
In modern day personal injury law, respondeat superior refers to a legal doctrine that allows for accident victims to hold an employer liable for the negligent acts of an employee in certain circumstances. Under Alabama case law, an accident victim must establish several elements in order to hold an employer liable for the acts of an employee. While this case involved a doctor who the plaintiff claimed was liable for the negligent acts of a nurse, the rules outlined by the court in its opinion have since been applied broadly by Alabama courts.