If you get injured in a car accident, you have the right to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the party or parties responsible for the accident, but identifying the responsible parties is not always as simple as it seems. The at-fault driver is not always the only person responsible for the accident. The laws that hold parties other than the at-fault driver responsible for some motor vehicle accidents offer legal protection to people who get injured in car accidents. Think about how little money you have in the bank, and now consider that most of the drivers with whom you share the road are in a similar financial situation. The people who can afford to pay other people’s medical bills are in private jets, not navigating four-way stops with the rest of us broke chumps. According to the doctrine of vicarious liability, it is possible for a party that was only indirectly connected to the accident to be legally responsible for it. To find out more about whether vicarious liability laws apply to your car accident case, contact a Santa Fe motor vehicle accident and car accident lawyer.
When Employers are Liable for Damage Caused by Their Employees
Pursuant to New Mexico’s vicarious liability laws, employers can be held responsible for car accidents caused by their employees. The deciding factor in whether the employer is liable for the accident where the employee was the at-fault driver is whether the car trip that resulted in the accident was part of the employee’s job duties. It matters more whether the employee was at work doing his or her job than it does whether the employer owned the car. If the employer issued the employee a company vehicle as a job perk, the employer would not be liable if the employee caused an accident while driving to the supermarket on his day off or if the employee caused an accident while driving home from a visit to a friend’s house.
When Vehicle Owners are Responsible for Damage Caused by Their Vehicles
In many situations, the owner of an item of property is responsible for injuries caused by that item of property; this is why dog owners are legally responsible when their dog bites someone. New Mexico is quicker to attribute fault to the vehicle owner than some other states for accidents where someone other than the vehicle owner was driving. The law implies that when you give someone else permission to drive your car, you are responsible for ensuring that the person will drive the car safely. If you get hit by a stolen vehicle, the legal owner is not responsible for the accident because the driver was obviously driving the car without the legal owner’s consent.
Contact Slate Stern About Car Accident Lawsuits
Slate Stern is a personal injury lawyer who represents plaintiffs injured in car accidents. Contact Slate Stern in Santa Fe, New Mexico, or call (505)814-1517 to discuss your case.