Vicarious Liability in a Greensboro Car Crash

In Personal Injury by GWAO

Can an Employer be liable for a Greensboro Personal Injury or Car Crash?

Employers are not liable for every hurt or injury caused by an person in their employ, the doctrine of respondeat superior does make an employer liable for certain injuries caused by an employee acting within the scope of her employment. There are exceptions to application of this rule that will protect an employer from liability even when the employee is doing something poorly, being foolish, or negligent and acting within the role of employment. One these various exceptions is the borrowed-employee rule, which insulates an employer from liability when the employer gives the employee to another person for a time, and the employee acts negligently while working for the other person. In a recent decision, U.S.A. Logistics , the North Carolina Supreme Court examined the applicability of the borrowed-employee rule to a car accident involving a tractor trailer and a police officer.

Regardless of the court’s belief that an issue of fact existed, the Supreme Court unanimously reversed. For the borrowed person rule to apply, an employer must show that “(1) the [borrower] had complete control and direction of the [employee] for the occasion; (2) the [employer] had no such control [;] and (3) the [borrower] had the exclusive right to discharge the [employee].” Six Flags Over Ga., Inc. v. Hill, 247 Ga. 375, 377 (1) (1981). The court determined that an issue of fact did exist with respect to the 3rd prong, since the evidence showed that the officer of the force couldn’t fire the officer, and the town had authority to not only fire the officer but also take him away from assignment with the his Force. However, the Supreme Court noted that in applying the borrowed-person rule, the test relates to “only to the specific task for which the servants are loaned.” Fulghum Indus., Inc. v. Pollard Lumber Co., 106 Ga. App. 49, 52 (2) (a) (1962). Thus, the right to fire section means the right to fire the employee from the job for which he was borrowed. Although the city retained authority to remove the employee from the job with the force generally, it was the county that had the right to fire the officer from the specific job he was performing at the moment of the negligence. There was no issue of fact about applicability of the borrowed-person exception, which applied as a matter of law and protected the city from liability. Although a person could argue that having the full power to completely fire to the task force would, by effect, give one power to fire the employee from the actual job being performed during the job on the task force, such reasoning is likely too large because a person usually has some ability to halt the borrowing relationship.

Contact our [borrower] today if you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident or suffered a personal injury in Greensboro, High Point or Asheboro.