The theory of vicarious liability states that an employer will be held liable for the tortious actions of its employees that occur during the course and scope of the worker’s employment. This doctrine seems straightforward, but it can be difficult to determine whether this agency relationship existed at the time that a personal injury accident took place. As seasoned Illinois personal injury lawyers, we are prepared to help you evaluate your claim to see whether vicarious liability applies to your situation.
The Illinois Court of Appeal recently considered a claim in which the plaintiff was injured in an accident involving a truck that was driven by an employee of a company. The driver had just delivered a load of cucumbers to a picking plant. The plaintiff filed a complaint alleging 27 causes of action including negligent hiring and vicarious liability against the driver’s employee and the company that brokered the delivery.
The plaintiff settled with many of the defendants and the brokerage firm moved for summary judgment. The defendants argued that the agency relationship ended after the driver delivered the load of produce, while the plaintiff alleged that it continued until the driver reached his “home base.” The trial court agreed with the brokerage company and dismissed the claims against it on the basis that the accident occurred after the work that the produce company hired the brokerage firm to do was completed.