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What Happens if Someone Gets in an Accident in My Car?

Vicarious Liability in Colorado

upset business man after an accident | What Happens if Someone Gets in an Accident in My CarAt some point in your life, you may find yourself asking: “What happens if my employee gets in an accident while on the clock?” When that happens, it may surprise you to learn that you might also be a responsible party. In legal terms, this is called ‘vicarious liability’, and after such an accident, it is important to speak to an experienced Colorado car accident attorney immediately to protect yourself and ensure that you do not get stuck paying for damages unnecessarily.
By definition, vicarious liability is when someone is held responsible for the actions of another person or entity. It is a secondary liability often applied to employers when their employees are involved in an accident or cause harm. However, it can also be applied to personal car accidents, medical malpractice, and other injury claims.

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Examples of Vicarious Liability

  • Car accident while working – if your employee was engaged in work activity at the time of the accident , then you and your company could be held liable for the damages. Vicarious liability may not apply if your employee was performing personal duties or errands at the time of the accident. An experienced attorney will need to review your case closely to see if you are indeed liable for the accident.

In many states, vicarious liability claims may be made against private drivers and are based on the fact that the car owner knew they were giving their car to a known bad driver, or otherwise impaired driver. These are usually called “negligent entrustment” claims

In this case, if you lend your car to someone who you know or should have known to be an unsafe driver, you could be held responsible for their actions behind the wheel. If you know that your friend or loved one is intoxicated at the time, if they have a history of drunk driving, or if they have a well-documented history of reckless driving, you may want to seriously reconsider handing over your keys.

In addition, under the Family Car Doctrine, parents are held liable for accidents that their minors are involved in. Even if your teenager isn’t listed on your policy, you could still be held responsible.

In Colorado, no matter who is driving the car, the car owner’s insurance will automatically extend to the driver, no matter what the owner was aware of regarding the driver’s unsafe driving record and habits, or physical state at the time the vehicle was driven. For this reason, proving third-party liability is extremely difficult.

EXAMPLES OF VICARIOUS LIABILITY RELATIONSHIPS

There are some common examples of relationships that may result in a third-party’s accountability, therefore being found negligent:

  • The employer and employee relationship

In some cases, an employer is responsible for the actions an employee takes, during working hours and after. However, that’s not true all the time. Determining whether an employer should be found liable for an accident and subsequent injuries that the employee caused isn’t always an easy conclusion. Talking with a personal injury attorney will help sort through the specifics and take the appropriate next steps.

  • The parent and child relationship

We’re all well-aware that 18 is the legal age of adulthood. So even if your 16-year-old thinks she’s 22, you may be found responsible for vicarious liability of the way she behaves, any accidents she causes, as well as the injuries that followed. On the road or otherwise, parents are held accountable for teaching their children rules, laws, and respect.

  • Private vehicle owners and their relationship with others

Those who are given the privilege of a driver’s license and own their vehicle may be found accountable if they hand over their keys to a negligent, unqualified, or impaired driver and that driver causes damages or injuries to others. This is difficult to prove in Colorado, however, speaking with a personal injury lawyer who specializes in third-party liability may offer some peace of mind.

  • Accomplice relationships

When two or more people are involved in a crime, accident, or are the cause of injury, all participants may be held accountable, no matter how significant a role each played.

Contact Our North Denver Car Accident Attorneys Today

Personal injury lawyers of Hull & Zimmerman, P.C. serving the Louisville area Car accidents can be more complex than many people realize. In many situations, there may be multiple parties to blame for the accident. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident in the North Denver area including Broomfield, Northglenn, Westminster, Thornton or anywhere in Colorado, it is important to contact our experienced car accident attorneys immediately. At Hull & Zimmerman, P.C., our committed personal injury lawyers are dedicated to the belief that everyone deserves justice. Contact us at (303) 423-1770 or (866) 385-3505.

Our car accident lawyers have extensive experience representing injured accident victims in Louisville, Broomfield, Arvada, Superior, Lafayette, Erie, Brighton, Commerce City, Northglenn, Westminster, Thornton, Longmont, and throughout Colorado.

 

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At Hull & Zimmerman, P.C., we are honored to help accident victims in their time of need, and take our responsibility as personal injury lawyers incredibly seriously. We know how important it is for victims to secure the full and fair compensation they need following a serious accident, and that is why we take a hands-on, personalized approach to every case we handle.

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