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What is Respondeat Superior and How Can it Help Me in My California Premises Liability Case?

Chances are, unless you are a lawyer or someone deeply familiar with legal issues, you’ve probably not heard the Latin phrase “respondeat superior.” But those two Latin words can mean a lot if you’ve been hurt in an accident. Respondeat superior is a Latin phrase that loosely translates to, “let the master answer.” The theory behind this concept is that, in some situations, someone who hires another person may be indirectly liable for the acts of negligent committed by the person they hired. This doctrine of law may open the door of possibilities for you, expanding your options against whom you can pursue compensation. To make sure your injury case names all of the people and/or entities who might be liable to you, be sure you have representation from an experienced California injury attorney.

An example of a case where this concept of “respondeat superior” was a key element was M.J.’s injury action. O.M. owned a landscaping business and hired M.J. to help on a job trimming trees. The jobsite was a private property owned by D.S. M.J., while using a ladder (that O.M. had provided) to do her job, fell off the ladder and suffered substantial injuries.

When you’re hurt in a situation like what happened to M.J., there may be several different ways you can pursue the compensation you need in order to get by while you are recovering from your injuries (and afterward.) For some people, compensation may be through workers’ compensation benefits. For others, though, getting the needed compensation may require filing a civil lawsuit. If are in the position of suing, you may have multiple people or entities whom you can name in your case. The more individuals and/or entities you can name, the better your chances of achieving a full and complete recovery award.

You may, for example, be able to sue the one who hired you and, in some situations, you may also be able to sue the client/property owner. M.J. went after both O.M. and D.S. M.J. asserted that the homeowner, D.S., was liable under the legal concept of respondeat superior.

One factor that can influence the outcome of a respondeat superior case like this is licensing. If O.M. had held a proper license, then that might have resulted in an outcome where the homeowner would not have been liable to M.J. for her injuries. But O.M. did not have a contractor’s license and D.S. employed her anyway. That fact allowed M.J. to defeat D.S.’s request for summary judgment and continue going forward with her case against both defendants.

M.J.’s success points out, among other things, how the many and varied pieces of your case can come together to provide you with the compensation you need. Putting those pieces together in the best way, however, often requires the skill of an experienced personal injury litigator. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, reach out to the diligent San Mateo personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Our attorneys have been helping injured people utilize the legal system for many years to get the compensation they need and deserve. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.

More blog posts:

Succeeding in Your California Premises Liability Case When You are a Contractor Retained by the Property Owner, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, Published July 27, 2018

How the Option of a Default Judgment Can Help You Succeed in Your California Premises Liability Case, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, Published April 26, 2018

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