Who is Responsible if the Driver who Hit Me on my Bike was Working at the Time?
Depending on the circumstances, the driver and the driver's employer might both be responsible for your bicycle accident injuries and damages, under the theory of respondeat superior.
Determining Responsibility After a Bicycle Accident in Illinois
In most bike accidents involving an on-the-job driver, the employer the driver was working for at the time will be vicariously liable for any damages arising from the accident. This is known as respondeat superior, which is a common-law legal doctrine that holds that employers are responsible for their employees’ actions when made within the scope of their employment.
For an employee to be acting within the scope of employment, “the conduct must be (1) of the kind the employee is employed to perform, (2) must occur within the authorized time and space limits of the employment, and (3) must be done at least in part to serve the employer, rather than be for the employee’s personal ends” (Bagent v. Blessing Care Corp., 224 Ill.2d 154 (Ill. 2007), quoting Restatement (Second) of Agency). The employer most likely would be liable unless the accident occurred outside the scope of the at-fault driver’s employment.
Examples of Vicarious Employer Liability
You can pursue damages in a bicycle accident case against the employer of the driver responsible for your injuries, but that person must have been working at the time of the event in order to hold their employer vicariously liable.
These are some common examples of employee conduct sufficient to trigger vicarious liability:
- A driver was traveling from one job site to another
- A driver was making a delivery to a client on behalf of an employer
- A driver was going to pick up supplies for an employer
These are examples of conduct not considered within the scope of employment:
- A driver was commuting to his job but had not started working yet
- A driver was running a personal errand
- The employer’s car was being driven by someone who stole it
Let Us Help You Determine who is Liable for Your Bicycle Accident
If you’re involved in a bicycle accident in Illinois, the motorist responsible and even the motorist’s employer might be liable for your damages. Whether your case entails vicarious employer liability depends on the facts and circumstances of the accident, which is why it’s important to discuss the facts with a qualified Illinois bike accident attorney. At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, we can work with you to determine who the proper defendants are and bring a claim on your behalf. We work on a contingency basis, so you don’t receive a legal bill unless we win your case. To learn more about how you can financially recover after an Illinois bicycle accident, call our offices today.