Employer and Truck Rental Company Found Not Liable to Fatally Injured Employee by State Supreme Court

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court released an opinion earlier this month regarding a tragic accident that resulted in the death of an employee who was driving a rental truck on behalf of his employer. The accident occurred in 2011 when the driver slid off an icy road. The victim’s family filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver’s employer and the truck rental company.

GavelThe lower court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. They found that the driver was barred from suit due to certain provisions in the Workers’ Compensation Act. Additionally, the truck rental company did not proximately cause the injuries the victim suffered. The plaintiff’s estate then appealed the judgment, but the court agreed with and affirmed the lower court’s judgment. They found that the plaintiff’s evidence did not establish proximate cause by the truck rental company and also that the lawsuit was barred by the Act.

New Mexico Respondeat Superior Law in Personal Injury Lawsuits

When individuals are injured in an accident, often another party is responsible for the accident. In those cases, the victim may wish to pursue a claim against the negligent party, and in some instances, if the party was acting within the scope of their employment when the accident occurred, they may even bring a lawsuit against the employer.

There are also some situations when the victim is an employee and the negligent party is their employer. In these cases, the employee may try and bring a workers’ compensation claim, but, as with other insurance claims, this compensation may not actually cover the accrued expenses. Thus, a worker sometimes may bring a personal injury lawsuit instead of a workers’ compensation claim. Doing this requires that the plaintiff fall into a very specific exception because the general rule is that a workers’ compensation claim is an injured worker’s sole remedy.

Some common exceptions to the general rule may be if the employee was injured on the job when the employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance, if the employer was acting particularly egregiously or intentionally, or if a third party caused the injury. It is important that a potential plaintiff contact an attorney to see if they have a viable claim.

If the victim was not the employee but wants to sue a culpable party’s employer, they would need to establish that the employee was acting within the scope of employment when the accident occurred. New Mexico law provides that “within the scope of employment” means that the activity in which the party was engaged was incidental to the employer’s business, and it was done while the employee was engaged in the employer’s business.

Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident in New Mexico?

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another person or entity in New Mexico, you should contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm. An attorney at the Fine Law Firm can assist you in determining a suitable course of action and provide you with advice and zealous advocacy. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation to cover the injuries you suffered and continue to suffer. Contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm today at 800-640-6590 to schedule your free initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

State Supreme Court Denies Governmental Immunity for Transportation Commission in Wrongful Death Claim, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, July 13, 2016.

State Court Finds Plaintiff Was Not Entitled to a New Trial in Lawsuit over Medical Expenses, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 28, 2016.