Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an interesting opinion in a motorcycle accident case that was filed against a taxi-cab driver as well as the taxi-cab company. The case required the court decide whether the taxi-cab company could be held vicariously liable for the allegedly negligent actions of the taxi-cab driver. Finding that the jury was presented sufficient evidence to create an agency relationship between the driver and the company, the court determined that the company could be held vicariously liable.
Vicarious liability is a theory of liability where one party is held legally responsible for the negligent actions of another party. This type of liability is most commonly seen in cases involving a case against an employer for the negligent actions of an employee. However, the relationship between the parties need not be that of employer/employee for vicarious liability to apply; a party may also be held liable for the negligent actions of their agent.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was injured when he was involved in a motorcycle accident with a taxi-cab driver who was operating a cab marked with the defendant’s logos. According to the facts as discussed in the appellate opinion, the taxi-cab driver made a left turn directly in front of the plaintiff, causing the vehicles to collide.
The taxi-cab was owned by the driver, and the driver set his own hours. However, the taxi-cab company set the rules by which the driver must operate. For example, the taxi-cab company provided all drivers with a manual, required they all use the same credit card processing machines, processed all payments, and set standard meter rates for all drivers.
The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the driver as well as the taxi-cab company. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, finding that the taxi-cab driver was not an employee of the company, but was an agent. However, the trial judge reversed the jury’s finding. On initial appeal, the case was reversed in favor of the plaintiff.
The taxi-cab company appealed the result to the state’s high court, asking the court to reconsider the question of whether the relationship between the driver and the company rose to the level of an agency relationship. The court determined that it did. The court considered all applicable case law on the subject and ultimately agreed with the jury’s initial finding. Thus, the court reinstated the jury’s verdict in favor of the plaintiff.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Motorcycle Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation based on the type of accident and seriousness of your injuries. The skilled attorneys at the Maryland personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience handling all types of personal injury cases, including motorcycle accident cases. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up your free consultation with a dedicated advocate.
More Blog Posts:
Physical and Financial Recovery after a Serious Bicycle Accident, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published March 9, 2017.
Passengers Injured in Motorcycle Accidents May Have a Right to Recover Compensation for Their Injuries, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published February 27, 2017.