Many people know that you can bring a civil claim to recover compensation for physical injuries that you suffer due to someone else’s negligence. But fewer people know that North Carolina recognizes civil claims against an employer for the tortious acts that its employees commit during the course and scope of employment. There is a specific rule regarding whether or not an employee can be held liable and it is important to know whether you may be able to assert a claim against someone’s employer. At Maurer Law, our compassionate and experienced Asheville personal injury lawyers are prepared to help you ensure that you name each potentially responsible party in your lawsuit so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.
The North Carolina Court of Appeal considered a case recently in which the plaintiff alleged that he suffered emotional distress, assault, and battery at the hands of a political campaign manager. According to the plaintiff’s complaint, a person working for the campaign held a pistol against the plaintiff’s leg while the pair were riding in a limousine. The complaint listed causes of action for assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring and retention. The defendant moved for summary judgment and the lower court granted it, which means the court did not believe there was enough evidence to support the plaintiff’s allegations.
On appeal, the court concluded that it was correct to dismiss the claim because the man who allegedly held the pistol against the plaintiff’s leg was not an employee of the campaign and was instead an independent contractor. The test to determine whether someone is an employee or independent contractor examines whether the employer exercises a certain level of control and direction over the person in question. If the campaign was able to exercise control over how the man did his work, then the court may have concluded that an employee relationship existed and that the campaign was liable for his conduct.