North Carolina Appellate Court Discusses Vicarious Liability Doctrine in Negligent Hiring and Retention Case

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.

Here, the man who allegedly had the gun worked with very little oversight from the campaign. The court also noted that the campaign had no reason to believe that the man would act erratically or that he behaved inappropriately with firearms. Had there been some sign or history of prior conduct suggesting that violent or potentially violent behavior was likely, then the campaign may have been liable under a theory of negligent hiring and retention of the man.

If you were injured as the result of someone else’s carelessness, then you may be entitled to compensation. This not only includes physical injuries but emotional distress as well. The best way to go about protecting your rights is to speak with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in Asheville to understand your options. Maurer Law’s attorneys offer a free consultation to help you learn more about your rights and options. Understanding the claims that you may be able to assert and which parties may be liable for your damages can be incredibly confusing especially if you are recovering from painful injuries. Contact us today at 1-844-817-8058 or contact us online to get started.

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