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Vicarious liability in personal injury litigation, P.1

Back in December, a jury unanimously ruled that the defendant was liable for injuries suffered by a couple in an accident back in 2012, as well as the death of the couple's child. The accident reportedly occurred after the couple parked on the side of the road to address a mechanical problem, when a motorist driving a pickup crashed into the couple's vehicle. The impact of the accident left the couple with multiple injuries and resulted in the death of their four-year-old son.  

The couple ended up suing both the driver and his employer, since he had been on the job at the time of the crash. The jury granted a $32 million award in the case, which the defendants are going to be appealing. One interesting aspect of the case is that black box data made it easier to recreate the accident and establish the defendant's negligence. 

According to the couple's attorney, black box data was available from both vehicles and was subpoenaed. The data available on the electronic devices allowed the plaintiff to establish exactly what was happening prior to and at the time of the crash. Such evidence, of course, is not available in every case, but when it is it can make it easier to make a case for liability.

Another notable aspect of the case is the bit about vicarious liability. In this case, the employer was held to be acting "within the course and schedule of his employment," according to sources. In our next post, we'll look a bit more at the issue of vicarious liability in personal injury litigation

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