Generally, an employer may be held liable for the negligence of its employees when they are acting within the scope of their employment. This theory of liability is known as respondeat superior. Respondeat superior applies when the negligent person is an employee, but it generally does not apply to independent contractors. The question of whether a person is an independent contractor or an employee turns on whether the purported employer exercises control over either the means or the results. The court may consider a number of factors, including whether the worker worked at his own convenience, could engage in other employment, received fringe benefits, was on the payroll, and was on a fixed schedule. New York car accident attorneys know that the question of whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor is not always clear, as seen in a recent case.
The plaintiff alleged she was injured when she was hit by a car while crossing an intersection. She identified the vehicle by the license plate number. She alleged that the owner and operator of that vehicle was employed by a car service. In his answer, the defendant driver did not deny being the owner of the vehicle or operating and controlling it.
The car service was a livery, rather than a taxi service. It denied having control over the vehicles affiliated with its base or their drivers. The car service denied being the employer of the defendant driver and argued it should be granted summary judgment because it was not vicariously liable under the theory of respondeat superior.