The legal doctrine of “respondeat superior”—Latin for “let the master answer”—is used to hold employers liable for an employee’s negligent behavior. For example, if someone is injured because an amusement park employee negligently operated a ride, the doctrine would allow the injured party to name both the amusement park employee as well as the amusement park itself in the lawsuit, seeking damages from each.
This is a very critical doctrine for DC personal injury plaintiffs because it allows them to name defendants in a lawsuit that might actually have the money to pay for the damages the accident victim sustained. To use the example above again, the amusement park employee may be an 18-year-old with little to his name. The amusement park, therefore, would provide the plaintiff with a better chance of actually collecting what he or she is owed.
In a recent case in front of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, the court held that a temporary nurse is to be considered an “employee” for the purposes of defending a suit alleging that the nurse was negligent.