Many in Texas may misunderstand the general purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit. Some may view it as the family and friends of an accident victim trying to punish the person or parties responsible when legal authorities fail to pursue criminal charges. Others might see it as people trying to profit from a tragic event.
In reality, such actions are rarely motivated by such selfish interests. Rather, one finds that wrongful death plaintiffs simply need assistance in dealing with the burdens left behind by their loved one’s death and the knowledge that any degree of accountability assigned might prevent the tragedies they experienced from happening again.
Sanitation truck company sued following woman’s death
One can see such principles at play in a recent case that arose in Oregon. Per the local ABC News affiliate, the family of a woman killed in an accident with a sanitation truck sued the driver and his employer for wrongful death. They claim that poor training on the company’s part contributed to the driver running over and killing their loved one. According to reports, the driver backed over the woman multiple times while she slept in the parking lot of a local food bank.
Liability for both employees and employers
This case (and others like it) show a unique aspect of civil procedure. When one acts negligently, many might assume that only they shoulder the burden of liability for their actions. Yet when they act as an agent of their employer, the employer may also share in the responsibility for the outcome. One might automatically assume this to be the case when an employee is “on the clock,” but a typically vicarious liability in such situations only applies when officials consider an employee’s actions within the scope of their employment.