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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  16 yrs. of trial experience
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We are an elderly couple (ab. 90 ) and we have a lady come

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We are an elderly couple (ab. 90 ) and we have a lady come 4-5 times a week for 3-4 hrs/day to help my wife. She drives my wife to medical appointments and grocery shopping
as needed. Under Ohio law she is our employee.
My question is: In case she would be in a car accident would we be liable for any damages caused to her or others?
Thanking you very much for your help,
Hi, My name is Philip. I am an attorney with over 16 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

Good question. The answer depends on context.

As the employer, if she is involved in an accident while "on the job" then under the law, as your agent, you are ultimately responsible for any damages done due to her negligence. This area of the law is called respondeat superior doctrine. It provides, in essence, that an employer has "vicarious liability" (is liable for the actions of their subordinates.

But this only extends to periods of time while she is working for you.

For example, if she has weekends off and is involved in an accident over the weekend? Or if her shift is over for the day and she is driving that evening and is involved in an accident? You would not be liable.

But say, for example, she was driving your spouse to a doctors appointment, and was involved in an accident. And she she was negligent. As the employer, you would be liable for the damages. Or, rather, I should say you COULD be held liable.

In order to hold you liable the injured party would need to file suit and convince a court to hold you liable. SO this would require that the injured party know of the relationship between your employee and you.

It is certainly possible she is driving for you, gets in an accident, and her insurance takes care of it. If the injured party never pursues you, then they would not be able to get a judgment against you

But if there was an accident, and it happened while she was on the job, and if your employee was negliglent? THen you could be help liable as the employer
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