Who Do I Sue in a Motor Vehicle Accident?

Who you sue in a motor vehicle accident can depend on many factors.

As you can see from the Jury Instruction below, a person may very well be the agent of another making the other person liable for the accident. This is seen in the employer relationship on a regular basis. We call that Respondeat Superior. As long as the person was in the course and scope of his or her employment, the company he or she works for may be liable.

This is clear when a person gets to work, jumps in the company truck and is driving for a company purpose. The Agency and the Respondeat Superior is clear.

REVISED ARIZONA JURY INSTRUCTIONS (CIVIL), 5TH (July 2013) 2

AGENCY 1

Agency, defined

Agency is a relationship in which one person (a “principal”) gives authority, by word or by conduct, to another person (an “agent”) to act on the principal's behalf subject to the principal's control.

But what happens when the person deviates from the route, or is driving from home to the jobsite but does not punch in until the person arrives. Is the person an agent for the company because it was a company truck? Why is it so important? Companies often have much more insurance than the individual worker. With the State minimum currently at $15,000 per person many low income workers simply cannot afford more insurance. Your trip to the emergency room could burn through that quickly.

Looking at the instruction for Fault below, you will see if you cannot prove agency or Respondeat Superior (working for a company) you only get damages against the person who actually caused the accident.

FAULT 1

Statement of Claim; Definition of Fault;

Definition of Negligence

(No Comparative Fault)

[Name of plaintiff] claims that [name of defendant] was at fault. Fault is negligence that was a cause of [name of plaintiff]'s injury.

Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care. Negligence may consist of action or inaction. Negligence is the failure to act as a reasonably careful person would act under the circumstances.

We at West, Longenbaugh and Zickerman, with offices in Tucson work to prove all elements of the case to maximize your recovery. Big Firm Representation means we have the knowledge a resources and Small Firm caring means we care about the results for each client we serve.

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