Florida Appeals Court Addresses Going-and-Coming Rule in Car Accident Involving an Injured Minor Child

A recent Florida accident case before the Third District Court of Appeal involved a minor child injured in a car accident. The parents of the child appealed the trial court’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of the defendant, Royal Plus, Inc. The court evaluated the three-prong test of respondeat superior and concluded that the driver involved in the accident was not acting within the scope of his employment. As a result, Royal Plus was not held vicariously liable for the driver’s alleged negligence. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s decision, reinforcing the application of the going-and-coming rule in Florida. This case highlights how challenging Florida car accident cases can be, making it crucial to have a skilled Miami car accident attorney on your side.

Going-and-Coming Rule in Florida Negligence Lawsuits

The going-and-coming rule is a legal doctrine used in Florida to determine whether an employer can be held liable for the actions of their employees while they are commuting to or from work. This rule generally states that an employer is not liable for the actions of their employees during these commutes. This principle was a key factor in the recent decision by the Third District Court of Appeal.

In the case at hand, the court examined whether the driver was acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the accident. To hold an employer liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior, three conditions must be met:

  • The employee’s conduct must be of the kind they are employed to perform;
  • The conduct must occur substantially within the time and space limits authorized by the employer; and
  • The conduct must be motivated, at least in part, by a purpose to serve the employer.

In this case, the driver was found not to be acting within the scope of his employment during his commute, leading the court to uphold the summary judgment in favor of Royal Plus. This decision underscores the importance of understanding the going-and-coming rule and its implications in negligence lawsuits.

How to Establish Negligence in a Car Accident Involving an Independent Contractor

Establishing negligence in a car accident case involving an independent contractor can be challenging. Florida law requires the injured party to prove that the contractor was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident.

Prove Duty of Care: The first step is to demonstrate that the driver owed a duty of care to the injured party. This is generally straightforward in car accident cases, as all drivers owe a duty to operate their vehicles safely.

Breach of Duty: Next, you must show that the driver breached this duty by acting negligently. This could include actions like speeding, distracted driving, or failing to follow traffic laws.

Causation: It must be proven that the driver’s breach of duty directly caused the accident and the resulting injuries. This involves showing a clear link between the driver’s actions and the harm suffered by the injured party.

Damages: Finally, the injured party must demonstrate that they suffered actual damages as a result of the accident. This can include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

In cases involving independent contractors, it’s crucial to determine whether the contractor was performing work-related duties at the time of the accident. If the contractor was on a personal errand or commuting to or from work, the employer may not be held liable under the going-and-coming rule. However, if the contractor was performing a task for the employer, the employer could potentially be held responsible.

How to Prove a Negligent Employee Was Acting Within the Scope of Employment

Proving that a negligent employee was acting within the scope of their employment under Florida law involves three key steps. First, you need to show that the employee’s actions were part of their job duties, meaning they were performing tasks their employer hired them to do. Second, establish that the employee’s actions occurred during work hours and at a location authorized by the employer, ensuring the employee was not on a personal errand. Third, prove that the employee’s actions were motivated by a desire to benefit the employer, demonstrating that their conduct, even if negligent, was aimed at furthering the employer’s interests. A knowledgeable attorney can gather evidence and present a strong case to prove these elements, ensuring your rights are protected and you receive fair compensation.

Discuss Your Case with Personal Injury Lawyer in Miami 

If you were injured as a result of another’s negligence, Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada can help. We have decades of experience representing accident victims in all types of personal injury, auto accident, premises liability and work injury cases. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 877-448-8585. You can also connect with us through our secure online contact form.

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