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December 01, 2001  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Cooperate With Driver in Litigation

Employer can be automatically liable if driver is negligent After being involved in a fatal accident, the bus driver was dismissed from employment. Once dismissed, he became uncooperative with his company’s defense, refusing to appear at depositions. The employer and driver had been jointly sued for damages. Because the driver was uncooperative, the company motioned to have its legal counsel withdrawn as the defense counsel for the driver. The court granted the motion.


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After being involved in a fatal accident, the bus driver was dismissed from employment. Once dismissed, he became uncooperative with his company’s defense, refusing to appear at depositions. The employer and driver had been jointly sued for damages. Because the driver was uncooperative, the company motioned to have its legal counsel withdrawn as the defense counsel for the driver. The court granted the motion. As expected, the driver continued to be unresponsive to court petitions and orders. Ultimately, that lack of cooperation led to a summary judgment (a declaration of liability) against the driver. To the surprise of the company, a judgment was also entered against them, without the benefit of a trial. Why? Because an employer cannot escape or evade the actions of its employees and is responsible for them. In this situation, the company’s only defense would have been to prove that the driver was not its employee, which wasn’t true. This points to the need to maintain good relations with drivers who are involved in serious losses. Source: Lancer Insurance Co. in Long Beach, N.Y. For more information, visit www.lancer-ins.com or call (800) 782-8902.

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