Legal Question in Personal Injury in Washington

respondeat superior/vicarious liability

I was working for a family as a

nanny and while driving their car to

pick up the kids from school (as I

was required to do for my job), I

backed into a car causing about

$1,000 of damage. I have since

stopped working for them and they

are threatening to sue me for the

cost of the damages.

Upon hiring they never asked for

proof of insurance (I didn't own a car

and so didn't have any) and I

assumed I would be covered by

theirs. I don't make a lot of money

and am pretty sure that they are

liable under Respondeat Superior

and/or Vicarious Liability, but just

wanted to make sure this was true

before I refuse to just hand over


Asked on 4/24/07, 7:38 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Bob Anderton Anderton Law Office

Re: respondeat superior/vicarious liability

I think that you are correct that your ex-employers are responsible for your act in this situation.

Assuming your employers had insurance, you would almost certainly be covered as a permitted driver.

However, you could still be responsible as well. Assuming their insurer paid for the damage, this really shouldn't be an issue.

If the ex-employers continue to threaten you, you might contact the Department of Labor and Industries regarding their rights and yours.

This program will not allow me to provide the L&I phone, sorry.


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Answered on 4/26/07, 4:43 pm
Merry Kogut Key Peninsula Law

Re: respondeat superior/vicarious liability

You should never have driven a car without insurance. However, it may be possible that their insurance will pay.

You're lucky it was only $1,000. It could have been $100,000 if someone was injured.

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Answered on 4/25/07, 4:37 pm

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