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Bus companies responsible for accidents

Buses crisscross Seattle's streets every day. Along the way, some will get in bus accidents. When they do, who is responsible: the bus driver, the bus company or both? Under the law, employers are responsible for their employees. This rule applies even if the employer did not intend or approve of the employee's action.

To understand why, readers need to understand two straightforward legal concepts. First, the law concludes that because employers benefit from their employees, they must also take the bad too. Second, the law wants the victim to receive sufficient compensation for their harm. On average, a business is more likely than its employees to have the financial wherewithal to achieve that aim.

In other circumstances, a bus company may be liable for a different reason: negligent hiring or retention. That is, in some situations, the company should have known that the driver was not safe and thus either not hired the driver or stopped letting the driver operate vehicles.

Consider a scenario. Let's say a person has a record of drinking and driving. But, the bus company hired the person anyway. If that person drinks and drives the bus, ultimately getting in an accident, then the company is responsible for their failure either to properly investigate the person before hiring them or for their negligence in knowing but still allowing the person to drive the bus.

As a result, Washington residents hurt in a bus accident will often want to consider whether the bus company, and not just the bus driver, may be financially liable for the injuries. Doing so can be an essential step toward victims recovering the compensation they need and deserve to get through a hard time.

Source: FindLaw, "An Employer's Liability for Employee's Acts," Accessed June 27, 2016

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