The estate of an elderly, incapacitated woman who was sexually assaulted by a nursing assistant in an alleged case of nursing home abuse will have to take its case back to trial after a state supreme court reversed a $1.7 million award for damages and ordered the case retried.
Central to the decision to retry the case was the fact the trial court removed the question of whether the nursing home aide who reportedly raped the woman was acting in the course and scope of employment.
As Broward nursing home injury attorneys can explain, skilled nursing facilities can be held vicariously liable for the negligence and even intentional misconduct/criminal acts of employees – but only if they were acting in the course and scope of employment. This is known as the doctrine of respondeat superior, Latin for “let the master answer.”
In many cases wherein a plaintiff seeks to hold a company accountable for damages inflicted by a worker, key issues will include:
- Whether the worker was an employee or an independent contractor (respondeat superior doesn’t apply where the worker is an independent contractor);
- Whether the worker’s actions occurred in the course and/or arose from the scope of his/her employment.
Employers can also be held directly liable under theories like negligent hiring, negligent retention and negligent supervision. Continue reading