Negligence case targets highways department

A lawsuit filed in West Virginia could result in a verdict against the state's highway department. A driver and her passenger were injured in a car accident involving a department vehicle driven by one of its employees. The car collision occurred on a stretch of Route 26 running through Preston County. Though the case is just now coming to trial, the accident happened in early 2015.

The three plaintiffs in this case include the driver, her passenger and her husband. The driver and passenger are seeking compensation for their medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering caused by their injuries. The driver's husband is seeking compensation for loss of his wife's companionship. The plaintiffs have asked for a jury to decide on the validity of their claims, damage amounts, and interest accrual from both the time of the accident and time of judgement.

The defendants named are the driver of the state-owned vehicle and the West Virginia Department of Highways. The plaintiffs are charging the individual with negligent driving and the department with negligence in placing such a driver behind the wheel.

When an employee is driving a company motor vehicle and is found to be the cause of an accident, whether due to driving while under the influence, while distracted by a cellphone, speeding or otherwise negligent, an attorney representing people who have been injured may find it advisable to name as defendants in a subsequent lawsuit both the employer and the at-fault motorist. This is under the legal theory of respondeat superior, or vicarious liability.

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